THE STAGE 32 LOGLINES

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PRODIGAL
By Chris Courtney Martin

GENRE: Independent, Drama, Thriller
LOGLINE:

A repressed grad student’s life implodes when her troubled stepbrother’s return from rehab disrupts the family’s stability.

[Feature]

SYNOPSIS:

ZORA is a focused black graduate student from a mixed-race, blended family. She lives at home with her politician father RICHARD, his wife BRENDA and their young daughter CECILIA. Brenda's son, ALEX is released from rehab and returns home after twelve years to help the family present a united front for Richard’s political campaign. Longstanding tension resurfaces between Richard and Alex, while Brenda feebly attempts to repair her relationship with her son. Zora supports her friend, NADIA through doubts about her impending marriage. Zora and Alex start to form a bond they never sought as children. Upon seeing this, Richard warns Zora that Alex is dangerous, manipulative and not to be trusted. The family attends a campaign fundraiser for Richard. When the Mayor's wife makes a racially insensitive comment about Zora's hair, she leaves the party. Alex follows Zora to comfort her, and convinces her to go clubbing.

The next morning, Richard lambastes her for skipping out on the gala. Zora snaps back at Richard for allowing the Mayor's wife to pet her hair "like an animal in a zoo." Richard slaps her, which ends the argument but forces a rift between them. After a conversation with Alex, Zora starts to question her feelings about both him and Nadia. She and Nadia sexually experiment during a Girl’s Night sleepover. At the same time, Alex confronts Richard about the affair they had when he was seventeen, which ends in heated hate-sex. On Christmas night, Zora and Nadia fight about the next steps for their relationship. Nadia considers leaving her fiancé for Zora, who is still confused about her feelings. The argument ends on an ugly note. That same night, Alex professes feelings for Zora and they begin sneaking around. Soon after, it is revealed that Alex's signature shades are video glasses as he sends recordings to his friend NIKKO. Alex has been documenting the family’s sordid interactions. He hasn’t returned to help Richard’s campaign— he’s there to sabotage it.

As Zora and Alex’s secret romance progresses, he continues to sit on the evidence he’s complied. Eventually, Richard discovers Zora and Alex's relationship after finding condoms in Zora's trashcan. Outraged, Richard destroys his own office and injures himself to frame Alex for assault. Alex tells Zora about his past with Richard and that he’s being framed, but she refuses to believe her father would do those things. Alex makes a call to Nikko and states that if he doesn't contact him by midnight, Nikko should leak the videos he sent him. After catching Richard in his lies, Zora finds Alex at a motel and apologizes. They make love and consider heading out of state together. To spare Zora further pain, Alex texts Nikko at the last minute to call off the plan. The next day, Alex turns on the news and sees coverage of the leaked footage—a clip he intended to send Nikko (he and Richard) and one he didn’t (he and Zora). Alex calls Nikko who explains he didn't get the text until it was too late. Zora, out buying breakfast, sees the news playing on the store's TV. She speeds back to the motel to find Richard, who tracked her phone. Richard shoots Alex in the chest, then himself in the head. Alex flatlines in the ER, but is revived. At the hospital, Alex tries to explain himself to Zora, but she is beyond forgiveness. After Richard’s funeral, Zora leaves town, taking only what she can fit in her car.

PRODIGAL

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