The Women of Chapman committee awarded four upcoming Dodge College thesis films with production funds at its annual pitch lunch held on May 19. The Women of Chapman are a group of philanthropic-minded women strongly dedicated to a program of service to Chapman University that has provided over 2 million in funding to Dodge College since 2006 and over $200,000 in funding to undergraduate thesis film projects since 2012.

The following student projects were awarded funds:

MCCARTHY- $16,000
DIRECTOR | Adam McClaughry
PRODUCER | Bailey Helvie
Hollywood’s new “it-girl”, who is crumbling under the pressures of the entertainment industry, has her career threatened by a particularly determined paparazzi.

DIRECTOR | Lucas Bugbee
PRODUCER | Daniel Dabach
Together, a father and daughter come to terms with the mother’s passing despite a lack of clear communication.

AMAL- $12,000
DIRECTOR | Nour Oubeid
PRODUCER | Rachel Griswold
When a young Syrian refugee living in America witnesses her mother being discriminated against, she begins to question her cultural identity and her family’s safety.

REVERIE- $10,000
DIRECTOR | Nick Markham
PRODUCER | Hannah Riddle
A paranoid-schizophrenic woman must convince her college-bound daughter not to leave her behind in solitary confinement.

Nick Markham (BFA/FP ’18) threw a curve ball to the committee when he delivered his pitch slam poetry-style. In addition to being extremely creative, Markham’s moving performance proved lucrative, earning his team a $10,000 award from the organization to put toward his upcoming thesis film, Reverie.

Nick Markham Slam Poetry Pitch

Markham demonstrates his poetry slam pitch technique.

You can view an example of Markham’s slam poetry pitch technique – which incorporates his thoughts on the pitch lunch – on our Vimeo page, and read the transcript below.

Ode to the Riveters

I was raised in an all-female household
when disease stole my father from his life.

It was like something you’d see in the movies,
or only I might think so as movies are my everything:
They taught me that with great power comes great responsibility,
that he could’ve been a contender,
that there is an emerald city for us all to escape.

And when my imaginative and loving father was gone,
movies became something more:
That beacon of hope at the end of the tunnel.

My coming of age story came too early.
Movies became films, dreams became a career path,
and life became the road map to get me there.

I chased my dreams to a golden coast
and took root in Orange, California;
That is the city of Orange, not Orange County,
but specifically Orange in Orange County,
at a school that believed in my ability to tell stories.

They gave me the chance to tell the story of a woman
who defied the limits of a warped man’s society.
It was the story of Caresse Crosby, the woman who
invented the bra and published Hemmingway’s words
with the odds stacked high against her in 1920’s society.

And now I have the chance to tell the story of a woman
struggling with paranoid schizophrenia.
It poisons her veins and ripped her away
from the love of her life, 9 months of labor and 7 years more
only to be told she is an unfit parent.

A muted green uniform brands her with some three digit number
that means everything and yet nothing to a woman
who longs only to reunite with her daughter.

I never would have had this opportunity without the strong women in my life;
A mother whose faith in me outshined my own,
A sister who kept me humble and pushed me to be better,
A grandmother and aunts all rallying for me to succeed,
Those teachers who taught me the beauty and power of storytelling,

A woman who became my collaborator at that sunny university in Old Town Orange,
whose resilience and love for honest storytelling swept away my heart
and inspired me to tell stories that matter.

Together we entered a boardroom with a pitch and high hopes,
nerves-wrecked and with our hearts worn on our sleeves,
we told our story to our first audience, and from that audience
we gained a new support system of women,
The Women of Chapman, whose support like a great current
swept our sails above a tumultuous storm and gave us
the chance to tell our story the way it needs to be told.

The women in my life gave me unbounding hope,
and in a time where they still face unfair adversity,
it is my duty as a storyteller with the power to
inspire the world with every frame
to tell stories that honestly reflect the world around me,
and to embolden people everywhere to believe in
that brilliant, burning flame that ignites and unites us all.

Congratulations to the recipients – we can’t wait to see your finished projects next spring – and thank you to the Women of Chapman for their continued support of Dodge College and Chapman University.