This has been a great summer for the family of writers who make up our low-residency MFA in Writing for Stage and Screen program. We had a highly productive residency in June with all eleven student writers and our small army of professional faculty. And all of our students are now working on new projects with their mentors.
And to top it off, one of our current second-year students, Vicki Peterson, has just won the Best Screenplay award at the California Independent Film Festival with her feature Zoe and the Zebra that she wrote in our program during her first year. Needless to say, Vicki, pictured below with her daughter, is making us all proud.
I take a special pleasure in this achievement because Vicki, along with all our other MFA students, are a part of a program that stresses story structure and form as well as extensive pre-writing exploratory work on backstory and the characters’ emotional makeup. I have no doubt that her screenplay quickly rose to the top of the stack of contenders for this award because of the strong forward movement of her unfolding story and the richness and depth of her characters. Not to mention that we gave her screenplay its first read at a recent residency with professional actors–something that allows students to actually hear their scripts given voice for the first time.
Actually, the CAIFF award is the third festival where Vicki’s script has received recognition. Earlier this year Zoe and the Zebra was featured in a reading at the Female Eye Film Festival in Toronto and is also a finalist and official selection at the upcoming Southern California Film Festival.
So congrats to you, Vicki. Can’t wait to see you at our next residency in January so we can celebrate these successes!
I’m the Program Director of the low-residency MFA in Writing for Stage and Screen being offered by the New Hampshire Institute of Art. Our next residency runs January 3-10, 2015 and we are currently accepting applications. I’m also a playwright and screenwriter, producing partner in my production company Either/Or Films (The Sensation of Sight and Only Daughter), and a professional script consultant.