Featured Story By: Geo Virgo

Online platforms undoubtedly possess the profound capacity to influence, inspire and provoke change just as much as films. The art of cinema, through storytelling, reflects society’s triumphs, flaws and the complex web of interconnected issues that shape the world. From slice-of-life dramas to thought-provoking documentaries, movies have long served as a powerful tool for shedding light on societal topics that demand attention and understanding.

Australian screenwriter Jennifer McAuliffe has made a significant impact with her thought-provoking script that delves into the intricate and often misunderstood dynamics of gaslighting. In her award-winning screenplay Heartbreak Under a Neon Streetlight, McAuliffe brings to light the psychological manipulation experienced by countless individuals, presenting a compelling narrative that resonates with audiences not just in America but worldwide.

As a talented screenwriter, McAuliffe shares her journey and motivations behind tackling this challenging subject matter, the impact her work has had on the film industry and how it can change the viewer’s perspective on gaslighting.

McAuliffe’s journey as a screenwriter

McAuliffe possesses an innate passion for the arts and an unwavering dedication to the craft of film and television. Her fascination early on in life with both written and visual materials has shaped her profound appreciation for the art of storytelling and become the driving force behind her remarkable career.

McAuliffe studied media and communications, focusing on script and film, at Macquarie University and worked in TV production house Fremantle Media. She embraced and understood that the heart of the creative process lies in the ability to envision and express narratives with unwavering clarity. Reflecting on her craft, she finds resonance in Quentin Tarantino’s profound quote that emphasizes the importance of having a vision and collaborating with like-minded individuals who share that passion for storytelling. McAuliffe firmly believes that the foundation of any successful project lies in working with individuals who genuinely care about the art of storytelling, putting the story itself at the forefront.

Drawing from her personal experiences and embracing the philosophy of uninhibited expression, McAuliffe highlights the power of honesty and authenticity in her writing. She adamantly refuses to self-censor when delving into personal matters, recognizing that it is precisely within the depths of vulnerability and emotional turmoil that the true essence of storytelling can be discovered.

With her award-winning script shedding light on gaslighting, McAuliffe tackles an intricate and often misunderstood topic with an unyielding determination. The subject matter resonates deeply with her, highlighting her commitment to exploring the complexities of human behaviour and the psychological manipulation experienced by many.

Unveiling the script: exploring the intricacies of gaslighting

Gaslighting, which more people have become aware of in recent years, is a deeply destructive form of psychological manipulation. McAuliffe’s script Heartbreak Under a Neon Streetlight fearlessly dives into this distressing topic, dismantling the nature of gaslighting and its various impacts on different people. The swipe-right digital age that characterizes the modern world has made gaslighting more prevalent and alarmingly common, which has inevitably inflicted emotional scars on countless individuals.

The screenwriter presents emotionally aware women who have been fractured by this debilitating situation through her script. By portraying the shattered psyche of her characters, she confronts the profound impact of gaslighting head-on, highlighting the lasting scars it leaves behind. McAuliffe’s approach is unapologetically raw and authentic, daring to delve into the darkest corners of the human experience. Her masterful storytelling reveals the devastating consequences of gaslighting, inviting audiences to confront this emotional pandemic that silently thrives in our digital age.

McAuliffe describes how her script delves deep into the complexities of gaslighting and refuses to shy away from its destructive nature. She takes audiences on a journey through her hard-hitting drama, exposing the shattered emotional landscape of those involved. With her relentless pursuit of truth, McAuliffe showcases the irreparable damage caused by this emotional manipulation, peeling back the layers of pain and fractured identities.

Heartbreak Under a Neon Streetlight has garnered considerable acclaim among film critics, receiving prestigious accolades such as the Official Selection Awards for Best Female Screenwriter at the Chicago Script Awards, the Best TV Pilot at the Hollywood Script Awards and an honourable mention at the International Screenwriting Competition as well as nominations at the Swedish International Film Festival and the LA Independent Women Film Awards. These accolades serve as a testament to the profound impact of the script on the film industry.

McAuliffe is currently engaged in the production of a proof of concept for her acclaimed script, elevating it to greater heights and imparting valuable insights to women within contemporary society.


KO Media newsroom and editorial staff were not involved in the creation of this content.