What better way for an aspiring director to end her college career than by winning top honors in an annual campus-wide script-writing contest?
The Mercyhurst University Communication Department announced earlier this year that Caitlin MacBride, a communication major whose dream is to be the next acclaimed Hollywood director, had nabbed the first-place prize for her screenplay 100. MacBride will screen her film on Sunday, April 28, at 3 p.m. in Taylor Little Theatre.
Known for bringing her former boss, Northeast Ohio movie producer Tyler Davidson to campus last fall to introduce his film, Take Shelter, MacBride is excited to share her personal victory with the college community, her family and friends.
“In my mind I knew my screenplay was good, not just because it’s different, but because it has a great message,” said MacBride.
MacBride’s screenplay was one of three other student entries that were reviewed for creativity, plot and character development by a committee of full-time communication faculty, including assistant professor Dennis Lebec, who was impressed with the storyline.
“I thought it was very well written,” said Lebec. “I can’t speak for the other judges, but obviously from a script-writing standpoint, the story was very good. Caitlin has said that she aspires to be like screenwriter Nora Ephron (Sleepless in Seattle and When Harry Met Sally). I wouldn’t be surprised if someday she achieves her dream.”
Set in a small-town high school — much of her production was filmed at Mercyhurst Preparatory School — MacBride’s film is about a class of 100 seniors who are connected by a string of good deeds. This “pay-it-forward” film sends the message that the smallest gesture of kindness can have the biggest impact.
“I actually came up with the idea in high school, but never put it down on paper,” said MacBride, whose idea for 100 stemmed from a class lecture in theology about the ways in which society marginalizes some people.
“My film is about how showing someone else that you care, staying positive and treating others with respect, whether you know someone’s personal story or not, can make all the difference,” she said.
As a young girl, MacBride was drawn to writing, filming and editing movies. In eighth grade, the Cleveland native produced the graduation slideshow for her eighth-grade class. While earning her degree in three years, rather than the traditional four, MacBride has been heavily involved with Mercyhurst’s student-run Laker TV, both as on-air talent in “The Hollywood Buzz” and as co-manager of the station. In addition to landing her 2012 summer internship with Davidson, MacBride will return to Cleveland post-graduation to work on the set of the Hollywood production of Captain America 2.
The film screening on Sunday is free and open to the public. The event is black tie optional, with a reception to follow the 45-minute film.
PHOTO: Paul Bailey and Ryan Kushner in still from film