"Save the Date! Nov. 8, 2013 - ADAA Entertainment Industry Panel and Paul Screenwriting Awards at WGA Theater! "  


ADAA Announces
The Lillian and Varnum Paul

Biennial Screenwriting Award


Lillian and Varnum Paul



3rd Biennial Screenwriting Prize of $10,000 awarded in 2011 for new screenplays based on Armenian themes. Award to be presented publicly at a Los Angeles based event administered by the Armenian Dramatic Arts Alliance. Panel of noted industry professionals will select winning script.




All submissions must be postmarked by April 1, 2013. ADAA accepts no liability whatsoever for loss or non-receipt of any script.

Winners will be announced in August 2013.

Scripts must be based on Armenian subjects (no restrictions on style, location or time period).

Submissions must be full-length original works or adaptations, written in English.

Adaptations or works based upon an underlying work are accepted.

Translations will be accepted.

ADAA will not accept unsolicited updated drafts or revised pages of any screenplays or any additions after they have been received.

Submitted screenplays should not have had a professional production and may not be under option for professional production at the time of submission.

Submitted screenplays must be free of any encumbrances, not subject to any arrangements or agreements that would preclude the development or production of the material. Writers are required to notify ADAA immediately if material submitted for consideration under the terms and conditions of this competition is optioned during the judging period.

Submitted screenplays must be previously un-produced, not optioned, and wholly original work of the writer(s).

Each person can submit a maximum of one full-length script.

Screenplays written by more than one person are eligible for entry; however, only one prize of $10,000 will be given for the winning selection.

The winner of the award will be responsible for any and all tax liabilities associated with the prize.

All writers of submitted screenplays must be at 18 years of age or older.

Writers need not be of Armenian descent. Writers from any country or ethnicity are eligible.

Screenplays must be in English, printed on 3-hole white paper with the pages numbered.

Scripts should be fastened with 2 or 3 brads with the title, name of writer(s) and contact information on the title page ONLY.

Scripts should be between 90-130 pages and in standard screenplay format.

Fonts should be 12-point Courier, Courier New or Courier Final Draft.

No scripts will be returned. Paper will be recycled.

Electronic submissions are preferred (adaa@armeniandrama.org).

Employees, contractors, or Board of Director Members of ADAA may not submit scripts.

Failure to adhere to these rules and guidelines will result in disqualification and forfeiture of the entry fee.

Failure to adhere to correct formatting will also result in disqualification.

Phone calls regarding the contest will not be returned. If you have any further questions after reading the rules, you may contact ADAA at the general email address at adaa@armeniandrama.org with ”Contest” inquiry written in the subject line.

Judging will be performed by trained readers and/or industry professionals and/or principals of the Armenian Dramatic Arts Alliance. The top three (3) selected finalists will be read by the panel of finalist judges. The judges’ decisions will be final and you must abide by the decision of the judges with regard to all matters.

Entry fees are nonrefundable. No entry will be read until the entry fee is received.

The Winner of the competition will affix the “DEVELOPED WITH THE ASSISTANCE OF (ADAA LOGO)” to the work and provide for the following credit in any contract for the development or production of the work: “DEVELOPED WITH THE ASSISTANCE OF (ADAA LOGO).” In addition, this credit will be provided on the title page of all printed materials of future readings, workshops, productions, recordings, and publications of their projects and in the case of productions, to include the “DEVELOPED WITH THE ASSISTANCE OF (ADAA LOGO)” as part of the credit sequence. In addition, upon acceptance of the first place price, the winning author(s) shall grant to ADAA the nonexclusive right to use the name, likeness and approved biography of all authors of the work for use in the development and promotion of ADAA activities.

The ADAA and the Sponsor reserves the right to modify or cancel this contest at any time. In the event of a cancellation prior to the first prize being awarded, the ADAA shall return all entry fees unless unable to do so due to a natural disaster. By participating in this contest, each person submitting material hereby releases and agrees to hold harmless the ADAA, its affiliates, partners, subsidiaries, officers, directors, agents, employees and all entities associated with ADAA from and against any liabilities, costs and expenses (including reasonable attorneys fees) arising from the development, promotion and exploitation of such persons submitted materials.

Any disputes shall be submitted to arbitration in Boston, Massachusetts, in accordance with the rules and regulations of the American Arbitration Association then in effect. The arbitrator’s decision shall be controlled by the terms and conditions of this agreement and shall be final and binding, and shall provide for each party to bear his or its own costs of arbitration and attorneys’ fees.



