Pride Films and Plays have announced the two winners of 2011 Women's Work Contest. The Sapphics on Stage winner was Patient HM by Vanda from New York, and the Sapphics On Screen winner for Best New Screenplay was Girls Out Loud by Pat Branch from Los Angeles. The announcement was made at the Hoover-Leppen Theater at Center on Halsted at the completion of the Women's Work Weekend.
In Patient HM by Vanda, 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.
Vanda commented, "I was so pleased with the staged reading of my play, Patient HM. Jackie Jutting is a phenomenal director. Her choices in lighting and staging made my play look like much more than a reading. The actors were incredible, so professional. In only three days, they were doing my play almost like it was a production. Then afterwards, the talkback showed how smart and deep-thinking the audience was. Thank you, PFP, for an amazing experience."
Vanda is an Edward Albee Fellow and her plays include Still Photos, first place winner in Celebration Theatre's (L.A.) New Play Contest and Vile Affections, Lambda Literary Award finalist.
In Girls Out Loud by Pat Branch, 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!
Branch commented, "It was an outstanding 5 days of live theatre. Each production was well-directed and acted. Women's Work's Sapphics on Screen and Sapphics on Stage will grow as an important festival where women writers can have their stage and screen plays presented in front of live audiences and I am so glad to have been on her maiden voyage."
Branch 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).
Director Genevieve Thompson, who directed Girls Out Loud commented, "This festival is unlike any I've ever seen or heard of. To have so many plays, written by women, about women, and directed by women is astounding. The work is good and the experience was great. I'm proud to have been a part of it."
During Pride Films and Plays' first Women's Work Weekend, four new stage plays and four new screenplays were performed, directed by an esteemed group of Chicago directors - Susan Veronika Adler, Sarah Ballema, Tara Branham, Hannah K. Friedman, Ebony Joy, Jaclyn Jutting, Genevieve Thompson and Shifra Werch. More than 90 artists participated in the weekend as performers.
Celebrity Hosts for the weekend included: Mary F. Morten, filmmaker, activist and consultant; actress, singer, director, and business owner Liz Pazik; producer Alexandra Silets of WTTW; Brenda Kelly from Women's Theater Alliance; Kelli Strickland, actress and arts educator; and Corinne J. Kawecki, Chicago playwright.
Allison Fradkin, Literary Coordinator for the event, assembled a reading team of 25 film and theater professionals from across the country who served as adjudicators for this contest.
Other finalists in the Sapphics on Stage category were Bad Dog by Jennifer Hoppe-House, Raising Ricci by Marilynn Barner Anselmi, and Still Fighting It by Cassie Keet.
Other Finalists in the Sapphics on Screen were '70s Shuffle by Diane Edington, Leap of Faith by Alicia Lomas-Gross, and The Basement by Dawn Marie Guernsey.
Learn more about the semi-finalists and their scripts here.
Pride Films and Plays is currently conducting the Great Gay Play and Musical Contest. Entries will be accepted through October 31.
And we will be announcing the five finalists in the 2011 Great Gay Screenplay Contest next week with the finalists being read October 21 to 23 at Center on Halsted. For details on each of these programs visit www.pridefilmsandplays.com.
About Pride Films and Plays
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.
About Center on Halsted
Center on Halsted is the most comprehensive lesbian, gay, bisexual, and 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 seven days a week. www.centeronhalsted.org, 773.472.6469, open 8am - 10pm daily.