LOS ANGELES, CA (October 13, 2016) – The Hasty Pudding Institute of 1770 announced this month at a special reception for its Los Angeles-based alumni the recipient of the second Hasty Pudding Institute Screenwriting Fellowship with the Black List, which seeks to increase the visibility of satire and social commentary in the arts.
The 2016 Fellow, Alex Rollins Berg, will receive $20,000. His script i was chosen from among over 400 entries. The screenplay tells the story of Malla, a 15-year-old Nepalese farm boy, who travels to the futuristic metropolis of Kuala Lumpur for an iPhone factory job, eventually becoming caught up in the lives of the fabulously wealthy American factory owners
An aspiring filmmaker living in New York City, Alex is a graduate of Santa Clara University with a degree in history. In the last year, he was a winning finalist of the Bluecat Screenplay Competition and a top 50 finalist of the Academy Nicholl Fellowship in Screenwriting. Satire has been a key ingredient in nearly all of Alex’s writing, going back to childhood. In fact, his earliest knowledge of film, politics, and history came from Mad magazine, which inspired him to produce his own satirical magazine, Top Hat, from the ages of 12 to 18. An autograph of Mad founder Bill Gaines still hangs over his desk to this day.
Upon learning he was the recipient of the fellowship, Berg said, “I am overjoyed to hear that you and the judges responded to i, and I cannot tell you how much the support of the Hasty Pudding Institute means to me."
This year’s panel of judges included Pudding alumni John Blickstead (writer for THE GREAT INDOORS), Gus Hickey (writer for THE MUPPETS and MAN WITH A PLAN), Ryan Halprin (co-producer of the upcoming DEATH NOTE and THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE), and James Patrick Fitzpatrick (general manager of the Hasty Pudding Institute). “The submissions for the 2016 Hasty Pudding–Black List Fellowship were truly remarkable,” said John Blickstead, “In a time and place where the whole world around us seems to be directly out of a satire script, the ability for a screenwriter to master this genre is even more important. And we hope that this fellowship continues to inspire more screenwriters to write satirically.”
Berg is the second Fellow for the Hasty Pudding Institute Screenwriting Fellowship. He is repped by Verve and managed by Kathy Muraviov and attorney Daniel Black of Greenberg Traurig. Our inaugural recipient, Simon Nagle, recently had The Wind at Spanish Needle, his winning submission, optioned by White Horse Pictures.
The Black List is an online community where content makers find scripts to make and writers to write them, and writers find people to make their scripts and employ them. Begun in 2005 as an annual survey of several dozen executives’ favorite unproduced screenplays, the Black List has grown to survey over 500 executives each year (virtually 100% of Hollywood’s studio system’s executive corps). Over 300 Black List scripts have been produced into films grossing more than $25 billion in worldwide box office. Black List scripts have won 45 Academy Awards – including four of the last eight Best Pictures (“Slumdog Millionaire,” “The King’s Speech,” “Argo," and "Spotlight") and nine of the last eighteen screenwriting awards (“Juno,” “Slumdog Millionaire,” “The King’s Speech,” “The Social Network,” “The Descendants,” “Argo," “Django Unchained,” "The Imitation Game," and "Spotlight") – from almost 250 nominations. In October 2012, the Black List launched an online database of every screenplay circulating Hollywood and all those submitted by English language screenwriters from around the world. Since its launch, it has hosted more than 35,000 screenplays and completed more than 50,000 script evaluations. Hundreds of writers have found major agency and management company representation and/or sales or options of their scripts as a direct consequence of introductions made via the site. At any given time, more than 3,000 screenplays are actively hosted for perusal by thousands, ranging from major agency assistants to studio and network heads.
In July 2013 The American Repertory Theater and The Hasty Pudding Institute of 1770, both at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, jointly announced the establishment of the first ever Hasty Pudding Fellowship at the A.R.T. The fellowship aims to cultivate the next generation of theater professionals through total immersion in the art and business of the theater. The fellowship is invaluable for those seeking careers in administration, production and management and will provide opportunities for the Hasty Pudding Fellows to serve and participate in virtually every department of the A.R.T. while being mentored by senior members of the Artistic Office.
The cultivation of future leaders in the performing arts is a significant priority to both organizations and a partnership in this regard was a natural step. Diane Paulus, Artistic Director of the American Repertory Theater and Tony Award winner and Andrew L. Farkas, Chairman and so-called Grand Sphinx of The Hasty Pudding Institute have worked together on artistic and philanthropic efforts in the past, including the creation of joint efforts between the A.R.T., Playwrights of New York ("PoNY") and The Hasty Pudding Institute at Farkas Hall at Harvard. The creation of the Hasty Pudding Fellowship at the A.R.T. follows that tradition and commitment.
The first recipient of the Hasty Pudding Fellowship is Ben Nelson (coincidentally an alumnus of The Harvard Krokodiloes, a member organization of The Hasty Pudding). As the inaugural Fellow, Ben Nelson was an ideal choice as he has already shown a dedication to the field throughout his undergraduate studies and extracurricular activities and his work for Des McAnuff at LaJolla Playhouse and Stratford Festival in Canada.
About the American Repertory Theater… Winner of three Tony Awards including for Best Musical Revival for its productions of Pippin (2013) and The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess (2012), the American Repertory Theater (A.R.T.) is a leading force in the American theater, producing groundbreaking work in Cambridge and beyond. The A.R.T. is the recipient of numerous other awards including the Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theater, the Pulitzer Prize, and many Elliot Norton and I.R.N.E. Awards.
The A.R.T. was founded in 1980 by Robert Brustein, who served as Artistic Director until he was succeeded by Robert Woodruffin 2002. Since becoming the Artistic Director in 2008, Diane Paulus continues to enhance the A.R.T.'s mission to expand the boundaries of theater with productions such as Pippin, The Glass Menagerie, The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess, Sleep No More, Prometheus Bound, Gatz, and The Donkey Show. The A.R.T.'s club theater, OBERON, which Paulus calls a second stage for the 21st century, has become an incubator for local and emerging artists, and has also attracted national attention for its innovative programming model.
In 1987, the A.R.T. founded the Institute for Advanced Theater Training at Harvard University. A two-year, five-semester M.F.A. graduate program that operates in conjunction with the Moscow Art Theater School, the Institute continues to provide world-class professional training in acting, dramaturgy and voice.
About Playwrights of New York… Founded by Sandi Farkas, Playwrights of New York (PoNY) is committed to ensuring the creation of vibrant and diverse new American plays in the center of the theater world by providing emerging playwrights with world-class artistic and financial support, as well as the professional development opportunities needed to forge stable and sustainable careers. In addition to providing support during the fellowship year, deeper and ongoing professional support is given to all PoNY fellows through partnerships with American Repertory Theater at Harvard University and Labyrinth Theater Company. Past PoNY Fellows are Carson Kreitzer, Samuel D. Hunter, Katori Hall, Tommy Smith, A. Rey Pamatmat, and, this year's Fellow, Dominique Morisseau. Kimber Lee has been selected as the 2013-14 PoNY Fellow.