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NYU’s Black List-Inspired Purple List Reveals 2023 Picks (Exclusive)



New York University has revealed its 2023 picks for its Black List-inspired Purple List of the best production-ready screenplays from Tisch School of the Arts graduate film students and recent alumni.

The four screenplays, selected via a blind reading process by industry leaders, are Burnout by Swetha Regunathan, Fate Moreland’s Widow by Joshua Foster, Haaser by Pepi Ginsberg and May You Outlive Us by Isabelle Macattaf.

Burnout is a family drama set on an illegal cannibis farm. Fate Moreland’s Widow is based on a 2015 novel of the same name and explores a drama set in a Blue Ridge Mountain mill town. Haaser is a campus psychological thriller involving a student athlete and a fraternity. And May You Outlive Us follows four women as they recover from the 2020 Beirut explosion.

Prominent filmmakers whose work was included on past editions of the Purple List, now in its 12th year, include Chloé Zhao (Nomadland, Eternals), Judas and the Black Messiah‘s Shaka King, Cathy Yan (Succession, Dead Pigs, Birds of Prey), Desiree Akhavan (Appropriate Behavior, The Miseducation of Cameron Post) and The Starling Girl’s Laurel Parmet.

This year’s selections will be celebrated at an invitation-only event in New York Wednesday night featuring a keynote from Yan followed by staged excerpts of the winning scripts.

Sixteen scripts from past editions of the list, founded by alumni Ashim Bhalla and Shandor Garrison and faculty member John Tintori, have gone into production.

“Screenwriters make the list by pushing the boundaries of the screenplay art form in some way,”
Bhalla said in a statement. “The Purple List is a catalyst that propels their unique visions onto the screen. These aren’t spec scripts anymore, these are now projects in development actively financing and attaching talent.”

This year’s winners were selected by a panel of producers, agents, managers, screenwriters and directors representing organizations like Netflix, Searchlight, A24 and Sundance Labs.

More information about each of this year’s screenplays, provided by the Purple List team, follows.

Burnout by Swetha Regunathan
Samrat “Sam” Gill returns to his family’s berry farm in Washington state to find it has become a
front for an illegal cannabis farm, run by his older brother Jai and his lapsed-Sikh father Anil,
who is wearing a turban for the first time in his life. Anil reveals that he wants to retire, setting
off a contest of wills between the prodigal son and good son, the brother who left and the one
who stayed As a new group of trimmers arrives for the harvest, Sam hits it off with Cece, a
Troubled, free-spirited drifter and Jai tries to throw a wrench in their connection. After Jai crosses
a boundary and Cece disappears, the Gill brothers quickly unravel, exposing themselves for who
they always were.

Fate Moreland’s Widow by Joshua Foster
Based on a 2015 novel by John Lane, Foster’s script is set in 1935 in a Blue Ridge Mountain.
mill town, where Ben Crocker, the son of mill workers, finds himself defending the mill owner
George McCane, who is accused of murder. While he defends McCane, Crocker wrestles with
union negotiations, family strife and surprising romantic feelings for the widow of one of the
Men McCane is accused of killing.

Haaser by Pepi Ginsberg
Caleb Beck is a queer first year wrestler from a working class family who is pledging a wealthy
fraternity while dieting to maintain his weight class. Caleb is smitten with a fraternity brother
who attends a party with Ana. When Ana goes missing, Caleb becomes the main suspect in her
Disappearance. Ostracized by the fraternity and his team, he tries to clear his name – and grab a
chance at love.

May You Outlive Us by Isabelle Macattaf
Four women go about their daily lives a year after the 2020 explosion that devastated Beirut.
Maya, the matriarch with PTSD, her daughter Dounia, whose husband died in the explosion,
Dounia’s daughter, Lelia, who is about to start college, and housekeeper Zara are trying to adjust
to their new normal. Through their daily routines, we witness the instabilities and challenges
Lebanon and what it is like to navigate a city with damaged buildings, spotty electricity and lines
for gas and groceries.

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