EXCLUSIVE: The Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment (CAPE) and Franklin Leonard’s The Black List are teaming up for the CAPE List, a curated list of the 12 most promising unmade film scripts centering on Asian Pacific characters and experiences.
The partnership, which is a fitting announcement for Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, continues the fight for authentic representation and storytelling in film. The pairing between the two organization is an ideal match as CAPE has helped to launch writing careers with its New Writers Fellowship and the Black List has become a beacon for Hollywood executives’ favorite unproduced screenplays.
The 12 scripts on The CAPE List represent a diverse array of stories – one for each month of the year in celebration of #AsianAllYear – that scratch the surface of the plethora of Asian Pacific Islander stories. CAPE looks to move the needle when it comes to studios making more films in which diversity is baked in and cannot be removed without adversely affecting the story.
“The Black List has been a tremendous partner of our CAPE New Writers Fellowship for the past few years,” said CAPE Executive Director Michelle K. Sugihara. “We are thrilled to elevate our partnership with this special collaboration to join our two communities.”
“It’s been a joy to amplify the visibility of CAPE’s New Writers Fellowship over the last few years,” adds Black List founder and CEO Franklin Leonard. “It was only natural that we expand our relationship by working with them to promote even more writers doing exceptional work, similar to what we did earlier this year with GLAAD and the GLAAD list.”
CAPE curated the inaugural list from a pool of the highly-rated scripts provided by The Black List and scripts sourced from the CAPE community. They were evaluated by overall quality and whether or not the film’s protagonist identifies as a person from Asian and/or Pacific Islander heritage. In addition, the script must include authentic, accurate and inclusive Asian and Pacific Islander representation that if removed, it would significantly alter or affect the story.
The scripts must also pass the CAPE Test’s requirements: First, the lead or at least two characters are of Asian or Pacific Islander descent; second, at least one Asian Pacific Islander character has a narrative arc distinct from helping or revolving around the main character.
The loglines of the scripts chosen for the very first CAPE List can be read below.
COWBOYS VERSUS INDIANS by Christopher T. VanDijk & Ambarish Manepalli – On the verge of losing the girl he’s always loved, Raj must fly home to win her back. Using his friends and a football tradition to challenge her fiancé, he thinks he has a plan. But when it all backfires he must learn that the best way to save his friendship may be the very thing he fears most.
GUNS AND SARIS by Tianna Majumdar-Langham and Chris Bessounian – They’ve been oppressed and brutalized at the bottom of India’s caste system for 3000 years, but now the “untouchable” women of India have found an unlikely source of hope – and she’s armed.
HALF ANGELS by Déjà Cresencia Bernhardt – A troubled veteran, working as a social worker, removes his ten-year old patient from her abusive home. When she escapes with a streetwise transgender girl, he must violate the ethical codes of his profession in order to search for and save them. Set in the paradise lost of what Hawai’i has become.
NA WAHINE by Kimberly-Rose Wolter – Na Wahine is a female action-adventure feature set in Hawai’i circa 1793. After Numia’s home and parents are wiped out by a tyrannical chief, the teenager is sent on a journey to find a Iwi, forbidden woman and the only warrior strong enough to save Numia’s village. Leading a ragtag team of female warriors Iwi and Numia set out to stop the power-hungry chief before he conquers the island.
NO SKATEBOARDING by Jonathan Bird – A teenage hapa skateboarder moves in with his eccentric Vietnamese mother in 1992 San Diego, where he’s emboldened and jeopardized by her fantastical worldview as he tries to go pro filming a “sponsor me” video with friends.
I’M NOT PHIL by Eugene Ramos – Filipino-American Ray Garcia pretends to be Asian Golden Boy Phil Aquino to win the affections of Rachael, a white co-ed who thinks all Asians look alike.
THE DELIVERY MAN by Isaac Ho – Set in today’s New York City, Chinese restaurant-owner Liu Dai Yang’s eldest son is murdered while delivering a take-out order. Heartbroken, desperate and frantic, Liu searches for justice from an indifferent system that he’s only partially legally a part of. With the help of a sympathetic NYPD Detective McCuskey, Liu takes matters into his own hands — determined to seek justice or revenge, whichever comes first. Inspired by true events.
THE HARVEST by Doua Moua – A son who returns home to help his ailing and traditional Hmong father, only to set off a chain of events that affects the lives of his entire family.
THE MONKEY KING by Galen Tong – In this period action adventure set in early 20th Century China, a young hustler and entrepreneur must disguise himself as a famous character from the Peking opera, become a warrior, then secretly lead a rebellion against the foreign powers occupying and oppressing his country.
THE RINGMEN by Ryan Lee – Two Chinese-American founders of a Beijing-based college consulting company that uses unethical means to cheat their clients into American universities are forced to fight to save their company when the New York Times threatens to publish an expose.
THE SUN GHOST by Arun Croll – During World War II, a family imprisoned in a Japanese-American internment camp must stop an overprotective ghost from escalating the violence between the Japanese internees and their jailers.
THE TIGER’S CHILD by the Vang Brothers – During the largest paramilitary operation in the history of the CIA, a 12-year-old Hmong orphan enlists in Officer William Summers’ secret child army and becomes his deadliest sniper. Based on true events.