Interview with Winning Screenwriter Christopher Kerr (THE CUT)

 1. What is your screenplay about?

Two young men have to find passage through the canals of post-apocalyptic London, to peace and freedom in the “promised land” beyond – Bristol.

Ostensibly a coming of age tale, in the guise of a zombie, road-trip, buddy-movie, canal tour; a genre much under-represented in mainstream cinema to date.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Sci-fi / black comedy – somewhat akin to A BOY AND HIS DOG (1975) in tone.

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

Though an engaging story on its own merit – balancing hubris and heart as it does – this script was always penned, in part, as a love-letter to the hidden beauty of London. It’s a landscape and pace one has to see on-screen to truly appreciate. To this end, the screenplay has wonderful cinematic potential in the hands of a suitably talented / adventurous crew.

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

Subversive Indie.

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

When I was a kid, my Dad used to get a half-day off work on Wednesdays. This meant that once I’d finished school, and walked the dog, we’d sometimes have time for a movie together before Mum got in. We must have watched OUTLAND (1981) countless times, then; simultaneously enjoying it for everything it does right in its Sci-fi adaptation of the Western, whilst lambasting the science myths it perpetuates, and Sean’s typical post-MARNIE performance. Perhaps having a mouthful of scenery, still, explains away the accent, Sean? Anyway, it is an absolute gem of a film and well worth checking out.

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

I deliberately set out to pen an indie-budget Feature – one I could potentially even self-finance somewhere down the road a bit! – and gave myself a month to achieve it. Researched. Plotted. Written. Edited: 4 weeks.

7. How many stories have you written?

Depends on *your* definition of a story! I like to make every e-mail typed, anecdote told, Tweet sent, or Facebook comment posted, a story in its own right. Well, maybe not Twitter – that forum is, really, more just the local crazy person shouting into the void, isn’t it?

Discounting those particular narratives – as well as some ghost-writing I’ve done, and script-consultation work? – I have something in the order of a dozen stories I consider ‘complete’; with another 3 or 4 on my development slate at the moment. The dozen range from original Feature, to TV pilot (plus series outline), to Short Film, One-Act Play, and even some Spec TV episodes.

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

Checking against Spotify, and that seems to think “Revolution” by The Score. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a splendid track and all, but I fear this statistic may be somewhat skewed. (I wrote a Rick & Morty spec recently which referenced that track in a musical montage… so it’s been looping away on repeat in the background.)

Always query statistics!

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

Portraying the mechanics of canal travel necessary for the final Act to work in an economical way, as well as capturing the essence of specific key geographic locations en-route, for a reader who may (or may not) be familiar with some aspects already – all the while avoiding heavy exposition – was a bit of a challenge. Not so sure I entirely achieved it, in fact!

Written with a practical Indie budget in mind, I was also very conscious of ‘bang-for-the-buck’. This led to a couple of potential sub-plots being dropped (though they remain viable as a tie-in, sequel, or in a higher-budget redraft).

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

I remain fascinated by, and occasionally even active in, aviation; with a particular passion for rotary-wing aircraft in the experimental classes.

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

I’m a big fan of FilmFreeway, and use it – rather than my own website these days – as my primary online folio host. Super-easy to find interesting festivals / competitions through it, and submitting projects into those is as simple as a couple of clicks. I’ve recommended the platform not only to fellow writers, but also some Directors and festival organisers I know.

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

Sci-fi, innit? Though I’m versed working in other genres, sci-fi is where my own original works tend to naturally gravitate. Via FilmFreeway it was easy to find the Fantasy Sci-Fi Festival, and submit my project. Ultimately, I was hoping to rally a bit of PR, some industry recognition, maybe even an extra award under my belt for the CV; it all helps when it comes to selling a spec, landing a commission, or a foot-in-the-door for a staff gig.

