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Professor Nanci Carol Ruby Named a Finalist in the Catalina Film Festival’s Script Competition

Nanci Carol Ruby

Nanci Carol Ruby, visiting assistant professor of theatre at Seaver College, was recently named a finalist in the Catalina Film Festival’s script competition, as her screenplay, Sunshine House, earned acclaim as one of the top 20 submissions to the international event. 

“I am thrilled and honored to have an opportunity to go further with this story,” says Ruby. “I hope that Sunshine House will be an inspiration to others, as it portrays a broken family trying to right itself.”

Sunshine House is an indie-tragicomedy that focuses on intergenerational family conflict. The story evolved from Ruby’s own experience of caring for her parents in the latter stages of their life and the many challenges, some joyful, some less so, the process posed. 

After letting the narrative percolate for a few years, the theatre professor penned the first draft of the script in a little more than a month, and then proceeded to rewrite the piece five separate times from start to finish. This intense writing process gave Ruby the confidence to begin entering the screenplay in competitions. 

The Catalina Film Festival, which has been hosted as an annual event since 1929, is the first local, in person event Ruby will attend with her script. Prior to the competition, Sunshine House earned nominations at both the Toronto International Film Festival and the Golden Pen Los Angeles International Script Contest. By engaging with these opportunities, Ruby hopes to build a large and committed network that could eventually produce her script for the silver screen.

“There are so many scripts that get to the point where Sunshine House is and never get produced,” says Ruby. “But I have to go for it. This story and my characters have inspired me, and I’m hopeful they will do the same for others––whether they read it or, my prayer is, one day see it on the screen.”

Throughout the coming academic year, Ruby will teach acting majors and aspiring theatrical directors. Prior to joining Seaver College’s faculty, she taught at Chapman University's Dodge College of Film and Media Arts, where she trained aspiring television directors and showrunners. 

Learn more about Pepperdine University’s Fine Arts program on the Seaver College website.