Interview with Screenwriter M.V. Montgomery (DON-JOHN’S DISAPPOINTED MAM)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your script about?

M.V. Montgomery: It’s a contemporary “Christmas Carol” featuring a Trump-like central character as a retired Scrooge who receives three visits from the ghost of his Scottish immigrant mother.

2. What genres does your script fall under?

Drama, black comedy, political satire.

3. Why should this script be produced?

It holds up as topical satire but is also intended as a celebration of Scottish language and culture. It could be a holiday episode of “The President Show” or SNL, or be staged live as part of a Gaelic festival.

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

“Dead brilliant.” Dead, because the title character is a ghost.

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

Citizen Kane. The opening of “Don-John” is an homage to Welles’ movie, featuring a dropped glass and the same spoken word: “Rosebud.”

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

It has been a light, on-and-off revision of a couple of months, primarily to reformat “Don-John” for stage, screen, and TV. The script has won honors in all three of these categories.

7. What obstacles did you face to finish this script?

No real obstacles, but I had to include a disclaimer that “Don-John’s Disappointed Mam” is a work of fiction, and any resemblance to actual presidents living or dead is purely coincidental.

8. What influenced you to enter the festival?

I was pleased with the performances for my script “Punker and Prophet,” which had been entered earlier this summer through LGBT Toronto. And I was interested to see what your ensemble cast might do with “Don-John,” too, since WILDsound seems to have no shortage of Scottish actors.

9. What were your feelings on the script reading?

Although the opening stage directions were missed, overall, I was quite happy with the result. I thought Mandy May Cheetham handled the central character’s difficult brogue fairly well, and I appreciated many of the artistic choices that she and John Leung made on the spur of the moment.

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

I’d say the Minnesota Vikings, but that passion runs hot and cold.

Submit via FilmFreeway:

CAST LIST:

Mam: Mandy May Cheetham
Narrator: Adrian Currie
Don John: John Leung
Rosa: Anjelica Alejandro

Interview with Screenwriter M. V. Montgomery (PUNKER AND PROPHET)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

M. V. Montgomery: Two young women with different backgrounds and talents. Ginny is a gifted singer; Selah is a spiritual leader in-the-making. Both have struggles to overcome: Ginny is a victim of domestic abuse, Selah the victim of a public hate crime. Fortunately, both are there to support each other.

What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Drama, LGBTQ, musical, spiritual.

Why should this screenplay be made into a movie?

It speaks directly to a generation just coming of age in Trump’s America, a protest generation that can directly connect to Ginny’s music and be inspired by Selah’s example.

How would you describe this script in two words?

Punker & Prophet. Peace & Resistance. In three words: Peace, Love, & Anarchy.

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

Citizen Kane.

How long have you been working on this screenplay?

About a year. It started off as two scripts, a feature and a short, which I eventually merged.

How many stories have you written?

About a dozen screenplays in the past three years.

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

The songs I was listening to while writing this screenplay included a lot of punk tunes, particularly Gits tunes like “Social Love I,” “Absinthe,” “Whirlwind,” “Bob (Cousin O),” “Second Skin,” and “Seaweed.” The voice I was hearing in my head for Ginny was a blend of Mia Zapata’s (of the Gits) and Amy Ray’s (of the Indigo Girls).

What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

I grow attached to my characters. So I suffered along with Ginny when she was suddenly homeless and on her own. And I knew that going into the final part of the screenplay, Selah was going to have to endure an attack by a white supremacist. That was the hardest scene to write.

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

I have been with the site from the beginning. Andrew and the staff have been very prompt in responding to my queries and suggestions for improving the platform.

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

I liked the idea of having my work read and produced. The initial feedback pointed out the need to introduce Selah’s character earlier in the script put me to work on some formatting issues.

Watch the Winning 1st Scene Screenplay: 

Genre: Drama

Two young LGBTQ women from very different backgrounds form a close bond and help to fight each other’s battles.

CAST LIST:

Heather: Julie C. Sheppard
Ginny: Pearl Ho
Narrator: Elizabeth Rose Morriss
Bill: Peter Nelson
Selah: Katelyn Vanier