Fusion Finalists Spotlight: Undergraduate Feature Screenplay

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By Editorial Co-Heads Rachel Lambert & Siena Richardson.

Many incredible artists will be featured in this year’s Fusion Film Festival screening and competition. We reached out to the finalists from all 12 categories to get to know more about who they are, what inspires them, and how they feel about being a part of Fusion.


Elizabeth Rakhilkina
Major in Film & Television – Tisch School of the Arts
Class of 2019
Hometown: Twin Peaks
Screenplay: The Queen Bee

Suzanne Egan
Major in Dramatic Writing – Tisch School of the Arts
Class of 2014
Hometown: Clarkston, Michigan
Screenplay: The Firebird

Mia Volta
Major in Dramatic Writing, Minor in Anthropology – New York University
Hometown: Connecticut
Screenplay: FAT KAT


How did you decide to become a writer/filmmaker/animator/etc.?

Elizabeth: I am just no good in anything else. 

Suzanne: Originally I wanted to go to Hogwarts. That didn’t pan out, so this seemed like a decent alternative.

Mia: I grew up in Connecticut wearing hefty size children’s clothes and gossiping over salami with my Italian family. At a young age, I started writing fantasy stories in which I had friends. Now, I want to write about awesome girls who don’t necessarily fit in.

What inspires you?

Elizabeth: Tobacco sky, clover honey pots, hidden doors & tiny floors, flying whales & slimy snails. 

Suzanne: I love reading and writing stories that take people away from the ordinary. History, fantasy, and science-fiction have always been my favorite genres because they transport you from reality.

Mia: I am inspired by all the strong women in my life.

Why did you submit to Fusion?

Elizabeth: Well… I am a woman and this is a festival that promotes women in film.

Suzanne: I love how the Fusion Film Festival brings so many talented women and men together to celebrate their work. Women (especially women of color) are underrepresented in too many industries, and it is so important for us to have a presence in media because that allows our voices to be heard. Fusion is great because it not only promotes women who contribute to the film industry, but it also celebrates collaboration between women and men. 

Mia: I am inspired by all the strong women in my life, and Fusion is the perfect place to share my enthusiasm. 

Is there anything else you’d like people to know about you?

Elizabeth: I’ve got a very irregular head, and I am not anything that you think I am anyway. 

Suzanne: I love working with other writers and reading their scripts. Look me up if you want to swap notes!

Mia: I’ve never met a dog or a piece of pizza I didn’t like. 

The screening of Fusion Film Festival finalists and the awards ceremony will take place at 6:30pm at Cantor Film Center on Saturday, March 5th.