Private Project

The Familiar Ferry

A struggling actor on the run from her cheating husband learns to parent her precocious teenage daughter with the help of her dying mother and her famously narcissistic grandmother.

  • William Scott Williams
  • Project Type:
  • Genres:
    Drama, Dramedy, Black Comedy, Comedy
  • Number of Pages:
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • First-time Screenwriter:
  • Student Project:

  • August 1, 2006
Writer Biography - William Scott Williams

William Scott Williams holds masters degrees from Harvard Divinity School, UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School, and The MFA Program For Writers at Warren Wilson College. He has studied with Xavier Toubes, Christopher Tilghman, Kevin McIlvoy, and Tom Spanbauer. Williams’ work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and has appeared in Meridian: The Semi-Annual from the University of Virginia, The Massachusetts Review, Poydras Review, The Greensboro Review, and The Drake. Williams’ first screenplay, Cross Country, was a semi-finalist at the 2006 Austin Film Festival. His novel, The Familiar Ferry, was a finalist for the 2021 Black Lawrence Big Moose Prize. He lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

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Writer Statement

My grandfather was a missionary. My father was born-again. My little brother was stillborn. Mine is a deconversion story. I grew up poor in rural North Carolina, with the threat of hell securely branded on my imagination. My work has always measured the significance of the here-and-now against the weightier unknowns of the hereafter. In my stories, novels, and screenplays, the immediacy of lived experience exists in conflict with the moral significance of delayed gratification. Redemption is elusive; forgiveness can be the foundation of reconciliation. Patience leads to endurance, which leads to fulfillment. My influences are varied and range from Buñuel and Bergman to Thomas Vinterberg and Mia Hansen-Løve. As an undergraduate, I shot in black-and-white, 35mm, and Super 8. Then, as now, I obsessed over subtext. With a family history of both mental illness and terminal cancer, I insist on treating my characters with kindness and compassion, yet we must also be able to find the humor in this liminal world of our brief, earthly existence.