"A" My Name Is

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TYPE
: Narrative Short
GENRE: Drama
STATUS: Development

LOGLINE

An eight-year old girl with cancer faces her own mortality and her ongoing struggle to overcome her illness.

SYNOPSIS

An eight-year old girl suffering from cancer has a late night adventure which culminates in her realization of her own mortality and the struggle she will face to overcome her illness.

ARTISTIC STATEMENT

I grew up a fat, ugly girl. Whether or not that is true – whether or not that is how others perceived me – is irrelevant. It is how I felt and subsequently, how I defined myself in the world, as: abnormal, less than, other. Because of this self-induced marginalization, I was shy around everyone and therefore didn’t have many friends. One way I pursued a connection with other was by playing spy. At family dinner parties, I would sit under the buffet table and watch people’s feet pass under the long tablecloth as they filled their places; at night, walking home on the sidewalk, I’d look into open windows; when my favorite babysitter – the beautiful and outgoing, Natalie – would be on the phone, I’d listen to her phone conversations from the top of the stairs. Through imaginary play with my Barbie Dolls, I was able to fantasize about the lives of others, to try them on in the hope that someday one might fit. Imaginary play is a critical tool that children use to help them explore a greater understanding of the world and their place in it. Understanding and expressing their feelings through the re-enactment of certain experiences provides children opportunities to make sense of and identify with the adult world and adult themes. The reason I chose the theme of death is twofold. First, I watched my father battle, and ultimately die from cancer in high school; this subject is very personal, and something I feel emotionally knowledgeable about. Secondly, I don’t think death is talked about nearly enough in the western world. People tend to treat it as an option, rather than a reality, and discussing it through the eyes of a child might make it more accessible. In preparation for this short, I have been a director’s assistant on two other short film projects, including the IFP fiscally sponsored A Tree. A Rock. A Cloud directed by Karen Allen. Each time I found the process fascinating and rewarding as I collaborated in making the pieces of the ever shifting puzzle fit. I have also visited several pediatric hospitals/cancer units. I assumed these visits would be depressing. And although it was sad to see the state of these kids, I found myself forgetting how sick they actually were. They told jokes, they expressed their dislike over schoolwork, they played silly games and argued. They were just normal kids. This is central feeling I want to capture with this film: the playfulness and “normality” of these children. The second thing I am determined to capture is the hopeful nature of the Girl. The final shot on the Girl’s hand with the lipstick and Barbie. But she is also playing with her “courage” bead bracelet, something one of the children I met with was wearing. Instead of falling into a rut, she decides to keep playing the game. In the most immediate sense, she is just playing a fantasy game. But I’d like it to also represent the game of life. She’s going to fight. She’s going to play. She’s going to keep thinking of her future.

KEY CREW

Sarah T. Schwab - Screenwriter/Director
Sarah T. Schwab (Screenwriter/Director) - A native of Western New York, Sarah is a playwright, screenwriter and director. She is a member of the Playwrights/Directors Unit at Actors Studio. Her full-length play, Until Death, will be part of Cherry Lane’s Tongues Reading Series on January 10, 2016 with actors Karen Allen and Jeffrey DeMunn, and director Larry Moss. In 2013, she was accepted to Sewanee Writers’ Conference where she was mentored by award-winning novelist/screenwriter Diane Johnson. Her work has been published in Tin House, the Evergreen Review, Writer’s Digest Magazine, The Buffalo News, and on websites NBC, Nerve, Jezebel, and The Buffalo Spree.

Brian Long - Producer
Brian Long is a film and theater producer as well as an artist manager. His films include A Tree. A Rock. A Cloud. directed by Karen Allen, Brown Fish, directed by Troy Deutsch and the upcoming films A My Name Is, Life After You and Hamlet In Bed. Brian served as the Managing Director of Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, an Obie-Award winning producer of Off-Broadway Plays for nine years. During his tenure, Rattlestick produced over 40 World Premieres by some of our nation’s most important playwrights, including Annie Baker, Sam Hunter, Jesse Eisenberg, Jose Rivera, Adam Rapp, Craig Lucas and many others.

 

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