New York University’s Graduate Film Program today announced the 2013 selections on this year’s prestigious Purple List, a short list of the best screenplays generated from the NYU Graduate Film program. Purple List selections are made annually by industry experts, which this year included Sundance Labs’ Rachel Chanoff, IFP Labs’ Amy Dotson, actor Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones), filmmaker Karyn Kusama and cinematographer Chris Manley (Mad Men).

NYU Announces "Purple List" Winners

Similar to Hollywood’s Blacklist, the Purple List was created by NYU students Ash Bhalla and Shandor Garrison in 2012 to help promote the next generation of writer-directors. Submissions are received exclusively from the NYU graduate film program. Out of last year’s Purple List winners, Shaka King's “Newlyweeds,” was an Official Selection of the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. Kim Spurlock's “The Whispering Giant” was part of the IFP Emerging Narrative Lab and Chloe Zhao's “Lee,” was accepted in both the Sundance Screenwriting Lab and the IFP Emerging Narrative Lab. It is scheduled for production in June 2013.

“After years of rejection from screenwriting labs, competitions, etc., ‘Newlyweeds’ seemed doomed to remain an unmade script,” said King. “Then we made the Purple List and it was an incredible ego boost. Immediately after the list was announced I must have gotten over 30 inquiries about the status of the project from production companies and agents. It fortified my belief that ‘Newlyweeds’ was a movie folks wanted to see.”

This year’s purple list winners included “Arrow,” by Emily Carmichael; “The Adderall Diaries” by Pamela Romanowsky; “Out There” by Jennifer Suhr; “Those People” by Joey Kuhn and Grainne Belluomo; “Manos Sucias” by Joe Wladyka and Alan Blanco; “Disposable Lovers” by Desiree Akhavan; and “Yosemite” by Gabrielle Demeestere. Selected scripts include projects already in pre-production as well as camera-ready screenplays with no financing or attachments.

“The students are in grad school, so they’re obviously accomplished, but they still have the purity of film artists and the eagerness to explore with one end in mind: to make the best art,” said Adjunct Professor James Franco, who is also an alumnus of the NYU Tisch Graduate film program. Franco’s short story collection was the source material for one of the winning screenplay projects, “Yosemite.” “’The Adderall Diaries’ is a project I’ve been championing for years, and I turned to my NYU collaborators to help me put it together.”

“Most importantly, the Purple List gives talented filmmakers a crucial opportunity to rise above the noise and receive the support they need to get their films made,” added Franco.

John Tintori, chair of the graduate film rogram at NYU, views the initiative as a natural addendum to the program, which is the only one in the country that encourages students to produce feature-length films for their thesis project. According to Tintori, the combination of training students to create feature-length work while supporting their efforts to subsequently promote and finance their work, gives graduates a tremendous advantage when entering the world of filmmaking.

“We’re so proud of the success of the Purple List, not only because it speaks volumes about the reputation of the NYU Tisch graduate film program – which produced such outstanding artists as Ang Lee, Debra Granik, Jim Jarmusch, Cary Fukunaga, and our Artistic Director Spike Lee – but because it gives us another valuable tool for celebrating and sharing the unique and diverse voices of the next generation of filmmakers,” said Tintori.

In addition to Chanoff, Dotson, Dinklage, Kusama, and Manley, this year’s judges included the following: James Belfer (Dogfish Pictures); writer Phil Hay; agent Lawrence Mattis (Circle of Confusion); Ram Murali (Cinetic Media advisors); writer Lynn Nottage; cinetmatographer Andrij Parekh; filmmaker Jessica Scharzer; manager Jeffrey Silver (Fourth Floor Productions); director and producer Alejandro Springall, Springall Pictures; and agent Lucy Stille (The Paradigm Agency).

On April 3, NYU will sponsor a launch party showcasing screenplays in a staged reading of excerpts hosted by filmmaker and Professor Alexandre Rockwell; invitees include the Purple List Judges, potential investors, and Spike Lee. The 2013 NYU Purple List is available at:

About the Maurice Kanbar Institute of Film and Television

The Kanbar Institute of Film and Television at NYU Tisch School of the Arts is among the most selective film and television directing programs in the world, and counts among its alumni Martin Scorsese, Ang Lee, Spike Lee, Oliver Stone, Joel Cohen, Woody Allen, Tamara Jenkins, Cary Fukunaga and Amy Heckerling, among many others. For more information, visit

List Compiled March 2013
Scripts are listed in ALPHABETICAL ORDER


Writer and Adderall enthusiast Stephen Elliott reaches a low point when his estranged father resurfaces, claiming that Stephen has fabricated much of the dark childhood that that fuels his writing. Adrift in the precarious grey area of memory, Stephen has to navigate the unstable terrain of truth and identity, led by two sources of inspiration: a new romance, and a murder trial that reminds him more than a little of his own story.


ARROW by Emily Carmichael – SCI-FI COMEDY

Five years ago, three unlikely heroes banded together to secure the fate of their world, which is much like our world but has significantly more talking reptiles. Today, the three heroes are struggling to adjust to everyday life in alternate-reality Brooklyn. The two timelines interweave, mixing sci-fi action with a relationship-driven narrative that turns the conventions both genres inside-out.



Shirin’s a Brooklyn-based, bisexual child of Iranian immigrants who can’t find her niche. After being dumped by her (secret) girlfriend, she embarks on a journey to rebuild her life and win back her ex.

Phone: 845-346-661MANOS SUCIAS by Alan Blanco and Josef Wladyka - THRILLER2

A desperate fisherman and a naive kid embark on a dangerous journey trafficking drugs up the Pacific coast of Colombia. Hidden beneath the waves, they tow a narco torpedo filled with millions of dollars worth of cocaine. Together, they must brave the war-torn region while navigating the growing tension between them.

Phone: 571-232-7162, 973-641-6295

OUT THERE by Jennifer Cho Suhr - DRAMA

When his deadbeat father takes off, 16-year-old Collum hits the road with his UFO-obsessed half brother to find his long lost mother.

Phone: 847-778-6335

THOSE PEOPLE by Joey Kuhn & Grainne O’Hara Belluomo – COMING OF AGE

On Manhattan’s gilded Upper East Side, a young painter, Charlie, finds the man of his dreams in a charming older pianist from across the globe. If only Charlie weren’t secretly in love with his manipulative best friend, Sebastian, who is embroiled in a financial scandal.

Phone: 917-847-3524

YOSEMITE by Gabrielle Demeestere – DRAMA

It’s the fall of 1985. The intertwining tales of three friends unfold in the suburban paradise of Palo Alto, as the specter of a killer mountain lion looms over the community.

CHRIS, 10, encounters a dead body up close; his classmate JOE escapes the aftermath of his little brother’s passing through the pages of Spiderman; TED, 10, battles his imaginary demons… and the mountain lion.

Phone: 646-247-8751


Amy Dotson, Independent Filmmaker Project
Jeffrey Silver, Fourth Floor Productions
Karyn Kusama, Filmmaker
Lawrence Mattis, Circle of Confusion
Lucy Stille, The Paradigm Agency
Phil Hay, Writer
Rachel Chanoff, Sundance Labs
Ram Murali, Cinetic Media
Lynn Nottage, Writer
Alejandro Springall, Springall Pictures
Jessica Scharzer, Filmmaker
James Belfer, Dogfish Pictures
Andrij Parekh, Cinematographer
Peter Dinklage, Actor
Chris Manley, Cinematographer






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