David Martyn Conley Named Winner of First-Ever gmc Faith & Family Screenplay Competition
Receives $5,000 Grand Prize for Script "Raising Izzie," Presented by GRAMMY®-nominated Eric Benét and gmc's Deetta West
ATLANTA – July 12, 2011 – Raising Izzie, written by St. Louis-native David Martyn Conley, was selected as the Grand Prize winner from more than 140 scripts in the first-ever gmc Faith & Family Screenplay Competition at the American Black Film Festival (ABFF).
The award was presented at the ABFF closing night Honors Ceremony on Saturday, July 9, 2011, at The Fillmore Miami Beach at the Jackie Gleason Theater by gmc’s DeEtta West and Eric Benét, the GRAMMY®-nominated artist turned actor who stars in gmc TV's original movie Trinity Goodheart. Conley was chosen from among four finalists by a jury of top entertainment industry professionals.
"David Martyn Conley is an extremely talented writer who has created a truly inspirational and moving story about ordinary people facing extraordinary adversity and finding the inner strength to persevere and triumph," said Brad Siegel, gmc vice chairman and one of the competition jurors. "Raising Izzie is a wonderfully written story with a fantastic message. We believe this story of family and faith has the potential to resonate with a broad audience. It's a perfect example of the type of story we had hoped to find when we decided to launch this competition."
A native of St. Louis, David Martyn Conley has been acting since the age of five, writing since the age of nine and directing for more than 15 years. His acting credits include the hit series "Army Wives" and "Drop Dead Diva." Conley received a theatre scholarship from Lincoln University in Pennsylvania, started the Munirah Theatre Group and toured the country performing three different plays. He is the author of several faith and family-friendly screenplays and teleplays.
The competition runners up were Melissa A. Young of Atlanta for "Good Noble," Siddeeqah Powell of Powder Springs, Ga. for "Somebody's Child" and Vera J. Brooks of Chicago for "Inspector 19."
In addition to Siegel, the jury consisted of writer Rhonda Baraka (gmc’s Trinity Goodheart, Pastor Brown); Meena Payne, development director, Rainforest Films; and Charles King, agent, William Morris Endeavor Entertainment.
The jurors also had the opportunity to view a table reading of a scene from each script at the festival by a group of acclaimed actors, including Elise Neal (Hustle & Flow, gmc’s World Premiere Gospel Play "Love Me or Leave Me"), Lamman Rucker (Meet the Browns, Why Did I Get Married?), Keith Robinson (Dreamgirls, This Christmas) and Jazmin Lewis (Barber Shop, gmc’s World Premiere Gospel Play "She’s Not Our Sister") and Sean Blakemore (“General Hospital”).
Launched in February 2011, gmc’s Faith and Family Screenplay Competition was a key component of the network’s role as official sponsor of the recently concluded 15th Annual American Black Film Festival, which ran July 6-9, 2011 in Miami. The goal of the competition was to encourage and promote the production of multi-cultural, faith-friendly and family-friendly films in a range of genres that are relevant, contemporary, slice-of-life depictions that organically incorporate faith elements while appealing to broad audiences.
gmc (www.watchgmctv.com), is America’s favorite channel for uplifting music and family entertainment. Recently, The Parents Television Council™ awarded its Entertainment Seal of Approval™ to gmc for being “an authentic family-friendly cable network.” gmc is the only television network to receive the highly coveted honor in 2010.
gmc can be seen in nearly 48 million homes on various cable systems around the country, on DIRECTV on channel 338 and on Verizon FiOS on channel 224.
Established in 1997, the core mission of the ABFF is to promote cultural diversity within the motion picture industry. Each year through its film showcases and special contests, it introduces the top echelon of emerging artists to the film and television industry. The ABFF is a property of Film Life, Inc., a New York-based event marketing, and production and film distribution company founded in 2000 by Jeff Friday (CEO).
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