10 Semi-Finalists Named in Pride Films and Plays' Great Gay Screenplay Contest

Ten semi-finalists have been named in Pride Films and Plays' Great Gay Screenplay Contest, an international contest for screenplays with LGBT characters and themes.

Five finalists will be announced the first week of October, and those five screenplays will be performed as enhanced staged readings during Gay Film Weekend at Center on Halsted's Hoover-Leppen Theatre, November 15 to 17.

Our 10 semi-finalists are:

Broken Dishes by Debbie Bolsky and Jason Stuart
City of Literature by Joy Cheriel Brown
After Louie by Vincent William Gagliostro
The Starfish Scream by Brent Hartinger
A1A by Dennis Nivens
The Passion Child by Amir Sade
Boys in Summer by Dennis Shinners
Cooper's Promise by Timothy Jay Smith
Saguaro by Brandon Yarns
Buddy Booth by Edward J. Yaeger Jr

Here are synopses of the screenplays and bios of the screenwriters:

A1A by Dennis Nivens

In Florida for Easter Break with his ultraconservative parents, repressed Braden meets free-spirited beach boy Kyler and experiences a sexual awakening just as everything else in life goes terribly wrong, as his new love lures him into an ever more sordid life of sex, violence and petty crime.

Dennis Nivens is a professional techno geek and former surf magazine editor who in his spare time writes pulp novels and gay-themed screenplays.

Boys in Summer by Dennis Shinners

A shy American college boy travels to Paris to reconnect with a French exchange student from his High School years and finds himself in battle for his affections with a bold, brash and aggressive Jersey girl.

Dennis Shinners is an NYC filmmaker that produces TV spots for Nickelodeon during The Day and writes his own movies at night. His most recent short "Barrio Boy" (adapted from a previous Pride Films & Plays screenplay finalist) hits the road this fall.

Buddy Booth by Edward J. Yaeger Jr.

A young man and a mysterious woman befriend each other under unorthodox circumstances. Their chemistry is so unique and infectious that the two soon find themselves cast in an indie film by a famous director who wants no-name actors starring in his art-house foray. The two new stars grapple with their demons both on and off screen, interfusing reality with celluloid.

Edward J. Yaeger Jr. is a digital marketer and short story writer based in Baltimore, Maryland. His short story, Gifting, is currently being produced as an animated short film. Edward is a contributing writer and guest blogger for Huffington Post and has written for a variety of LGBT publications, including Advocate.com and Outsports.

City of Literature by Joy Cheriel Brown

In City of Literature, Neb "Nebraska" Walker dreams of teaching at the prestigious Creative Writers' Workshop at the University of Iowa but is told that he doesn't have a unique voice as a writer. However, to find his voice, Neb must first accept that he's gay.

Joy Cheriel Brown, founder of Third Person Omniscient Productions, is a screenwriter, director and producer. She has been writing screenplays since she was 10-years-old.

After Louie by Vincent William Gagliostro

After Louieis a deeply personal film that tells a brave, hopeful, and modern love story rising from the ruins of the past. It moves between eras in New York - from the gay sexual liberation of the 70s through the shuttering 80s to now, which is where the semi-autobiographical story of "Sam", a gay artist at a creative impasse begins. On the verge of 55, "the middle of things", he develops a relationship with a rent-boy, half his age, who just might become his path out of his "limbo".

Vincent Gagliostro is a Gay rights and AIDS political activist and filmmaker. His short films have been shown most recently in film festivals such as Fringe! Gay Film Festival, London; ASVOFF at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, Cannes, Barcelona and New York; The New York Armory Show; Pulse Art Fair and Scope, New York. He has written and will direct his debut feature film After Louie which is currently in development.

The Starfish Scream by Brent Hartinger

Unable to accept that his best friend has committed suicide, a teenage boy searches his memories of their past together for an explanation that makes it make sense.

Brent Hartinger's many plays have been produced around the country, twice in New York. He's also the author of nine novels, all from major publishers; his 2003 gay teen novel Geography Club has now been adapted into a feature film co-starring Scott Bakula and Ana Gasteyer and is set for release in early 2014. In 1990, Brent helped found one of the world's first GSAs, in his hometown of Tacoma, Washington, and he is also the co-founder of AfterElton.com, which was sold to Viacom/Logo in 2006. www.brenthartinger.com

Broken Dishes by Debbie Bolsky and Jason Stuart

Broken Dishes concerns the battle between a gay High School teacher and a student's born-again Christian mother and the one person caught in the crossfire - the Christian mother's coming of age Gay son.

