My Ancestors’ Song won Best Screenplay at Bridgeport Film Festival 2022! We are so honored and blessed to receive all those accolades from the industry for such an empowering story. My Ancestors’ Song is the new short drama screenplay written by Melissa Mars. It tells the poignant story of Nayla Bel, an Algerian-French actress trying to make it in Hollywood while struggling to reconcile with her heritage.

The (now :)) award-winning screenplay has moved up to the Semi-Finals at Hollyshorts 2022, and the second round at Screencraft Film Fund. It makes us hopeful for the next stages of development.

You can check out Melissa Mars’s video of the award ceremony she posted on instagram, along with those words:

Sunday was a magical day! That’s the least I can say.

I was going to Bridgeport Film Festival as one of 3 happy finalist screenwriters. The perk was a public reading of our screenplays… And then… circumstances… an absence… led me from the audience chair to the reader chair! And for the first time, I got to cold-read*, with other wonderful actors, a character that I wrote for myself! 

Hearing “My Ancestors’ Song” take off the page and brought to life was a moving and unique experience. Feeling the audience’s reactions on a script destined to film (as opposed to theater) was thrilling and inspiring! And receiving so much love from the audience and cast, so much support and encouragement for a personal story, was overwhelming. Positively overwhelming. Especially when total strangers tell me things like “We need this” “This is my story too” “You gotta make this movie!”… (No pressure! Haha! :P) This was incredible! What a gift!

Then later… when Jason A. Coombs, the festival founder, called my name to receive the award… I bursted into tears. It was just all so unexpected. Wished for, but unexpected. 

It’s been a few days already, and I still can’t get over it. I’m imploding with gratitude. It is a huge honor. 

Like I said on stage, I never ever submitted any of the scripts I wrote before. And this is my first award as a screenwriter. It means so much at so many levels! As an artist, the doubts and ups and downs are very brutal. But as a screenwriter… isolated with your computer… even worse! 

Receiving an award in the shape of a Star… gives me wings. It’s now sitting on my desk as a North Star. 

I want to thank again Jason, the jury, the audience of this wonderful festival for supporting this story, for celebrating and opening their arms to my Algerian ancestors. 

I share this win with them, and also Anthony Abeson. He is my acting coach, he is a muse, he is a fuel to creativity, but most of all, he is the first who helped me step into this journey towards my ancestors. 


*for those who don’t know, a cold read is when we read out loud, in public or to a casting director, a scene/script, for the first time, with no preparation.