Nunez Community College Professor honored for screenplay

Jun 14th, 2010 | By | Category: Community
Nevada McPherson

Nevada McPherson pictured in Hawaii, where she received a first place award in the International Honolulu/Waikiki Film Festival for her screenplay "Piano Lessons."

Nevada McPherson always enjoyed making up stories and writing fiction. Now, the Nunez Community College assistant professor of English has taken that pastime a step further, and she has been recognized nationally for her original screenplay “Piano Lessons”.

McPherson placed first in the 2010 International Honolulu/Waikiki Film Festival feature length screenplay competition. She flew to Hawaii to accept a certificate and cash prize and had the opportunity to meet with agents and producers. Douglas Day Stewart, author of “An Officer and a Gentleman” and “The Blue Lagoon” was the featured speaker and presented the award.

McPherson says the idea for the screenplay came after attending the first Austin Film Festival and Screenwriting Conference in 1993. She said the characters “appeared in my imagination, and I decided to tell their story.”

The screenplay is set in the rural south in the 1950s and is the story of a gay teen romance.

“Even though the script is set in the 1950s, I think it’s very relevant today, with all the controversy over gay marriage and ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ still raging. The main characters are young people trying to negotiate the emotional landscape all teenagers face when they begin having romantic relationships, but their lives are further complicated by the taboos and social mores of their time,” she said.

McPherson said she hopes the Honolulu/Waikiki Film Festival first place award “can be one more step toward seeing it (the screenplay) made into a film one day.” She is considering holding a staged reading of the screenplay.

“I’d like to see it up on its feet with actors speaking the lines. I’d be interested to see how people respond to it,” she added.

She grew up in Nashville, a small town in south Georgia, and eventually went to LSU where she received a bachelor’s in creative writing and also her master of fine arts in screenwriting.

In 1995, McPherson moved to New Orleans when her husband, Bill, joined the faculty at Nunez Community College in Chalmette as a professor of speech communication. In addition to teaching English at Nunez, McPherson is an adjunct professor of film studies at Tulane University’s School of Continuing Studies.

McPherson is also the founder and director of the popular Pelican d’Or Short Film Festival held every spring at Nunez.

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