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For Release on October 23, 2015
2015 "Set in Philadelphia" Screenwriting Competition and Derek Freese Film Foundation Celebrates Winners
Megan Riakos, Angela and Darren Croucher, Julia Yorks, Alexis Fusco, and Michael Collins were honored for their work and received their awards at the award reception held on October 22.
Philadelphia, Pa (October 23, 2015)- The winners of the 2015 "Set in Philadelphia" (SIP) Screenwriting Competition and the 2nd Biennial Derek Freese Documentary Fund Award were announced last night during a ceremony held by the Greater Philadelphia Film Office.  The event, held at Pipeline Philly, recognized filmmakers of various genres. 

The awards prizes were sponsored by Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, Comcast/NBC Universal, and McKee Seminars.  The event sponsors were Pipeline Philly, Catering by Miles, Penn 1681 Vodka/Philadelphia Distillery, Sonesta Philadelphia, Chorus Media, and Minuteman Press. 

Megan Riakos won the SIP Grand Prize for Best Screenplay for The Last Reprieve, a film inspired by the true story of Elizabeth Wilson who lived and died in the Greater Philadelphia region in the 18th   Century.
Julia York won The Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce Regional Award for Mothers and Daughters and Fathers and Sons, a script by the New Hope, PA native.  The story follows a young pregnant woman rejected by the birth mother she's always longed to know.  When she initiates a secret relationship with her biological brother, both families' lives are changed forever. 
Angela & Darren Croucher's Use of Force, was awarded the TV Prime Time Award, sponsored by Comcast and NBCUniversal The story follows character Karen Wietrak in her new role as leader of Philadelphia Police Department's newly created force investigation division as she discovers that lives can change in less than a second- even her own. 
Alexis Fusco won the Student Award, sponsored by Robert McKee's Story Seminar for her story, The Devin in the Details, a story about Jack, who falls in love with his dream girl, Devin, who may or may not be what she seems. 
The 2nd   Biennial Derek Freese Documentary Fund Award  was won by Michael  Collins for his documentary, Almost Sunrise.   Almost Sunrise is the riveting account of a young Iraq war vet who survives the brutality of conflict only to find that once home, the real battle begins - the struggle to regain his humanity while resisting the pull of suicide.

About the Award Winners:

Megan Riakos
Grand Prize Winner
Megan Riakos is a Screenwriter and Director with a passion for telling stories that engage and provoke.  She recently world premiered her debut feature film Crushed at The Montreal World Film Festival and it is now doing the festival circuit.  Her short films range from the psychological thriller The Shed to the 1930's crime drama 50-50 and even an experimental dance film The Eye of the Beholder.  Her tastes are eclectic but it's the love of telling a good story no matter the genre that attracts Megan the most.  Megan earned her Bachelor of Arts in Communication (Media Arts and Production) at University of Technology Sydney (UTS) and completed a Graduate Diploma in Directing at the prestigious Australian Film Television and Radio School (AFTRS).  During 2012-13, she also completed the Professional Screenwriters Program at UCLA.  Megan is currently in development on her second feature and splits her time between Los Angeles and Sydney.
Angela & Darren Croucher
TV Prime Time Award, sponsored by Comcast and NBC/Universal Award Winners
In addition to writing TV pilot scripts, Angela and Darren also write movie scripts and YA novels.  They've just finished making their first short film, and they are currently working on book 3 of their YA sci-fi series Altered Sequence.  Angela and Darren blog about writing and filmmaking at .
Julia Yorks
The Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce Regional Award Winner
Screenwriter, actress, and New Hope, PA. native, Julia Yorks, is so excited that her script, Mothers and Daughters and Fathers and Sons, was selected as the recipient of this year's Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce Regional Award.  Much like her screenplay, Julia's acting career has been predominately "Set in Philadelphia."  She's snagged supporting roles in films and television shows such as Jack Reacher, Lebanon, PA, Do No Harm, The Happening, Shadowboxer, and Unbreakable, all of which filmed in Pennsylvania.  Next up, catch her in an episode of WGN's new series, Outsiders, premiering in 2016.  Julia is also currently a staff writer on the animated DreamWorks television series, The Adventure of Puss in Boots, now streaming on Netflix.
Alexis Fusco
Winner of The Student Award, sponsored by Robert McKee's Story Seminar
Lexx has been telling stories since she first figured out words way back in her diaper days.  Like most teenagers, she had a bit of an existential crisis when it came time to figure out what she wanted to dedicate the rest of her life to because the only thing she seemed to be pretty decent at was telling that became the plan.  Lexx is now a junior at Drexel University pursuing a degree in screenwriting.  She's currently in Los Angeles working at several internships with Millennium Films, Blumhouse Productions and Lionsgate Entertainment, but still finds the time to write.
Michael Collins
Derek Freese Documentary Fund Award Winner
Michael Collins, Director, is an Emmy┬« Award nominated filmmaker and the founder of Thoughtful Robot, a production company committed to crafting compelling social justice films that galvanize change.  Give Up Tomorrow, his documentary feature film seven years in the making, premiered at the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival, and won the Audience Award and a Special Jury Prize for Best New Director.  The film went on to screen in over 70 festivals in 35+ countries, winning 18 major awards including seven Audience Awards, four Human Rights Awards and the Activism Award at Michael Moore's Traverse City Film Festival.  He is currently in post-production on Almost Sunrise, a feature documentary that follows two ex-soldiers as they walk 2,700 miles across America to heal from the time at war.  Almost Sunrise will be broadcast on PBS in 2016.

The "Set in Philadelphia" Screenwriting Competition (SIP) , which is presented by the Greater Philadelphia Film Office, is open to all screenwriters, world-wide, who submit a feature length screenplay or an original TV pilot length screenplay to be shot in the Greater Philadelphia Metropolitan Area.  Scripts are judged on their overall quality, and the extent to which they project "shootability" in the Greater Philadelphia region.  SIP Finalist Judges are high profile Producers, Writers and Actors who have a Philadelphia connection.

The Derek Freese Film Foundation  (DFDF) was created in 1997 to honor the memory of Derek Freese, an aspiring filmmaker who passed away two days after arriving in Hollywood to pursue his dream of making movies.  DFDF honors his memory and brings his spirit to the world of film, something so important to Derek and his family.  GPFO is proud to manage DFDF which is given biennially to an independent filmmaker and provides up to $35,000 in finishing funds for a feature-length documentary film with a strong narrative.
About The Greater Philadelphia Film Office: The Greater Philadelphia Film Office (GPFO) is a "film commission" representing Southeastern Pennsylvania that officially serves the counties of Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia. A non-profit economic development agency committed to the growth of the regional film production industry, GPFO has been responsible for impacting the local economy with over $4 billion since 1992.  Please visit   for more information.