3rd Annual Blackstar Film Festival
Screenplay Competition Staged Readings
Join us for a staged reading with professional actors of the Short Screenplay Competition finalists!
Screenplays were submitted from international applicants and two finalists were selected. This year’s finalists will have their short screenplays read by professional actors in front of a live audience. The jurors will select a winner whose film will be produced by BlackStar and directed by award-winning director Terence Nance.
By Amissa Miller
Naomi, a creative and imaginative young girl, doesn’t like Saturdays for two reasons – she doesn’t like getting her hair done, and she doesn’t like her dad being away at the barber shop all day. On this particular Saturday, Naomi comes up with a solution to these problems – she cuts all of her hair off. Her decision impacts her parents in a way she never imagined – or maybe she did.
Amissa Miller is an artist and educator whose background is primarily in theatre. Her work as a playwright includes an interview-theatre piece entitled, What Do You Do?, as well as the book and lyrics for the musical Step (New York Musical Theatre Festival, Ars Nova), and a translation of Francisco Arrivi’s seminal Puerto Rican play, Vejigantes. She has worked as a teaching artist and arts administrator at organizations like Opening Act New York, the Maysles Institute, and Wide Angle Youth Media. The Big Chop is her first screenplay.
By Asia Nichols
Ragene’s hair is longer, straighter and shinier than the other girls at school. That’s because her Nana is a hair presser. She presses Ragene’s hair dutifully, claiming that Ragene’s natural forest-hair will cause trouble in the land. Nana also warns Ragene never to let anyone touch the hair. But she cannot control the girls at school. Afraid of Nana popping her for being hard-headed, Ragene starts a business, charging the girls to play in her hair for a fee–that way she can repay Nana for her services. When Nana finds out about Ragene’s doings from her clients–parents of Ragene’s schoolmates–she banishes Ragene to a big tower. There, Ragene must grow her hair longer than ever if she wants to get out. In the lonely tower, Ragene deals with feelings of depression and is about to attempt suicide when a great wind blows from the East, carrying Indian strands of hair. She uses the dead hair to weave into her own, attempting to fool Nana. Will her plan work? Stranded is a tale about hair, captivity, and breaking free. It’s a black spin on the classic story of Rapunzel.
Asia Nichols is a writer from the Bay Area, Calif. Since 2011, she has traveled with her husband across Southeast Asia, India and Nepal, often living in remote villages and enjoying the colorful food and folklore of the East. During this journey, she immersed herself in local culture and practices such as building calf houses in the deserts of Rajasthan, rolling laddus for Hindu rituals in Tamil Nadu, slicing chapati for Nepalese pasta in the Himalayas, performing ancient dances at the Ganga in Kolkata. Her works, inspired by these experiences, have appeared in The New York Times, Ebony Magazine, Whole Life Times and other publications.