With regard to feedback as a service, I feel in general it can be something of a double-edged sword. Primarily, of course, feedback is a subjective thing: one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Furthermore, it’s very easy for feedback to deflect unique, experimental, or even subversive projects back into just routine, formulaic, fare. With this in mind, I didn’t order any additional feedback, and only took the default offered. Happily, I can report that what I did receive was fair, professional – even somewhat encouraging. Thanks for that!

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Genre: Sci-Fi, Fantasy

Two young men must find their passage through the canals of post-apocalyptic London, to peace and freedom, in the “promised land” beyond: Bristol.

CAST LIST:

Junior: Allan Michael Brunet
Alex: Salma Dharsee
Narrator: Elizabeth Rose Morriss
Spencer: Hugh Ritchie
Jessica: Courtney Keir
Toovey: Zazu Oke

Interview with Winning Screenwriter Norma Hickox (MAGIC MAN)

 1. What is your screenplay about?

Hara, engaged to Minta, meets Lisan, with whom he has had several previous lives. Can he break the bond of previous lifetimes and move on? Who does he marry in the Valentine’s Day 2300 wedding? A musical play with futuristic dress, flashbacks to 1990’s and a robot.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Sci-Fi Romance

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

It brings to people’s attention the fact of reincarnation and shows what life may be like in the future with futuristic costumes and jewelry and hairstyles and also with mock-ups of all the new technology.

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

Lighthearted entertainment

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

Gone with the Wind

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

10 years

7. How many stories have you written?

I’ve published over 15 books (Merging Science and Spirituality) plus two stage musicals and I have a storyboard script for The TimeLine of Eternity – The TimeTraveler goes to different TimeSpots to show how spaceships landed on the cooling earth and impregnated the life forms found there. After many experiments to refine the forms, the divine spirits enter these forms to experience earth and we now have humans!

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

“Imagine” by Jon Lennon

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

Time to write the play and the music and still work to support myself.

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

Music

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

It was fine.

12. What influenced you to enter the festival?

What were your feelings on the initial feedback you received? Wanted to see how it stacked up in competition with other plays. I felt the feedback was fair and truthful.

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Genre: Action, Drama

A musical 2 act play. This futuristic musical takes place in the year 2099 in a town called Grand Beach, Colorado. An engaged couple enter college and the guy meets another girl that he feels a very strong attraction for.

CAST LIST:

Lisan: Salma Dharsee
Sarah: Marissa Otto
Narrator: Elizabeth Rose Morriss
Hara: Zazu Oke
Jasek: Isaiah Kolundzic
Minister: Allan Michael Brunet

Interview with Winning Screenwriter Mark Hammond (M – DEMON KILLER)

 1. What is your screenplay about?

A young waitress discovers that she is the last in an ancient line of Demon Killers and Hell Gate Closers, as a portal to hell opens under City Hall. Worse, legend holds that this warrior of the Light always dies. M is a New York City waitress, but this may be asking too much.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Urban Fantasy, Horror, Supernatural Action, Female Hero, Asian Martial Arts

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

M’s journey of blood and loss to become a demon killer and fulfill her destiny mirrors every person’s battle to overcome their own fears to fully become everything they can be in the world. Also this story has big international appeal with an Asian heroine and her loyal hell hound, Native American demons and classical Chinese demons, plus settings in New York City and China. The next two stories are completed: M in the Empire of the Dead – set in NYC, China, Paris and its catacombs; M and the Last Hell gate – set in NYC, China and the High Plateau of Tibet.

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

International Franchise

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

Ghost in the Shell, Dir. Mamoru Oshii, writer Shirow Masamune

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

4yrs+ for the script and the 3 ‘M’ books

7. How many stories have you written?

Many. M – Demon Killer is based on the first book of the completed M in the Demon Realm Trilogy avail. Amazon/Kindle. Assorted shorts, pitches, screenplays and stories.

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

RISE by Origa from the Ghost in the Shell series theme. Japanese composer, lyrics in Russian and English, sung by a Russian soprano.

