The American Whore

Institute History

  • 1990 June Screenwriters Lab


The concept of a Soviet screenwriting competition was conceived by Ted Hartley, chairman and CEO of RKO Pictures, Inc., in February 1988 while attending the Soviet American Film Summit in Moscow, where he identified the need for Soviet filmmakers to develop projects with international appeal to attract Western audiences.

Upon his return to the United States, Hartley and his partner, Dina Merrill, the noted actress and RKO/Pavillion's director of creative affairs, discussed the concept and decided to sponsor an annual competition that would accomplish these goals.

Dialogue with leading American and Russian filmmakers, trade representatives and Soviet officials continued for the next sixteen months until June 1989 when they announced the opening of the first competition for the Hartley-Merrill Prize for Soviet Screenwriters.

The annual writing competition co-sponsored and administered by ASK, USSR (American-Soviet Kinoinitiative), the USSR Screenwriter's Guild and the Writer's Guild of America, West, Inc., was open to all Soviet citizens, regardless of previous experience.

Five finalists were selected by the international jury from over the more than 6200 story outlines submitted by writers from across the USSR.

Krakly Kvirikadze was selected as the 1990 winner and will bring his script, THE AMERICAN WHORE, for further development at the Sundance Screenwriters' Lab.


As you use our Online Archives, please understand that the information presented from Festivals, Labs, and other activities is taken directly from official publications from each year. While this information is limited and doesn't necessarily represent the full list of participants (e.g. actors and crew), it is the list given to us by the main film/play/project contact at the time, based on the space restrictions of our publications. Each entry in the Online Archives is meant as a historical record of a particular film, play, or project at the time of its involvement with Sundance Institute. For this reason, we can only amend an entry if a name is misspelled, or if the entry does not correctly reflect the original publication. If you have questions or comments, please email [email protected]