These 4 ScreenCraft Winners and Finalists Have Taken Over SXSW
It was a big year for SXSW, the prestigious Austin-based film festival that returned to an in-person jamboree after two years of virtual screenings and online events.
Part of the big media buzz this year included the premiere of several studio titles, like the Nicolas Cage spy-comedy The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, along with the Sandra Bullock adventure rom-com, The Lost City.
As exciting as big-budget movies can be with the glitz and glam of their stars in attendance, SXSW is mostly revered in the film community for its focus on independent films.
Always looking to honor the best and brightest indie filmmakers, we're over the moon to highlight four current and former ScreenCraft winners and finalists that had projects premiere at the festival, two of which taking home the win in their respective categories.
Let's take a closer look at these talented creatives and the work that took SXSW 2022 by storm!
I Love My Dad | James Morosini (Writer/Director)
SXSW Narrative Feature Competition Winner
2020 ScreenCraft Comedy Screenplay Competition Winner
Inspired by Writer/Director/Star James Morosini’s true-life experience, I Love My Dad follows Chuck (Patton Oswalt), an estranged father who desperately wants to reconnect with his depressive son, Franklin (Morosini). Blocked on social media and concerned for his son’s life, Chuck impersonates a waitress (Claudia Sulewski) online and starts checking in with Franklin. But things begin to spiral when Franklin falls for this imaginary girl and wants nothing more than to meet her in person, as Chuck has inadvertently catfished his own son.
About the Filmmaker
After graduating from USC's School of Cinematic Arts, James Morosini decided to pursue a career as an actor, appearing on such shows as Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and The Sex Lives of College Girls. But sometimes life throws such strange events at you, you have to make a film about them. Getting catfished by his dad during a time when Morosini was dealing with a bout of severe depression is one of those events. But Morosini says he isn’t afraid to go deep into the difficult parts of life. Morosini told The Daily Beast:
“I believe everything I do creatively should force me to grow in some way or another, or make me uncomfortable in one way or another. This was the most uncomfortable thing I could write about.”
Morosini’s script for I Love My Dad won the 2020 ScreenCraft Comedy Screenplay Competition. Congrats to James and his dad!
You can follow him at @JamesMorosini on Twitter.
Moshari | Nuhash Humayun (Writer/Director)
SXSW Midnight Shorts Winner | SXSW World Premiere
2022 ScreenCraft Film Fund Finalist
Moshari is a traditional South Asian mosquito net, made for protection against vermin at night. When the world is overrun with bloodthirsty creatures, the last of mankind persevere in Dhaka, Bangladesh by spending their nights inside the moshari - the only known shelter from the unknown threat.
Two sisters, Apu and Ayra, must navigate this strange new world to survive. However, their strained relationship is becoming as much of a threat as the dangers outside. One night, when Ayra’s curiosity lures her outside the safety of the moshari, Apu must rise to the occasion - as they face their demons, together.
About the Filmmaker
Bangladesh-based writer/director, Nuhash Humayun, is a 2022 ScreenCraft Film Fund Finalist for his feature screenplay Moving Bangladesh about a struggling middle-class Bangladeshi entrepreneur who creates a motorcycle travel app that may change transport in developing countries forever. Humayun loves mashing up film genres with South-Asian influences.
Humayan recently said in a Prothom Alo interview that his inspiration for telling stories on film came from a surprising yet loving figure in his life:
“My mother is my only inspiration for my cinema. She bought me a camera when I was 12 or 13. My mom thought I would use it as a hobby. Later, when she saw me making a short film, she allowed me to shoot at home. Mother never allowed father to do so! Mom was always with me during this journey. Father was too, but Mother gave me the support.”
Follow Humayun at @nuhashh on Twitter.
A Woman on the Outside | Kiara Jones (Producer)
SXSW Feature Documentary World Premiere
2021 ScreenCraft Film Fund Winner
Growing up, Kristal watched nearly every man in her life disappear to prison. She channeled that struggle into keeping families connected, both as a social worker and with her van service that drives families to visit loved ones in far-off prisons. But when Kristal’s dad and brother return to Philly, her happiness meets the realization that release doesn't always mean freedom. Passionate, funny, and resilient, Kristal remains determined to carve out a different future -- for herself and for her young nephew, Nyvae.
Part observational documentary, part family album, A Woman on the Outside is a tender portrait of one family striving to love in the face of a system built to break them.
About the Filmmaker
Kiara Jones is a director, writer, and producer based in New York who enjoys championing diverse stories and creating sustainable financial models for independent filmmakers.
Jones won the 2021 ScreenCraft Film Fund, saying:
“Screenwriting can be a long dark journey, ScreenCraft has been a source of light providing inspiration, helping me to set new goals, and providing much-needed monetary support through their grant program. ScreenCraft promoted my project and helped me to share my work with agencies, technicians, and film supporters to broaden my network of collaborators.”
You can follow Jones at @kiaracjones on Twitter.
Linoleum | Colin West (Writer/Director)
SXSW Narrative Feature World Premiere
2019 ScreenCraft Sci-Fi & Fantasy Screenplay Competition Finalist
2019 ScreenCraft Film Fund Winner
When a satellite falls from orbit and crashes into the suburban home of a dysfunctional family in Ohio, the father seizes the opportunity to fulfill his dream of becoming an astronaut by re-building it into his own rocket ship. While his wife and daughter believe he's experiencing a midlife crisis, surreal events begin to unfold around him, forcing him to reconsider how interconnected their lives truly are...
About the Filmmaker
Originally from Columbus, Ohio, Colin West studied at the USC School of Cinematic Arts and enjoys exploring themes of family and nostalgia in his films, saying in an interview with The Invention of Dreams:
“I think I’ve always been a nostalgic person. I’m always looking back. I’m looking forward too, and I have aspirations looking forward. But man, do I love going to places I went as a kid. Going back to the library I used to go to or the park. My parents still live in the same house I grew up in so I can go to my room. I find a certain amount of joy in that. I think as far as this sort of aspiration aspect and measuring success aspect and being ok with where you are now… it does come down to that. You can live in your own dream state reality, but it’s important to consider how your younger self might consider you now. My younger self would be like, ‘Man! You made a movie! That’s cool! Good job!’ Part of it is imagining what it would be like to talk to your younger self and learning from your future self. It’s all threaded into the movie.”
West was a finalist in the 2019 ScreenCraft Sci-Fi Screenplay Competition for his script Linoleum and recipient of the 2019 ScreenCraft Film Fund for his film Linoleum.
You can follow him at @HelloColinWest on Twitter.
Finding success at any film festival is never easy, but the one thing these four filmmakers have in common is that they found support by entering screenplay and film fund competitions like the ones at ScreenCraft. If you’ve done the work getting your screenplay or film into the best shape it can be but just need a little more help, visit ScreenCraft to see how entering a competition may just open a door for you.
Shanee Edwards is a screenwriter, journalist and author. After receiving her MFA in Screenwriting from UCLA, she was hired to adapt various stories for the screen including Apes or Angels, the true story of naturalist Charles Darwin, and Three Wishes, based on the New York Times best selfing novel by Kristen Ashley. You can listen to her interview Oscar-winning screenwriters on The Script Lab Podcast, or read her book Ada Lovelace: the Countess who Dreamed in Numbers. Follow her on Twitter: @ShaneeEdwards