Sammy, a crazy smart twelve-year-old girl, uses her gift for mathematics and enlists her frenemies to revamp the school penny drive into a major moneymaking operation.
Sammy Baca has a talent for getting into trouble. Busted for her latest scheme – selling gum in school to raise money for her very own smartphone – Sammy is sentenced to roll all of the pennies from the school's penny drive for schools for girls in Afghanistan.
Reflecting on Sammy's penny roll detention, Sammy's math teacher, Ms. Dyer, gives Sammy an idea for taking the penny drive to the next level. The girls running the penny drive simply need to ask people to donate one penny a day for a month. The catch is that each person has to ask another person every day to donate one penny a day for the remainder of the month, and so on and so on. If the plan works, the girls could raise over twenty million dollars – in theory. Sammy enlists the penny drive treasurer Katie in her scheme, and Katie in turn makes the school’s reigning tween queen Hannah and her sycophant Emily unwitting accomplices.
Meanwhile, Sammy hones her gift for mathematics in secret, working on Calculus in a bathroom stall at school and meeting with Ms. Dyer for private lessons. Her morally questionable penny drive scheme and clandestine math pursuits keep Sammy from dwelling on her single mom, Angela, and her nightly absences as she works several night shifts as a nurse practitioner while trying to get into medical school for the umpteenth time. All Angela wants is to keep Sammy on the straight-and-narrow, to avoid making the same mistakes she did.
CENTS follows the drama of Sammy and her frenemies as they continue to make selfish choices without contemplating the consequences. Whichever girl can tear the others down fastest wins. Sammy faces the scorn of her peers, the disgust of her mentor and the fury of her mother. The real question for Sammy is: can she calculate a solution before her life spirals out of her control?
About the filmmakers
Christopher Boone (Writer/Director) is an award-winning screenwriter and filmmaker living in Albuquerque, New Mexico. His screenplay CENTS was a 2012 Academy Nicholl Fellowship in Screenwriting semifinalist and was invited to the second round of the 2014 Sundance Institute Screenwriting Lab selection process. CENTS marks Christopher’s feature film debut.
His short films have won multiple awards and screened at film festivals in Los Angeles, Chicago, Brooklyn, Miami, Washington, DC, San Diego, Philadelphia, Santa Fe and Woods Hole, MA, in addition to several venues across the state of New Mexico
Christopher contributes to the blog No Film School where he shares lessons learned from professional screenwriters about the craft and business of screenwriting. He is also a panel moderator for the Austin Film Festival and Conference.
Ella Sitkin (Producer), a native of Studio City, California, spent the first 18 years of her life watching films being made on every street corner. It never occurred to her back then that she'd ever join that world. Instead, life took Ella to New Mexico where she began her technical career as a software developer, programmed a bunch of cool stuff (at least she thought it was cool) and then took the formidable step into management positions, finally doing an 11-year stint as Executive Director of Information Technology at University of New Mexico Hospitals.
At some point near the end of her Information Technology career, Ella started dabbling in filmmaking. Watching what went on and how production was accomplished, it dawned on her that production management and producing used many of the same skills she had developed during her technical life.
Ella has been involved in film production for the last several years. She was a producer for the indie feature ADVENTURES OF A TEENAGE DRAGONSLAYER, produced the Duke City Shootout (7 short films shooting simultaneously) for 5 years, and currently produces the new Environmental Comedy project (nmecopedia.org). She also teaches Algebra, Statistics and other strange math courses at Central New Mexico Community College and the University of New Mexico.
Ella serves on the Board of the YWCA, a non-profit organization that is strongly invested in immersing young women in mathematics, science and technology. She also serves on the board of the Digital Filmmaking Institute, a non-profit organization dedicated to education and training through innovative programs and competitions.
Ella is excited to be a part of CENTS having once been a 12-year-old girl who was very good at math and also got into a wee bit of adolescent trouble.
Corey Weinstein (Director of Photography) graduated from the University of New Mexico in 2002 with a degree in Film and Photography. Over the past ten years, he has worked in reality television, commercials, industrials and has worked on over 30 feature films and television series as a Camera Assistant. Corey gained admittance into the International Cinematographers Guild (IATSE Local 600) in 2005.
Corey has worked as Director of Photography on dozens of short films, music videos and industrials. Notable films among his credits include the award winning SOMETHING RED (2004), the National 48-Hour Film Project winning film SWEETIE (2007), and the 48-Hour Film Project local choice for best cinematography, THE AMNIOTE (2009). In 2011, Corey teamed with Hannah Macphearson on her National Film Challenge award-winning movie, CLICK FLASH. Corey has shot two feature productions, WARRIOR WOMAN (2010) and FEEDING MR. BALDWIN (2012). Corey recently completed photography in Jamaica for the reggae video "Start and Stop" for Bonafide featuring Damien Marley.
Corey's DP reel can be found online at Vimeo.
Reuben Finkelstein (Editor) originally trained in 3D animation, but realized his love for editing far outweighed his love for Pixar and his interest in the polygon.
Reuben finished his first feature length documentary in early 2004 and has continued to feed his passion for story telling ever since. After 9 years in the industry, Reuben has cut two feature-length indie films and over 20 short films across a wide range of genres. His body of work also includes commercials and music videos. Several of his pieces have garnered awards. His enthusiasm for storytelling is matched only by his total dedication to the craft of video editing. He currently runs Flying Mantis Productions, his own indie post-production company along with his wife and business partner in Albuquerque, New Mexico.