USC grad wins $15,000 prize

The Beijing International Screenwriting Competition has selectedGalen Tong’s “The Monkey King,” set amid the Boxer Rebellion, as the winner of its $15,000 grand prize.

Tong will be honored Saturday during “China’s Entertainment Industry: The Next Chapter” event at the Beverly Hilton.

The competition, which launched in March with a “Tale of Beijing” theme, is funded by the Beijing Municipal Government and is aimed at promoting artistic collaboration between China and the U.S. The contest, which drew over 1,000 submissions, was open to U.S.-based contestants of all nationalities.

“The Monkey King” was announced in May as one of the five finalists, along with “The Panjiayuan Diary” by Tim Plaehn; “Legend of Gong Shun Hui” by Gary Shockley; “Million Dollar Wedding Club” by Johnny M; and “Tusk” by Joshua Banta.

“The Monkey King is a tale of courage that will inspire audiences worldwide,” said competition chairman Kevin Niu.

“The Monkey King” takes place at the turn of the 20th century and focuses on its main character returning to Peking after his friend is murdered by foreign occupiers. Forced to take refuge with a traveling company of Peking Opera Performers and disguising himself as the Monkey King in a Chinese opera, he joins a secret society of warriors determined to rid foreign powers from China.

Tong is a graduate of the University of Southern California’s School of Cinema-Television.

Competition judges include filmmaker Mark Harris, producer Tracey Trench (“The Pink Panther”) and Chinese screenwriter Heping Zhang.