UCLA Names Scholarships Honoring Late ‘The Hate U Give’ Screenwriter Audrey Wells

Wells’ final screenplay “Over the Moon” will be distributed by Netflix in 2020

UCLA has named $100,000 in new scholarships in the memory of Audrey Wells, the late screenwriter of “Under the Tuscan Sun” and “The Hate U Give,” the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television’s Dean Teri Schwartz announced Wednesday.

Pearl Studio, which is developing Wells’ final screenplay “Over the Moon,” gifted $100,000 in scholarships to the UCLA TFT to fund current use and endowed M.F.A. scholarships in directing and screenwriting.

Wells, a UCLA TFT alumna, passed away on Oct. 4, 2018 after a long battle with cancer. Her final screenplay “Over the Moon,” an animated musical developed internally at Pearl, is currently in production for a 2020 release as directed by Glen Keane (“Dear Basketball,” “Beauty and the Beast”). Pearl Studio will distribute the film in China, and Netflix will distribute in all other territories.

“We are deeply appreciative to Pearl Studio for their vision and generosity to honor such a special, beloved alumna and filmmaker,” Schwartz said in a statement. “We all greatly mourn Audrey’s passing, but are confident that this brilliant gift will honor and shine a bright light on her wonderful creative voice to use the power of story for good in the world; to illuminate our common humanity; and to bring joy to us all. This is a beautiful gesture to support and inspire students, ensuring a lasting legacy for the remarkable Audrey Wells, long into the future.”

Two current-use scholarships will be awarded from the Audrey Wells Memorial “Say Yes!” Scholarships, first to an M.F.A. screenwriting student in the 2018-19 academic year and, in the 2019-20 year, to an M.F.A. directing student. Beginning in 2021, an endowed scholarship will alternate awards annually between a qualified M.F.A. screenwriting student and an M.F.A. directing student.

All of the scholarships include a one-week all-inclusive artist residency at Pearl Studio, known as the Pearl Studio Artists in Residence Program. Additionally, scholarship recipients will have the opportunity to be mentored by an industry professional who worked with Wells during her lifetime.

“It was a remarkable and profoundly moving experience to collaborate with Audrey on her final screenplay ‘Over the Moon,'” Peilin Chou, Chief Creative Officer for Pearl Studio, said in a statement. “We are filled with joy and gratitude at this opportunity to celebrate one of our industry’s most accomplished and cherished artists, and to be part of continuing Audrey’s legacy in the form of Pearl Studio’s gift to the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television. We know that Audrey’s remarkable body of work, filled with so much grace and heart, will live on forever. It is our greatest hope that these scholarships will inspire, nurture and creatively support a new generation of filmmakers who will carry on the spirit of Audrey’s work — a spirit of strength, inclusivity, compassion and healing — for decades to come.”

Wells graduated from UCLA TFT with an M.F.A. in 1989. Her writing credits include “A Dog’s Purpose,” “The Game Plan,” “George of the Jungle” and “Under the Tuscan Sun,” which she also directed. Her screenplay for “The Hate U Give,” based on author Angie Thomas’ 2017 novel, was turned into a film that was released in theaters on Oct. 5, 2018, one day after her passing.

“Audrey’s motto was ‘Say yes’ — yes to life, to art, to creativity and, most of all, to opportunities,” Brian Larky, Wells’ husband, said in a statement. “With this scholarship, we say yes to new waves of filmmakers, to voices of transformation and healing, to voices of diversity, and to stories of women, crafted by women. Stories told with strength, with vision, and with compassion, that will lead conversations of inclusivity and universality for generations to come. Our family is extremely grateful to Pearl Studio for honoring Audrey in this extraordinary way and for the remarkable collaboration on her last screenplay, ‘Over the Moon.'”

To support the Audrey Wells Memorial “Say Yes!” Scholarships, contact Fred Bush, UCLA TFT Assistant Dean, Development, at (310) 206-5999.