Photos: Michael Jones [Left to right]: Gus Avila, Lisanne Sartor, John Lau, Karol Ruth Silverstein, Puja Maewal, Garner Simmons; [Not pictured] Rahda Bharadwaj, Victoria Fraser, Marc Weinberg
Photos: Michael Jones
[Left to right]: Gus Avila, Lisanne Sartor, John Lau, Karol Ruth Silverstein, Puja Maewal, Garner Simmons; [Not pictured] Rahda Bharadwaj, Victoria Fraser, Marc Weinberg
Los Angeles – The Writers Guild of America, West has announced the honorees for its 2016 Feature Writer Access Project, the WGAW’s diversity screenwriting program for minority, women, and 60-and-older writers.

This year’s Feature WAP honorees and their screenplays are: 


Gus Avila – Kingwood

Radha Bharadwaj – Delilah


John Lau – Running Dark

Puja Maewal – Jaya

Lisanne Sartor – Six Letter Word

Karol Ruth Silverstein – You’re My Best Friend


Garner Simmons – The Wall

Marc Weinberg & Victoria Fraser – The Midnight Ride of William Dawes


More information about the Guild’s 2016 Feature WAP honorees and complete versions of their screenplays can be found at:

The WGAW’s nine 2016 Feature WAP honorees include two minority writers, three women writers, and three writers age 60 and older.


Launched in 2012 and coordinated by the WGAW Diversity Department, the Guild’s program seeks to identify outstanding diverse writers and make their scripts available to entertainment industry decision-makers – including producers, studio executives, agents and managers – to help raise their profile and generate potential employment opportunities.

“We are pleased to announce the 2016 Feature Writer Access Project honorees, a group of talented writers judged by their peers solely on the quality of their work,” said WGAW Director of Diversity Tery Lopez. “Now in its fourth year, the program is designed to increase access to WGAW minority writers, female writers and writers 60 and older. A compelling aspect of this program is the varied perspectives that the honorees bring to the world of storytelling,”

“Feature WAP strives to bring diverse talent to the table in the film industry and include powerful voices in an ever-changing cinema landscape,” said Feature WAP Advisory Committee member Latoya Morgan (TURN: Washington’s Spies). “This is the Guild’s ambitious push to give gifted writers from a variety of backgrounds essential tools and mentorship to advance in the business, as well as an effort to empower the next generation of writers to become the creatives they’ve always dreamed of being.”

“I am grateful to the Guild for making inclusion a priority,” said 2015 Feature WAP honoree Elizabeth Oyebode, who is also a 2016 Academy Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting winner for her screenplay, Tween the Ropes. “This recognition by our peers has imparted not only a wonderful sense of accomplishment, but also a seal of approval that has opened doors, making it possible for many of us to begin relationships with studio execs and producers at top production companies.”

The WGAW’s 2016 Feature WAP program received 152 script submissions from Guild members, including 20 minority, 48 women, and 84 60-and-older writers.

For consideration, qualified writers who met program criteria were asked to submit a current, feature-length, unproduced spec script. Entries were read and scored on a blind submission basis by a panel of judges, comprised of WGAW members recruited by the Feature WAP Advisory Committee.

There were 59 first round judges and 30 second round judges. Second round judges included WGAW members Allison Schroeder (Hidden Figures), Mark Bomback (War for the Planet of the Apes), Ehren Kruger (Transformers: Age of Extinction), Juliet Snowden (Knowing), Dan Harris (X-Men: Apocalypse), and Anya Kochoff Romano (Mother’s Day).

As part of the Feature WAP program, the WGAW hosts a series of targeted seminars and workshops tailored for honorees, covering such industry topics as how to obtain and tackle studio writing assignments, rewrites, the pitch process, agent and manager rep/client relationships, independent production, acquiring rights, packaging, the challenges faced by diverse writers and how best to market yourself, as well as a meet-and-greet mixer with development executives.

The Writers Guild of America, West (WGAW) is a labor union representing writers of motion pictures, television, radio and Internet programming, including news and documentaries. Founded in 1933, the Guild negotiates and administers contracts that protect the creative and economic rights of its members. It is involved in a wide range of programs that advance the interests of writers, and is active in public policy and legislative matters on the local, national and international levels. For more information on the WGAW, please visit: 

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Valerie Milano is the well-connected Senior Editor and Entertainment Critic at, a website that aggregates showbiz news curated for, and written by, insiders of the entertainment industry. (@HwoodTimes @TheHollywood.Times) Milano, whose extraordinary talents for networking in the famously tight-clad enclave of Hollywood have placed her at the center of the industry’s top red carpets and events since 1984, heads daily operations of a uniquely accessible, yet carefully targeted publication. For years, Milano sat on the board and tour coordinator of the Television Critics Association’s press tours. She has written for Communications Daily, Discover Hollywood, Hollywood Today, Television International, and Video Age International, and contributed to countless other magazines and digests. Valerie works closely with the Human Rights Campaign as a distinguished Fed Club Council Member. She also works with GLSEN, GLAAD, Outfest, NCLR, LAMBDA Legal, and DAP Health, in addition to donating both time and finances to high-profile nonprofits. She has been a member of the Los Angeles Press Club for a couple of years and looks forward to the possibility of contributing to the future success of its endeavors. Milano’s passion for meeting people extends from Los Feliz to her favorite getaway, Palm Springs. There, she is a member of the Palm Springs Museum of Art and a prominent Old Las Palmas-area patron.