Open Screenplay, an online, collaborative screenwriting platform and community, in partnership with Layla Care, a mental health service that facilitates access to therapy, has announced the winners in their recent short film contest on the topic of mental health. The contest topic, which aimed to help normalize mental health, resonated strongly with screenwriters as evidenced by the high number of submissions. Within a period of 5 weeks, 421 screenplays were entered into the contest and 128 went to final judging. The majority of screenplays were submitted by female screenwriters, who took 2 of the 3 winning spots in a time when female screenwriters are underrepresented in Hollywood by a ratio of five to one.
The winning screenplay went to Murat Vargelci for The Poem, a hopeful story about strangers overcoming loneliness and finding connection by contributing alternating lines to a poem written on the bottom of a poster at a subway station. Vargelci will be awarded the $1,500 first prize cash award and will have his screenplay produced by Open Screenplay.
This contest continues Open Screenplay’s mission of cultivating partnerships to host screenwriting contests about important social topics and utilizing branded short films as a powerful way to convey a message. The partnership with Layla was especially important as it brought together two cutting-edge innovators in their respective fields for a contest topic of incredible importance and timeliness.
“I’m thrilled to announce the winners and finalists for the Layla Mental Health contest. Mental health is a subject that impacts us all, yet for many remains difficult to speak of openly and without fear of stigmatization. That is why we are incredibly grateful to Layla for all their great efforts and innovation in this field, and for their partnership to help bring to light incredible stories of hope, courage, pain, and triumph. For those who have submitted their screenplays, thank you for your creativity and courage, and know that you have helped advance this conversation in a meaningful way, and may inspire those who are suffering in silence to come forward.”
Learn more about winning screenplays and finalists: https://www.openscreenplay.com/laylamentalhealthcontestwinners
Press Contact: Khaled Sabawi, Founder & CEO