Interview with Winning Screenwriter Robert David Simpson (THE HUNT FOR CHUCK BERRY)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Robert David Simpson: It’s about Aliens finding a satellite from Earth, a record, and music and then going to Earth to seek out the musician- Chuck Berry and bring him back.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

SCI-FI COMEDY

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

We all need a good laugh and kids may like it also and…it promotes outer space discoveries.

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

Funny, strange

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

Probably – ‘ 2001 Space Oddessy’

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

Several days while in the hospital

7. How many stories have you written?

One book and eight scripts in the last year.

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

‘ ‘It’s a Beautiful World’ by ‘ Louise Armstrong

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

None, really.

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

Making films

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

So far, so good.

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

Influence? I am now 69 yrs of age and at that age, one wonders how much time one has left, so I did my best to write eight different genres in one year and entered them into eight different Festivals earlier this year.

 

In 1970,a NASA satellite,’Voyager 1′,was shot into space and in 2017 lands on planet X68 in Andromeda star system. Small humanoids,living there, go ecstatic apon hearing a recorded version of Chuck Berry music, found on a record within the satellite. They decide to head out to find this human and bring him home to teach them more! The hunt starts!

CAST LIST:

Taro: Kevin Gabel

Supreme Leader: Allen Michael Brunet

Narrator: Regan Brown

Nori: Ariel Brooker

Yoo: Georgia Grant

Uzu: Hartley O. Gyamfi

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Interview with Winning Screenwriter Fritz Mueller (ANAHNA)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Fritz Mueller: An idealistic young Inuk and his strong-willed Gwich’in
girlfriend get caught in the crossfire of rival drug factions.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Action. Adventure. Drama.

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

– An inviting adventure tale that transcends familiar
stereotypes of the north.
– A positive portrait of indigenous people.
– A contemporary look at a remote landscape usually thought
to be hostile and barren, that is in reality both bountiful
and beautiful.
– Its protagonist chooses a path of forgiveness rather than
the much-more-commonly-filmed path of revenge.

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

Love. Greed.

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

A toss up: The Fugitive, Witness, The Next Three Days, all
watched many times while trying to relate their screenplays
to the completed films. A favorite recent movie is I, Tonya,
a powerful character study.

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

Two years, plus a bit.

7. How many stories have you written?

Many stories and poems, and part of a novel (abandoned long
ago). ANAHNA is a first screenplay. I have two more
screenplays underway, COWBOY WALTZ and MY RUSSIAN UNCLE.

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

My current favorite is “Evangeline”, which I am learning to
play on guitar. What song have I listened to most? Probably
Rodrigo’s “Concerto de Aranjuez” for classical guitar and
orchestra.

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

Shortage of time. Inexperience with screenplay format. Not
understanding from the beginning how powerful and
transformative revision can be.

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

Mountain wilderness. Guitar-building.

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

All positive. The FilmFreeway site is clear, easy to work
with, seems to be very inclusive. I found the
Action/Adventure Festival on the FilmFreeway site.

12. What influenced you to enter the festival?

The promised feedback. The Canadian address.

What were your feelings on the initial feedback you received?

The notes were thorough, although brief. They appeared to
derive from a reading of the entire script, not just the
opening few pages, which I appreciate. Suggestions for
improvements were well thought out. I was pleased to be
invited to re-submit the screenplay

 

 

Maddie returns to her home in Dogtown, Northwest Territories, after a long absence. She reconnects with her brother, Louie. With childhood friend, Danny. And with Danny’s grandmother, Anahna, the spiritual head of the family.

CAST LIST:

Nikita (m) – Justin Hay
Waitress – Katelyn Varadi
Narration – Norma Dawn Dunphy
Danny – Omar Aufi
Maddie – Salma Dharsee

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Interview with Winning Screenwriter Christianne Charles (CAKE)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Christianne Charles: Cake is about forbidden young love and the lessons life teaches you. Fate reunites the two leading ladies in an unexpected reunion years later. This unexpected reunion proves once you’ve loved someone you never truly forget that person.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

LGBT, Romance, Women, Drama

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

I believe it should be made into a movie as it is family friendly and tugs on the heartstrings.

