Brown is the new pink.
Project type: Narrative Short
Project status: Development
Writer/Producer: Maya Vyas
Director: Kirsten Hoang
Producer: Alyssa Callahan
Associate Producer: Sari Arambulo
Associate Producer: Nicole McCullough
Associate Producer: Ruhi Mansey
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A scrappy brown high schooler must fight her way to be Elle Woods when the lead of her school’s production of Legally Blonde: The Musical gets seriously injured ten minutes before showtime.
A shy brown girl who doesn’t understand how to break out of her shell, SITA ANAND (18), discovers a bleeding blonde LAKE EASTMAN (17) at the bottom of the stairs of the Ohio Regional Theatre Competition ten fucking minutes before they are set to go on stage. Whatever, they can just forfeit, right? NO, stupid! If they don’t win this year then their entire theater program is going to be ripped from them and the whole world will also probably collapse.
Sita returns to the green room – dragging Lake’s live carcass across the green room floor. Alone, Sita helps Lake as people question her involvement in the accident. Meanwhile, theater queen, VALERIE (17), puts herself in charge of picking the replacement. But stage manager, MABEL (18), has other plans. She reminds everyone that Sita is Lake’s understudy. Sita is the logical choice to be Elle! People look at Mabel like she is crazy. Sita?! No. I mean — Sita could have hit Lake just so she could go on as Elle. And besides – Sita isn’t blonde.
Eyes shift to Sita. She doesn’t engage, keeping her head down like her parents raised her. But, on the inside, she screams that she has practiced this part for hours, stayed late at every rehearsal, and knows Elle inside and out. She can do it. But no one can hear her.
It is only when the ambulance arrives that Sita works up the courage to ask Lake if she can have her blessing to be Elle… which ends in disaster. Finally understanding that sometimes you have to play white people’s games to get white people’s prizes, Sita fights back to win the day for herself – and every brown girl who has ever fought to be the lead in her own story.
Meet the Filmmakers
Maya Vyas – Writer/Producer
Maya Vyas was raised in the small town of Tipp City, Ohio. From a Hindu family, she joined musical theatre as a form of church because her mom wouldn’t let her go to the real one. She’s played every weirdo and sidekick known to man — the greatest hit being her real life role as the only woman of color in her graduating class. Currently, Maya is the writer’s assistant on the CW’s Walker where she wrote her first episode of television in March of 2022. Her second episode will be premiering in January of 2023. Maya attended USC for Writing for Screen and Television where she received the distinction of Jon Chu Scholar (2021) and was both a Humanitas (2020) and Scriptapalooza Semifinalist (2021).
Kirsten Hoang – Director
Kirsten Hoang is a Vietnamese-American filmmaker, editor, and graduate of USC’s School of Cinematic Arts. Her work has screened at the Palm Springs International Film Festival, NFFTY, Dances with Films, the Austin Film Festival, and more. Her films have also been featured on digital platforms such as Directors Notes, Film Shortage, Booooooom TV, and Beyond the Short. She is interested in telling stories that—angrily and humorously—explore how peoples’ behaviors and decisions are often unknowingly a result of their trauma. Kirsten is really funny for a woman of color.
Alyssa Callahan – Producer
Alyssa Callahan is a Mexican-American writer and producer currently working at Anonymous Content. Originally from a small bordertown in Arizona, she graduated from USC’s film school in December 2019. She has worked on films that have garnered the attention of NFMLA, DUST, Beyond The Short, Film Shortage, and more. Despite never having made someone laugh, Alyssa hopes to work in comedy TV one day.
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