Mexican Screenwriter Villalobos Named a Humanitas Prize Finalist

Ligiah Villalobos has the write stuff… And, she’s earning acclaim for it.

The Mexican screenwriter has been named as one of the finalists for this year’s Humanitas Prize, an annual series of awards that honor film and television writing.

Ligiah Villalobos

Villalobos is nominated in the 90 Minute Category for penning the script for Hallmark Hall of Fame’s 2012 television movie Firelight, which stars Cuba Gooding Jr., Q’orianka Kilcher and DeWanda Wise.

In the film, Gooding Jr. portrays Dwayne Johnson, nicknamed DJ, a counselor at a youth correctional facility where “the incarcerated girls and young women come from trouble, often violent, backgrounds.”

The $95,000 in prize money honors writing that explores the human experience in an entertaining and delightful way

“Humanitas does a simple thing. It gives credit where credit is due,” said Humanitas president Ali LeRoi. “To take time, and be of the mind, to write something that should be written, and provoke feelings that should be felt, is in itself an honorable thing. But it helps to know that someone was moved enough to say so, and thus inspire others that this quiet nobility, being the writer of something good, is worth it, if for no other reason, than someone knows it can be done, and someone else would like to see if they can do it too.”

Villalobos’ credits include penning Under the Same Moon and serving as the head writer on Go, Diego, Go!

Since its inception in 1974, the Humanitas Prize has handed out more than $3 million in winnings to 310 writers. Past recipients include Lucy Alibar and Benh Zeitlin (Beasts of the Southern Wild), Denis Leary and Peter Tolan (Rescue Me), Geoffrey Fletcher (Precious), Steve Levitan (Modern Family, Frasier) and Ryan Murphy (Glee).

Find the complete list of nominees by visiting the Humanitas website.

del Toro to Produce New Film Version of “The Secret Garden”

Guillermo del Toro’s Secret project apparently has Universal appeal…

The 48-year-old Mexican filmmaker’s latest project as a producer, a new film version of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s novel The Secret Garden, has been acquired by Universal Pictures.

Guillermo del Toro

The film’s script will be written by Lucy Alibar, who earned an Oscar-nomination for co-writing Beasts Of The Southern Wild. She’s expected to work closely with del Toro on the script.

In The Secret Garden, an orphaned girl is sent to live with her reclusive uncle and discovers a hidden garden containing magical secrets. This project will take on its own original path from other stage and screen adaptations seen in recent years. Rumor has it the film will be set in the American South at the turn of the 20th Century.

The last major adaptation of The Secret Garden was the 1993 Agnieska Holland-directed film for Warner Bros.

There had been a lot of interest in the project with the hope that del Toro would direct, but he’s so been too busy with his other projects, including preparing to release his latest film Pacific Rim this summer and working on a sequel, developing his critically acclaimed film Pan’s Labyrinth into a stage musical, and helming the haunted house film Crimson Peak. In addition, he’s set to direct the pilot for an FX series adaptation of The Strain, the apocalyptic vampire novel.