Interview with Screenwriter Tim Kontje (ZERO LINE)

1. What is your screenplay about?

After her fiance gets killed doing a story on ISIS antiquities smuggling, a tough young journalist sets out to finish his story and track down stolen artifacts. She joins forces with an Iraqi archaeologist and an American soldier turned smuggler as her search takes her to the front lines of the fight against ISIS, and they end up in a race against a ruthless private military corporation that will stop at nothing to get the looted treasure first.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?


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

Primarily because it’s an exciting ride with a lot of action and fun characters, but it also deals with some topical issues like blood antiquities.

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

Real adventure.

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

Probably the original Star Wars or Raiders of the Lost Ark.

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

On-and-off for a couple years, including doing research.

7. How many stories have you written?

A lot – I think the first one may have been a retelling of The Adventures of Robin Hood in my kindergarten class. I stapled some paper together to make a little book and did the illustrations, too, which probably left something to be desired. But in terms of scripts, I have three or so besides this one that I feel pretty good about, and I’m always working on more.

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

“The Greatest Show on Earth” by Nightwish. Most-listened-to is probably “Jesus of Suburbia” by Green Day.

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

One of the biggest challenges – but also the most rewarding aspects – was doing research about journalists, antiquities smuggling, and ISIS. I read and watched a lot, and talked to Alexandra Zavis, a journalist who writes for the LA Times, who gave me fantastic insight into what it’s like to be a war reporter.

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

In normal times, going to the movies! I also love traveling, reading, and ocean swimming.

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

The experience has been great! The site is nice and easy to use, and it’s a valuable resource for finding festivals and competitions.

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

I was curious about what it would be like to enter a festival with feedback, since I hadn’t done that before. It worked out well – the notes were encouraging and pointed out a number of ways to strengthen the script. Thanks!

Watch the Screenplay Reading:

A hard-charging journalist teams up with a cynical soldier of fortune and an Iraqi archaeologist as her story on ISIS antiquities trafficking becomes a race against a ruthless private military corporation. Inspired by true events.

Narrator: Allison Kampf
Jen: Hannah Ehman
Chandra: Elizabeth Rose Morriss

By matthewtoffolo

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

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