Beverly Allen got bit by the movie bug more than a decade ago, when television producer Bob Altman approached her about writing a story on Bosnia. "I knew him through a mutual friend over there," she recalled recently. "Bob liked what I wrote, so I told him that I'd sell it to him, if only he'd let me write the screenplay. And he did."
The result was her first script, "His Name Is Daniel," which Altman included in his made-for-TV series "War Child," produced by Hallmark Entertainment.
Since then, Allen has completed two other screenplays: "Lady Lush," a biopic about Marty Mann, founding director of the National Council on Alcoholism, and "The Bitter Chalice," recently named "Best Feature-Length Screenplay" in a competition for unproduced scripts at the Roma Independent Film Festival (RIFF).
Described by Allen and her co-writer, Jacques Lipkau Goyard, as an "action-drama love story," "The Bitter Chalice" is set against the Siege of Sarajevo in the 1990s. "I want this story to remind people that mass rape was not only confined to the Bosnian War; it has remained a problem in many parts of the world," affirms Allen, a professor of French, Italian, Italian Cinema and comparative literature at Syracuse University. "All of us are affected by it, directly or indirectly."
"The Bitter Chalice" stems from two sources: the wartime love story "Una donna, una vita," which Goyard penned in 1993 -- a modern retelling of Vittorio De Sica's "Two Women," starring Sophia Loren -- and Allen's book, "Rape Warfare" (University of Minnesota Press, 1996). The latter is an expos (c) about rape/death camps in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia, and has contributed to two major resolutions passed by the United Nations Security Council, and to the status of rape as a war crime at the World Court in The Hague, Netherlands.