The 2015 Black List was released yesterday. In total, 16 of the 81 scripts featured, or 20%, are written or co-written by women. The selection process is highly competitive, and the scripts that make the cut inevitably stir up a lot of industry buzz. Having your script on the Black List is a huge boost for screenwriters and could very well lead to their scripts being produced.
Organizers emphasize that “The Black List is not a ‘best of’ list. It is, at best, a ‘most liked’ list.”
The highest ranking woman-written script in this year’s edition of the Black List is Emma Needell’s “The Water Man.” The story, which received 18 votes, centers on a young boy who looks for a supernatural remedy for his mother’s terminal cancer.
For reference, female screenwriters accounted for just 13% of the list last year, so this year marks a significant (if still incomplete) improvement.
Here are the women-penned scripts on the Black List. The numbers in parentheses next to the screenwriter are how many votes they got. Descriptions are courtesy of the Black List.
“The Water Man” by Emma Needell (18)
A young boy tries to save his mother from terminal cancer by seeking out the town’s bogeyman, The Water Man, who is fabled to have conquered death.
“Do No Harm” by Julia Cox (16)
An ambitious surgeon’s life takes a dangerous turn when she indulges in an affair with a doctor whose god complex challenges her own.
“Cut and Run” by Zoe McCarthy (14)
A female urologist and a retired hooker form an unlikely friendship when they team up to take down a notorious sex trafficker in Miami.
“Queen of the Air” by Cat Vasko (13)
Based on the book “Queen of the Air” written by Dean N. Jensen. The story of famed trapeze artist Lillian Leitzel and her relationship with fellow trapeze artist Alfredo Codona, who were two of the most famous entertainers of the world during their time
“Move That Body” by Lucia Aniello and Paul W. Downs (13)
Five friends rent a beach house in Miami for a bachelorette weekend and accidentally kill a male stripper.
“Circle of Treason” by Anna Waterhouse and Joe Shrapnel (12)
Based on the book “Circle of Treason: A CIA Account of Traitor Aldrich Ames and The Men He Betrayed” written by Sandra Grimes & Jeanne Vertefeuille. When two women in the CIA suspect there is a mole working there, they have to overcome the institution’s hierarchy and chauvinism to bring down the traitor.
“The Step Up” by Kari Grunlund (12)
Two co-dependent female best friends’s friendship is put through the wringer after a blind date gone awry sends them on a dangerous, all-in-one-night adventure with a drug dealer.
“Set It Up” by Katie Silberman (10)
Two young assistants realize they can get more free time if they occupy their bosses’ time by setting them up on a date.
“Ares” by Geneva Robertson-Dworet (9)
The survival story of an astronaut whose space capsule crash lands in the African desert and whose mission to space was part of a larger conspiracy.
“Lou” by Maggie McGowan Cohn (8)
An elderly woman who hacks out a rough existence on a remote island is forced to help her dimwitted neighbor rescue her daughter whose ex has kidnapped her and escaped into the woods.
“Bed Rest” by Lori Evans Taylor (8)
An expectant mother who is confined to bed rest starts to experience paranormal events.
“A Life Fantastic” by Natalie Antoci (8)
A single mother with a terminal diagnosis embarks on a road trip with her eccentric 9 year old son and nanny to find a loving and progressive family that will accept him for whoever he may grow up to be.
“An African Western” by Chloe Castellon, Ridgeway Wilson (8)
When a young African woman’s village is destroyed by a “Christian” paramilitary unit and her sister is kidnapped, she uses every weapon at her disposal on an odyssey to save her last living relative.
“Wish Upon” by Barbara Marshall (6)
When Claire, a sixteen year old misfit, finds a magic box that promises a chance at the life she has always wanted, she never could have guessed that each wish would demand a deadly payment.
“Songs of Treblinka” by Viorica Blan (6)
Based on a true story. A renowned Jewish conductor plots a revolt with fellow prisoners as he attracts the respect of his Nazi captors in Poland’s most notorious death camp.
“Crook County” by Gita Pullapilly, Aaron Gaudet (6)
A whistleblower’s harrowing journey into an undercover FBI operation in 1980’s Cook County, Illinois, sending him toe-to-toe with corrupt judges, hustling defense attorneys, and Chicago mobsters; and ultimately resulting in the largest number of convictions of government officials in the history of the United States.