Helen on 86th St. has been adapted into an award-winning feature screenplay. 

A college student is triggered to reexamine a formative experience from her childhood when she must write a short story inspired by Homer’s The Odyssey

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2017 Stowe Story Labs: NewEnglandFilm.com Fellowship
Check out a feature interview with Nicole Kempskie about the project, fellowship, and labs here.

2016 Winner: International Family Film Festival Screenplay Competition

2016 Quarter-Finalist: Final Draft Big Break Screenwriting Contest

2016 Marble House Project artist residency to write the screenplay

Vita Sanford, a college freshman, stands in front of her Advanced Writing class to read her assignment, a short story inspired by Homer’s The Odyssey. Unlike her classmate’s grandiose epic poems, Vita has made the unconventional choice to explore the year her sixth-grade class presented a play based on the story of the Trojan Horse.

As she reads her assignment to the class, the story moves from the college classroom to 12-year-old Vita’s bedroom where she is prepping for auditions.  Despite her braces, glasses, and bushy hair, Vita is determined to get the role of Helen of Troy. Vita is certain that she is best actor for the part, and convinced that if she gets the role it will bring her absent father, who left three years earlier, back home.

As things go from bad to worse for Vita, she must call upon her tenacity, resourcefulness, and relentless hope to turn things around. After burning sacrificial offerings at an altar to Goddess Athena—the letters she’s been writing her father every night since he left—her luck begins to change. The role of Helen of Troy becomes hers after the beautiful Helen Mc.Guire gets the chicken pox. Her mother breaks it off with her boyfriend. All that’s left is for her father to come home.

As Vita stands onstage searching for him in the audience, she learns the limitations of wishes and the value of inner strength.