Student screenplay wins 2nd Laurence Allen Tate Film Writing Award

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Student screenplay wins 2nd Laurence Allen Tate Film Writing Award

Award is for work focused on LGBTQ+ issues

Sarah Kutchinski’s screenplay Williams & Proctor has won the $1,000 Laurence Allen Tate Film Writing Award, given by the MSU Film Studies program for outstanding film writing relating to LGBTQ+ issues. Written for her FLM434: Advanced Screenwriting class, the screenplay is based on Arthur Miller’s The Crucible and adds the complications of a same-sex relationship to the furor over “witchcraft.”

a portrait of a young woman smiling
Sarah Kutchinski, winner of the 2020 Laurence Allen Tate Film Writing Award

“To be selected this year for the Laurence Allen Tate Film Writing Award is an incredible distinction that I accept with great pride,” Kutchinski said. “My greatest motivation for my screenplay was to honorably capture a story about the trials and tribulations and beauty behind gay love, and this award just motivates me to keep telling these stories and use my work as a way to bring more awareness to LGBTQ+ issues.”

Professor Joshua Yumibe, Director of the Film Studies Program, was thrilled by the quality of the student work. “We’re really excited about the excellent submissions this year,” Yumibe said. “The award, which is in honor of Laurence Allen Tate, is for work focused on LTBTQ+ issues in cinema and is open to both critical essays and screenplays.”

Laurence Allen Tate (1945–2008) earned a B.A. in English from Michigan State University, where he was co-founder and assistant editor for the weekly student publication, The Paper. Known early for his film criticism and anti-war essays, he wrote and spoke primarily about AIDS-related issues after 1981and the experience of being gay in America.

graphic promoting Laurence Tate Film Writing Award
The Laurence Allen Tate Film Writing Award

Graduating Film Studies major Olivia York received a $500 runner up, honorable mention for the award. Professor Bill Vincent, who led the award selection jury, noted “her essay, ‘Gay Intimations in Hitchcock’s Films,’ was written for FLM 480 (Seminar in Film Theory: Hitchcock and Theory) and delves brilliantly into the gay sub-text of Rope. Olivia was thankful for the opportunity and incentive to write and theorize about queer history and theory.

A picture of a young woman in a green graduation robe
Graduating Film Studies student Olivia York

“It’s so important to investigate the representation (or lack thereof) of our queer communities in literature and film, and I’m glad we have opportunities like this to expand our knowledge and understanding even more,” she said. “I’m so touched, and feel extremely fortunate to be a part of this important and wonderful award.”

This is the second year the endowed award has been presented. Veronica Samaha won it in its first year, in 2019.