Institute History

  • 1990 June Screenwriters Lab


Covering the tar paper roof top of a six story building in the middle of Manhattan's East Village is a garden of Eden. Here, under the loving care of Siggy, a lively seventy-year-old widower, and his closest friend, Marco, a twenty-year-old mentally retarded boy/man, every conceivable flower, fruit, and herb blossoms, ripens, and grows abundant.

This garden, Siggy and Marco's love, is soon threatened by a new taller building under construction across the street, tall enough to block the sun from forever shining on the garden. With this impending doom comes Emma, a young, angelic, pregnant French woman who arrives seeking the father of her child, a playboy ad man who lives across the hall from Siggy who, we discover, has no interest in either Emma or his child-to-be. Emma quickly finds a sanctuary in Siggy's garden, and Siggy finds in Emma a daughter, and ultimately, the child he never had.

On the ground floor, we meet the landlord of Siggy's building: Fay, a sassy, sexy, wonderfully wry woman in her late sixties who has been in love with Siggy for the past forty years. Together with Emma, Marco, and Marco's parents (Mimo and Maria: owners of the local Italian deli), Fay struggles to lure Siggy from despair and fire him with the passion he needs to not only save his garden, but in a sense, save himself.

SIGGY is the story of how tender, fragile lives—the garden, a mentally retarded boy, a foreign pregnant woman, an elderly Italian couple, a lonely woman in her sixties believing herself to be in her sexual prime, and an old man watching his world literally wither and die around him—each struggle to survive and grow in an environment as harsh and impersonal as New York City.


As you use our Online Archives, please understand that the information presented from Festivals, Labs, and other activities is taken directly from official publications from each year. While this information is limited and doesn't necessarily represent the full list of participants (e.g. actors and crew), it is the list given to us by the main film/play/project contact at the time, based on the space restrictions of our publications. Each entry in the Online Archives is meant as a historical record of a particular film, play, or project at the time of its involvement with Sundance Institute. For this reason, we can only amend an entry if a name is misspelled, or if the entry does not correctly reflect the original publication. If you have questions or comments, please email [email protected]