Interview with Screenwriter Max Orkis (ALL YOU CAN CARRY)

1. What is your screenplay about?

ALL YOU CAN CARRY is about a family man who defies his loved ones and stays in a war zone to care for his abusive mother-in-law as he chooses between survival and honor. Unlike millions of Ukrainians fleeing Russia’s bloody invasion, Vladislav and Inna have a ticket out, but opt to brave artillery fire and hardships instead of abandoning elderly Daria. To me, this story is about heroism and humanity.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Wartime family drama.

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

ALL YOU CAN CARRY should get produced because it gives us a glimpse into the kind of tragedy war brings to a family like countless others. I intended for this screenplay to show the everyday heroism of civilians. While this intimate look at a family’s struggle for survival is set in embattled Kharkiv in 2022, I feel it could be a tale of another family in Aleppo in 2016, Sevastopol in 1942, Constantinople in 1453, or a myriad other sieges throughout recorded and forgotten history. I hope one day a soldier will watch this movie, realize in another scenario this could be their family, and refuse to obey a criminal order or “accidentally” miss the target. I hope this movie, based on a true story, will inspire people to remain human against all the odds. Also, this short is a proof of concept for a feature film I think it has the potential to become.

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

Authentic, sincere.

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

Office Space.

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

I’ve been working on this screenplay for roughly four months, although I came up with the first draft in about a week.

7. How many stories have you written?

I’ve written dozens of stories, especially if I include screenplays, short stories published and shelved, and the IPs I’ve written and adapted for work.

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

“Time” by Pink Floyd.

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

I’d never before written a script based on a true story, and ALL YOU CAN CARRY is a fictionalized and dramatized account of what my friends, who became my characters, had to go through for several weeks in Ukraine under Russian fire. The challenge was to immerse the audience in the characters’ experience and do it justice while not letting the project become a documentary. It’s an interesting and fine line to walk, and I learned a lot, working on the script.

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

More than anything, I love my family. I’m also a language and history geek. I enjoy reading novels.

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

Working with FilmFreeway has been great. I feel super flattered because many festivals have invited me to send them ALL YOU CAN CARRY and other successful scripts of mine and offered me major discounts, which makes submissions almost free.

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

What attracted me to the Chicago Feedback Film Festival was, among other things, the potential table read and the “feedback” bits. The latter I found helpful as it contained clear and specific suggestions for improvement.

Watch the Screenplay Reading:

Logline: Vladislav and Inna live with Inna’s 92-year old mother, Daria, in Ukraine when Russians start to invade and they are all forced to make difficult choices.


Narrator: Shawn Devlin
VLADISLAV: Steve Rizzo
Inna/Russian Anchor: Val Cole
Masha/Ukrainian Anchor: Kyana Teresa
Daria: Hannah Ehman


By matthewtoffolo

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

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