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Exclusive: NYU’s Purple List for 2023 Features Inspirational Figures from the Black List


New York University has announced its 2023 picks for its blacklist-inspired purple list of the best production-ready screenplays from Tisch School of the Arts graduate film students and recent alumni.

The four scenarios, selected through a blind reading process by industry leaders, are Burnout by Swetha Regunathan, Fate Moreland’s widow by Joshua Foster, Hazer by Pepi Ginsberg and May you outlive us by Isabelle Mecattaf.

Burnout is a family drama set on an illegal cannabis farm. Fate Moreland’s widow is based on a 2015 novel of the same name and explores a drama set in a mill town in Blue Ridge Mountain. Hazer is a campus psychological thriller featuring a student-athlete and a fraternity. And May you outlive us follows four women as they recover from the 2020 explosion in Beirut.

Prominent filmmakers whose work has been included in previous 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, Cameron Post’s wrong upbringing) And The starling girlwith Laurel Parmet.

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

Sixteen scripts from previous editions of the list, prepared by alumni Ashim Bhalla and Shandor Garrison and faculty member John Tintori, have entered production.

“Screenwriters make the list by somehow pushing the boundaries of the screenplay art form,”
Bhalla said in a statement. “The Purple List is a catalyst that propels their unique visions onto the screen. These are no longer spec scripts, these are now projects in development that fund and match active talent.”

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

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

Burnout by Swetha Regunathan
Samrat “Sam” Gill returns to his family’s berry farm in Washington State and discovers that it is a
front for an illegal cannabis farm run by his older brother Jai and his father Anil, who became a Sikh,
wearing a turban for the first time in his life. Anil reveals that he wants to retire
from a will between the prodigal son and the good son, the brother who went away and the one
who stayed. When a new group of groomers arrive for the harvest, Sam gets along with Cece, a
troubled, free-spirited drifter and Jai tries to mess up their connection. After Jai crosses over
a boundary and Cece disappears, the Gill brothers quickly unravel and expose themselves to whom
they always were.

Fate Moreland’s widow by Joshua Foster
Foster’s script, based on a 2015 novel by John Lane, is set in 1935 in a Blue Ridge Mountain
mill town, where Ben Crocker, son of mill workers, defends the mill owner
George McCane, who is charged with murder. While defending McCane, Crocker struggles with
union negotiations, family quarrels and surprising romantic feelings for the widow of one of the
men McCane is charged with murder.

Hazer by Pepi Ginsberg
Caleb Beck is a quirky freshman wrestler from a working-class family who makes a rich commitment
fraternity while dieting to maintain his weight class. Caleb has a crush on a fraternity brother
who attends a party with Ana. When Ana goes missing, Caleb becomes the prime suspect in her
disappearance. Exiled by the brotherhood and his team, he tries to clear his name – and a
chance of love.

May you outlive us by Isabelle Mecattaf
Four women go about their daily lives one 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 try to fit in
to their new normal. Through their daily routines, we witness the instability and challenges in
Lebanon and what it’s like to navigate a city with damaged buildings, faulty electricity and pipes
for gas and groceries.

Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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