Inspired by my travels to the Republic of Georgia, this screenplay is a 1-minute advertisement for the fictional non-profit organization “Empower Women Georgia.” This screenplay shows my ability to write a creative and compelling narrative that engages the audience with a client’s mission. “Empower Women Georgia” was completed for Digital and Organizational Storytelling in Summer 2017.
EMPOWER WOMEN GEORGIA
SCENE A large living room with stone walls, sparsely furnished with old wooden furniture. A tattered embroidered green rug hangs on one wall, and an even larger faded brown rug covers the wooden floor. A faint afternoon light barely shines through the dust collecting on the large window behind a sofa covered in crocheted blankets, leather-bound books, and old newspapers, all in earth tones: brown, green, pale yellow, and gray.
The sound of a tea kettle screeching off screen briefly interrupts the silence. Soft footsteps.
ASYA, an Armenian woman in her late 50s, enters the screen holding a chipped black mug that says “I ❤ New York,” in one hand, and a letter and another newspaper in the other day. She lowers herself slowly onto the edge of the sofa, and places her tea on the side table, next to four picture frames.
The camera zooms in on the pictures. There is one of ASYA from 20 years ago, with her daughter and her husband. Next to it is a picture from 10 years ago showing ASYA standing next to her daughter in her graduation cap. The third picture frame shows the daughter in a NYU Class of 2010 t-shirt in front of the arch in Washington Square Park . The final picture frame is a recent photograph of ASYA, by herself, taken in front of an old church.
ASYA opens the letter. The camera follows the Armenian letters as she reads. The letter is dated in English: May 15. As ASYA reads, we hear the voice of her daughter in English:
Dear Mom, Happy Mother’s Day!
Your granddaughter has grown so big since my last letter. We speak to her in Armenian at home, and show her pictures of you all the time. Here’s a picture of her at her first birthday two weeks ago. (ASYA holds up the picture of a baby girl with short black hair and big, dark eyes wearing a white dress.) I wish you speak with her more often, but we know how expensive the phone call is, and how long the journey to the nearest internet café is. George and I both hope we can all come visit you soon.
ASYA places the letter on the table and sighs. She picks up the newspaper and the camera zooms in on today’s date: July 1. ASYA unfolds the newspaper and a bright blue leaflet falls onto her gray house dress. She picks it up and we see the leaflet through her eyes. There is a group of women on the cover who all look like ASYA: middle-aged with the hair in buns or cut short. But the women are wearing bright clothes: reds, vibrant blues, floral patterns. They are smiling at each other. The top of the leaflet reads EMPOWER WOMEN – ARMENIA in large font.
Further down, ASYA reads:
“The Empower Women’s Resource Center is Empowering Women by giving them the resources they need to thrive in the world today. Sign up today to see if you are eligible to receive a free laptop. The resource center will be holding free instructional classes to help women stay in touch, stay informed, and stay active in the modern world.”
ASYA looks up, holds the picture of her granddaughter, and smiles.
CUT TO A brightly lit classroom with shining linoleum floors and white walls. In the center of the room is a large card table. Three young women in their 20s and 30s dressed in black slacks and brightly colored blouses sit behind the card table. ASYA enters and approaches one of the women. They shake ASYA’s hand, and invite her to sit. They smile at her warmly. She shows them the letter from her daughter, the picture of her granddaughter, and the leaflet. The three women look at each other and nod. One of them reaches into the large plastic bin on the table, and takes out a small laptop, and hands it to ASYA.
CUT TO Another brightly lit classroom, this one with school desks. Asya is sitting at one of the desks with her laptop open. There are five other women Asya’s age sitting at desks in the classroom, and the women who handed ASYA the laptop is standing at the front of the classroom. She is pointed to a projection from her computer, and is showing the women how to use Skype. The camera focuses in on ASYA’s face and her screen, as she opens the application and laughs at seeing her own face in the computer screen.
CUT TO Asya’s living room. The dusty window is open, and the room is full of natural light. The rugs, books, and newspapers have been cleared from the sofa. Asya is wearing a bright blue dress and sitting on the sofa. Her laptop is in her lap, and we see her speaking. The camera shows Asya’s computer screen. We see the face of Asya’s daughter and her granddaughter, and Asya’s own face in a thumbnail on the screen.
ANUSHKA (speaking to the granddaughter)
Say hi, Tatik! (She ways her daughter’s hand, who smiles)
The camera slowly out to show ASYA continuing to speak with her daughter and granddaughter.
Over half of Armenia’s women lack access to modern communication, reliable news sources, and technological resources. Since 2015, Empower Women Armenia, has donated over 200 laptops and provided over 500 hours of instructional classes to help Armenian women stay in touch with their families abroad, stay aware of the world at large, and enter the modern economy. For more information on how you can support Empower Women Armenia, visit http://www.empowerwomenarmenia.com.