Pearlington native a finalist in natíl Showtime screenplay contest
By Geoff Belcher
Jun 13, 2014, 20:10
A Pearlington native is one of three finalists in the nationally-renowned Showtime Tony Cox Feature Screenplay Competition, part of the Nantucket (Maine) Film Festival.
"I'd really like to win, but it's an honor just to make the finals," Oreathia Smith said this week.
Smith grew up in Pearlington and graduated with a BA in English from Millsaps College before earning a Master of Fine Arts degree in Writing for the Screen and Television from the University of Southern California, the country's most prestigious film school.
While in California, she also worked as an intern for Sony Pictures Studios.
"I really got a behind-the-scenes education at Sony," she said. "I did everything you see interns do on TV, got coffee for executives, ran errands ... but I really got to see how the executives talk to writers and how the process works."
She also wrote for the hit web-series "Mis-Adventures of an Awkward Black Girl."
Oreathia returned home last year to assist her 96-year-old grandmother, Pearlington matriarch Lilly Sams, but she continues writing and working on her craft. In addition to the Showtime contest, she said, "One of my short stories made it to the finalist round in this year's Tennessee Williams Short Fiction Contest."
All of her writing these days features southern protagonists, including her Showtime screenplay, "Mona, Richy, Robby and Ray."
"It's sort of a tragi-comedy," she said. "The synopsis is, a black woman uses a white church and a psychic for a job promotion. On the surface, that sounds bad, but .. her son has recently died and the house she lives in, the one she lived in with him, now just holds bad memories for her. She thinks with a promotion, she can buy a new house and start a new life."
The winner of the contest will be announced at this year's festival, which is scheduled for June 25-30.
The winner will receive a $5,000 cash prize, a month-long residency at the Nantucket Screenwriters Colony, an all access badge to the festival, complimentary travel and lodging at the festival, and more.