Watch the Screenplay Reading:
In 1350s Florence, an insecure nun unwillingly becomes the Mother Superior after the Plague kills the leaders of her nearly bankrupt convent. To save her convent, she must find the strength to confront the male dominated Church, Guilds and civil authorities, and her own demons.
Narrator: Steve Rizzo
Sister Maria/Isabella: Kyana Teresa
Sister Salvaza/Catalina: Hannah Ehman
Allesandra: Val Cole
Get to know the screenwriter:
1. What is your screenplay about?
In 1350s Florence, an insecure nun unwillingly becomes the Mother Superior after the Plague kills the leaders of her nearly bankrupt convent. To save the convent, she must find the strength to confront the male dominated Church, Guilds and civil authorities, and her own demons.
2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?
Mother Superior is a historical drama involving feminist and religious issues.
3. Why should this screenplay be made into a movie?
While set in the past, Mother Superior has great modern-day relevance. The Plague foreshadows the disruptions of our Covid epidemic. Today’s struggles of women with a male dominated Church and civil society, and with their own faith, echo those of the protagonist.
And among all the male dominated superhero movies, it is a stirring story of a heroine on a journey.
4. How would you describe this script in two words?
5. What movie have you seen the most times in your life?
Lawrence of Arabia. And I have also read and reread Lawrence’s book The Seven Pillars of Wisdom which explores how a scholar on Middle Eastern history became a reluctant warrior.
6. How long have you been working on this screenplay?
About a year. It was inspired by teaching a class on Boccaccio’s 1350 A.D. Decameron, a collection of stories in which more often the women outsmarted the men. Once I decided to set it in a convent, I had to research their structure and choose an order. The Augustinian won out, in part because I have long liked St. Augustine’s Confessions. As a former litigator, I liked that he taught rhetoric to lawyers in Rome. And not being Catholic required more research.
7. How many stories have you written?
I have self-published 15 books, ranging from travelogues, short stories, poetry and children’s stories to how-to. For the last five years I have focused only on the distilled storytelling of screenplays and TV pilots, having written six specs to date. I used to rely on contest feedback for rewrites, but now collaborate with a script consultant for notes. I am now submitting them to production companies through ISA.
8. What is your favorite song? (Or, what song have you listened to the most times in your life?)
The Beatles “In my Life”. I love to hear and sing what I call the most honest love song.
9. What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?
Not being Catholic, I had to do a lot of research to set the world and to understand Church doctrine and the mindset of Mother Superior.
10. Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?
I love all of New York City’s culture, travel and motorcycling. I am also a life-long learner and continually take classes and sometimes teach.
11. You entered your screenplay via FilmFreeway. What has been your experiences working with the submission platform site?
FilmFreeway is an easy platform to use. However, I have largely switched to ISA to consolidate both contest and production company submissions.
12. What influenced you to enter the festival? What were your feelings on the initial feedback you received?
I saw the web notice of the festival shortly after completing Mother Superior. While some of my other features and TV pilot had women characters as part of a duo or a quartet, this is my first female driven feature. I had to enter to see how the world reacted to my point of view.
The initial feedback had actionable notes and will guide my next rewrite.