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

Modern , family

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

There are plenty. It’s hard to name just one.

It’s funny if I turn on the TV, there’s usually just the right one to represent my mood. When it’s been bad, Scarface or White Heat ends up being on. Crazy coincidence.

Otherwise, I’d say pre-code films with Barbara Stainwyck or Bette Davis.

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

On and off for a year

7. How many stories have you written?

Many, many stories

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

I love 90’s R&B. I’d say anything early Mary J Blige. I really enjoy her My Life Album.

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

Maintaining my self confidence, writer’s block, facing the learning process as a new screenwriter.

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

I enjoy foreign films, old black and white movies, and yoga.

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

Very positive, easy to use, accessible, excellent feedback, reasonable fees for contest submissions.

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

I was looking for the right festival to possibly showcase my work and or gain feedback. There are many excellent festivals. I wanted to find one which was conducive to my growth as a writer that I could build a relationship/network.
I thought the feedback was extremely thorough and also presented in a positive light. Encouraging.

Christina Cole and Lauren Simon Willis were roommates and best friends. They have a love affair and the depth of Lauren’s feelings for Christina terrify her. In denial and afraid, Lauren decides to deny her heart and has a relationship with a man. She marries Peter Willis once she discovers she is pregnant. Feeling rejected and heartbroken, Christina drops out of college and switches to another university. Over ten years later, the ladies come face to face.

CAST LIST:

Narration –  Georgia Grant
Lauren (40s) – 9 –  Regan Brown
Tabby (20s) – 10 –  Ariel Brooker

Interview with Filmmaker Eugene Lehnert (THE OUTER BOROUGHS)

THE OUTER BOROUGHS played to rave reviews at the August 2018 COMEDY Film Festival in Toronto.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

I’ve been making the series as a low budget web-series. I wanted to make something bigger to show off the concept. I tried to make an episode about a creature that lived in the toxic waters of an EPA superfund site in Brooklyn but it was too expensive. So an episode about Witches was easier to make.

2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you
to make this short?

It’ probably took about a year.

3. How would you describe your short film in two words!?

Supernatural hijinks

4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?

Working around everyone’s schedules.

5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking
about your film in the feedback video?

Terrified but then relieved and happy.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:


6. How did you come up with the idea for this short film?

My friend pitched me a witches episode after I could not raise the money for the Creature from the Gowanus Canal episode.

7. What film have you seen the most in your life?

Back to the Future

8. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway, what are you feelings
of the submission platform from a filmmaker’s perspective?

I like Film Freeway. I find it better to use than Without A Box.

9. What song have you listened to the most times in your life?

A toss up between Weird Al’s “It’s Christmas at Ground Zero” and “Yoda”.

10. What is next for you? A new film?

Remastering an old film for Amazon Prime called “Armageddon for Andy”. Then writing. I’m broke and paying off this thing so it’s tough to make anything.

Interview with Filmmaker Josiah Cuneo (IN THROUGH THE NIGHT)

IN THROUGH THE NIGHT played to rave reviews at the August 2018 Under 5 Minute Film Festival.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Josiah Cuneo: I really wanted a chance to write and perform some music in a different way than I usually do. I made four short films, this being one of them, and I wrote and performed the music for them in a theater as live scores to the films. It really changed my approach to making music, and introduced me to film making.

2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this short?

I wrote the music, started rehearsing, hired a camera person, secured a location, set a date. Then the camera person took another job that day, the location cancelled, and I couldn’t reschedule because the performer’s visa’s were up, and they were set to get on a plane back to Sweden. It was a close call, but somehow I pulled everything together, and we found a way. One of the benefits of living in the city. Then I edited it, rewrote all the music, recorded it, mixed it…and then…a year later, I had a film.

3. How would you describe your short film in two words!?

Broken Daydream

4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?