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

Other than life, the city, and my job, it was me. I was afraid about not doing justice to these great characters, particularly M, who showed up to have their amazing story told. I had to overcome my harsh inner critic, let the characters show me and just write it anyway.

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

Family, friends, mythology, religion, the supernatural, action movies like Deadpool, Underworld; early films like Nosferatu, Vampyr and Metropolis; classic Japanese horror movies like Ringu and Ju-on. Korean films such as Old Boy and Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance; noir detective fiction, cyber-punk fiction, urban fantasy; working out and classical dance. Currently, I’m crazy about Lawrence Kasdan’s script for Raiders of the Lost Ark. Caffeine, sugar and carbs are an abiding passion.

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

FilmFreeway makes submissions effortless.

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

That it’s specifically a Fantasy festival and international in scope. The feedback I received was incredibly thoughtful and clear.
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Genre: Sci-Fi, Fantasy

A young Asian waitress discovers she is the last in a long line of Demon Killers when a billionaire/sorcerer opens a portal to Hell under City Hall in New York City. Local Native American demons hunt in the tunnels and, even more strangely, powerful Chinese warrior demons are sent to slaughter her before she can stop the invasion from hell. M is a New York City waitress but this may be asking too much.

CAST LIST:

Liana: Marissa Otto
Louise Ricci: Courtney Keir
Narrator: Elizabeth Rose Morriss
Det. DeAngelo: Allan Michael Brunet
Emma: Salma Dharsee

Interview with Winning Screenwriter Suzanne LUTAS (DESTINY’S VESSEL)

 1. What is your screenplay about?

After a rebellious princess is cast to the farthest planet and forcibly shapeshifted, she must team up with a rogue bounty hunter to steal an antidote and return home in time to prevent war by sealing an intergalactic alliance with her arranged marriage.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

It is a Sci-Fi/Fantasy Action Adventure.

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

It tells a unique story which has everything to gain from being shown on the big screen. Because while riding through funny, action set pieces and fast pace, with a diverse cast of stuntmen and circus performers, it definitely appeals to a four-quadrant international audience.

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

It is a swashbuckling adventure relating the fun heist of an impregnable vault by a young princess in search of a shapeshifter serum, who forges unlikely bonds along her journey with outcast teenagers and a rogue bounty hunter. Only to learn who she is, and what love and friendship are.

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

Stanley Kubrick’s 2001 Space Odyssey.

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

Three months for the first drafts, then twice as many for the rewrites.

7. How many stories have you written?

Five altogether: three feature scripts, a half-hour comedy TV Pilot, and a short script.

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

Al Green’s Let’s stay together.

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

I had two possible endings. But I was advised to choose the romantic one, in lieu of a more funny, amoral one.

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

I’m the vocal lead in a Jazz Band named Oh Happy Fiu, which is a pun on a Tahitian word roughly meaning Carpe Diem. I also paint and handcraft costume jewelry.

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

It is an excellent platform which allowed me to discover interesting contests I was not even aware of. They provide an easy and secure way to submit screenplays. And, they kindly give exposition to those which place well.

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

My feelings were as mixed as the initial feedback I received putting stress on the good and the bad aspects of the script with pinpoint accuracy.

So, I felt a bit disappointed by my results, but determined to take their advice to improve my script to the best.

Now, I couldn’t miss this festival providing such an exceptional showcase for my work.

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Genre: Sci-Fi, Adventure

The story starts on planet Stellanor in the Orion galaxy at a crucial moment in intergalactical politics, against a background of mounting tension due to a catastrophic shortage of natural resources, since the drought-stricken planets are ready to invade the fertile ones — unless an Intergalactic Alliance is sealed.

CAST LIST:

Narrator: John Fray
Destiny: Val Cole
Ethan: Nick Wicht

Interview with Winning Screenwriter Deborah Klika (UNFINISHED BUSINESS)

 1. What is your screenplay about?

A comedy about gendered politics – in this world and the next.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Half hour studio based TV comedy

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

It’s funny. It explores how our actions in this world might affect our status in the next.

