Two scripts written by teens that explore issues of bullying, violence, and gender norms were chosen for production among thousands of entries as a part of a national educational program. Scenarios USA’s REAL DEAL educational program facilitates a unique partnership between teenage writers and distinguished film directors to produce short films. Winners were announced this past week by an esteemed panel of top leaders in media, education, nonprofit, philanthropy and academia.
The winning scripts explored often taboo-subjects that are realities in the lives of many teens. Winning writer Roxanne Lasker-Hall (age 16), of Cleveland, Ohio, explored the subject of rape and bullying in her script, Speechless. Teen scriptwriter Luis Hernandez (age 16), of Brooklyn, NY, tackled the subject of male body image and bullying in his script, The Tale of Timmy Two-chins.
Hollywood directors Karyn Kusama (Jennifer’s Body, Aeon Flux) and Nancy Savoca (Dogfight, If These Walls Could Talk) will work closely with Lasker-Hall and Hernandez to produce films from their winning entries. Previous winners’ films have screened at the New York, Miami and Cleveland International Film Festivals and aired on networks like Showtime, BET, MTV and mun2.
In line with Scenarios USA’s mission of fostering youth leadership, advocacy and self-expression, each year’s REAL DEAL contest has a topical focus. This year centered on the intersection of gender, power and relationships. Submitted stories grappled with complex topics, like how to support a bullied peer, the expectations of home life, and the impact of economics, culture and race on adolescent development.
Nancy Savoca will direct The Tale of Timmy Two-chins, written by Hernandez. This story addresses the often secret issues of bullying and male body image in the lives of teens.
“This story provides an exciting opportunity to debunk stereotypes of the male body image as well as explore the intersection of culture, food and personal identity,” said Savoca.