Private Project


Cunts is a story about the dissolution of a twenty-year female friendship. Coming from the same hometown but headed in different directions, Ruby -- an altruistic, white, public radio nerd -- and Jaz -- a POC trustafarian and art gallerist -- struggle to reconcile their differences. In opposition to common tropes, we aim to give credence to the reality that friendship break-ups can be as significant, complex and painful as romantic breakups. This narrative is often overlooked in mainstream television and film, which traditionally favors stories about heteronormative, romantic entanglements. Pursuant to the Bechdel test, we want to present a narrative that isn’t about men at all; it’s about women. What it means to be a woman in a world where race, class, and gender are beholden to old school rules within a new school fluidity.

Over the arc of the story, it’s revealed the central fissure in Jaz and Ruby’s relationship is not a result of personality; it’s about difference in perspective. No matter how much they experience together, these women live in different worlds because Ruby is white and Jaz is not. Race matters, no matter what. Class and gender also matter. As women writers, moreover as a woman of color and a white woman who have both worked for the ACLU on social justice issues, we are acutely attuned to how issues of race, gender, and class play out at a professional level, as well as on a personal level. We believe we need more nuanced, candid and funny representations of characters who embody the tension of these issues on screen -- to provoke a much needed and accessible conversation about taboo subject matter.

The title, "Cunts," is not employed for shock value. It is a term of endearment that Ruby and Jaz call each other -- in an effort to reappropriate the word and infuse it with a female power. The word itself summons power and demands attention. It signifies vulnerability, creativity, life, drive, tenacity, edge -- and power. That is how we feel about the reality of being a woman in today’s world and that is what we want to bring to the screen.

  • Sheetal Dhir
  • Tess Ranahan
  • Project Type:
    Television Script
  • Genres:
    Comedy, Drama
  • Number of Pages:
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Language:
  • First-time Screenwriter:
  • Student Project:
Writer Biography - Sheetal Dhir , Tess Ranahan

Sheetal Dhir
Sheetal Dhir is the Senior Crisis Campaigner at Amnesty International USA. Formerly of the ACLU, her areas of expertise include racial justice, mass incarceration, criminal law reform, death penalty, and prisoners’ rights. She now runs all crisis campaigns and rapid response campaigns on behalf of AIUSA. Originally a broadcast political news producer, Sheetal has produced for ABC News, Current TV, Al Jazeera, WGBH/NPR, and Fusion networks. She is a graduate of the Goldman School of Public Policy at U.C. Berkeley and holds a B.S. from the University of Maryland, College Park.

Tess Ranahan
After working at the ACLU for several years, Tess jumped off the trajectory of becoming a public interest attorney and moved to New York. Interested in the intersection of social justice issues, art, and storytelling, she made a foray into film five years ago when she started working for Academy Award-winning documentarian Alex Gibney. Tess was the digital media producer for his company Jigsaw Productions, leveraging journalistic, production, and writing skills to create content for all Jigsaw films and tv shows across various platforms. She then worked as researcher on the HBO documentary film "Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind," which premiered at Sundance, and on the Robert Redford and Alex Gibney series for CNN called "Death Row Stories." Most recently, she associate produced a five-part documentary series for Netflix that is set to air in 2019. Currently, Tess is working as a co-producer on a documentary feature for HBO.

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Writer Statement

Sheetal Dhir
Sheetal is currently pursuing a side career in script/tv writing because her perspective is highly underrepresented and undervalued in her field. Sheetal firmly believes she can have a greater impact by writing what she’s seen and learned rather than trying to change the system from within. With Cunts, her first attempt at script writing, Sheetal is speaking up and sharing her truth with the intention of disrupting the status quo.

Tess Ranahan
As the only female sibling in a family with three older brothers, Tess grew up keenly attuned to gender and gender roles. Having sought out work and community in the social justice universe, Tess understands the importance of and need to carve out space for marginalized voices to be heard. Even in the progressive spaces she’s worked, she's observed that white men still dominate positions of power on and behind the screen. Tess wants to see more nuanced representations of women and gender non-conforming individuals on screen -- and whats more, characters that reflect meaningful discussions of the social issues of the day (which is often lacking in mainstream television and film).