Several elements are critical to an independent film project’s success, and strong writing is high on the list. Christina Lazaridi ’92, a veteran screenwriter who also teaches at Princeton’s Lewis Center for the Arts, explains that the writer’s job is to “create powerful roles,” which in turn attract major actors and help to secure the financing needed to make a film.
Lazardi and director Lisa Albright co-wrote the screenplay for Coming Up Roses, a new feature that stars Bernadette Peters and Rachel Brosnahan as a mother and her teenage daughter who confront the challenges of unemployment, codependency, and the mother’s clinical depression. After a successful appearance at the Woodstock Film Festival, the film made its New York City debut Nov. 9 at the AMC Village 7.
“When you watch your words come alive and become this three-dimensional world, it is an incredibly rewarding experience,” Lazaridi said. The chance to discuss the film with fans after the screening, she added, was a “powerful return” for her creative work.
Lazaridi’s screenwriting career began at Princeton, where she studied creative writing with Paul Muldoon and James Richardson ’71. Renowned film historian P. Adams Sitney advised her senior thesis work. After graduation, she earned an M.F.A. at Columbia and wrote the short film “One Day Crossing,” which received an Academy Award nomination in 2001.
Lazaridi said her next screenplay is a Romeo-and-Juliet-style international romance, in which Greeks and Turks stand in for the Montagues and Capulets. She also teaches screenwriting to Princeton undergraduates, which gives her a chance to be part of an arts community that has expanded since her student days.
“There is really a renaissance and a blossoming here [in the arts],” Lazaridi said, “and the students respond.”
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