Interview with Screenwriter Christopher Willis (CAMOUFLAGE)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Christopher Willis: This script is about a unit of mostly gay soldiers in France during WWII. The mission of the unit is to deceive the Nazis using inflatable tanks and phony artillery barrages. Their compassion is realized through helping a gay war orphan realize his dream of attending art school in Paris.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

This is essentially a war movie.

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

There are few movies that depict the contribution of gay soldiers to the war in France. This story is based on real men and actual events.

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

Camouflaged truth.

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

Probably a toss up between Apocalypse Now and Jaws.

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

Nine months.

7. How many stories have you written?

20+

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

For What It’s Worth by Stephen Stills

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

Effective blending of the story line of the courage of the soldiers in combat and their compassion helping the war orphan.

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

My job as a psychologist.

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

Happy so far.

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

I wanted feedback from an LGBT perspective. The initial feedback fostered a significant rewrite and re-submission.

Watch the Screenplay Reading: 

A top-secret American unit uses inflatable tanks and phony artillery barrages to divert German resources away from actual Allied forces. Many in the unit are well suited to their mission of deception having lived in the shadows of homosexuality all their lives. Inspired by real men.

CAST LIST:

SS Major: Ted Powers
Henri: Gene Abella
Narrator: Laura Kyswaty
Pierre: Sean Ballatyne
Monique: Caroline Concordia

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Interview with Screenwriter Nick Perlman (A PORTRAIT)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Nick Perlman: A Portrait is about, Ian, a reclusive artist working at a plant nursery who struggles to find inspiration and Joseph who is a drifter searching for his estranged mother. When Joseph shows up at Ian’s door, both of their lives are irrevocably changed.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Romance, Drama, Queer Cinema

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

We need more films featuring queer characters whose stories don’t solely revolve around their queerness, and who don’t fall into stereotyped tropes. With this film, I hope to do just that: tell a universal story about finding love and acceptance from a queer perspective without having the entire story hinge on their queerness while illustrating their three-dimensionality.

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

“You matter.”

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

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

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

The initial pass was about a month long process but subsequent rewrites and fine-tuning have taken about a year.

7. How many stories have you written?

This is my third complete feature, but I’ve written and am writing numerous others which are at various stages of development.

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

This is an enormously difficult question. So I’ll tell you what I’ve been listening to while writing this story: All Flowers In Time Bend Towards The Sun – Elizabeth Fraser and Jeff Buckley, Moon River – Frank Ocean, The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore – The Walker Brothers, and The Exhibition – Kaki King

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

For me, it’s been knowing when to stop! Recieving feedback has allowed the story to grow in so many ways but the further in I get the less changes are needed – which should be a signal that it’s nearing completion. At this point I keep looking for things to “fix” but have to acknowledge that at this point, the story is what what it is and ask myself the important question of: “Did I succeed in my intent?” and “Is this the story?”

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

I’ve played music since a young age, but much more relavantly, like the character of Ian, I also paint and draw, myself. It’s a world I’m very intimately familiar with.

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

It’s been great! Easy to submit, make changes, and communicate with festivals!

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

I was absolutely touched by the initial feedback. The reader seemed to have a very personal connection with the material which is why I do what I do! 

Watch the Screenplay Reading: 

Ian is a reclusive artist working at a plant nursery and struggling to find inspiration. Joseph is a drifter searching for his estranged mother. When Joseph shows up at Ian’s door, both of their lives are irrevocably changed.

CAST LIST:

Joseph: Neil Bennett
Narrator: Shawn Devlin
Elizabeth: Carina Cojeen
Ian: Colin Sandquist

Submit via FilmFreeway:

Interview with Screenwriter Kristina Rezek (YOUR ROARING TWENTIES)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Kristina Rezek:Your Roaring Twenties offers a fun and original take on a classic story of someone finding themselves after suffering a devastating breakup.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Romantic Comedy (Yay Rom-coms!)

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

I believe Your Roaring Twenties should be made into a film because of its universal message of allowing yourself to be okay with falling in love. Whether it’s your first time falling in love, or your twentieth, it’s always a beautiful thing.

Also, as noted above, yay for romantic comedies :)! It is my (unofficial) mission to get more rom-coms onto the big screen.

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

Lighthearted & Relatable

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

She’s the Man starring Amanda Bynes & Channing Tatum

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

Approximately 8 months

7. How many stories have you written?

Your Roaring Twenties is my first full-length spec script 🙂

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

Currently, you can find me jamming out to “That’s What I Like” by Bruno Mars

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

Initially, I had trouble omitting scenes that were irrelevant to the story’s plot. They were fun to write, but ultimately, those omitted scenes were interfering with the pacing of the story, so I had to “kill my darlings”.

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

Playing (and winning in) Monopoly, or any other board/card game
Environmental Issues/Veganism
Sports (Go Cleveland Browns)
Reading
Music
Sudoku

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

FilmFreeway is extremely user-friendly. I’m not too tech savvy, but FilmFreeway is pretty straight forward with the submission process. I enjoy the platform.

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

I entered the festival because I appreciated the festival’s aim in showcasing LGBTQ+ stories and increasing media representation for diverse communities.
I was extremely pleased with the encouraging and well-thought-out feedback I received. Everyone involved with the feedback process was professional, friendly and highly supportive.

