Future Talent Shines in The Little Theater
From June 3 to 5, the UCI Department of Film Studies hosted its 12th annual screenwriting festival for the greater campus community to enjoy.
As an opportunity for future screenwriters to showcase their work, upper division film studies majors competed against each other for the title of Best Student Screenplay of 2004.
Held in a small lecture theater in Humanities Hall, the event opened at 7 p.m. on Thursday evening with the presentation of the first two of six entries. The first screening was ‘La Corazon Brava,’ a dramatic screenplay written by Melissa Scotti and Desiree Rahnama.
Set in Seville, Spain, the screenplay portrays the coming of age of a young woman named Isabella who is in search of her father and redemption.
While on her quest, Isabella meets Eduardo, an older man with whom she eventually shares a torrid love affair. As she learns more about Eduardo and her father, Isabella and her love move closer and closer to tragedy.
After the close of the evening’s first presentation, guests were allowed a brief intermission during which they were treated to free refreshments.
Closing the first night of the festival, Robert Moushon presented ‘A Drop in the Bucket,’ a unique comedy about a group of five friends led by Catherine Birch who takes credit for every cultural achievement of the last 25 years.
When standing trial for the murder of a senator, however, the group must lie like never before, if in fact they are bluffing about the politician’s mysterious demise.
When asked about the inspiration for his story, Bouchon reflected on his personal experiences.
‘I myself would joke with my friends, taking credit for random things just for kicks, but I haven’t killed any California government officials, at least not recently,’ Bouchon said.
The second evening of the festival’s three-day run opened with a screenplay entitled ‘Perfect on the Outside,’ written by Shun Miyazawa, Brian Kim, Beatriz Yuan and Brittany Goode.
A drama about new beginnings, ‘Outside’ tells the story of a Japanese high school student named Keiko and her struggle to find her place after the untimely death of her friend from alcohol poisoning.
Finishing the festival’s second evening, writers Ryan Ishii and Alex Ovaitt presented ‘Road to Grandma,’ a wild comedy about two con artists named Milton Bradley and R.J. Reynolds who, in order to raise money to save a dying relative, commit a series of scams in Florida.
While on their way home to California, the two men face run-ins with Texas law, a hitchhiker and a New York detective searching for a jewel thief.
On the third and final evening of the annual festival, writer Jennifer Kwan presented ‘Shared Reality,’ a romantic comedy about two students named Leslie Zimmerman and Josh Phillips who meet and fall in love after meeting at their new school.
After learning the truth behind her parents’ death and her mother’s diagnosis of schizophrenia, Leslie becomes a difficult pursuit for Josh, especially upon discovering that she may have the disease too.
Finishing this year’s festival was ‘Critical,’ a thriller about a shy victim of spousal abuse named Julie Langston written by Amy Reynolds and Amy Taguchi.
After a tragic fall down a flight of stairs that results in the miscarriage of her baby, Julie learns about her husband’s many mistresses and their tragic murders. She soon realizes that she must find a way to escape his clutches before suffering a similar fate.
Reflecting on this year’s festival, event coordinator Jeff Warden, a fourth-year film studies major and former participant, was pleased.
‘The festival not only visits all sorts of genres, but an array of writing styles as well,’ Warden said.
Many participants shared Warden’s feelings, while emphasizing the importance of having such an event at UCI.
Pleased by the feedback the event provided, Muoshon emphasized the importance of having such an event at UCI.
‘I think the screenwriting festival is a great thing for not just the screenwriters on campus, but anyone in the arts in general,’ Muoshon said. ‘I learned what worked, what was funny, what wasn’t and what probably needed to be cut.’
Despite the artistic tilt, several students not affiliated with the arts still found the festival entertaining.
‘While some of the screenplays were a bit boring, others were interesting,’ said Kim Duong, a third-year economics major. ‘They are a great form of artistic expression.’