Interview with Screenwriter Anthony Catino (Neighbor Versus Neighbor)

1. What is your screenplay about?

The story is about the insidious nature of government oppression and how blind we are to the methods government and political parties use to retain power.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

For this proof of concept, drama. However, the concept as a feature would be developed into a thriller incorporating much more of the dystopian world they live including the culpability of the media who miserably fail the country’s citizens it professes to protect.

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

The story is an allegory having its roots in current events paralleling acts of the East German Communist government. Namely, the East German Stasi that pitted its citizens against one another ultimately developing a network of 250,000+ rats… sorry, informants. That’s in a population of 16.4 million. All of those rats vying for a few crumbles of privilege dispensed by corrupt government officials.

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

Question authority.

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

The Matrix

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

This short came out fully formed and written over a weekend.

7. How many stories have you written?

Many shorts and features. You can visit to see some.

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

Every little thing she does is magic by the Police.

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

It was written during the first virus lockdown.

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

My sons. They have been a source of concepts, advice, blunt criticism and hilarity.

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

I only use FilmFreeway. Stupid fast and easy. The way I like it.

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

This is an interesting and timely question. These days you can’t help but feel writers are being told what to write and who can/can’t write what due to extreme political correctness. It’s censorship in its most insidious form. It’s happened to me recently with Neighbor Versus Neighbor feedback I received from a big brand name contest. It made me furious when I was told to change my characters and how they spoke and acted! Fuck that.

Two days later when I received feedback from your contest and compared it against the brand name contest, it was black and white. While their reader’s feedback was obsessive, focusing solely on the 2 black characters to who played supporting roles, your group’s feedback honed in on what the story was communicating. I’d go further and say the brand name contest’s reader provided feedback based solely on their personal sociopolitical views. Repulsive. The thoughtful questions I received from your reader’s feedback were exceptional. I took them to heart and rewrote the script which resulted in more depth to the story.

The quality of the feedback from your readers tells me they are pros and I appreciate the independent mindedness without the influence of political correctness. I highly recommend your contest for this reason as this is the foundation of film as an art. Without it, we’re all East German writers.

Watch the Screenplay Reading:

Wracked with guilt, a former East German Stasi officer who enforced tyranny and destroyed lives – including his own family – uses current events as a chance for redemption to fight government oppression.

Anneliese: Julie Sheppard
Frank: Geoff Mays
Martin: Shawn Devlin
Brianna: Hannah Ehman
Esf Agent/Desmond: Bill Poulin

By matthewtoffolo

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

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