The Burning Season


Sloan Grant Won: 
2016, Filmmaker Fund Grant, Tribeca Film Institute

Project Type: Feature
Genre: Drama
Length: 115 pages
Field of Science: Primatology, Conservation
Stage: Development


THE BURNING SEASON was adapted from Laura Van Den Berg’s award winning short story “What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us” and is the story of a driven primatologist who takes her teenage daughter to Madagascar, where her determination to save endangered lemurs puts their relationship – and safety – at risk.


Years ago, JUNE ENGLE discovered a new lemur species in a remote region of Madagascar. Now a leading primatologist, June brings her teenage daughter CELIA to that region, determined to prove that lemurs are responsible for burying seeds and by extension preserving the forests. With the help of a Malagasy PHD student, KIADY, who has been assigned to work with her, June spends her days gathering evidence. Kiady falls for June and teaches Celia, a champion swimmer in her high school, to overcome her fear of open water. But the villagers don’t understand June’s work, which impedes on their farmland. The dry season, during which slash-and-burn farming sets much of the island on fire, approaches. When June’s obsession intensifies and Kiady leaves, Celia is left with a nearly impossible choice


Jenny Halper‘s screenplay, The Burning Season, based on Laura Van Den Berg’s short story, was an Athena List Winner and placed on the 2016 Blacklist. In addition to her work as Director of Development at Maven Pictures, she is an award winning fiction writer and a 2015 finalist for the St. Lawrence Book Prize.

Kate Sharp’s producing credits include: “Better Living Through Chemistry,” “Madame Bovary,” and “The Hallow”. Ms Sharp was previously VP of Development & Production at Occupant Entertainment and an Executive Producer on the Emmy-nominated “Behind The Mask” for Hulu.

Claire McCarthy recently wrapped production on “Ophelia” starring Daisy Ridley and Naomi Watts. Her credits include “The Turning” and the award-winning “The Waiting City,” which premiered at TIFF, was nominated for three Film Critics Circle Awards, an Australian DGA Award and won two Independent Film Awards.