The Reel 360 Team is happy for screenwriter Leah Curney, who has just been named the winner of the first CinemaStreet Pictures Women’s Short Screenplay Competition.
The New York-based production company, which is owned by award-winning writer/producer/director Dana Offenbach, has awarded Brooklyn-based Curney a $1K option her short script titled, 6:18 to Omaha.
Set in the late 50’s, this is script is about Ed Merriweather, a down-on-his-luck traveling salesman who stops at a sleepy, small town diner on his way to catch the last train out of town.
Hoping to grab coffee and a second wind, he gets a whole lot more than he bargained for when he encounters a local housewife with a penchant for profanity and skeletons in her closet.
Their conversation is overseen by Grace, a young waitress with big dreams and a battered copy of Popular Science. All three have secrets to hide and tales to tell.
By the time Ed leaves to catch the 6:18, he’s not the same man who arrived, suddenly seeing the world (and the people in it) through new eyes.
Offenbach, who moves back and forth between advertising, branded content and indie film, announced the competition earlier this year. The company received 125 entries, according to its manager, Terry Lawler, the former Executive Director of New York Women in Film & Television.
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Screenplays had to be written or co-written by a woman, submitted in English, printed in standard screenplay format and be 20 pages or less. While the screenplays could be of any genre of fiction (drama, comedy, horror, action, thriller, sci-fi, animation, musical, etc.), and about any topic, all needed to feature a significant female character.
The initial pool of entries were culled down to a shortlist of 15 finalists, which were then reviewed by Offenbach, Lawler and two accomplished women filmmakers, writers and producers, Nicole Franklin ( I Was Made to Love Her, Title VII, and Little Brother: The Fire Next Time) and Alexis Alexanian (Personal Velocity, Mississippi Burning), before the winner was selected.
What made 6:18 to Omaha stand out? “What we were looking for was story,” says Offenbach. “A big impact in a few pages. And it’s a strong, character-driven piece that works in an economical format, meaning we can shoot it quickly and with a lean crew. From a budgetary standpoint, this makes it a property we can easily finance on our own, ensuring it gets made in a way that does Leah’s screenplay justice.”
She was motivated to launch the competition to provide a platform for women in the film industry: “While there is a lot of ‘talk’ about creating more opportunities for women in film, the numbers are still dismal,” she points out.
Lawler agrees. “It can be difficult for writers to get their work in front of agents, filmmakers or producers if they’ve not had anything produced yet,” she says. “This competition really fills a need in the industry, and because it’s geared towards short films, as opposed to feature-length films, we can actually get these produced. It gives the writer an opportunity to get their work seen in front of audiences.”
The Reel 360 Team can’t wait to see the short completed.
SOURCE: CinemaStreet Pictures