Tong’s ‘Monkey King’ wins Beijing International Screenwriting contest
Los Angeles film and TV writer Galen Tong is the feature film grand prize winner of the inaugural Beijing International Screenwriting Competition.
Tong, a graduate of USC’s School of Cinema-Television, was among nearly 1,000 U.S.-based writers who competed for the award, which includes $15,000 in prize money and the opportunity to have their script produced into a movie.
Tong and four other feature film finalists were honored in May.
Called “The Monkey King,” Tong’s script is a martial-arts adventure movie set in Beijing at the turn of the century. The story centers on a Chinese rebel warrior who leads a resistance against foreign colonizers.
“I’m elated,’’ Tong said. “I just can’t believe this happened. It means so much to me.”
Tong, who has written projects for CBS, Fox and Discovery Channel, said he initially pitched a similar story several years ago to Disney, but the Burbank-based studio passed on the script.
He and four other finalists had an all-expenses paid trip to Beijing to research their stories.
“They gave us the red carpet treatment,’’ he said. “They did everything to help us in every way.”
ON LOCATION: Where the cameras roll
Kevin Niu, the competition’s chairman, said investors in China also expressed interest in turning Tong’s tale into a movie.
“It truly is just a good story,’’ he said. “We think this will be very interesting to both worlds in China and the U.S.”
The contest is sponsored by the state-owned Beijing International Creative Industry Corp. Other partners include LeTV, China’s biggest online distributor for TV and movies, and Harvardwood, a nonprofit group that represents Harvard University alumni, faculty and others working in the arts and entertainment industries.
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