Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Second PlayGround Film Fest Competition Announced

On the heels of the successful launch of the PlayGround Film Festival earlier this spring, PlayGround and Dances With Light announced today the guidelines for the second annual PlayGround Film Festival and named Tom Swift's The Beginning, directed by filmmaker Brian Tolle as the winner of the first People's Choice Award. The competition, open to teams of local filmmakers and playwrights, will award $1,500 in seed funding to each of six finalists to create short films adapted from some of the 110 award-winning short plays originally premiered in the celebrated Best of PlayGround Festival. The films will be screened in San Francisco, Berkeley and San Rafael as part of the 17th annual Best of PlayGround Festival taking place in May 2013. The deadline for completed applications is October 1, 2012. Guidelines and copies of the eligible plays are available online at

Since 1994, PlayGround has been a leading incubator for some of the Bay Area’s most promising new playwrights, premiering 110 original short plays by 57 Bay Area emerging playwrights from several thousand submissions through its Monday Night PlayGround staged reading series and Best of PlayGround Festival. PlayGround has also commissioned 41 new full-length plays and supports the premiere of many of these works in partnership with Bay Area theatres through its innovative New Play Production Fund. PlayGround alumni include a who’s who of the Bay Area’s best up-and-coming writers, including Peter Sinn Nachtrieb, Aaron Loeb, Garret Jon Groenveld, Geetha Reddy, Daniel Heath, and Ken Slattery, among others, with many having their first professional production through PlayGround.

In support of these writers and the body of work they have generated over the past eighteen years, and to encourage collaboration between local filmmakers, actors, writers and technicians, PlayGround launched the PlayGround Film Festival. The first festival was presented in May 2012, with screenings at Thick House (San Francisco), Rialto Elmwood (Berkeley), Zaentz Media Center (Berkeley), and 32Ten Studios (San Rafael), and featuring Jonathan Luskin’s Ecce Homo, Katie May’s Etymology of Zero, Kenn Rabin’s Reunion, Daniel Heath’s Wednesday, and Tom Swift’s The Beginning, winner of the inaugural People’s Choice Award.

Since its founding in 1994, PlayGround has staged more than 600 original ten-minute plays by 175 early-development writers, contributing towards its status as the leading developer of short stage pieces in the Bay Area.  Through The Best of PlayGround Festival alone, PlayGround has premiered 110 original short plays by 57 Bay Area playwrights and has presented staged readings of 41 new full-length plays commissioned by PlayGround.  In the process of staging those works, PlayGround has helped to identify some of the most promising new local writers and, at the same time, has engendered a true community of theatre artists by bringing together hundreds of Bay Area actors, directors and playwrights.  Most, if not all, of the participating writers receive the first professional staging of their work through PlayGround, thereby formally introducing these new talents to the professional theatre community.

PlayGround’s alumni have gone on to win not only local but also national honors for short and full-length work, including recognition at the Humana Festival, Sundance Festival, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, Aurora Theatre Company’s Global Age Project, Guthrie Theatre, Samuel French Off-Off Broadway Short Play Festival, and The Drama League’s New Directors-New Works series.  Works have been premiered at numerous theatres throughout the Bay Area, including: Theatre Rhinoceros, San Jose Stage Company, Just Theater, and SF Playhouse. Of particular note is Aaron Loeb’s Abraham Lincoln’s Big Gay Dance Party which, following its premiere at SF Playhouse in 2008, received a sold-out run at the 2009 New York International Fringe Festival (named “Outstanding Play”) and its off-Broadway debut in 2010.

Barry Stone, owner of Dances with Light, made his first film in 1979. He has professional credits as an actor, composer and director in the theatre, and as a producer, director, writer, composer, actor, cinematographer and editor in film and television. His directorial credits include four episodes of the British hit series rENFORD rEJECTS, filmed in London for Nickelodeon and Channel Four, "All Ways Welcome", produced and directed for the Ontario Ministry of Tourism and Recreation, and numerous commercials, music videos and corporate films. Barry has been the cinematographer on forty-seven episodes of series television, six MOWs, numerous commercials and twenty-one feature films, notably Lie with me, Mouth to Mouth, Cherish, Triggermen, Pale Saints, Paris France, Rude, Dumbarton Bridge,  The Perfect Son and Dream with the Fishes.  Recently Barry produced and directed SNIFF, a feature length drama / documentary hybrid with Amanda Plummer, Neil Morrissey (and a lot of great dogs).

For guidelines and a complete list of eligible plays, visit  For more information, contact PlayGround Artistic Director Jim Kleinmann at or (415) 992-6677.


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