Script File



An epic love story -- the fire version of "Titanic'"

That was at the historic Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire where 146 women and children leapt to their death in full view of horrified New Yorkers in Washington Square Park on March 25, 1911.

When Cossacks torch her shtetl and burn her parents alive, a 16-year old Russian Jew, armed with a tenacious desire to be an American, arrives in New York at a time of violent, social unrest. Determined, she lies in order to work at the factory, then encounters a dangerously crowded workspace, a supervisor who rapes, slave-like hours and chained doors. She falls in a forbidden love with an Italian Catholic boy, and with her dream on the line, she must outwit and battle the raping supervisor, a cynical aunt and the brutish union busters. In love and desiring only to be an American, she survived the deadly fire in Russia only to be caught in a new inferno where she must again survive to fulfill her American dream. She, and the love of her life, meet their destiny on March 25, 1911, when flames explode and burn down the doomed factory.

TOPICAL ISSUES OF CURRENT DAY: Sweeping Romance, #metoo, Fear and hate of Immigrants, workplace abuse, rape, women's rights, Jewish immigrants, Italian immigrants, women's marches, violence, fire

  • Akiva Penaloza
  • Project Type:
  • Genres:
    Drama, Masterpiece, Epic
  • Number of Pages:
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Language:
  • First-time Screenwriter:
  • Student Project:
  • Top Three: CineStory

  • Finalist: Moondance

  • Winner: Workers Unite
    New York City
  • Finallist: Filmmakers International

  • Finalist: Emerging Screenwriters

  • Finalist: Fresh Voices

Writer Biography - Akiva Penaloza

Akiva Penaloza is an award-winning, multi-genre filmmaker from New York City. After a distinguished career in publishing, Akiva switched careers and returned to her first love--making movies. She was selected to attend the American Film Institute (AFI), widely considered "the best film school in the world," (Hollywood Reporter.) As a Screenwriting Fellow, she studied under the tutelage of Academy Award Nominee Anna Thomas ("Frida," "El Norte") and was selected by Academy Award Winner Diane Keaton to receive a $10,000 scholarship.

She wrote and directed her first film, "La Chiva," winning $10,000 from Mercury Latino Lens. The Mexican-themed film won Best Short at the Long Island International Film Festival in Southampton and at the Miami International Film Festival.

Other distinctions include Best Screenplay in ScriptShark’s annual contest with a feature Western, "Brazen," an Urban Artist Initiative/New York City Fellowship and acceptance into the renowned Tribeca Film Festival’s All Access Program representing her award-winning romantic comedy script, "Hannah Henri." "Hannah Henri" also won Best Screenplay honors at the esteemed Newfest Film Festival in New York City. In 2012, Akiva completed the short film version, called "A charming New York story," by Sony Pictures Classics.

Akiva writes across genres and her portfolio of original scripts includes romantic comedies, romantic dramas, westerns, sci-fi, epic dramas, mythological adventure as well as crime and medical one-hour TV/Cable dramas. In addition to producing her own stories, Akiva commits to many hours teaching, for, as she learned from the great Maya Angelou, an artist should "Teach, if you've ever learned. Give, if you've ever received."

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Writer Statement

What every writer must do lest she risk the rotting of her heart is to stare down the blank page, pierce her soul and bleed, bleed out the authentic truth of her suffering.