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Breaking news, press releases and statements from the Writers Guild of America, East

Thursday September 11, 2008

2009 Writers Guild Awards Season Kicks Off with Call For Documentary Screenplay Submissions



Los Angeles and New York – With an eye toward the upcoming 2009 Writers Guild Awards, the Writers Guild of America, West (WGAW) and the Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE) have launched their award season with a collective call for submissions for this year’s WGA Documentary Screenplay Award. Submissions for the fifth annual award, recognizing outstanding achievement in documentary feature writing, will be taken from September 12 through December 3, 2008.

The Documentary Screenplay Award will be presented at the 2009 Writers Guild Awards on Saturday, February 7, 2009. In addition, film, television, videogame, radio, on-air promotion and graphics arts awards will also be presented at the ceremonies held simultaneously in Los Angeles and New York .

Documentary screen nominees are slated to be announced, along with Original and Adapted screenplay award nominees, on January 7, 2009.

First presented in 2005 to honor the writer’s primary role in the collaborative creative process of documentary filmmaking, past winners of the Guild’s top doc have included Morgan Spurlock (Super Size Me in 2005), Amy Berg (Deliver Us From Evil in 2007), and two-time winner Alex Gibney (Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room in 2006, and most recently, for Taxi to the Dark Side last February 2008).

Established to further recognize the fact that the majority of non-fiction films are, indeed, written, the WGA Documentary Screenplay Award continues to highlight the Guilds’ increased industry outreach efforts to help build a viable and diverse community of nonfiction writers – with an organizing goal to bring more documentaries and other non-fiction films under WGA contract.

Qualifications to be eligible for the WGA Documentary Screenplay Award include:

  • Documentaries submitted for entry must contain an on-screen writing credit and have been exhibited theatrically in either New York or Los Angeles for one week in 2008.
  • The credited writers of these documentaries are required to join the WGAW’s Nonfiction Writers Caucus or WGAE Nonfiction Writers Caucus in order to be considered.
  • Scripts need not be written under WGA jurisdiction.
  • Scripts must be feature length (over 40 minutes).
  • Documentaries that received their first public exhibition on broadcast or cable television are not eligible for screen awards.
  • Foreign-language films are eligible, provided they have English-language subtitles. Also, such films covered by the International Alliance of Writers Guilds (IAWG) will be considered for competition.

The 2009 Writers Guild Awards will be held on Saturday, February 7, 2009, simultaneously at the Hudson Theatre at the Broadway Millennium Hotel in New York City and at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles .

Further inquiries about the WGA Documentary Screenplay Award may be directed to to Marsha Manns in the WGAE’s Awards Dept. at 212-767-7805, email:, or Melissa Gage in the WGAW Awards Dept. at (323) 782-4571, email:

For more information about the 2009 Writers Guild Awards submission process, guidelines, and official entry forms, please visit or

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