Five Great Screenplays, One Screening of LGBT Shorts in Gay Film Weekend

Chicago, IL – Five finalists have been named in Pride Films and Plays’ Great Gay Screenplay Contest, an international contest for screenplays with LGBT characters and themes. The finalists include a wide range of subject matter ranging from a love triangle set in France, a mystical teenage romance laced with racial tension, a set of non-actors facing possible Hollywood stardom, a sweet coming-of-age tale, and an older man’s revelation of painful secrets. The five screenplays will be performed as enhanced staged readings during Gay Film Weekend at Center on Halsted’s Hoover-Leppen Theatre November 15 to 17.

Tickets can be purchased here.

Our 5 finalists are:

  • The Starfish Scream by Brent Hartinger
  • The Passion Child by Amir Sade
  • Boys in Summer by Dennis Shinners
  • Buddy Booth by Edward J. Yaeger Jr.
  • Saguaro by Brandon Yarns

And here is the schedule  for the weekend:

Friday, November 15 at 6pm – Kickoff Reception

Friday, November 15 at 7pm – Boys in Summer by Dennis Shinners (directed by Nelson Rodriguez)

Saturday, November 16 at 2pm – Buddy Booth by Edward Yaeger, Jr. (directed by Sonita Surratt)

Saturday, November 16 at 5pm – Screening of Short Films

Saturday, November 16 at 7pm – The Starfish Scream by Brent Hartinger (directed by Raphael Schwartzman)

Sunday, November 17 at 11 am – The Passion Child by Amir Sade (directed by Michael Graham)

Sunday, November 17 at 2pm – Saguaro by Brandon Yarns (directed by Juan Castañeda)

Sunday, November 17 at 4:30pm – Announcement of GGSC13 Winner (at Marty’s Martini Bar)

Here are synopses of the screenplays and bios of the screenwriters:

[toggle type=”white” title=”Boys in Summer by Dennis Shinners” active=””]

A shy American college boy travels to Paris to reconnect with a French exchange student from his high school years and finds himself in battle for his affections with a bold, brash and aggressive Jersey girl.

Dennis Shinners is an NYC filmmaker that produces TV spots for Nickelodeon during the day and writes his own movies at night. His most recent short “Barrio Boy” (adapted from a previous Pride Films & Plays screenplay finalist) hits the road this fall.


[toggle type=”white” title=”Buddy Booth by Edward J. Yaeger Jr.” active=””]

A young man and a mysterious woman befriend each other under unorthodox circumstances. Their chemistry is so unique and infectious that the two soon find themselves cast in an indie film by a famous director who wants no-name actors starring in his art-house foray. The two new stars grapple with their demons both on and off screen, interfusing reality with celluloid.

Edward J. Yaeger Jr. is a digital marketer and short story writer based in Baltimore, Maryland. His short story, Gifting, is currently being produced as an animated short film. Edward is a contributing writer and guest blogger for Huffington Post and has written for a variety of LGBT publications, including and Outsports.


[toggle type=”white” title=”The Starfish Scream by Brent Hartinger” active=””]

Unable to accept that his best friend has committed suicide, a teenage boy searches his memories of their past together for an explanation that makes it make sense.

Brent Hartinger’s many plays have been produced around the country, twice in New York. He’s also the author of nine novels, all from major publishers; his 2003 gay teen novel Geography Club has now been adapted into a feature film co-starring Scott Bakula and Ana Gasteyer and is set for release in early 2014. In 1990, Brent helped found one of the world’s first GSAs, in his hometown of Tacoma, Washington, and he is also the co-founder of, which was sold to Viacom/Logo in 2006.[/toggle]

[toggle type=”white” title=”The Passion Child by Amir Sade” active=””]

A 52-year old passionate man must reveal long hidden, painful secrets to a 21-year old young man who comes to seek the truth about his father– 21 years after his father’s vague and mysterious death.

Born in Iran, living in exile in the U.S., Amir Sade is a playwright, screenwriter, and astronomer, and has written several shorts, plays and seven screenplays.

The Passion Child took 35 years to develop and transform from an Iranian concept, to a profound American classic drama… Created HEAVENS, and, THE IMAGINATARIUM, the first 3-D Space Art Gallery, and The Live Cosmic Show.


[toggle type=”white” title=”Saguaro by Brandon Yarns” active=””]

In Saguaro, two best friends of different races embark on separate quests for love after one leaves their remote Indian-village home to care for his ailing father.

Brandon Yarns won several national and international awards as a clarinetist and performed on National Public Radio before turning to a career in medicine. He is now a resident physician and has been published in the prestigious scientific journal Psychosomatics. Brandon sought a new challenge in writing his first screenplay and found inspiration in a trip to the Arizona desert and the love for his partner and muse, Johnny.



Readers for the contest included:

  • Ricardo Bracho: of Los Angeles; Author, “Sissy,” “Puto,” and “When the Chunt Comes”
  • Wendy Jo Carlton: Writer; Director; Filmmaker;
  • Catherine Crouch: Filmmaker;
  • Kris Hyland: EMC Actor; Artistic Ensemble Member, Pride Films & Plays
  • Barb Lhota: Playwright; Screenwriter
  • John Nasca: Artistic Associate, Pride Films & Plays
  • Adam Pasen: Playwright; Screenwriter
  • Danny Rhodes: Screenwriter/Director, I SCREAM YOU SCREAM, ONE NOT TAKEN; Writer/Producer/Actor, Bad Sides and Cock N’ Bull; Director, Released
  • Nelson Rodriguez: Actor; Artistic Ensemble Member, Pride Films & Plays
  • Seve Scott: Associate Producer, Goodman Theatre; Freelance Director
  • David Zak: Executive Director, Pride Films & Plays;

About Pride Films and Plays

Pride Films and Plays fosters excellence in writing for the stage and screen with LGBT themes by linking an international network of writers to our Artistic Ensemble in Chicago.

Using stories with gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender characters or themes, Pride Films and Plays develops human stories that speak for the community and are essential viewing for all audiences.

PFP’s fully staged productions include reinvigorated classics, Chicago premieres, and world premieres of scripts that have been developed in the contests. The 2011 Great Gay Play Contest winner, Learn To Be Latina by Enrique Ureata, has had multiple regional productions, and the 2012 winner At The Flash by Sean Chandler and David Leeper was Jeff-recommended in Chicago and recently concluded a successful run in Los Angeles. Under A Rainbow Flag by Leo Schwartz, a finalist in last year’s contest, had its world premiere in Chicago this spring and won the Jeff Award for Best New Work and Best Musical Production. The 2013 contest winner Directions for Restoring the Apparently Dead by Martin Casella will have its world premiere in October, 2013.

Our contests – the Great Gay Play Contest, Women’s Work (for plays and screenplays with lesbian characters or themes, written by women), and the Great Gay Screenplay Contest – reach their conclusion during Festival Weekends of readings and workshops sponsored by Center on Halsted. Writers from around the world have come to Chicago to engage with PFP’s Artistic Ensemble in rehearsals and performances of “enhanced staged readings” which include movement, blocking, and technical elements.

For more information on contests or productions, visit