Private Project


Renee Johnson, a mother living in South Central LA, must make a difficult decision when she's late for her job interview.

  • Xavier Neal-Burgin
    Olde E, On Time, Other
  • Script Type:
  • Genres:
    Drama, Family, African-American
  • Number of Pages:
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Script Language:
  • First-time Screenwriter:
  • Student Project:
Writer Biography - Xavier Neal-Burgin

Xavier Neal-Burgin is a writer/director from USC's School of Cinematic Arts. He's an alumnus of the ABFF HBO Short Film Competition and was a semi-finalist for The Student Academy Awards. A goofball at heart, he's amassed 50,000 followers via long form Twitter stories dealing with Gucci flip flops, big donks and twerking. He strives to bring an emotionally powerful aesthetic through drama, and a pleasantly gut-aching hilarity through comedy.

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Writer Statement

Renee follows the life of Renee Johnson, a mother forced to make a dangerous decision for the sake of her child. Six months unemployed and desperate, Renee realizes this isn't the life she want for her seven-year-old daughter, Imani. Renee receives an interview for a job, but doesn't have the funds to keep her in daycare. So on a hot, searing Los Angeles day, Renee leaves Imani in the car as she goes in for her interview. Renee lands the job, but walks outside to find cops breaking into her car to take Imani away. Renee watches as her child is taken away, and she's arrested for trying to find a better path for herself and her daughter.

For many, our protagonist's only crime was being black, poor, and female. For others, regardless of her situation, her decision was reprehensible. Still, it is not cut and dry. While the inspiration for the story found help, I want to follow the normal trajectory. Where most parents are on their own.

The Breakdown:
Renee came into fruition through researching stories of the juvenile dependency court as well as foster families, and foster homes. Many people (and most audiences) have never seen the reunification process for parents and children, children's court, the workload of children protective services caseworkers, or the overwhelming disparity parents of color find themselves in when dealing with juvenile court. I want to bring these problems out in the open. An audience should leave this film emotionally moved, with an open mind to learning more about the legal system for parents and children in regards to the reunification process.