Interview with Screenwriter Jeffrey van Davis

Watch the Screenplay Reading:

When a police detective, hunting a serial killer, gets too close, the killer murders his wife and two children, sending him into a downward spiral of alcohol, suicide, and a near-death experience where God tells him to become a priest. Years later the serial killer reappears – in his confessional.


Narrator: Hannah Ehman
Father Hartman/Both Together /Lt. Walter: Allan Michael Brunet
Jimmy/Both Together/Father Jackson/Norman: Shawn Devlin
Nancy/Megan: Val Cole
Frank/Harry Woods/Priest/Burt/Alter Boys: Steve Rizzo
Patrick/Bill/Harry Woods/Alter Boys (M): Sean Ballatyne
Katherine/Coed: Kyana Teresa

Get to know the screenwriter:

1. What is your screenplay about? Good vs. Evil Not in the more orthodox religious view of Christianity, but in a Manichaean vision Norman Mailer discussed in my film, “Norman Mailer: The Sanction to Write.” The Manichaeans saw God and the Devil as brothers caught up in a battle til the end of time – a battle of good vs. evil. There exist an important third element at play and that is mankind, human beings. How we act (for good or for evil) will determine if God or the Devil wins. So as humans we bear an awesome responsibility, a terrifying duty, in determining the outcome of this cosmic battle.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under? Drama, Psychological thriller.

3. Why should this screenplay be made into a movie? It’s a SCREENplay – a structure (skeleton) upon which we put muscle, flesh, tissue, sinew, etc. Why write a screenplay if not to make a movie for the SCREEN. Spotlight, although a good movie, is about intrepid journalism. The issue of pedophile priest abuse in the church was peripheral. My story attempts to deal head on with the issue of priest abuse.

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

5. What movie have you seen the most times in your life? Toss up between Casablanca and Singen in the Rain.

6. How long have you been working on this screenplay? On and off for about two years.

7. How many stories have you written? I don’t know exactly how many. But my first short story I wrote in Mrs. Renner’s 5th grade class. She thought it was so good she read it in front of the class. I’ve been writing ever since. Real actual screenplays I’ve written? 14. Two sold on option, two were produced, four have won in screenplay compositions.

8. What is your favorite song? (Or, what song have you listened to the most times in your life?) Polka Dots and Moonbeams (Bill Evans, jazz pianist, and or Frank Sinatra).

9. What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay? Caring for my wife for a year as she fought cancer. Her death and learning to live with out her.

10. Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about? Music – all kinds but especially jazz and classical. I am a jazz drummer and play regularly in two groups.

11. You entered your screenplay via FilmFreeway. What has been your experiences working with the submission platform site? I like FilmFreeway. It’s the only submission platform I use.

12. What influenced you to enter the festival? What were your feelings on the initial feedback you received? I had entered a few other 1st ten pages competitions and although I won or placed as finalist, it was not at all satisfying. When I received feedback from Wildsound festival, I was pleasantly surprised. Not because the feedback was positive, but because it was so knowledgable, professional and written by a person who knew what he was talking about. Of course, it was great to hear that I am a winner.


By matthewtoffolo

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

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