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Pride Films and Plays chooses semi-finalist women writers for honors
From a News Release
2011-05-21

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Chicago, IL - Pride Films and Plays is delighted to announce that 21 writers have been named semi-finalists in Women's Work. Nine plays and 12 screenplays with lesbian themes or characters have been selected as semi-finalists in the Sapphics on Stage and Sapphics on Screen categories.

"We were thrilled with the quality of the work submitted," said PFP's Executive Director David Zak. "And the fact that we received entries from 14 states, Washington D.C., Canada, Israel, and South Korea indicates that material like this has a far greater appeal than might be assumed."

Allison Fradkin, Literary Coordinator for the event, assembled a reading team of 25 film and theater professionals across the country who served as adjudicators for this round of judging. The readings continue with another panel of judges, and the five finalists in each category will be announced mid-June. These ten works will be performed as staged readings in the Hoover-Leppen Theater of Center on Halsted, Chicago, the week of July 25 to 31. A full performance schedule will be announced when the finalists are named.

Semi-finalists in the Sapphics on Stage category (which includes plays and performance pieces) are: Bad Dog by Jennifer Hoppe-House, Doctoring by Nastaran Ahmadi, Life on Mars by Trish Cole, Outlook by Kathleen Warnock, Patient HM by Vanda, Raising Ricci by Marilynn Barner Anselmi, Still Fighting It by Cassie Keet, The Double by Barbara Lhota, and Where There's a Will by Ro Robusto.

Semi-finalists in the Sapphics on Screen category (which includes teleplays and screenplays) are: '70s Shuffle by Diane Edington, A Cop's Guide to Good Eats in San Francisco by Sarah Dunham, Directions by E. L.P. Lundberg, Girls Out Loud by Pat Branch, Leap of Faith by Alicia Lomas-Gross, Lost Dog by Mary Guzmán, Love and Kate by Tonina Kelly, Or Best Offer by Nicola Dixon and Nancy Zafris, Saint John the Divine in Iowa by Lyralen Kaye, Shelby's Vacation by Nancy Beverly, The Basement by Dawn Marie Guernsey, and Veterans Day at The Blitz by Eva Zimet.

Here is a press blurb for each work. Author bios are at the end of the release.

Semi-finalists for Sapphics on Stage are:

Bad Dog by Jennifer Hoppe-House, Los Angeles, CA

Molly has fallen off the wagon and driven her Audi through the house. When her beleaguered wife escorts her home from the hospital, Molly finds her far-flung, dysfunctional family descending to intervene.

Doctoring by Nastaran Ahmadi, Brooklyn, NY

In this comedy, a chain reaction of fiascos reveals one too many secrets when two friends learn that each of their romantic obsessions hides behind facades of different sorts.

Life on Mars by Trish Cole, St. Mary's City, MA

Life on Mars chronicles the final 10 minutes a lesbian fugitive spends on Earth while waiting to board, in shackles, the last penal transport to Mars.

Outlook by Kathleen Warnock, New York, NY

Susan's got a girlfriend with intimacy issues, a daughter who's getting ready to leave the nest, and then there's the mysterious Brown from UPS. It's not like there's such a thing as a magic wand...or is there?

Patient HM by Vanda,New York, NY

A lesbian neuroscientist is haunted by her memories of her lost lover as she treats a man who hasn't had a new memory in 55 years.

Raising Ricci by Marilynn Barner Anselmi, Rocky Mount, NC

A lesbian couple returns to their Southern roots looking for healing and acceptance after the death of their son.

Still Fighting It by Cassie Keet, Los Angeles, CA

Lack of communication is highlighted in this family dramedy, when the eldest daughter of the Harkey women returns home from college with her serious girlfriend.

The Double by Barbara Lhota, Chicago, IL

In this re-imagined 1940s screwball comedy that weaves together multiple love stories examining gender and sexual identity, a young actress, Minnie,discovers her attraction to a rising female starlet.

Where There's a Will by Ro Robusto, Scottsdale, AZ

Four women of different personalities and backgrounds must spend three weeks under the same roof in order to inherit $100,000. Of course, no one gets along. Just when you think you know the reason...think again.

