UC student hopes to earn first Ecuadorian Oscar nomination
Screenwriter Dani Granja co-authored the thriller Sumergible
By Bryn Dippold
When University of Cincinnati doctoral student Dani Granja started work on the script for the film "Sumergible," she was one of two people teaching screenwriting in Ecuador. Alfredo León León, director and co-writer, approached her with the script, hoping Granja could breathe some life into the text.
Eight years later, "Sumergible" is Ecuador’s official submission to the 2022 Academy Awards for Best Foreign Film. Only 10 Ecuadorian films have been submitted for an Oscar nomination and none has yet earned a nomination.
"Sumergible" follows the crew of a narcotics submarine as they transport their expensive cargo from Colombia to California and fight for survival. A thriller with the tagline ‘Entre es la parte facile’ (getting in is the easy part), the filmmakers hope it will be the first Ecuadorian film nominated for Best Foreign Film.
“Basically, my career is what they call a script doctor,” Granja says. “I get the scripts, I diagnose them and I advise the screenwriter.”
Granja enrolled in UC when she and her husband moved to Cincinnati. She began a master's program in Spanish. Now she is pursuing a doctorate in the Department of Romance and Arabic Languages and Literatures.
She has carried her lifelong passion for writing from Ecuador to the United States.
Granja, 40, grew up in Quito, the capital of Ecuador. She earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology, then an associate's degree in documentary filmmaking. Granja then earned a master's of fine arts degree with a Fulbright scholarship for screenwriting. After finishing her master’s, Granja began to teach at colleges in Ecuador, eventually moving to Cincinnati when her husband started studying at UC.
Something that I really like about our department is that we can write a creative writing project as a thesis.
Dani Granja, UC doctoral student and screenwriter
“When our son turned 2, I didn’t have a lot of jobs going on,” Granja says. “It was harder for me to get writing jobs because I wasn’t there in Ecuador. Getting a writing job in the United States is impossible, especially for a foreigner.”
Granja decided to enroll at UC, beginning a master's program in Spanish. She is now entering her second-year as a doctoral student with a concentration in Spanish literature.
“Something that I really like about our department is that we can write a creative writing project as a thesis instead of a foundational, academic dissertation,” Granja says.
Mauricio Espinoza, assistant professor of film and media, says Granja’s enthusiasm for opportunities available through UC became evident early.
“Before Dani joined our program, she came to volunteer with our Film and Media Studies program,” Espinoza says. “She was also organizing a Latin American film series at the Esquire. I could tell from the beginning that she was very eager to do things related to film and make connections with the university.”
Now Granja is working on two film scripts for American audiences. She recently was invited to present one of the scripts at the Sundance Film Festival. Though it’s in its first draft, Granja knows this is a unique opportunity.
“We got the invitation. We have to deliver,” Granja says.
Featured image at top: Cinema entrance. Photo/Myke Simon for Unsplash.
Craft beer career brews for UC alum
December 6, 2021
For the city of Cincinnati, breweries are big business, with dozens of craft locations spread across the area. For College of Arts and Sciences alum Matt Cremeans, the abundant brewery scene provided opportunity for a new career. Cremeans, who graduated in 2014 with his degree in communication with a certificate in public relations, began working at Rebel Mettle Brewery in January. After visiting the brewery, Cremeans began speaking with the owner, Michael Brown, and eventually joined the team. Brown, an Air Force veteran, had opened the location in September of 2020, establishing it as one of only three local breweries to be veteran owned. Cremeans said that his time at UC helped to prepare him for the world of sales and interpersonal relationship building. During one course at UC, Cremeans had the opportunity to create a marketing plan for a selected company. Through this exercise, he says, he found a better understanding of how to craft the company’s image to benefit the marketing system. This aided him as he moved from UC into the full-time workforce.
UC’s 2021 graduates prepare to celebrate
December 6, 2021
The University of Cincinnati will celebrate fall commencement for 2,284 graduates on Friday, Dec. 10, in two ceremonies at Fifth Third Arena. UC will host its doctoral hooding and master’s degree recognition ceremony at 9 a.m. followed by the undergraduate commencement at 2 p.m. Doors to the arena open 90 minutes before the ceremonies.
WCPO: UC study: Your kid's screen time might not be as...
December 2, 2021
WCPO covers UC study on children and media use during the pandemic summer of 2020