One of the performers called me the day after the shoot to tell me she couldn’t find her earring. It was a family heirloom, so she was rightful anxious to get it back. I went back to the location the next day and looked everywhere. Eventually I found it. It has fallen down the drain of a 19th century sink. It took an entire day to get that sink apart, and be able to pull that earring out, but we did it. I learned a lot about plumbing that day.

5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?

It was really encouraging seeing someone give thoughtful insight to the film.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK of the Film:

6. How did you come up with the idea for this short film?

I would say it was 90% music based.

7. What film have you seen the most in your life?

Great question. The movie that I have made a conscious decision to watch the most times would probably be Ingmar Bergman’s Persona. When I first saw it I only saw the second part of it, so it didn’t really make sense, but it stuck with me, so I eventually went back to it. Now I find myself watching it everyone couple years because it really is a kind of perfect film, and in many ways has become the gold standard of what I hope to achieve in my own work.

On the other hand, the movie I have seen the most, regardless of wanting to or not, is Spike Lee’s Crooklyn. When I was a kid growing up my little sister has a VHS copy of it, and she would put it on at least five out of the seven days of the week. If I was ever in the living room, chances are it was on. It has such a good soundtrack and was made so well as a film, that you could watch it everyday without getting tired of it. I know that film incredibly well, but because I would always be watching it in bits and pieces, I couldn’t for the life of me tell you the plot.

8. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway, what are you feelings of the submission platform from a filmmaker’s perspective?

It’s been a great experience. It’s both exciting to see how many people are holding film festivals, and a great thrill to be part of them.

9. What song have you listened to the most times in your life?

It’s a two way tie. The Shirelles “Will You Still Love me Tomorrow” and The Crystals “Then He Kissed me”. Hands down the two greatest songs ever recorded.

10. What is next for you? A new film?

Last year I wrote and directed my first play that was produced at Roulette Intermedium in Brooklyn. I am starting rehearsals next week for my second, The Screen Above, a play centered around my music and choreography. After that, I hope to start shooting my first feature film next year.

in_through_the_night_.jpg

Interview with Novelist Bogdan Dzakovic (FORTRESS OF DECEIT)

1. What is your novel about?

This is an autobiographical account of my 32 year adventure in the federal government. Beginning my career with enthusiasm and idealism and ending with the belief that our own government is more a threat to this country than anything that can be dreamed up from outside. Between the two, the events I witnessed or participated in which infused in me these hard lessons of reality. This includes our efforts to prevent the 9/11 terrorist attacks (yes, we knew it was going to happen) followed by the retribution of a vengeful federal government that demonstrated its more interested in maintaining its lucrative and unaccountable status quo than in serving the country – no matter how many people it kills.

On the positive side, the book also demonstrates what moral, highly motivated individuals and groups can accomplish once they learn to ignore the limitations that society and the system imposes on them.

2. What genres would you say this story is in?

Nonfiction, horror, comedy, all rolled into one.

3. How would you describe this story in two words?

Ecce signum!

Latin for: behold the proof.

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

The Yakuza!

The ZEN master in the movie is inspirational.

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

The music of ENYA is my favorite. She has the voice of an angel.

6. Do you have an all-time favorite novel?

The original Sherlock Holmes stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Deductive reasoning is a unique way of thinking.

7. What motivated you to write this story?

I spent the first half of my career developing the expertise to identify the threat, the vulnerabilities, and attempted to prevent the calamity of the 9/11 terror attacks. Just one of a few in the entire federal government to do so. I spent the latter half of my career entombed in an entry level staff job engaged in a daily struggle just to survive. After 9/11 when I realized that Congress was engaging in a big cover up, including the 9/11 Commission, I became an official federal government whistleblower. Through experience I learned that even the whistleblower laws were designed to maintain the unaccountable status quo of the government. Once I was able to retire, I knew this story of how our government really operates had to be told.