Semi-finalists for Sapphics on Screen are:

'70s Shuffleby Diane Edington, Los Angeles, CA

Micki, straight, undercover FBI in '70s NYC, is pursuing a fugitive anarchist. Smitten, Gaby, dyke bartender/politico, naively guides Micki through her Mafia underworld, into her bed, and into her heart, while the Mob and FBI plot to blow them both away.

A Cop's Guide to Good Eats in San Francisco, by Sarah Dunham, San Francisco, CA

A neo-noir thriller set in the foodie world of San Francisco, A Cop's Guide explores a young woman's struggle with recovery in a world defined by, and obsessed with, appetite.

Directionsby E. L.P. Lundberg, Brooklyn, NY

In a story that unravels in reverse, Directions follows three 26-year-old New Yorkers as they struggle with relationships that exist outside of hetero-normativity. Is that which separates us what ultimately binds us to one another?

Girls Out Loud by Pat Branch, Los Angeles, CA

A 30-something cynic gives up on romantic love and knocks herself up just in time to meet the woman of her dreams. This bundle of joy might have three baby mamas!

Leap of Faith by Alicia Lomas-Gross, Colton, CA

A timid lesbian Catholic schoolteacher falls for a student's devout mother and must convince her that they are more than just friends.

Lost Dog by Mary Guzmán, San Francisco, CA

Cristina stumbles out of rehab with no job, no money, one friend, and a 90-day chip. When her friend is murdered, she is so devastated she vows to find the killer.

Love and Kate by Tonina Kelly, Atlanta, GA

When a rising culinary star launches the publicity tour for her cookbook, an impetuous new publicist forces her into a devastating image adjustment as a provocative lesbian chef - to rave reviews.

Or Best Offer by Nicola Dixon (Philadelphia, PA) and Nancy Zafris (Columbus, OH)

When a young American woman travels to Vancouver to win over the success-driven, India-born mother of her girlfriend, the campaign is wildly complicated by her unconventional hosts.

Saint John the Divine in Iowaby Lyralen Kaye, Boston, MA

A progressive Episcopal minister confronts the moral dilemma about whether to marry her daughter to a woman she doesn't like...when the price is the loss of her priesthood.

Shelby's Vacation by Nancy Beverly, Sherman Oaks, CA

Having been fantasizing about her boss Marion too much, Shelby sets out on a much-needed vacation, but along the way her itinerary literally flies out the window. She ends up at Towering Pines Cabins where she meets the local dyke population - and the real adventure begins.

The Basement by Dawn Marie Guernsey, Lawrence, KS

Trapped in the basement of a building destroyed in a tornado, Lena confronts demons from her past as she endures the cruelties of the property owner who refuses to help her.

Veterans Day at The Blitz, by Eva Zimet, Randolph, VT Veterans Day at The Blitz raises positive deviance to its wry and intimate best - what it takes these days to survive and why we bother. All together now....

Author bios

Nastaran Ahmadi (Doctoring) is a playwright and teacher who holds a Playwriting MFA from Yale School of Drama where she received the ASCAP Cole Porter Prize for Excellence in Playwriting.

Marilynn Barner Anselmi (Raising Ricci) is a new playwright living and working in rural North Carolina.

Nancy Beverly (Shelby's Vacation) has written for stage, TV, public radio, and the web. Her play Handcrafted Healing was selected by the L.A. Women's Theatre Project for their festival, and her play Godislav was produced in Santa Monica as well as featured in Denver's Playwrights Showcase of the Western Region.

Pat Branch (Girls Out Loud) is a screenwriter, novelist, and stand-up comic. She produces the stand-up comedy show "I'm just saying...!" in West Hollywood, and

her scripts have reached the quarter- and semi-final rounds of leading screenwriting competitions (Nicholls Fellowships, Sundance, Scriptapalooza).

Trish Cole (Life on Mars) is a tomboy poet playwright. Her work has been produced in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Seattle, and regionally in Maryland.

Nicola Dixon (Or Best Offer) received her BFA in Acting and Directing from The University of the Arts. Nancy Zafris is series editor of the Flannery O'Connor Award.

Sarah Dunham (A Cop's Guide to Good Eats in San Francisco) is an assistant editor at Pixar Animation Studios. A Cop's Guide to Good Eats in San Francisco is her third feature script.

