By Universal Pictures
Feb 13, 2004, 17:40

UNIVERSAL CITY, California -- For his screenplay for the Universal Pictures/DreamWorks Pictures/Spyglass Entertainment presentation of "Seabiscuit," Academy Award(R) nominee Gary Ross will receive this year's Founder's Award by the Zaki Gordon Institute for Independent Filmmaking, it was announced today by Dan Gordon, the Institute's president.

The award is given annually for that screenplay which most celebrates the human spirit, and is unique in that it entails scholarships totaling $30,000 being awarded to student screenwriters from some of the most prominent film schools in the country. The students will have part of their education paid for as a way of honoring Ross's work and in memory of Zaki Gordon, who by the age of 22, was a published author who had already written and directed his first feature-length film.

"The Zaki Gordon Awards are a celebration of storytelling and story tellers," said Dan Gordon, President of the Zaki Institute. "Their purpose is both to honor and inspire student and professional screenwriters alike. There can be no more fitting honoree for this year's Founder's Award than Gary Ross's adaptation of 'Seabiscuit,' a story of inspiration and honor and courage that uplifted the nation during one of its darkest hours."

Previous winners of the Founder's Award include Ronald Harwood, Steven Soderbergh, William Goldman, Julian Schnabel and Lazaro Gomez Carriles ("Before Night Falls") and Armyan Bernstein. Ross's screenplay of "Seabiscuit" has already been nominated for an Academy Award(R) (Best Adapted Screenplay) and the Writers Guild of America Award, as well as being having won this year's USC Scripter Award (along with Brian Helgeland's screenplay for "Mystic River").

This year's scholarship recipients of The Zaki Gordon Awards for Excellence in Screenwriting are: Cherien Dabis and Daniel Falcone (Columbia University School of the Arts); Mark Arneson and David Warfield (UCLA School of Theater Film and Television); Erin Rogers and Adam Sugarman (USC School of Cinema-Television); Nicole Alarid, Lee Israel and Thomas McArthur (Zaki Gordon Institute for Independent Filmmaking) and Pascal DeMaria (Viewpoint School).

The Zaki Gordon Awards for Excellence in Screenwriting will be presented April 17th at the Zaki Gordon Institute for Independent Filmmaking, Yavapai College in Sedona, Arizona.

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