Frederic Whitehurst (one of the first of contemporary whistleblowers engaged in trying to stop major FBI abuses in the 1980s and 90s, and a hero of mine) recently sent me an email succinctly describing the problem in government. It was written specifically addressing the FBI, but it applies directly to the entire federal government: “The problem we have with them is that they are law enforcement officers and though fools can cut and slash under the color of law for as long as they wish without accountability. Because we are a civilized society we do not cut and slash in return. We do what we do with the law, so far without violence, so far in a civilized manner. With our hands tied behind our back, blinded in both eyes and without hearing. They know it, violate the law and human rights and hide behind the badge while beating the hell out us.”

This is the reality of the deep state. If you got rid of waste, fraud and abuse in the federal government then literally at least have of our tax dollars would be eliminated. This doesn’t even count the more nefarious things our government does.

8. If you could have dinner with one person (dead or alive), who would
that be?

My mom. Didn’t get much of a chance. She died when I was eight.

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

Life, developing the mind, body, spirit.

10. What influenced you to enter your story to get performed?

Someone suggested I contribute my book, seemed like a great opportunity, particularly with a minimal budget for marketing. Really a great service you provide.

11. Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers?

Don’t quit your day job. Write for yourself. Never say die.
 

Buy on Amazon

Performed by Elizabeth Rose Morriss

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Interview with Winning Screenwriter Leah Pollack (MARKED)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Leah Pollack: It is about a naive and ambitious young man named David Kessler who is traveling to the new West in search of supernatural things, in Texas he meets a mysterious and extraordinary girl named Winnona Argento and end up working together to foil a train station heist. They then come face to face with Federal Marshal Travis Crabtree who knows more about Winnona then he lets on. Crabtree forces them to come back to headquarters via train where secrets are revealed and a bad situation suddenly gets worse.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

I would say it is a supernatural western, or perhaps it is a horror-adventure series in the same vain of Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Xfiles but set in the old West.

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

I think that this kind of story has familiar enough story beats and tropes to not alienate mainstream audiences, but has enough of a unique edge and spin that it will also feel fresh. I think once it has gone through a bit more polishing it could be a fun yet endearing project.

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

I don’t really have an answer for this one haha….

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

That’s a hard one…. I’d say it’s either Jurassic Park, Homeward Bound The Incredible Journey, The Little Mermaid, and The King and I.

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

4 or so years.

7. How many stories have you written?

I’ve been making and writing stories for as long as I can remember, but I’ve had published writings as far back as 2010.

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

It’s a 3 way tie between “Helena” by My Chemical Romance, “A Little Less 16 Candles, A Little More Touch Me” by Fallout Boy, and “Could Have Been Me” by the Struts

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

Finding a good stopping point, making sure continuity was sound, trying to balance visuals and dialogue, or even thinking of dialogue in general.

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

Dancing, especially Argentine Tango

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

It’s been super easy and convenient. It’s the only platform I have ever used to submit to festivals and I have never had any problems so far.

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

I wanted to enter my script into festivals that offered a feedback option because I felt I was in a good place, but I felt it still needed polishing. I certainly didn’t expect to not only be selected but be a winning Screenplay either! The feedback I received was very helpful and I am applying the notes I was given to my newer drafts. I am very happy I submitted to this festival and I will do so again with any new scripts/screenplays in the future. 

Watch Screenplay Reading: 

A mysterious outlaw called the “Wolf of the West” has been wreaking havoc upon settlers in the budding frontier. David Kessler, an aspiring paranormal scientist believes the Wolf is supernatural and journeys out West to prove it and to document any other strange phenomena he sees. Along the way he joins forces with Winnona Argento, a young woman who is more than she seems and Federal Marshal Travis Crabtree, a hardened but honorable lawman. Together they travel the West and face against myths, legends, and monsters as well as outlaws and bandits while at the same time learning to find the balance between pacifism and survival in this harsh terrain and time period.

CAST LIST:

Ticket Man:  Geoff Mays
Father: 
 Russell Batcher
Narrator: 
Kat Smiley
Sybil: 
Tiffany Davidson
Tobias: 
Bryan Kling
Mother: 
Katelyn Vanier