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Extraordinary Talent Alert: Australian Screenwriter Jennifer McAuliffe Takes on NYC with Hard-Hitting Gaslighting Project

Mental health is a topic that is gaining increasing attention and awareness. While society has come a long way in recognizing and treating mental illnesses, many concepts are still often overlooked or misunderstood.

Shedding light on this challenging topic is Australian Screenwriter and Director, Jennifer McAuliffe. Using her platform to champion healthy and realistic discussions about mental health, McAuliffe is now filming a proof of concept (POC) for her award-winning script, “Heartbreak Under A Neon Streetlight,” in New York City. 

New York City has long been considered the cultural and artistic hub of the United States. From Broadway to film, the city has served as a beacon for artists looking to express themselves through their art and creativity. McAuliffe managed to make a name for herself in this particularly vibrant and often competitive space, representing her talent in writing and film and her heart to spotlight important and social topics about mental health. 

McAuliffe’s new script tackles the raw and vulnerable feeling of gaslighting among women. The piece was recognized for its uniqueness and delivery, taking home Official Selection Awards for Best Female Screenwriter in the Chicago Script Awards, Best TV Pilot in the Hollywood Script Awards, and was a nominee for the Swedish International Film Festival and the LA Independent Women Film Awards.

The BIG thing: “Heartbreak Under A Neon Streetlight”

McAuliffe’s emotionally raw and hard-hitting drama script, “Heartbreak Under A Neon Streetlight,” tackles the issue of gaslighting head-on. It explores the dismantling nature of this form of psychological manipulation and the devastating impact it can have on those who experience it.

Gaslighting is a form of psychological manipulation in which a person or group causes another person to doubt their memory, perception, or sanity. According to McAuliffe, it is a complex and nuanced subject that has been prevalent in the swipe-right digital age. This manipulation can be extremely damaging and lead to feelings of confusion, anxiety, and depression if on the receiving end.

Despite the topic’s sensitivity, McAuliffe is not afraid to delve deep into the heart of the matter through her works, showing how apt and timely it is to address this rampant concern. The project is a deep dive into the irreparable damage caused by gaslighting and the emotional fractures it creates, particularly among women who are often left grappling with this debilitating situation.

What makes McAuliffe’s script unique is its willingness to tackle mental health head-on, with gaslighting as just one of the many issues she addresses in her work. She aims to address the lack of connection and accountability that is often present in modern-day relationships, where “situationships” and ghosting have become all too common.

McAuliffe shares that her script has the potential to spark conversations, create greater awareness and understanding of the problem, and inspire others to take action, making a significant impact not only in the film industry but also in society as a whole. She mentions,” I believe that by exploring these mental health concepts and behaviors and bringing this issue to the forefront, we can start to identify them and begin the healing process.” 

“Heartbreak Under A Neon Streetlight” is currently filming a proof of concept (POC) in New York City with local actors Curry Whitmire and Victoria Nieves. 

Passion for good storytelling

McAuliffe’s journey from her humble beginnings as a screenwriter to her current status as an emerging talent in the American film industry is a story of hard work, dedication, and passion for storytelling. From a young age, she loved consuming both written and visual material, paying close attention to how each story unfolded. This love for storytelling led her to pursue a degree in Media focusing on script and film at Macquarie University, where she honed her craft as a screenwriter.

McAuliffe believes that everything starts with the story. “The rest of the elements come together after, but it’s always the story first,” she elaborates. In her art of storytelling, she has mastered the art of “getting in there,” where she learns the importance of being uncensored. No matter how messy the writing process can get, she believes that “one can find gems in that hard, emotional mud”

An award-winning portfolio in the industry

McAuliffe’s commitment to screenwriting was rewarded in 2015 when she received her first scriptwriting award at the Wildsound TV Festival for her spec script for HBO’s Silicon Valley. Her pilot for “At the Table” in 2018 saw her win awards in the Shore Scripts and Filmmatic TV Pilot awards as well as placing in the Los Angeles International Screenplay awards.

She consistently delivers top-quality work, which is evident in her short documentary, “Bleeding Through Taboo” which was a Finalist at the Texas Short Film Festival, as well as her podcast titled, “Chatworthy”, tackling all various aspects of mental health with notable artists that range from musicians like Darkest Hour, Zao, TV writer Bill Oakley, Director Alex Proyas and many other recognized names under the Arts umbrella. 

Excelling in her favorite writing genre, McAuliffe crafted a comedy short film called “Lipsmacker,” which was also recognized as an Official Selection at both the 2019 Portland Comedy Film Festival and the London Comedy Short Film Festival, as well at the Paus Premieres Festival in 2022.

McAuliffe’s diverse and numerous awards speak volumes about her versatile skills as a screenwriter and her ability to bring brilliant ideas to the table. Her success in the industry is a testament to her dedication and hard work, her skill as a storyteller, and her willingness to take risks and push the boundaries of what is expected in the industry.

Jennifer McAuliffe’s journey as a rising talent in the American film industry is a testament to the power of hard work, dedication, and passion. Her unique voice and ability to tackle important social issues through her work and platform make her a talent to watch out for now and in the future. 

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