Kenyan writer, Nadeem Rajwani, takes home Grand Prize Award plus 3 Spotlight Awards at Fresh Voices Screenplay Competition
Fresh Voices, headed by chairman Joel Mendoza, and guest judge, Academy Award Nominated Screenwriter Hossein Amini, have named City In The Sun by Nadeem Rajwani the Grand Prize Award Winner of the 2015-16 Screenplay Competition.
City In The Sun was selected from nearly 1,500 entries in a unanimous decision by the judge’s panel. Through five extensive rounds of reading, City In The Sun was consistently identified as a high favorite. Additionally, the screenplay was selected for three Spotlight Awards; Best Ensemble Cast, the Culture & Heritage Award, and Best Foreign Screenplay Award.
Think City of God meets Crash, City In The Sun is a multi-strand, ensemble story set in modern-day Nairobi that weaves an intricate tale of two families from very different backgrounds as their lives unexpectedly intertwine with bittersweet consequences.
Born in Kenya, Nadeem attended film school in Vancouver ultimately graduating with honors. He subsequently earned an MFA in screenwriting from the National Film and Television School in London, England. A prolific writer of short scripts and features, Nadeem has seen his work shortlisted in several prestigious screenplay competitions before ultimately taking home the Fresh Voices Grand Prize Win.
In announcing the winner, Academy Award nominated screenwriter Hossein Amini said, “the characters were so beautifully drawn -- flawed yet very human and always surprising. Just when you thought you knew them, they did something that confounded your expectations and made you think about them more deeply. There is a real sophistication to the writing and it absolutely captured the complex world of the story.”
Fresh Voices Chairman, Joel Mendoza said, “this is a very maturely written screenplay, with scope and universal accessibility. Despite it being a complex ensemble taking place in Kenya, it is a relatable narrative with multiple story strands that all come together in emotionally compelling ways. The use of local Kenyan dialect really capture and allow the reader to inhabit the world in all its detail. Beyond its complexity and maturity, beyond the relevant and poignant themes it explores, what I found most appealing is the uniquely diverse cast and cultural exploration. The story and characters touch you because everything feels so authentic.”
In accepting the $3,000 Grand Prize Award, Mr. Rajwani said, “I would never have believed that my script, set in Kenya, would speak to a wider audience on such a grand stage. I am deeply grateful to Fresh Voices and Mr. Amini for this opportunity to have my work considered and for my voice to be heard.”