BROOKLYN, NY (May 20, 2010) —The New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) has presented The Geri Ashur Screenwriting Award of $10,000 to screenwriter and filmmaker Afia Nathaniel.
The Geri Ashur Screenwriting Award was established in 1984 in memory of Geraldine Ashur by her husband, Richard Brick. Ashur, who died at age 37, graduated from Barnard College in 1968 and became a screenwriter, film editor, foreign language dubbing specialist and documentary film director.
“We are honored that Richard Brick asked NYFA to administer this award,’ said NYFA Executive Director Michael L. Royce, “and we are delighted to award it on a biennial basis to a screenwriter of promise and distinction such as Alfa Nathaniel.”
Nathaniel was chosen from 674 applicants for NYFA’s Fellowship in Playwrighting/ Screenwriting. A Brooklyn resident and Pakistan native, Nathaniel graduated from Columbia University with an MFA in Film Directing and Writing.
Upon hearing the news of her award, Nathaniel expressed her enthusiastic gratitude to NYFA and Brick. “I thank you from the bottom of my heart for this incredible honor which you have awarded in memory of Geri Ashur’s life as a filmmaker,” she said. “I am thrilled to share with you the news that in a few months I will be directing the very film that you are supporting with this screenwriting award. Thank you for being part of this momentous and exciting journey.”
The film she refers to, Neither the Veil nor the Four Walls, tells the story of a Pakistani woman who embarks on a journey to save her eight year-old daughter from an arranged marriage to a powerful warlord.
Mr. Brick raised the Ashur Award endowment with the assistance of a distinguished board of advisors including Michael Hausman, David Mamet, Robert Benton, Irwin and Robert M. Young, Lee Grant, Rosalind Lichter, Barbara Kopple, Lawrence Loewinger, Robert Lantz, Milos Forman, Ted and Jim Pedas, Deborah Shaffer, Mark Obenhaus, Diane Sokolow, Marcia Nasatir, Sam Cohn, Mike Nichols and Frantisek Daniel.
The New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) was founded in 1971 to empower artists at critical stages in their creative lives.