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

Ghostly Politics.

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

The Apartment by Billy Wilder

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

5 years

7. How many stories have you written?

Four TV scripts, another three proposals and working on a feature.

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

MacArthur Park

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

People telling me to give it up – no one cares about the ghost. But I do.

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

Good television; new ways of telling stories, new ideas and perspectives.

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

Very good

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

I have entered before and the staff were great. Feedback is on point and assisted in improving the script. I would recommend this festival – people care about the work and the writing.

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Genre: Comedy, Political

Unfinished Business is about a political chief of staff who decides to stand for her dead lover’s seat. When he returns his unfinished business becomes her problem. Veep meets The Ghost & Mrs Muir.

CAST LIST:

Martin: Isaiah Kolundzic
Narrator: Elizabeth Rose Morriss
Amanda: Courtney Keir
Lana: Marissa Otto

Interview with Winning Screenwriter John Roger (STARLIGHT: LONG WAY HOME)

 1. What is your screenplay about?

My screenplay is about discrimination between four groups and how any war will inevitably spark another one due to revenge, jealousy, or hatred. An alien lands on the planet with other worldly power that, if used by either side, could turn the tide of any war. The alien will grow up and experience both sides before making a decision on which group to help when there seems to be no clear good or evil just a difference in opinion.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

The action/adventure genre

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

I feel that the movie would offer a different view of an already awesome genre. It would give good lessons that people could apply to their lives and live overall more happy.

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

Very intense

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

The Nightmare Before Christmas

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

8 years

7. How many stories have you written?

5 stories so far

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

Lost at Sea by Skyburnsred

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

Having this be my best work yet and coming to grips with no matter how good I believe my work to be, one day it will be eclipsed.

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

I’m passionate about working out, muscle/sports cars, anime, also playing piano, and some drawing and 3D design.

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

It’s a great tool for anyone in the same field. Many options and updates keep me in the loop and it I didn’t find it I might have never been motivated to complete my work. Knowing that there’s a place where you’re work can be at least looked at is helpful.

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

I was looking for a voice over to my script before so when this opportunity came I was excited. As being the creator of something it’s hard to critique. This platform gives a couple of fresh eyes to see the work in an unbiased way. I feel that is very important and I received great feedback that propelled my in the right direction, it give guidance.

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Genre: Action, Animation, Adventure

A cartoon series that mirrors the conflict in the world due to xenophobia and the like.

CAST LIST:

Narrator: Elizabeth Rose Morriss
Myrtle: Salma Dharsee
Ginzo: Allan Michael Brunet

Interview with Winning Screenwriter J. Jermaine Jones (THE KANDAHAR MAN)

 1. What is your screenplay about?

After the massacre of her patrol unit by a legendary wild man, a critically wounded battlefield medic must find a way to radio for help before she bleeds out — or gets discovered by the wild man — in the deserts of Afghanistan.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Horror. Action. Military Action. Urban. Sci-fi.

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

I think the interesting factor about this story is it’s not only based on true events, but the main character is a female battlefield medic and famous YouTuber.

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

Interesting and fresh.

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

Probably Star Wars.

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

Close to a year.

7. How many stories have you written?

Too many to count.

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

Not so much a favorite song. My two favorite artists I listen to most though are Rochelle Jordan and Aya Trenier.

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

The research on battlefield medics and their practical emergency applications was a definite challenge.

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

DEFINITELY wanting to see the under-represented writer/director/producer have their moment to shine.

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

Honestly I love it. Introduced me to competitions I didn’t even know existed.

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

The ease of use of the website I think was a major influence. And I thought the reviews were fair and honest.

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Genre: Action, Adventure

A battlefield medic and her Marine unit in Afghanistan investigate a missing patrol to discover a legendary wild man may be responsible.

CAST LIST:

Jose: Scott Beaudin
Franco: Nick Wicht
Narrator: John Fray
Cierra: Val Cole
Maya: Kierston Drier