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‘The Peak’ Wins Slamdance Awards Screenwriting Grand Prize

Variety — Dave McNary

Slamdance has awarded its grand prize for screenwriting to Jessica Sinyard for her television pilot “The Peak.”

The prize was presented Thursday night during a ceremony hosted by Writers Guild of America West at the WGA Theatre. About 3,000 submissions were received for this year’s contest, and more than $16,000 was awarded to 2018 winners across all categories.

“The Peak” is a psychological survival thriller that follows a team of eight overachievers in their attempt to climb Mount Everest. When a team member goes missing on the peak, paranoia and altitude sickness corrode the reliability of survivor accounts. With a dual narrative that interweaves both the team’s ascent and descent, “The Peak” explores the choices people make when they believe no one is watching.

“This year’s competition proved that wherever you come from in this world our judges are waiting to discover and honor great new writing talent, especially if you are Jessica Sinyard from Saxby All Saints village in the north of England,“ said Slamdance president Peter Baxter. “We are proud to award Jessica Slamdance’s 2018 Screenplay Competition Grand Prize for her pilot ‘The Peak,’ a pulsating psychological survival thriller that is primed for production.”

Sinyard said, “Slamdance is such a vivacious, distinctive and inimitable festival, it is such as honor to be selected.”

The festival, launched in 1995 as an alternative to Sundance, has included showings of such notable titles as Oren Peli’s “Paranormal Activity.” The fest, which takes place at the Treasure Mountain Inn in Park City, Utah, in January. Slamdance alumni include Joe and Anthony Russo, Christopher Nolan, Marc Forster, Jared Hess, Lena Dunham, Benh Zeitlin, Seth Gordon, and Lynn Shelton. Significant titles that debuted at Slamdance include “Mad Hot Ballroom” and Gordon’s “The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters.”

Slamdance recognizes four categories in its Writing Competition and congratulates the top three screenplays in each category. The top three 2018 Slamdance screenplays in each prize category are as follows:

Feature

1st place: The Innocent and the Vicious by Dominique Genest & Nick Kreiss

2nd place: Cancuncito by Carlos Alejandro Marulanda

3rd place: Girls In Trouble by Brenna Perez

Horror

1st place: Candle by Jonathan Redding

2nd place: Wendigo by Mike Langer

3rd place: The Causeway by Stanley Wong & Patrick T. Dorsey

TV Pilot

1st place: The Peak by Jessica Sinyard

2nd place: Darkened Room by Tamara Maloney & Maeve McQuillan

3rd place: The Red by John Whitcher

Short

1st place: Ami by Matt O’Connor

2nd place: The Settlement by Nikolas Benn

3rd place: Sundown County by Victor Ridaura

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