Interview with Winning Screenwriter Dallas Rico (MARRED)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Dallas Rico: Marred is a dark comedy in which a depressed black nerd hired a hitwoman to kill him. She will kill him in 30 days. In the meantime, Mar completes a bucket list to live his best life until his self-appointed doomsday.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

My pilot is a dramedy.

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

Have you ever seen a show that centers on a black nerd? Have you ever seen a show that deals with the mental health of black men, both gay and straight? Once my show is produced, the answer to both of those questions will be “Yes.”

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

dark, geeky

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

The Devil Wears Prada

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

1 year

7. How many stories have you written?

I’ve written 6 screenplays. (1 feature film and 5 pilots)

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

Argh. This question is so difficult. It depends on my mood. Mariah Carey’s “Always Be My Baby” is one of my favs, though.

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

Figuring out the tone of this script was tricky. It’s a dramedy about a suicidal man. It could come off as cheesy or insensitive. I think over time I found the right balance.

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

Video games. My love of nerd culture always bleeds into my scripts, whether I want it to or not.

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

I’m a queer person of colour who loves Toronto. It was a no-brainer.
 

In the midst of a breakup, a gay Nuyorican drug dealer must retrieve his molly, stolen by a self-absorbed pretty boy, in order to help his father make rent.

CAST LIST:

Joy (white 30s)- 5 – Regan Brown
Zelda (30s) black- 11 – Georgia Grant
Narration – Allen Michael Brunet
Mar 20s black- 18 – Hartley O. Gyamfi
Kaleb (30s black) – 18 – Kevin Gabel

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Interview with Winning Screenwriter S.W. Andersen (SOMEWHERE BETWEEN LOVE AND JUSTICE)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

S.W. Andersen: A hardened cowgirl seeks revenge against the gang leader who killed her parents and forced her into his service while she learns to open her heart to the woman she loves.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

western, lesbian romance

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

One of the things people loved about the novel it was adapted from, and it’s sequel, was how the women were unapologetic about their sexuality and their non-conformity to old west ideas of femininity. It’s also a great story about embracing ones inner strength in the face of adversity and having to make the choice between love and revenge- two very powerful, life changing, motivators.

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

Unwavering conviction

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

“Raiders of The Lost Ark.” “Pretty Woman” is a close second.

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

Over a year since I started the adaptation from my novel.

7. How many stories have you written?

I have five published novels in lesbian romance. There’s a few more ideas in the works, including another screenplay or two.

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

Boy, I don’t know that I really have a favorite. There’s several I’ve heard hundreds of times and still light up when they play…tons of 80’s songs, but I do have a deep fondness for George Michael’s “Freedom 90” and The Black Crows “She Talks to Angels.”

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

Converting the story from a first person POV novel. Also, learning to stick to only what can be seen on screen.

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

The mountains, travel, health, and my family.

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

FilmFreeway has been great. It is easy to use and allows me find many opportunities in one site. Like your festival.

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

I wanted to dip my toe in the water and see how it would be received. Feedback was a driving source since it’s my first screenplay. The feedback received was excellent and has given me a clue as to what I need to tighten up.

 

Sarah Sawyer has spent the last ten years reliving a nightmare. Stripped of her innocence at the tender age of thirteen, she’s grown into a woman with nothing to lose and one thing on her mind.

Justice.

Project Links

CAST LIST: 

Narration –  Ariel Brooker
Jo –  Georgia Grant
Sarah –  Regan Brown

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 Aaron Rudelson (NORMAN PINSKI COME HOME)

NORMAN PINSKI COME HOME played to rave reviews and was the winner of BEST PERFORMANCES at the August 2018 Comedy Festival in Toronto.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

A lot of things, but one of the most prominent things I’m interested in is human nature. As rational beings, we are not always guided by rational thought and sometimes, our behavior is motivated by instinct instead. There are two powerful human instincts at work in Norman Pinski Come Home that I find particularly interesting. One is our ability to repeat mistakes even as we try to avoid them. Sometimes, habitual behavior can escape the detection of the conscious mind. In this case, two parents who resolve to allow their son to determine his own character but find themselves unavoidably imposing their own expectations on him. The second instinct I’m referring to is that of motherhood. The deeply rooted instinct to nurture and to connect with one’s child (whether he looks like Frankenstein’s monster or not). There is a feature version of this story currently in development which explores these themes in more detail.

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

An eternity. I first started by writing a feature length version which we have partially cast and funded. I decided that condensing it into a short version would be a good way to pitch the feature version. So the concept has been around for a while, then I had to write the short version. Then I had to raise the money (which was done through crowd funding: an effort almost as challenging and time-consuming as actually making the movie); then a few months of pre-production, followed by three days of shooting and then eight months of post-production. Everything moves slowly when you’re relying on favors and discounts.

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

I don’t like characterizing my own work (that’s for an audience to do). But since you asked, I would hope the audience might find that the words, “funny” & “heartfelt” apply.

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

By far the biggest obstacle was raising the money. But that’s probably true of any large short film production (unless you’re already rich). But unique to the project was the task of finding a suburban house in New York City whose owners would allow us to completely take it over for three whole days and not charge us $10,000. Oh also, preferably one that was occupied by an elderly Jewish couple (so as to minimize the production design expenses). In the end, we would not have been able to make this film at all without the immense generosity of an old friend from college who happened to live in the Ditmas Park area of Brooklyn (not an elderly Jewish friend, so we did have to do some considerable art decorating: kudos to production designer Monica Mayorga).

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

It’s rare that you get this kind of opportunity for remote festivals that you can’t travel to. Ultimately, this is why we make films: to connect with other people. So this is a great feature that WILDsound provides to filmmakers. And fortunately, either WILDsound edited out all the negative comments or generally people seemed to enjoy the film. So that was rewarding.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

I’ve always been a fan of Gene Wilder and Mel Brooks. Young Frankenstein was one of my favorite movies growing up. It just struck me one day that, in all the many manifestations of this story that exist, both comedic and dramatic, nobody has ever asked the question “who was that individual before he died, was exhumed and reanimated as Frankenstein’s monster?” Wouldn’t his mother recognize him walking around scaring the bejeezus out of people? I thought there was a lot of unexplored potential there which could fit any genre. I chose comedy because that’s just the way my brain works.

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

Well, that’s hard to answer. I mentioned Young Frankenstein already. That’s definitely high on the list. But now that I have kids, and they are Star Wars fanatics, the original trilogy may have taken the lead. But here are some other great ones: Brazil; After Hours; High Anxiety, any Marx Brothers movie; Saving Private Ryan; La Dolce Vita; The Sacrifice, to name a few.

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

Now that the digital upload servers screen better quality, submitting to film festivals is a cinch. No more packaging and shipping DVDs. And FilmFreeway’s user interface is excellent. I prefer it to Withoutabox. But with Withoutabox, you get the automatic IMDB listing.

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

Possibly Brimful of Asha by Cornershop. I like it because it’s got a really nice rhythm, the lyrics are weird and it has some obscure cultural references that a westerner would have to look up to understand.

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

Finish raising money for the feature version of Norman Pinski Come Home; write a B-horror script, shoot a couple more short films and finish writing my short story about an odd mail carrier. When I get the time.

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.