Submit the following materials:
• Electronic submissions are greatly preferred (adaa@armeniandrama.org).
• Hard copies will be accepted but we request 4 copies of your script.
• Contact information should be on the title page ONLY.
• A completed entry form, signed by all writers. For ENTRY FORM CLICK HERE.
• A Non-refundable entry fee of $20.00 (check or money order only) made out to the Armenian Dramatic Arts Alliance.
• A resume
• A brief synopsis (one page maximum)





Contest Closed











"The Second Journey"


by Levon Minasian & Eric De Roquefeiul









"The Second Journey" by Levon Minasian & Eric de Rocquefeuil



"1915" by Garin K. Hovannisian & Alec Mouhibian



"The 13th Image" by Yervand Kochar & Jeani Di Carlo







Michael Goorjian (Actor/Dir./Writer/Producer), Anahid Nazarian (Producer), Hank Saroyan (Producer)









"The Florist" by Jeff Kalousdian &


"Bluebeard" by Kraig Kuzirian (tie)





"Fading In and Out of Love" by Missak Artinian

"The Florist" by Jeff Kalousdian

"Bluebeard" by Kraig Kuzirian






David Alpay, Actor
Steven Bagatourian, Writer
Stephane Kazanjian, Film Maker





"Music for Strangers" by Eric Nazarian




" Moscovitch, My Love"

by Levon Minasian & Ester Mann


"Music for Strangers" by Eric Nazarian

"The Bedouin"

by David Deranian & Anthony Zanontian










"A Crooked Man" by Richard Kalinoski

Richard Kalinoski with finalists Bill Hoversten, Jose Rivera





"Three Apples Fell From Heaven" by Jose Rivera

"Mamigon's War" by Bill Hoversten





Michael Goorjian - Actor, Director

Simon Levy - Director


Steve Zaillian - Screenwriter
Anahid Nazarian - Producer













ADAA Honors the Memory of Varnum Paul



He was Still Practicing Law Five Days a Week in San Francisco Financial District.
Honored by California Supreme Court & State Bar for 75 year practice.
Awarded the St. Gregory Medal by the Catholicos.
Richard Nixon Roommate During WWII.

by Deborah Behrens

(OCTOBER 14, 2008) Varnum Paul, the prominent San Francisco lawyer and civic leader who helped guide the early development of the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church, founded its endowment fund and quietly bestowed substantial philanthropic gifts to numerous Armenian organizations including the Paul Brothers Galleria at Diocese headquarters in Burbank while still actively practicing law five days a week at 100, has died.

“Varnum was the patriarch of our Diocese,” said Archbishop Hovnan Derderian, Primate of the Western Diocese who spoke at Paul’s services held earlier last week at St. John Apostolic Church in San Francisco. “We consider him one of the most inspiring leaders in its early formation and later growth. His engagement and active involvement have been very visible. Yet he never sought any public recognition.

“He was a very wise man because whatever Varnum earned in his life he made sure every single penny was used for a good purpose. The message that he conveyed was that we cannot waste what we earn. It has to be offered back to the community. That was his philosophy.”

Paul and his brother Dr. S. Barre Paul received the St. Gregory The Illuminator Medal from His Holiness Karekin I, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, during His Holiness' 1996 pontifical visit to the Western Diocese in recognition for their exemplary leadership, dedication and unique philanthropy for the growth of the mission of the Armenian Church. †

Upon learning of Paul’s recent death, His Holiness Karekin II, sent a letter of condolences that praised his contributions.

“As a benefactor to the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church of North America, Varnum Paul placed great importance on giving back to his community, in appreciation for the countless blessings given to him by Almighty God. Through his hard work, integrity, dedication and worthy service, he was an example to his contemporaries and future generations of selfless generosity and honorable sacrifice.

Varnum Paul with His Holiness Karekin II on Father’s Day, 2006

“Nearly two decades ago, the newly independent and free Republic of Armenia reestablished its statehood on a small portion of our historic homeland, and the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin was granted the gift from heaven to once more freely implement its God-ordained mission in the life of our people. With his distinct vision and determination, Varnum Paul became a benefactor of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin as well, to bring his assistance and encouragement to the strengthening of the mission of the Armenian Church, in the homeland and throughout the world. His efforts and generosity play a vital role in the renaissance of our spiritual and educational life.”

For example, in 2007, Paul made a contribution to the Armenian Dramatic Arts Alliance to establish a bi-annual $10,000 prize for the best screenplay with an Armenian theme facilitated by the Western Diocese under the guidance of Archbishop Derderian.