Watch the Screenplay Reading: 

Life, love, and insurmountable student debt. Welcome to your twenties, folks!

CAST LIST:

Tyler – SARAH-HAZEN BASK
NARRATION – STEPHEN SANDQUIST
Jada – JESSICA BOWMER
Bianca – KAT SMILEY

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Interview with Screenwriter Gregory Allen (HE IS GONE)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Gregory Allen: He is Gone is about a college professor who deals with the fact that his husband goes missing in the blink of an eye while they are at a high school reunion. He soon realizes that everything is not always as it seems and he sets out on a journey for answers.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Part mystery, part drama.

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

Many gay films are all about boy looking for boy or coming out of the closet. I feel this would be a very different type of gay film as it deals with older gay men (sometimes overlooked). I think the multi-genre aspect would also be fascinating as a film since it’s Gone Girl meets Leaving Las Vegas.

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

beautiful heartache

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

I am a sucker for Somewhere in Time.

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

I wrote it first as a novel in 2012 and a few years after that started on the screenplay when a director had some interest. I shelved it for a while and only recently came back to it the past year while working on the LGBT short film Hiding In Daylight (on the festival circuit now).

7. How many stories have you written?

Four novels, one nonfiction memoir, two shorts, three children’s books, three screenplays

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

These questions are always hard as I can’t ever pick favorites: but the song that was my soundtrack while writing this story was “Going Wrong” by Armin Van Buuren

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

Adapting a novel into a screenplay can be a challenge when you are deciding what parts of the novel need to be cut for the film. I guess in that perspective, I was my largest obstacle.

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

I love theater -both seeing it and occasionally performing in shows. Also this past year I’ve gone on a fitness journey and at almost 50 years old, I’ve become someone who is passionate about going to the gym – especially my spin class!

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

I find FilmFreeway to be a very easy platform to use. I love how it will also suggest other festivals to you.

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

I have never considered submitting a screenplay to a festival. I’m used to waiting until the film is completed. While working on our short LGBT film, I was thinking about my next project and decided to just put out this screenplay to get some feedback. I love that your festival not only gave feedback, but also offered the reading of the Best Of scene. That was a very smart thing as writers need to hear their work come off the page.

Watch the Screenplay Reading: 

What do you do when the entire world you thought you knew crumbles around you? How do you piece it all back together? While attending a 20th high school reunion in Alabama, New Jersey transplant Blain Harrington has lost the love of his life in the blink of an eye. He soon realizes that everything is not always as it seems as he sets out on a journey for answers dealing with themes of addiction, letting go, and rebuilding one’s life.

CAST LIST:

Narrator: Val Cole
Blaine: Peter-Mark Raphael
Grayson: Christian Vargas

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Interview with Screenwriter Tayler Carter (FLUIDITY)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Tayler Carter: This screenplay is set in a society where children are free to explore their gender, but must choose one of the extreme binaries upon their 13th birthday, and live in that extreme binary for the rest of their lives. Our story follows Sam Conley, whose 13th birthday is only weeks away, and they have no idea which gender to choose. In fact, they increasingly wonder: ‘Why can I just be myself?’

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Science-fiction, Drama, Coming-of-Age

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

This is the type of story I needed going into my teenage years. With so little non-binary representation in media, I am attempting to aid in that growth, whether the screenplay is produced or unproduced.

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

non-conforming (Is this one word or two?)

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

Probably Stand By Me, with other 80s/90s coming-of-age films such as The Goonies and The Sandlot coming closely behind.

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

Fluidity’s story inception was around October 2017.

7. How many stories have you written?

I’ve been making up stories since I could talk, but I began my screenwriting education and career during my college years.

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

At the moment, it is Primavera by Ludovico Einaudi.

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

I initially wrote Fluidity as a short screenplay (20 pages) for school, but quickly realized that the story was much larger that 20 minutes could provide. So it was reimagined as a limited run television series. I am still working the story, and am unsure if it will stay as a 30-minute per episode series or a 60-minute per episode series.

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

I really love animation and graphic novels, particularly aimed at children, and am very passionate about LGBTQ+ representation in children’s media. I also enjoy drawing and illustration, but need to practice that more often.

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

Film Freeway has been a great platform for me to enter my screenplays into competitions. I had not known much about screenwriting competitions before a year ago, and Film Freeway has been very fluid introduction to the world of festivals.

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

I was searching for LGBTQ+ themed festivals to enter Fluidity in, given its content and themes. The LGBT Toronto Film Festival has been wonderful with their feedback and correspondence, and I am very grateful to be involved!

Watch the Screenplay Reading: 

Synopsis:

This high-concept speculative fiction piece takes place in a world where children are raised gender-neutral until they are 13, when they are required to choose their gender. While gender neutral behaviour (example playing with all kinds of toys, sports, etc) is acceptable in childhood, 13 represents a right of passage into proto-adulthood, and gender becomes clearly divided.

CAST LIST:

Allison – 4 – Vanessa Burns
Rita (40s) – 3 – Pip Dwyer
Narration – Russell Batcher
Sam (m)- 12 – Alex Clay
Jackson (f) – 12 – Sydney Addison-Rudat
Nathan – 2 – Luke Robinson

Submit exclusively via FilmFreeway: