'The Swells' by Alumna Rachel James '17 Selected for the Black List

Gina Hackett
February 05, 2020

The Swells, a feature screenplay by alumna Rachel James ’17earned a coveted spot on the 15th annual Black List in December.

The Swells is the story of a young woman who, “propelled by an unstoppable rage, begins inviting her victims to a summer lake house as revenge for past wrongs.” But when one of her guests is wronged, she passes on “the Swells.”

The Black List is an annual list of unproduced screenplays as submitted by over 250 film executives. Each executive contributes up to 10 of their favorite scripts from the previous year. This year, winning scripts had to receive at least six nominations.

Given that roughly one-third of scripts included on the Black List have made it to production, including Oscar-winning films like The King’s Speech and Spotlight, the Black List is widely considered an assembly of Hollywood’s freshest talent.

The Swells is currently in development with Assemble Media.

James was also recently named to The Tracking Board’s Young & Hungry List, which spotlights up-and-coming creative voices in Hollywood and is assembled by film executives.

James’ previous work includes her feature script Big Bad Wolves, which was a semi-finalist for the prestigious Academy Nicholls Screenplay Fellowship and won the top prize in the Columbia University Film Festival (CUFF) Screenplay Competition. James also directed a short proof of concept for Big Bad Wolves that screened as part of CUFF and at HBO’s NY Latino Film Festival.

James currently serves as the Associate Director of the Barnard College Media Center and produces the Positively Gotham Gal Podcast.