Brooklyn Park screenwriter Michael Starrbury (of the Alicia Keys-produced Sundance hit "The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete") is in heady company as a finalist for this year’s 39th annual Humanitas Prize screenwriting award. The $95,000 prize was created to honor TV and film writers for telling stories that “truly and deeply explore the human experience in a way that both entertains and enlightens,” according to the organization.
The contenders in Starrbury’s division, the feature film category, are Quentin Tarantino (for his Oscar-winning “Django Unchained” script), David O. Russell (“Silver Linings Playbook”), John Gatins (“Flight”), Jeff Nichols (“Mud”) and Ryan Coogler (“Fruitvale Station.”) “These gifted storytellers made us laugh and cry and ultimately, brought us closer together as a family by deeply exploring what it means to be human,” said Humanitas executive director Cathleen Young. Starrbury, 38, is a three-time winner of the local IFP/McKnight Artist Fellowship for Screenwriters. The Humanitas prize will be awarded in Beverly Hills Sept. 20.