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Emerson Students Dominate Ivy Film Fest Screenwriting Contests

The Ivy Film Festival will announce the winners of its five scriptwriting competitions at the conclusion of its weeklong festival April 8-14 at Brown University.

And Emerson College is guaranteed at least one win.

That’s because all three finalists in the graduate short film script contest are Emerson students: Jessica Hill, MFA ’20, and Kes Speelman, MFA ’20, both in the Low Residency MFA in Writing for Film & Television; and Yiqian “Hugh” Hua, MFA ’20, in the MFA in Media Art.

That’s not all. Brooke Solomon ’19 placed as a finalist in two different writing competitions with her undergraduate screenplay and her TV pilot.

Others who placed in Ivy contests include: Allison Gillogly, MFA ’20, for her graduate screenplay; Nick Marini, MFA ’19, for his TV pilot; and Dina Klein ’19 for her undergraduate short film script. Klein also placed in previous Ivy short film script competitions.

This year, Emerson students placed as finalists in all five Ivy writing competitions: undergraduate shorts, graduate shorts, undergraduate screenplays, graduate screenplays, and TV pilots (awarded to both undergraduate and graduate students).

With three finalists in each contest, a total of 15 scripts were selected. Eight of those scripts were written by Emerson students.

All finalists receive free accommodations and access to the Ivy Film Festival. The festival also will host live readings of excerpts from all of the script finalists.

The Ivy Film Festival was first organized in 2001 to celebrate the work of students at the Ivy League universities. It has since grown and expanded to become one of the largest student-run film festivals, offering students from domestic and foreign universities a place to exhibit their work.

Each year, thousands of filmmakers and enthusiasts converge in Providence, Rhode Island, to attend filmmaker screenings, keynote speeches by entertainment industry executives and celebrities, panels and workshops by industry professionals, and cocktail receptions and parties.

This year’s speakers and panelists haven’t yet been announced. Speakers at past festivals include Jack Nicholson, Martin Scorsese, Oliver Stone, Wes Anderson, Laura Linney, Wes Craven, Aaron Sorkin, James Franco, Robert DeNiro, and Jodie Foster.

Below are the scripts by Emerson students that placed as 2019 finalists:

Undergraduate Short Film Script

Later Gator by Dina Klein – An alligator reflects on a traumatic experience.

Graduate Short Film Script

Inhabiting Pluto by Jessica Hill – In the future, small colonies of humans inhabit different planets within synthetic biospheres manufactured by a large corporation. A slick businesswoman and an awkward engineer must quickly determine how to maintain the temperature levels in the biosphere their unit supports before everyone dies.

The Pink Water by Yiqian “Hugh” Hua – At the end of a summer in 1990s China, a 6-year-old boy tries to poison his strict magician grandfather.

Soul Mates by Kes Speelman – When recently deceased Tony learns that in order to cross over, he must wait for his soulmate to die, he’s all but too happy to speed up the process.

Undergraduate Screenplay

Crypt Sisters by Brooke Solomon – On the cusp of Y2K in icy Boston, a shady tech startup draws together a tough P.I. in desperate need of a case, and an overeager uptown girl looking to protect her assets.

Graduate Screenplay

Sweethearts by Allison Gillogly – When high school sweethearts – an ambitious young woman intent on becoming a doctor and a politically passionate computer geek – are separated after graduation, they struggle to stay connected over the course of 15 years as their relationship is tested by time, distance, and technology, prompting them to wonder if their first love could really be their last.

TV Pilots

Natural Law by Nick Marini – A detective with deep ties to his Boston neighborhood of Mattapan investigates a childhood friend who’s wanted for murder, but uncovers a real estate fraud conspiracy that threatens to displace his entire community.

Bronze Bullets by Brooke Solomon – In the acrid, post-apocalyptic American Southwest, a trio of orphaned sisters make their living as mercenaries while dodging dust storms, acid rainfall, and a pair of determined lawmen on their tail.

This story was submitted to Emerson Today by Visual and Media Arts Associate Professor James Macak. Are you a student, faculty member, or staff member who wants to share something with the Emerson community? Send your news stories, short stories, poems, videos, or anything else to today@emerson.eduor



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