Debbie Bolsky and Jason Stuart co-wrote "Broken Dishes" with the intention of shedding some light on the problem of bullying Gay teens. Jason is one of the country's top openly Gay comics and prolific character actors who is also the National Chairman of the SAG-AFTRA LGBT; Debbie is a playwright/screenwriter whose play "Biking With Andrew Scott" enjoyed a successful run in Los Angeles.

The Passion Child by Amir Sade

A 52-year old passionate man must reveal long hidden, painful secrets to a 21-year old young man who comes to seek the truth about his father-- 21 years after his father's vague and mysterious death.

Born in Iran, living in exile in the U.S., Amir Sade is a playwright, screenwriter, and astronomer, and has written several shorts, plays and seven screenplays.

The Passion Child took 35 years to develop and transform from an Iranian concept, to a profound American classic drama... Created HEAVENS, and, THE IMAGINATARIUM, the first 3-D Space Art Gallery, and The Live Cosmic Show.

Saguaro by Brandon Yarns

In Saguaro, two best friends of different races embark on separate quests for love after one leaves their remote Indian-village home to care for his ailing father.

Brandon Yarns won several national and international awards as a clarinetist and performed on National Public Radio before turning to a career in medicine. He is now a resident physician and has been published in the prestigious scientific journal Psychosomatics. Brandon sought a new challenge in writing his first screenplay and found inspiration in a trip to the Arizona desert and the love for his partner and muse, Johnny.

Cooper's Promise by Timothy Jay Smith

In Cooper's Promise, a gay deserter from the war in Iraq ends up a mercenary in West Africa where he promises to save a young girl trafficked into prostitution to redeem himself for an earlier promise he couldn't keep.

Timothy Jay Smith is a novelist and screenwriter. His novel A Vision of Angels won the Paris Prize for Fiction, and his novel Cooper's Promise was selected by Kirkus Reviews as one of the Best Books of 2012. His screenplay adaptation ofCooper's Promisewon Grand Prizes from StoryPros International and WriteMovies, Best Role for Male Lead (Fresh Voices), and First Place for Original Drama (Houston WorldFest). www.timothyjaysmith.com

Readers for the contest included:

Ricardo Bracho
Wendy Jo Carlton
Catherine Crouch
Kristofer Hyland
Barb Lhota
John Nasca
Adam Pasen
Danny Rhodes
Nelson Rodriguez
Seve Scott
David Zak

About Pride Films and Plays Pride Films and Plays fosters excellence in writing for the stage and screen with LGBT themes by linking an international network of writers to our Artistic Ensemble in Chicago. Using stories with gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender characters or themes, Pride Films and Plays develops human stories that speak for the community and are essential viewing for all audiences.

PFP's fully staged productions include reinvigorated classics, Chicago premieres, and world premieres of scripts that have been developed in the contests. The 2011 Great Gay Play Contest winner, Learn To Be Latina by Enrique Ureata, has had multiple regional productions, and the 2012 winner At The Flash by Sean Chandler and David Leeper was Jeff-recommended in Chicago and recently concluded a successful run in Los Angeles. Under A Rainbow Flag by Leo Schwartz, a finalist in last year's contest, had its world premiere in Chicago this spring and won the Jeff Award for Best New Work and Best Musical Production. The 2013 contest winner Directions for Restoring the Apparently Dead by Martin Casella will have its world premiere in October, 2013.

Our contests - the Great Gay Play Contest, Women's Work (for plays and screenplays with lesbian characters or themes, written by women), and the Great Gay Screenplay Contest - reach their conclusion during Festival Weekends of readings and workshops sponsored by Center on Halsted. Writers from around the world have come to Chicago to engage with PFP's Artistic Ensemble in rehearsals and performances of "enhanced staged readings" which include movement, blocking, and technical elements.

For more information on contests or productions, visit www.pridefilmsandplays.com.

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