Interview with Winning Screenwriter Troy Kelly (INDIAN COUNTY)

INDIAN COUNTY was the winner of BEST FEATURE SCREENPLAY at the July 2018 Screenplay Festival.

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Troy Kelly: Indian Country is about an attorney who finds himself in trouble for helping the wrong people and has a chance at redemption in defending a man accused of killing his pregnant girlfriend. Along the way, he sees the criminal justice system in a different light and confronts a corrupt investigation.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

It is a legal drama.

3. Why should this screenplay be made into a movie?

I really focused on developing strong characters who aren’t often represented. Throughout the cast there are strong women and strong people of color who aren’t just in the story to move the men along. It’s also important that the script is legally accurate (with a few minor exceptions to add dramatic tension). There are no surprise witnesses or any of those tropes that can’t happen in real life but seem to pop up in legal dramas all the time.

4. How would you describe this script in two words?

“honest” and “realistic”

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

Definitely Silence of the Lambs

6. How long have you been working on this screenplay?

Before submitting it, I worked on it from conception to outlining to first draft to revisions for about 6 months.

7. How many stories have you written?

I suppose I’ve been writing stories one way or another throughout my whole life, so I’m not sure I could count. This is my first completed screenplay, and I am working on another project at the moment.

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

I love R&B music from the 90s and 20s. My favorite song ever is “If” by Janet Jackson.

9. What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

For me, the biggest obstacle in this screenplay was learning the ins and outs of screenwriting. I was doing a lot of reading about screenwriting and took a course in screenwriting while I was working on this project, so I sort of did that simultaneously.

10. Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

I am politically active, so I have spent a lot of time over the last few months working on a few campaigns with the labor movement.

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

It was a pretty seamless submission platform, and it really helped me get a sense of the kinds of contests to enter.

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

I chose this particular festival because it was genre specific. Since this was my first screenplay and my first foray into entering into contests like this, I wanted to be intentional in how and where I entered. Also, having the chance for a full reading from professional actors was a really exciting prospect!

Genre: Crime, Drama

An up-and-coming white-collar defense lawyer gets caught up in a fraud scheme and must take on the pro bono defense of a Native American man facing the death penalty in order to restore his reputation.


Agent Forrest: Danilo Reyes
Carole: Julie C. Sheppard
Nona: Tayna Bevan
Narrator: Kate Fenton
Carter: John Marcucci
Kari: Samantha Carly
Agent Gust: Scott McCulloch
Agent James: Michael Lake


Interviewer Matthew Toffolo is currently the CEO of the WILDsound FEEDBACK Film & Writing Festival. The festival that showcases 20-50 screenplay and story readings performed by professional actors every single month. And the FEEDBACK Monthly Festival held in downtown Toronto, and Los Angeles at least 3 times a month. Go to for more information and to submit your work to the festival.

By matthewtoffolo

Filmmaker and sports fan. CEO of the WILDsound Film and Writing Festival

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