Interview with Screenwriter Sarah Courchaine (DIRT FROM A HOLY PLACE)

1. What is your screenplay about?

My screenplay is a retelling of my life growing up as a Pentecostal Apostolic girl in the early-mid 2000s and the social, personal, and emotional hardships that such a life inflicted on my friends and I as teen girls.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

I’d categorize it as a coming-of-age/dramedy

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

The subject matter is interesting to a lot of viewers (i.e. 19 Kids and Counting, Jesus Camp, etc.) and I feel as though women in these cults and sects are underrepresented in media or not fully fleshed out when they are featured.

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

Religious hysteria

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

American Beauty

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

I had been working on this episode on and off for 2 years before I submitted it.

7. How many stories have you written?

I write novellas for a living and I’ve been writing since I was seven, I really couldn’t tell you how many of my stories are floating around in the universe.

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

Black Hole Sun by Soundgarden is a safe bet

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

Being uncertain whether or not I was able to present the story and its details in a way that was believable to an audience that wasn’t familiar with the evangelical way of life. I feared that a lot of the things I wrote would seem too absurd when they happened just as I’d written them (or within a close approximation).

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

Music, art, language, veganism, social issues, medicine

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

I’ve had a very good experience with FilmFreeway personally. I feel like the return on my investment with entering these festivals has been worthwhile as I’ve been able to actually attend one of them and receive invaluable feedback from industry professionals.

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

I needed to gain insight from people who work within the film industry in order to have a better understanding of how my script would realistically perform if it was produced. I had asked friends and strangers within online communities to review it and received feedback there as well, but here I felt like I would be getting a more objective viewpoint to work with.

Watch the Screenplay Reading:

A group of five young girls navigates the trials and traumas of adolescence while growing up in a religious patriarchal cult. Based on true events.


Narrator: Allison Kampf
Carla (F-50s): Val Cole
John (M-50s) Steve Rizzo

By matthewtoffolo

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

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