Throughout his life, Paul would be instrumental in educating others on how making charitable donations to the church via vehicles such as endowment funds was not only a sound tax savings and estate planning strategy for the donor, but a way to help to insure the church’s future existence.

It was a philosophy honed during his years at St. John Armenian Apostolic Church. A member of the 84-year old parish since the early 1930’s, Paul went door-to-door in the late 1950’s actively soliciting help from the Armenian community to finance a new church. In the 60’s, he volunteered to set up the legal and financial structures required to establish a parish endowment fund, a precursor to the one he would help institute two decades later for the Western Diocese.

“It was his vision,” states Archpriest Fr. Sarkis Petoyan. “He really guided it through its infancy and then supported it financially. We were one of the first parishes to move in that direction. Thanks to the foresight of the founding generation of this parish, the second generation in America, my administrative and pastoral responsibilities are much easier than my predecessor.

“Thanks to the legacy of Varnum Paul and Dr. S. Barre Paul, we are set and prepared to go into the next generation with both barrels loaded.”

Varnum Paul at 24 in 1932


An Honest Lawyer

Varnum Paul was born in Lynn, Massachusetts on Sept. 22, 1908 to Bedros and Elmas Boghosian. He was the youngest of four siblings: S. Barre Paul M.D., Francis, Charley and Haig plus three half siblings Paul, Jack, and Sateneg.

His father sold horseshoes in Kharpert, Armenia then became a shoemaker upon his arrival in America. The family moved to a ranch in Fresno when Paul was in the third grade. Following his high school graduation, he attended the University of California Berkeley where he was a member of the Delta Theta Phi fraternity before graduating with a BA in 1930. He worked two jobs while in school as a hasher serving meals at a women’s sorority and in the university library.

Paul earned his law degree from the School of Jurisprudence at Boalt Hall in 1933 and was admitted to the California State Bar the same year. At the height of the Depression, Paul got his first job with an insurance company travelling up and down the state handling worker’s compensation cases.

In 1935, he entered private practice when attorney Reginald Vaughn hired him to join his firm, to be followed by John G. Lyons in 1946 and the three formed Vaughn, Paul and Lyons, which has maintained offices in the Mills Tower building on Bush Street for more than fifty years.

In 1938, Paul became a professor and lecturer in law, torts and evidence at Golden Gate Law College where he taught two nights a week until 1970.

“I think he was best known for all the service that he performed for his clients and for his profession,” said Dr. Jack Saroyan who knew Paul since Saroyan’s childhood. “When you teach at a law school it’s not for the money, it’s because you love the profession.”

Last month, the Supreme Court of California and the State Bar of California presented Paul with a plaque congratulating him for completing 75 years in the practice of law. Until his stroke on September 12, he was still going to work daily to handle probate and estate planning cases.

“Not only did Varnum come into the office five days a week,” said Willis Silverthorne, a law associate who shared office space and assisted with Paul’s client files, “he came in a suit and tie. Our building is one of the largest and oldest in town. When it’s filled, it has about 9,000 people. Everybody either knew Varnum by name or knew who he was. His clients would drop in out of the blue just to say hello or bring sandwiches at lunchtime and sit there with him at his desk.”

According to Silverthorne, it was Paul’s genuine love of people that attracted friends and clients to him as well as a quality not currently associated with lawyers – honesty.

“Honesty to a failing is what they call it today,” he says. “Varnum had no agenda that he did not make clear to his clients. A client would say, well can’t we get around this? And he’d say, yes we can, but wouldn’t you rather live in peace?”

“To me the Latin word ‘veritas’ most aptly and accurately describes the character, the strength and the beauty of Varnum Paul,” states Jim Deitz, former president and owner of the San Francisco-based Heald College who met Paul in 1966 when Deitz asked him to join its board. “That translates into truth and being true. I found him to be true in every respect of the word. Everyone admired Varnum.”

That admiration was due in part to Paul’s extensive pro bono legal work on behalf of such organizations as the Rotary Club of San Francisco as trustee of their endowment fund, legal counsel for the Masonic Lodges and Masonic Homes of California, plus numerous positions at the Olympic Club.

“He gave of his legal expertise to these organizations freely,” explains Saroyan. “Including setting up an endowment fund for the entire Diocese. All for the good of the public without any charges. I think he was really an inspiration to a lot of people.”

Paul was also widely recognized as an astute businessman whose knowledge of real estate, stocks and bonds made him a trusted member of several investment clubs.

“If Varnum said it, you could trust it,” concurs Father Sarkis. “His reputation preceded him in that manner. There’s a reason people turned to Varnum time after time after time. He was worthy of everyone’s trust. He was trustworthy.”


