Honors Capstone Project
Date of Submission
Capstone Prize Winner
Won Capstone Funding
Film and Media Studies | Radio | Television
Still Water is full-length feature screenplay with the driving premise that vengeance creates suffering. While the script might be characterized as a procedural in that relies heavily on the plot to create suspense and to sustain a dramatic momentum that keeps the audience engaged, I was also interested in adding a layer of provocative depth to the story. Consequently, Still Water explores the themes of guilt, redemption, vengeance, corruption, and Italian-American identity.
Still Water is the story of the Sippilini family. During his campaign for Manhattan District Attorney, the family’s patriarch, Richard, gets involved in a corruption scandal that ultimately results in his chief opponent’s resignation from the race. However, Richard’s victory is far from secured. His association with childhood friend and infamous mobster Carmine Corsetti puts the campaign in jeopardy. Simultaneously, a shady Wall Street executive threatens to dismantle Richard’s career if Richard does not agree to turn a blind eye to a corruption scandal he has uncovered.
Meanwhile, Richard’s wife, Diane, attempts to keep her role in a fatal hit-and-run accident secret. Fearing that the accident might negatively affect her husband’s campaign, Diane struggles to deal with her guilt and paranoia. Once she learns that the pre-teen victim was a member of her Catholic parish, she befriends the bereaved mother in a twisted attempt to ease her own suffering. Yet her guilt and anxiety continue to build, and eventually she confesses her role in the death to the shocked mother.
The couple’s oldest son, twenty-six year-old Michael, also struggles to keep secret a scandalous private life. A struggling writer and disenchanted high school teacher, Michael is having an affair with a seventeen year-old student, Erica. Their relationship becomes strained when Erica’s older brother learns of the indecent affair. Michael coldly severs the relationship, and Erica is left jaded and angry.
As the tension and drama in the three storylines reach a fever pitch, the family’s youngest son, twenty year-old Adam, is found murdered.
The remainder of the story follows the Sippilinis as they separately try to pursue their personal leads. Tormented by grief and guilt, the Sippilinis descend into unthinking vigilantism. By script’s end, Adam isn’t the only innocent victim.
Foglia, Louis, "Still Water" (2010). Syracuse University Honors Program Capstone Projects. 421.
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