The New York City Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment and Brooklyn College’s Feirstein Graduate School of Cinema today announced that Patty Carey-Perazzo’s Half-Life and Robin Rose Singer’s Adult Behavior were chosen from more than 300 submitted scripts for development into pilots that will air on NYC Media. The city’s broadcast network has a reach of 18 million households. One of the two winning pilots will be selected for the creation of four additional episodes, to air on NYC Media in the summer of 2018.

Half-Life concerns a mother trying to re-start her stalled career. Adult Behavior is about a young woman who moves to New York to work at a Bronx nursing home. The winners are the first in the new citywide screenwriting contest highlighting stories by, for or about women. Both of the winners are veterans of New York’s production industry.

New York City Mayor’s Office of Movies and Entertainment chief Julie Menin.
NYC Mayor's Office

“Congratulations to Patty and Robin, whose work stood out in a competitive field,” MOME Commissioner Julie Menin said in the announcement. “The contest they have won, as well as four other women’s initiatives our office is rolling out, reflect our commitment to addressing the well-documented underrepresentation of women in the film and television industry – both on and off the screen.”

“This opportunity is unparalleled,” said Carey-Perazzo, a location manager who wrote about a woman’s attempt to lean back into her career after
leaning out to raise her children. “I’ve been working in film and television production right here in NYC for over 20 years, but I’ve always worked on someone else’s show. To have this opportunity to break through to another level and see my own project come to fruition means everything to me.”

Singer, who makes her living as an actress and filmmaker in the city, says the contest marked the first time she has written something for broadcast TV.

“It was crazy . . . I was so shocked,” she said about hearing she had won the contest for her pilot inspired by a visit with her grandmother. “I like art that is both commercial and has the potential to change people. First you make them laugh, then you hit them with some truth. As a writer, I’m the ground zero for bringing diverse stories to the screen and showing people worlds they might not normally see.”

The winning scripts will be produced as pilots this summer by teams of Feirstein graduate students under the mentorship of Jonathan Wacks, founding director of the school, and Jamie Zelermyer, former Vice President of Physical Production at Focus Features/Rogue Pictures. The Feirstein Graduate School of Cinema opened in 2015 in a purpose-built facility at Steiner Studios at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

Other elements of MOME’s programs to elevate the role of women in the entertainment industry include a $5 million grant fund to support film and theater projects by, for and about women; pitch workshops for women filmmakers, and a film financing conference connecting women filmmakers with funding for their projects; an inspiring new block of programming on Channel 25 focused entirely on women and their perspectives; and a report analyzing the gender imbalance of directors in the film industry.

The jury to select the winning projects included:
• Joana Vicente, Executive Director, IFP and the Made in NY Media Center
• Julie Menin, Commissioner, Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment
• Jonathan Wacks, Founding Director, Feirstein Graduate School of Cinema
• Jamie Zelermyer, Producer; former VP Physical Production, Focus Features
• Blair Breard, Executive Producer, Better Things, One Mississippi, Horace and Pete, Louie
• Nadia Manzoor, co-creator and performer, Shugs & Fats; founder, Paprika Productions
• Chanelle Aponte Pearson, Director, 195 Lewis; Producer, An Oversimplification of Her
Beauty; Actor, How Would You Feel?