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Ojai Film Festival Announces Winning Screenplay For 2020

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"Immigrants," a richly detailed story of family struggle and survival from Nazi Germany to the melting pot of New York, won Best Screenplay for the upcoming Ojai Film Festival. The honor includes a Zoom-style table read by professional actors directed by Valerie Alexander, on Sunday, November 8.

The historical setting of "Immigrants" resonates in this country today as our nation continues to grapple with issues of immigration and the way we view "the other." This affirming story shows the power and importance of family even in, especially in, the most threatening of times. With an intimate narrative and insightful character study, "Immigrants" becomes timeless.

Contest Founder, Bruce Novotny started the competition five years ago. Novotny said about this year's winner, "All good scripts tell an engaging story, but the great ones carry resonance beyond the tight little world the writers create, to shed new light on the larger world we all inhabit. That's what 'Immigrants' does."

"Immigrants" is the work of the successful writing team of David Diamond and David Weissman. The team has accumulated multiple-produced credits over their decades-long collaboration and have earned an industry-wide reputation for delivering emotionally resonant storytelling.

Diamond and Weissman's friendship dates back to their high school days in Philadelphia. They parted company for college while Diamond majored in Cinema Studies at NYU and Weissman studied Chinese history, first at Hebrew University in Jerusalem and then at the University of Michigan. Weissman received two Master's Degrees in the subject, one from the University of Wisconsin and the second from Brown University, before setting aside academic aspirations to join Diamond, who settled in Los Angeles to pursue a writing career.

The partners sold their first spec script, "The Whiz Kid," to 20th Century Fox in 1994. They followed with a series of original ideas for comedies, including their first produced credit in 2000, Universal Pictures' "The Family Man," starring Nicolas Cage and Tea Leoni. A collaboration with Ivan Reitman came next with Diamond and Weissman writing the Dreamworks Pictures sci-fi comedy "Evolution."

In 2005, Diamond and Weissman collaborated with "Wedding Crashers" producer Andrew Panay on a series of feature comedies yielding two additional produced credits, "Old Dogs," starring John Travolta and Robin Williams (2009), and the romantic comedy "When In Rome," starring Kristin Bell and Josh Duhamel (2010).

Diamond and Weissman also wrote a mentoring text for aspiring screenwriters, "Bulletproof: Writing Scripts That Don't Get Shot Down" (MWP, 2019).

Now in the fourth decade of their friendship, and the third decade of their writing partnership, Diamond and Weissman continue to explore concept and character driven stories that add up to more than the sum of their parts. While the landscape changed dramatically over the course of their twenty-five year career, Diamond and Weissman continue to seek out true-in-spirit stories that entertain and ultimately uplift.

The Ojai Film Festival screenplay competition judges chose "Immigrants" out of entries from as far away as Edinbridge, Kent, UK, as well as from all over the US. The Festival looks forward to sharing this remarkable story with their audience on November 8 during its virtual event, November 6-15.

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