The Military and Marriage

During World War II, Varnum became a Lt. Commander in the U.S. Naval Reserve from 1942-1946 and initially served on the Aleutian Islands. He met Richard Nixon while both were subsequently stationed at the Alameda Naval Air Station where they worked together on special legal matters for the Navy and became good friends.

Upon joint assignment to the New York City office of Naval Affairs, Nixon asked Paul to be his roommate in the then shared officer’s quarters. The two maintained their friendship over the years and when Nixon became Vice President under Dwight Eisenhower, he invited Paul, his wife Lillian and young daughter Karen for a private tour of the Capital and the White House.

Varnum married Lillian Mosesian Kondazian in Las Vegas in 1954. She had been a teacher before their marriage and later obtained her Masters Degree in Armenian Studies at the age of 76. During their 51 years of marriage, they traveled the world together until her death in 2005.

In memory of her, a yearly drawing is held at Easter for a free trip to Armenia for one member of the St. John’s Armenian Church congregation.

Their daughter Karen Kondazian is an award winning theater, television and film actress and published writer.

“He was the most inspiring person I’ve ever known, “ said Kondazian. “He taught me to embrace the day with curiosity and passion and love no matter what. He had terrible sciatica, but he put on his suit and his tie everyday and did what he had to do. That’s what he taught me. You put on your suit and tie everyday and do what you have to do. No matter how exhausted you are.

“I’ve never seen anybody with such willpower. Such integrity. He made me a better person that I could have ever been without him.”

Varnum Paul celebrates his 100th birthday


A Gentleman’s Gentleman

Paul was particularly noted for his compassion and kindness towards others as well as being a gifted conversationalist.

“I have never come across one person who could say that he got hurt by Varnum,” admits Archbishop Derderian. “Never ever. It’s amazing. How someone could lead a life without a spot.

To him, everybody was good. He tried to see whatever was good in the person’s heart.”

“There’s no one on this earth who has anything bad to say about Varnum,” emphasizes Father Sarkis. “It’s impossible. Likewise, Varnum was a good judge of character. Maybe he saw flaws in other people but he never spoke ill of another person. It’s a lesson for all of us.”

“The key to Varnum Paul was that he never told you how he felt because he was more interested to learn from you and how you felt,” adds partner Silverthorne.

“He was the most engaging and socially compelling man I’ve ever really met,” says Kathleen Gillam who served with Paul on the Heald College board and borrowed office space when in town for Intel. “And I’ve known some great ones. He had such a perpetual twinkle in his eye. He genuinely loved people and was truly interested in what you were doing.”

According to Gillam, Paul enjoyed a constant stream of daily visitors and was popular with both men and women.

“He was flirtatious in a very subtle way,” she laughs. “A pretty girl never passed him without some level of acknowledgement. He seemed to be a chick magnet even at 100. It’s a special gift and Varnum certainly had it all the way until the last day.”

Keys to a Long Life

When Paul reached his centennial birthday on September 22, 2008, he received a congratulatory letter from President Bush and best wishes from Willard Scott on NBC’s Today Show.

People attributed his long life to the daily regimen he maintained for nearly seventy years, his optimistic outlook and his enjoyment of others. Well into his 90’s, Paul walked up and down San Francisco’s steep hills from his Nob Hill residence to his financial district office and over to the Olympic Club where he swam nearly every day since 1935. At 89, he won the Senior Back Stroke in it masters swimming program.

“Varnum just loved life,” says Gillam. “He never wanted to miss a day. He really genuinely loved interacting with people. He had such a work ethic. I can’t imagine he’d ever stop working. To him it was a part of life.”

“We talked about the fact that it was critical that you stay involved with urgent things like clients and their cases to keep you active, young and your mind acute,” adds Silverthorne. “Rather than sitting at home reading the newspaper or a book or watching television.”

“Varnum didn’t let his cases bother him,” says Jim Deitz. “He was very even tempered and mild mannered. When you have an absence of stress in driving, in work, in daily living and marriage, it’s almost as good as exercise.”

According to Father Sarkis, Paul’s upbeat approach to each day’s ever changing joys and sorrows was the key to his longevity.

“With Varnum there was no woulda coulda shoulda. No woe is me. People who are gloomers and doomers give themselves heart attacks and ulcers. They worry themselves to death. I have to say that this man had just a brilliant attitude toward people and toward life. He saw the best in all things.”





The Armenian Dramatic Arts Alliance is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization.
© Armenian Dramatic Arts Alliance, 2012. All rights reserved.

© Armenian Dramatic Arts Alliance, 2005. All rights reserved.