Diane Edington ('70s Shuffle) has written three screenplays that have placed as three finalists and two semi-finalists in Outfest Lab, One in Ten, NewFest/NewDraft, Red InkWorks, and Write Movies.

Dawn Marie Guernsey (The Basement) is a successful visual artist who has recently turned to writing dramatic scripts. Her other screenplays, After Cecelia and The Good One, have done well in film festivals, placing in Page Awards, Fade In, Flagstaff, Mountain Festival and others.

Mary Guzmán (Lost Dog) is an award-winning filmmaker and theater director. Her films have screened in Spain, Italy, Australia, and across the U.S. Three of them are in distribution. Currently she is in pre-production on a women's college basketball film titled Starting Five.

Jennifer Hoppe-House (Bad Dog) lives in Los Angeles, writing for film (the upcoming Fortune, starring Kim Basinger, Catherine O'Hara, and Jason Patric) and television (Nurse Jackie, Damages).

Lyralen Kaye (Saint John the Divine in Iowa) is an award-winning writer. Credits: Winner--Lipkin Prize in Playwriting, Finalist--Massachusetts Council of the Arts Awards, nomination--Pushcart Prize and winner--Boston Amazon Super Slam finals.

Cassie Keet (Still Fighting It) is a recent graduate from Florida State University, where her thesis, a workshopped production of Still Fighting It, garnered her a Kingsbury Writing Nomination. Other works include The Appleyard, read by the Little Theatre of Alexandria in 2010, and Delicate, which will be workshopped in Tallahassee, Florida in conjunction with The Performance Kitchen.

Tonina Kelly (Love and Kate) is a screenwriter, producer, and director. She has written several scripts to great accolades in the competition circuit: Hell Hath No Fury (BlueCat Screenplay - Quarter Finalist 2010); Traffic (NYC Midnight - 1st place/1st round).

Barbara Lhota (The Double) is an award-winning playwright, screenwriter, and co-author of a 4-book collection of original plays (Smith and Kraus Publishing), who has had 55 full productions.

Alicia Lomas-Gross (Leap of Faith) is a forensic scientist by day and screenwriter by night. She survived 12 years of Catholic school and writes to tell about it. She likes making you laugh.

A native of Wisconsin and a graduate of NYU, writer/director E. L.P. Lundberg (Directions) wrote the short familiar, milwaukee which screened at the Anthology Film Archives, Connecticut FF and Wildwood FF. Directions has already gained recognition as a semi-finalist in the Sundance Screenwriting Lab, Zoetrope Screenwriting Contest, and The Great Gay Screenplay Contest.

Ro Robusto (Where There's A Will) is a native of Brooklyn, NY. She is a screenwriter and playwright. Her plays have been performed in various venues throughout Pennsylvania, Maryland, and, most recently, in Arizona.

Vanda (Patient HM) is an Edward Albee Fellow. Plays: Still Photos, first place

winner Celebration Theatre (LA) New Play Contest, Vile Affections, Lambda

Literary Award finalist.

Kathleen Warnock (Outlook) is a NYC-based playwright and editor. Her work's been produced all over. She's a member of TOSOS, Emerging Artists Theatre, and the Dramatists Guild.

Eva Zimet (Veterans Day at The Blitz) is a positive deviant with an MFA from Columbia University. Her interdisciplinary work includes scripts, other art, and theater directing and performing.

About Pride Films and Plays and Center on Halsted

Pride Films and Plays, a 501c3 non-profit founded in 2010, is dedicated to comprehending the history of great gay writing and fostering its excellence in new works for the stage and screen. Pride Films and Plays, based in Chicago, links an international network of writers with professionals working in film and theater. Through readings, contests, classes, screenings, and full theater productions, Pride Films and Plays engages artists and audiences in the full developmental process needed to make great artistic experiences. For more information, visit www.pridefilmsandplays.com .

Center on Halsted is the most comprehensive lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community center in the Midwest, and strives to meet the social, recreational, and cultural needs of people of all ages in a safe and nurturing environment. Every day, more than 1,500 people walk through the doors of this 60,000-square foot building, which includes a gym, theater, computer lab, two art galleries, and a rooftop garden. It offers a variety of social services and public programs, including mental health services, support groups, and free HIV testing 7 days a week. www.centeronhalsted.org, 773.472.6469, open 8am - 10pm daily.


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