The California Child

***Written by a 15-year-old screenwriter***

Three teenagers growing up in Bay Area, California battle apathetic relationships with their parental figures only to realize that they are destined to become the very people they swore they wouldn't be, surviving as the product of the culture they consume.

California Gardener is a talented artist and writer. Her single father, Mr.Gardener, doesn’t seem to care about anything other than throwing himself in his failed writing career and avoiding his daughter at all costs. When her mother’s death anniversary passes, California slowly realizes that while she holds disdain for her neglectful father, she inherited the same mentality of surviving only on the passion of artistic achievements. It terrifies California that she might be as broken as her father.

Alex Stevenson, a pansexual goth with homophobic parents, battles their identity and the loss of financial and emotional support from the very people that brought them into the world. After avoiding their emotions as much as possible, the loss of their virginity erupts a vulnerable headspace where Alex finally lets themselves cry and feel pain. Unbeknownst to Alex, their parents also battle similar vulnerability and loss, confused on their own morals and grounding.

Megan Foster prides herself on her beauty, a trait she inherited from her Southern Belle of a mother who wooed her rich Vietnamese Silicon Valley father in turn for financial stability. Since the divorce, child support checks barely cover the house bills, further affirming Megan’s idea that beauty is the only weapon women possess. When she uses sex to distract Alex from the loss of their family, she didn’t expect tears from the person she lost her acclaimed purity to. Has she truly become her mother? Sacrificing her vanity and vulnerability for the happiness of romantic partners?

  • Keertana Sreekumar
  • Project Type:
    Student, Screenplay
  • Genres:
    coming of age, teen drama, teen romance, LGBTQ+, young adult, family drama, indie
  • Number of Pages:
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Language:
  • First-time Screenwriter:
  • Student Project:
    Yes - California High School
  • Toronto Independent Film Festival
    Toronto, Canada
    September 30, 2021
    Award Winner for Feature Screenplay
  • Hollywood International Diversity Film Festival
    Hollywood, Los Angeles
    New York
    October 15, 2021
    Finalist for Feature Screenplay
Writer Biography - Keertana Sreekumar

Keertana Sreekumar is a 16-year-old artist and writer based in Bay Area, California. She has curated over 30+ gallery showings all across the United States and has won numerous awards for her hyperrealistic and surrealistic paintings. She has spoken on the TEDx stage and in front of the California Arts Commissioner board, urging communities to fund local arts programs. She founded the Youth Art Committee of San Ramon when she was 10 years old, the first student-led arts non-profit in the county. Keertana hopes to be a filmmaker, author, and art studio director in the future. (who says you can't do it all?)

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Writer Statement

I am passionate about creating in all forms and promoting a shared experience in art culture.

I don't limit myself to one form - if I feel like writing a feature film, curating gallery showings, and writing an adult novel, I pursue each project to the greatest limit.

I create the culture I wish to consume. Much of my work stems from my belief in romanticism and cynicism. I believe the world is full of romantics but is clouded with false narratives of reality through misguided culture and conflicting ethics.

I also thoughtfully believe in the power of representation and building narratives that relate to the target audience.