Meet Michael Begg - Paulist Productions Scholarship Recipient!

Michael Begg earned a master’s degree in Communications and English from the University of New Orleans and teaches writing and literature at the high school and college level while pursuing a screenwriting career. When Hurricane Katrina left New Orleans a shambles in 2005, recovery efforts benefitted from a transition school of over 1500 high school students from 14 different schools that was formed under Begg’s leadership. It became the largest home for displaced students in the history of the United States.

After an exhaustive rebuilding period, Begg stepped away from school administration to focus on his passion for screenwriting. He studied under the tutelage of Prof. Richard Walter, Chair of the screenwriting department at UCLA. At the same time, he drew upon Katrina experiences to write THE MILK ROUTE.

Begg is an award-winning screenwriter with seven feature-length screenplays written to date. THE MILK ROUTE was a Quarterfinalist in the Nicholl Fellowship Screenwriting Competition and an Official Selection at the Richmond International Film Festival, Sacramento International Film Festival, Peachtree Village International Film Festival, and Reno Tahoe International Film Festival. His scripts have either won, placed, or been selected in the following contests: Mountain Film Festival, Yosemite International Film Festival, Nashville Film Festival, Awareness Festival, Denver Film Festival, Oaxaca FilmFest, and Austin Film Festival. 


2nd Place Winner


Savion Einstein was born and raised in Israel. After her military service, she went into advertising and spent the next decade producing award-winning campaigns in Israel, EU and Asia for top domestic and international brands including The Coca-Cola Company, Unilever and P&G.

But what Savion really wanted to do was write, so she eventually left the advertising world behind and moved out to Los Angeles. Her first screenplay, The Longest Birthday, was optioned after earning a spot at The Black List Feature Lab and winning the BlueCat Joplin Award. The project went on to win the Venice Film Forum Pitch Fest, B’EST EAVE Producers’ Lab and the Bavarian Film Development Fund. It’s currently moving towards preproduction.

Her latest screenplay, Superfecundation, is going to be featured on the Black List site this month and has earned her an invitation to the 2016 CineStory Retreat. 

3rd Place Winner (tie)


Julia Batavia graduated with a BFA in Film and TV from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts. She became an associate producer for MTV Networks, then changed lanes to join the editorial department at Penguin Random House. She has since decided to pursue screenwriting full-time.

Julia's feature biopic, A LIFE APART, was a 2015 CineStory semifinalist. This year, SARGENT placed in the top 20 in Script Pipeline's Feature Contest. Both scripts are currently on the market.

Julia is represented by Zero Gravity Management and 42. She lives in Los Angeles where she's pursuing a masters in screenwriting at UCLA

3rd Place Winner (tie)


Adria Tennor began her career as an actress and works regularly in television and film. She made her writing debut as a stand up comic. Then, she spun her comedy into a one-woman show, StripSearch, based on her studies in pole dancing which played to rave reviews in Los Angeles. Her on-screen writing/directorial debut, a short, Cracked, garnered awards and laurels around the country. Never Been Born is her first feature length screenplay and has been a finalist in several competitions including the CineStory Fellowship. Her ambition is to create more stories for and about women. Ms. Tennor also owns and operates three restaurants in Los Angeles with her husband and partner, Claudio Blotta.



The best word one could use to describe Amyn Kaderali’s background would be: unique. As one of the few Indian-Americans in a Bay Area suburb with parents who were raised in Tanzania and Scotland, it was not unusual for Amyn to hear Swahili spoken at home while his Scottish grandmother made Indian curries alongside “shephard’s pie.”  This one-of-a-kind childhood, rich with diverse cultural experiences, has served as the foundation for Amyn’s skills  and versatility as a storyteller.

Amyn received his MFA at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts Graduate Film Program, where he wrote and directed several award-winning short films before making the provocative romantic comedy feature film “Kissing Cousins.”  He was later chosen to be a 2010 Disney/ABC Directing Fellow, which resulted in directing an episode of ABC’s Private Practice. More recently, he completed the Warner Brothers Television Directors Workshop and has been pitching his two new TV dramas, the “shark-out-of-water” Fishkill (with Wendy Finerman Prods.) and the crime saga Community Gun (with Cinema Gypsy Prods.) before he directs the CW’s Supernatural this winter. He is honored to be the 2016 CineStory Fellow for his screenplay Chokora, about street kids struggling to survive in Nairobi’s Kibera slum.  As his two year-old son would say, “Hoo-way!”


Congratulations to the following Writers in becoming a Finalist for the CineStory Feature Retreat & Fellowship! We will be announcing the Fellowship Winner in mid-August. Each of these writers has earned an invitation to attend the Feature Retreat that will be held in Idyllwild, CA from October 15th through October 18th.

To All Writers, Mentors, Filmmakers, and Friends

A couple of months ago, the CineStory Foundation became aware that there’s a film festival in Arizona calling itself the CineStory International Film Festival.

Let us be clear: we have NO AFFILIATION with this other organization.

Since this is their first year in operation and we've been active for over 20 years, we consulted with a trademark attorney who informed us that they are in violation of common-law trademark.

So last week, we sent them a cease-and-desist letter to notify them of their violation stating that they need to change their name. But when FedEx attempted to deliver their letter, FedEx said they couldn't because their address (which is on their website) does not have a floor nor a suite number. On top of that, the address was for a hospital.

Now, there are some real questions surrounding their validity as even being a legitimate film festival. So if you have any friends or colleagues currently submitting films to festivals, please caution them about submitting to this group.

Also, we want to stop this group from negatively affecting us in any way, because we have worked extremely hard so when people hear the name CineStory, they think about screenwriting, the retreats, mentorship, and community. 

In the end, we all know there’s the only one true CineStory and need to make sure everyone else does, too.

Your Friends at the CineStory Foundation


Congratulations to the writers who have advanced to the Quarterfinalist round. All these writers are still in the running to earn an invitation to our Feature Retreat and year-long Fellowship.

To all the writers who submitted, it was an extremely competitive year, so if you didn't advance, don't get discouraged… KEEP WRITING!