Interview with Screenwriter Louric Rankine (SQUAD)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Louric Rankine: My screenplay traces the lives of young students of color in New York City as they navigate through their under-funded school. This scene, in particular, focuses on one of the protagonists, Louis, who realizes his embarrassing bus altercation has been publicized on social media, causing pariah between him and his peers. It’s comical, but helps reflect on the negative effects of social media.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

It’s a teen comedy/drama. However, I like to liken it to shows like Insecure or Atlanta.

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

I mean no matter what medium it is in, I think the representation matters. I feel New York City students of color don’t see proper representation of themselves, only limited through the lens of a typical white protagonist.

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

New York.

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

Spirited Away and Mulholland Drive- I know I’m weird for a 19-year-old.

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

Since junior year of my high school. One of my friends felt young queer students of color do not get the right treatment, or rather their story arc is limited to a special episode.

7. How many stories have you written?

I have this thing, where I write a different story each month and store it in my private notebook. It’s like a narrative registry for me so I can develop and evolve the narrative later.

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

“Old Age”- Masego ft. SiR & “A Long Walk” by Jill Scott.

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

I think fleshing out issues concerning youth of color without being too obvious or preachy.

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

Filmmaking, Anything artistic really

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

It was a long one. I was skeptical at first because this is my first submission and I didn’t know the logistics and mechanics around this. However, I am so glad to have this platform because it allows me to be unapologetic about my art.

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

I was in this program in high school for alternative school youths over the summer and my film teacher told me that in order for your art to be successful, you have to show it first. I am really hesitant and insecure about showing my work, but since publicizing, the reception has been well-received. I hope to grow and mature as a filmmaker, auteur, and writer and being able to tell narratives with cultural competency and narrative consideration.

Screenplay Writing: 

Teens of color deal with their disorganized high school and personal problems by talking in a group chat- which happens to concretize in a virtual white room.

CAST LIST:

Louis: John Marcucci

Jamal: Sam Fazli

Narrator: Kat Smiley

Libretta: Cassandra Guthrie

Amatou: Zena Driver

Submit exclusively via Film Freeway:

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