The Phoenix Rises – Phoenix Empire! Wins Fresh Voices Grand Prize Award

Los Angeles, CA.  May 5, 2014

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Acclaimed Hollywood Director Joel Schumacher, Principato-Young literary manager Evan Cavic, and Fresh Voices Chairman Joel Mendoza have named Jade Shames’ explosive fictional drama Phoenix Empire! as the winner of the Fresh Voices Eli Richbourg Grand Prize Award from over 1,500 entries received.

Announcing the award, Joel Schumacher said, “In PHOENIX EMPIRE, Jade Shames shows he has an extraordinary level of daring and imagination. It is a piece of total originality that defies convention or formula. Of all the great new writers this contest introduced me to, Jade is an original voice that must be encouraged.”

Phoenix Empire! tells the fantastical journey of Fern Harmon, the greatest pyro-technician that ever lived, as told by her obituary. There are many words that can be used to describe Fern Harmon, rebel, scientist, sexual deviant, criminal, masterpiece-maker, and the story explains why she is deserving of each one. The story boasts a brilliant role for a leading lady to carry the film, and great potential for a director to bring forth a visually stunning cinematic treat.

Evan Cavic, a seasoned literary manager at Principato-Young Entertainment in Hollywood, and judge of the 2013 Fresh Voices Screenplay Competition remarked, “Phoenix Empire! is a wholly original script, and Jade Shames is the epitome of a Fresh Voice.  He’s created a very compelling character in Fern Harmon, and placed her in a truly unique story.  I’m excited to see what Jade does next.”

Chairman of the Fresh Voices Screenplay Competition Joel Mendoza commented, “It is so rewarding to undergo a yearlong process to discover new writers, to come away with something as special and unique as this. Phoenix Empire! is a fantastic tale of one woman’s life told in so much detail, with so much empathy, and such rich emotion, it is utterly amazing that this is a mere product of someone’s imagination. It feels so real and so lived, I had to constantly remind myself that this was not a true story, no matter how fantastic it became. Jade’s use of traditional and non-traditional narrative mechanisms weave seamlessly. Jade takes a lot of risks, but never did I lose confidence. There were constant reminders along the way that you were in good hands; that the writer was always in control of the story no matter how far the boundaries were pushed.”

Jade won his first award for writing from the Philadelphia Young Playwrights when he was just eighteen. He went on to attend the University of Pittsburgh and ultimately received a scholarship in Creative Writing and his MFA from The New School in New York City. He is currently based in Brooklyn, New York and is a freelance copywriter. “I am supremely honored and deliriously happy to receive this award. A million thanks to those who supported me and to the judges who thought my script was exceptional.”

Jade takes home the $3,000 cash award, plus personal meetings with the judge’s panel and other industry executives to discuss his winning script. Jade has also won generous prize packages from big name sponsors including Final Draft, Screenwriters University, Virtual Pitch Fest, and TV Film Rights.

Since 2009, Fresh Voices has launched the careers of several new screenwriters and raised thousands of dollars for charity including Breast Cancer Research, the Cancer Research Institute and The Humane Society of the United States. This year’s competition and grand prize winner were named in honor of screenwriter Eli Richbourg, who passed away suddenly last year at only 42 years old. A portion of this year’s proceeds are being donated to the Eli Richbourg Memorial Fund.

To find out more about Jade Shames or to request a copy of his winning script Phoenix Empire!, please contact Fresh Voices.

The 2014 Fresh Voices Screenplay Competition is now accepting early entries.

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