The Athena Film Festival awarded screenwriter Denise Meyers with its inaugural Alfred P. Sloan Athena List Development Grant. Meyers will receive $20,000 to help advance her script, Lucky 13, to the next stage of development.
On Tuesday, October 29th, Meyers was presented a plaque at Barnard College. The presentation was preceded by a reading of select scenes from the script.
The reading was casted and directed by Melisa Annis. The actors reading the script were Heidi Armbruster, Michael Billingsley, Jim Cairl, Cleo Gray, Clare Latham, Sarah Matteucci, Kristin Parker, Michael Shenefelt, Gabra Zackman, and Clint Zugel.
Lucky 13 is the story of WASP pilots in World War II. WASP stands for Women Airforce Service Pilots. The reading quickly encompassed the arrival of pilots, their relationship as civilians with the military personnel they were advising and assisting, and most importantly their work and influence on the war effort.
This script feels like A League of Their Own meets Band of Brothers or Catch-22. Well, the beginning episodes of Band of Brothers when the recruits were going through training. I only watched the pilot episode of Catch-22 at Split Screens Festival, so I can't vouch for the series. Either way, it's high praise. The topic and writing definitely lends itself to a feature film or possibly a series. With the proper budgeting, Lucky 13 could be a hit. I see it working with either authentic B-26 Marauders (as mentioned in the script) or CGI versions and built out models for interiors. Also, it will take all period wardrobe and cars, all of which is very possible.
Earlier this year, Athena Film Festival announced its partnership with the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to support the development and distribution of inspiring films like Lucky 13 about women in STEM. The program supports talented filmmakers and screenwriters dedicated to telling these stories - many of whom have been overlooked by history. It is an ongoing goal of Athena Film Festival to draw attention to female-focused scripts through its talent development initiative, the Parity Pipeline Program, which includes screenwriting labs, master classes, the Athena List, and has now expanded to funding opportunities. The Sloan Grant places emphasis on stories dedicated to showcasing the diversity and resilience of women in STEM, which is an area of great importance to Barnard College and Athena Film Festival.
The 10th annual Athena Film Festival will take place February 27 - March 1, 2020 at Barnard College and Columbia University. For more on the festival, go to https://athenafilmfestival.com.
Actors reading the script of Lucky 13 at the Glicker-Milstein Theatre at Barnard College.