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2012 Screenplay Showcase Winners Announced
Thursday, 01 November 2012 00:02
Screenplay Showcase Winners Announced
The participants in CUE’s first annual Screenplay Showcase have been named! See below for info on the writers and their scripts. And stay tuned for further details on the showcase itself. Without further adieu, here are this year’s scripts! 

ALL IN (TV Drama Pilot) by Abdi Nazemian (CC ‘98)

BACK IN BLACK (or: How to Save America Without Really Trying) (Feature Comedy) by Jon Stahl (Teachers College ‘00)

BELOW SUNSET (TV Drama Pilot) by Jonathon Roessler (FILM ‘07)

IN HOUSE (TV Drama Pilot) by Daria Polatin (THEATER ‘07)

Read below for full synopsis and writer bios...
ALL IN (TV Drama Pilot) -- A recently widowed Iranian-American woman turns to the world of underground poker to support her family and maintain her upper class lifestyle. 

Abdi Nazemian (CC ‘98) was born in Tehran and subsequently lived in Paris, Toronto, New York, Rome, and Connecticut. Together with Micah Schraft, Abdi has written three produced films: THE QUIET (Sony Pictures Classics, 2006), CELESTE IN THE CITY (ABC Family, 2004) and BEAUTIFUL GIRL (ABC FAMILY, 2003). Abdi also wrote, directed, and produced the short film REVOLUTION (2012), which was accepted to over twenty festivals and released on DVD by Guest House Films. Abdi has written feature and television scripts for Sony, Paramount, Fox Searchlight, HBO, ABC, MGM, Participant and Big Beach films, among others. He is an alumnus of the Sundance Writer’s Lab, a mentor at the Outfest Screenwriter’s Lab, and has taught screenwriting at UCLA Extension. He holds a BA from Columbia, and is currently receiving his EMBA from UCLA Anderson. 

BACK IN BLACK (or: How to Save America Without Really Trying) (Feature Comedy) Black Harvard professor, Clyde Foster, the nation's foremost expert on the colonial period, is forced by the government to go back in time to stop the assassination of George Washington. But in 1776 there's only one way for Clyde to fit in: as a slave. Yep, a slave. Once back in time, Clyde discovers the scary truth...George Washington is a total moron. Now, due to a Butterfly Effect accident he caused, it's Clyde's responsibility to stop the assassin and make a leader out of Washington or America is doomed before it's even been born. 

Jon Stahl (Teachers College ‘00) has written and directed several films, most notably Teechers, which had its World Premiere at the 2011 Austin Film Festival, where he was also a finalist in AFF’s screenplay contest for his script, How to Save America Without Really Trying (now titled Back in Black). Jon was also a Nicholl Fellowship quarterfinalist in 2007 and 2010 and made the top 10% of that illustrious contest three other times. A former elementary school teacher, Jon has written & directed several original plays for his students and hopes that many of them will incorporate the arts into their lives in some form or other. Or become ninja crime-fighting Presidents. Either way’s cool. 

BELOW SUNSET (TV Drama Pilot): Serial drama follows private eye Frank Reid as he investigates the murder of a fading gigolo while tumbling into the rabbit hole of greed, lust and corruption that exists below Sunset Blvd. 

Jonathon Roessler (FILM ‘07) is a graduate of Vassar College and the MFA Film program at Columbia University where he helped produce the Sundance selected short film The Dawn Chorus. His thesis film, a high school satire entitled First Period, was finished with a music grant from ASCAP that provided for a 20-piece live orchestra. The film went on to win him the Directors Guild of America (DGA) Student Film Award. Since moving to Los Angeles, Mr. Roessler has written for television including Teen Wolf (MTV), Cupid (ABC), and The Beautiful Life (CW). 

ESQUINADO (CORNERED) (FEATURE DRAMA): 25 year-old ISRAEL “ISSY” MONTENEGRO begins boxing in an attempt to win the respect of his father, a former boxing heavyweight. Issy is nearly TKO'd when he discovers that his brother and father share more than a history of boxing championships, rather a dark and twisted secret that, when brought to light, changes the Montenegro family forever. 

JESSILINE BERRY (FILM ‘07) is an accomplished filmmaker, performer, and Founder of FemmeMaker Productions, an organization dedicated to the empowerment of women in film, both in front of and behind the camera. FemmeMaker is a concept-to-completion production company whose goal is to give voices to the voiceless through its work with non-profit organizations, small businesses, filmmakers, performing artists, and other media artists. Most recently, FemmeMaker has collaborated with the non-profit organization, Bridges to Haiti (BTH), to produce a series of documentary shorts and a feature documentary that chronicles the BTH medical and economic relief efforts in Haiti. 

Berry has worked as Producer, Writer, Director, and Editor on several projects ranging in content from experimental and narrative short films to documentary and entertainment television. As a University of Texas graduate, she received a BS in Radio, Television, and Film (1999) and a BA in Theatre and Dance (2000). In 2007 she earned her MFA from Columbia University, School of the Arts, concentrating in Directing. While at Columbia, she founded Columbia Women in Film, a completely student-run organization that works to celebrate and promote the contribution of women in cinema. Berry has worked in varying capacities for projects produced by Token Productions, The Texas Council of Administrators of Special Education, Alpha Video, PrimeCut Productions, Teachscape, Character Studies Productions, BET Networks, and Lee Daniels Entertainment. In 2009, Berry was commissioned to be a Segment Director for the international collaborative feature film, The Death Of Socrates, produced by Kanalya Pictures. In 2011, Berry participated in both the Guy Hanks and Marvin Miller Writing Program as a Cosby Writing Program Fellow, and the Film Independent Screenwriters Lab. She is currently developing her original television pilot, Sunshine, sponsored in part by a generous grant from the National Black Programming Consortium, as well as preparing to direct the feature narrative film, ESQUINADO. 

IN HOUSE (TV Drama Pilot) -- When Ana's perfect New York City life falls apart, she moves in with her long-lost Armenian family in Glendale, California, and finds herself getting mixed up with the mob. 

Daria Polatin (THEATER ‘07) is currently developing a pilot with Hazy Mills Productions, has worked on the television series “Weeds” and "Dexter,” and wrote an original pilot for The N Network. Her plays include In Tandem, Guidance, That First Fall, D.C., andThe Luxor Express, inspired by her father’s life growing up in Egypt. Her work has been produced at The Kennedy Center, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Naked Angels, Ensemble Studio Theatre NY, Hen and Chickens Theatre in London, The Wilshire Ebell Theatre with Hollywood Rush, and Cape Cod Theatre Project, where her play Guidance was helmed by Broadway director Mark Brokaw. She completed a residency with London’s Royal Court Theatre, earned her BFA from Boston University, and her MFA in Playwriting from Columbia University. Awards: Kennedy Center/ACTF Best One-Act Play, Wasserstein Prize Nominee, Princess Grace Award Finalist.