Interview with Winning Feature Screenplay Writer George M. Johnson (PEACE PLEDGE)

Watch the August 2017 Winning Feature Screenplay at the WILDsound Corporate Festival. 

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

George M. Johnson: A disillusioned First World War veteran, challenged by a reckless Anglican priest, reluctantly fights for peace against fascists in 1930s Britain, losing both friends and family but gaining a second chance in love. The screenplay is based on the true story of Canon Dick Sheppard and the Peace Pledge Union, the strongest pacifist movement in history.

What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Period drama, history, biopic

Why should this screenplay be made into a movie?

Peace Pledge is a gripping and heart-felt story about standing up for what you believe in, even against all the odds. It is also a tale of redemption, love and the power of the human spirit. Peace Pledge is timely with the centenary commemoration of the end of WWI on the horizon (and the 80th anniversary of the beginning of WWII); the story becomes more relevant every day with the escalation of military spending and worldwide violence.

How would you describe this script in two words?

heart-warming, uplifting

What movie have you seen the most times in your life?

Monty Python and the Holy Grail

How long have you been working on this screenplay?

I started researching it in 2012 and have worked on it along with other projects since then.

How many stories have you written?

I have written about a dozen stage-plays, some of them award-winning. “Still Life With Nudes” is a comedy about seniors who stage a sit-in at a contemporary art gallery in protest when their full-length nude self-portraits were rejected. It won the National Playwrighting Award and several other awards. I’ve also penned three award-winning screenplays, including “Peace Pledge,” which received Honorable Mention in the Euroscript Competition, and “The Wonder,” a finalist in the British Independent Film Festival, as well as half a dozen children’s stories, one, “Marissa and the Mountains,” to be published by Simply Read next year.

What is your favorite song? (Or, what song have you listened to the most times in your life?)

Universal Soldier has been a long-time favourite.

What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

Information about the Peace Pledge Union has been buried in history and so it took considerable digging to piece together the peace story.

Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

I am passionate about social justice issues, particularly fighting threats to the environment where I live in B.C.. I also enjoy canoeing, camping, and travelling with my family.

You entered your screenplay via FilmFreeway. What has been your experiences working with the submission platform site?

It has been great!

What influenced you to enter the festival? What were your feelings on the initial feedback you received?

A friend had entered and told me it was worthwhile. I was elated at the encouraging, articulate, insightful feedback and inspired to make further revisions to make this the best script possible.

WATCH the Winning Reading: 

CAST LIST:

Narrator: Elizabeth Rose Morriss
Dick Sheppard: Scott McCulloch
John: Brogan Caulfield
Esme: Sandra Krstin
Alison: Julie Sheppard
Burt: Peter-Mark Raphael

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