Interview with Screenwriter Thomas D. Rotenberg (VIOLE(N)T)

1. What is your screenplay about?

Rhe script begins with a man and a woman awakening to find themselves in a house with no memory of who they are or how they got there. from there it evolves into a more personal journey as the woman slowly begins to remember more of her life before coming to the realization that she died and is now an android. she has to come to terms with the traumatic years before her death and her new purpose – both from her manufacturer and a more personal one, guided by a surreptitiously-programmed self determination factor.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?


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

This script is much more about the current socio-political climate in the united states than it is about androids and science fiction. america is a fractured, broken country guided by dogmatic fear-mongering and the main goal with this script is to promote socialist ideologies – the necessity of healthcare for all, the destruction of political demagoguery, and the role that technology plays in preserving those existing power structures.

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

Heartbreakingly hopeful

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

Tough to say but I’ll call it a three-way draw between Kubrick’s a clockwork orange, Bergman’s cries & whispers, and Lynch’s lost highway

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

One year

7. How many stories have you written?

More than I can count

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

Probably something by the Beattles or Pink Floyd but according to itunes I’ve played “castration rite” by discordance axis more than anything else.

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

The pandemic was a big obstacle – despite being confined and with no external forms of recreation, it was challenging to find the motivation to maintain focus and see this through to completion. the other big obstacle was my day job – super thankful for it keeping me afloat but it’s incredibly draining and high-stress.

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

Creating – beyond writing, I shoot, direct, edit, and create VFX for video art installation pieces that have been exhibited around the world. this alternate form of storytelling encourages abstraction and unconventional structure, allowing me to work in a way that’s much less regimented than when on a set with a team of people to coordinate. I can improvise with actors, try out new camera techniques, build a story in a way that’s flexible, and experiment with coloring and digital manipulation to convey multiple, sometimes conflicting, emotions.

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

Filmfreeway has been great – I’ve been submitting my last several projects exclusively via that platform and it’s made the whole process much more streamlined in every way – from crafting your project’s page to submitting to notifications.

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

I hadn’t written a feature script in several years and it had been even longer since I had submitted one to any kind of festival. I know the importance of targeting your audience, so I sought out festivals dedicated to science fiction. I’ve been incredibly pleased with the feedback and overall communication – nothing but a positive experience!

Watch the Screenplay Reading:

A man and a woman wake up in a house with no memory of how they got there, only to find that they’re locked inside and need to solve three puzzles to escape…or so they think.


Narration: Steve Rizzo
Man/Abe: Geoff Mays
Woman: Hannah Ehman


By matthewtoffolo

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

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