On a storm-ravaged beach, two women-of-a-certain-age find $2.5 Million and take it knowing no one will suspect them. But when the baddies show up looking for their cash and a townie ends up dead, the women must come up with a plan to save their community.

  • Anna R Nicholas
    Univers'l, Catch&Release, Famous Agoraphobic Woman Tells All!, Bride&Zoom
  • Project Type:
  • Genres:
    Drama, Thriller, Comedy
  • Number of Pages:
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Language:
  • First-time Screenwriter:
  • Student Project:
  • Santa Barbara Screenplay Competition
    Santa Barbara, CA
    September 16, 2010
    Best Screenplay
  • Top Secret Prize
    Portland, OR
    January 31, 2023
    Official Selection
Writer Biography - Anna R Nicholas

AR NICHOLAS (She/Her) is a multi-award-winning film and theatre maker. Her first feature, UNIVERS'L, about the LA riots of 1992, took her all over the world, premiering at Mill Valley and winning prizes at Mannheim-Heidelberg and the Film Festival for Human Rights in Brussels. A second feature, FAMOUS AGORAPHOBIC WOMAN TELLS ALL! is about to hit the festival circuit. During Covid, she wrote and directed two films currently making festival rounds: CATCH & RELEASE and BRIDE & ZOOM.
Produced plays include: Petting Zoo Story (Primary Stages, NY); Villa Thrilla; Our Dark Connection, The Elegant Dinner, Searching for Mary Jane, commissioned for The Odyssey Theatre (LA Weekly Theatre Award); Lu/Lou (Dorothy Lyman, Dir.), The Beaver Suite, The Voice in My Head and Incunabula, (LA Theatre Works available on Audible). She is a 2018 winner of the Mach33 Science in Theatre prize at Caltech and a finalist for The Dennis & Victoria Ross, Ebell, Susan Glaspell, Centenary Stages, Sundance and Lila Acheson Wallace awards. Nicholas is a past winner of the Santa Barbara Screenwriting and Scriptapalooza TV Writing Competitions and is the recipient of Walden and Tano Media Writing Fellowships. Her plays have been developed at the William Inge Play Lab, EST/LA, CoHo Theatre, the Last Frontier Festival and others. They are a former Managing Director and dramaturg with the Ojai Playwrights Conference, and teach/produce theatre in Portland, Oregon. Member of The Dramatists Guild, Honor Roll and board member of The Odyssey Theatre. More information at arnicholas.com

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Writer Statement

I love large visual works of art that draw me into a world and the stories contained within; that's stories, plural. Because with many types of visual art--certain paintings, pictures, even plays--the creator(s) cannot dictate the viewer's gaze. A viewer may be interested in something or someone operating at the margins.
It's for this reason that I'd describe the visual style of OLD LADIES FIND MONEY as painterly--somewhere between Roger Deakins' work in FARGO and Bruegel, the Elder. Bruegel's paintings are large and multi-faceted, even when they're given specific titles telling us what the paintings are about. There's always more going on and more to look at.
We plan to shoot in Bandon, Oregon, where the natural world is dramatic and rich. I want to show the world of my film mostly in wide vistas, as Bruegel and Deakins are confirmed masters of. I plan to "paint" evocative landscapes that tell a story beyond the characters in the frame, and create a breadth that I seek to emulate cinematically. Bandon has incredible natural geological formations that make a person feel small, which is good for our characters and for audiences to identify with. I plan to shoot the occasional close up and insert for clarity and coverage, but in boarding and planning the shots in advance, we can minimize shooting coverage we don't intend to use in the edit. For the most part I envision wide shots that allow the viewer to find the story in the frame rather than be spoon-fed it.
We will shoot digitally but the color palette of the finished film will be desaturated, more akin to 16mm. The older lenses we plan to use--either Cooke or Zeiss depending on final budget--will help achieve the look. Again, this is influenced by my take on Bruegel. His paintings work with the limited palette of the time in which he painted, to continued effect through the centuries.
We will also be choosing just three different focal length lenses for the whole film, doing minimal dolly shots and one possible crane or drone shot. It's of concern that the older female actors look great but not be overly lit. We've done some camera tests and I believe the combination of deliberately overexposing, along with keeping to one large, soft lighting source will do the trick. The color of the sky off season in Bandon will help with exteriors as well, even when it's raining.
My cinematic vision also includes tone. Though there is humor in the script, it's not a comedy. Nothing will be played for laughs. Actors will be directed to be absolutely serious with what they say. No one comments on how funny they think they are.
In closing, I want the audience to be taken on a beautiful, cinematic ride with two characters they relate to and get a little vicarious thrill by watching. Because who doesn't want to find a pile of money?