Interview with Winning Screenwriter Gracious Vallarious (VIN AND JILL)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Gracious Vallarious: “Vin and Jill” is about finding acceptance in your true self, even if it means leaving behind an old life.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Drama-comedy.

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

To bring non-transgender people into a world that has had a limited voice. Our aim as creators is to have two emotionally empathetic characters that happen to be transgender, and to bring non-transgender viewers in to empathize as well. Everyone can relate to family, especially dysfunction.

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

Chosen family.

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

“Do the Right Thing”

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

3 years.

7. How many stories have you written?

Together as writing partners, Christopher Vallario and Grace Foster has at least one dozen executed stories.

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

Dream Lover by Bobby Darren.

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

Characterization and empathy.

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

Mental and physical geographies and cooking.

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

FilmFreeway has been a wonderful tool to gain exposure for our film projects and for our voices.

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

Some feedback we thought was dead on, as far as the working on the characterization of our protagonist, specifically his complexities. We did not agree with the lack of motive, which is Vinny’s desire to stay with his parents and the inner desire to be accepted as his true self. However we agree that this simply just needs to be clearer on the page.

 Watch the Screenplay Reading:

After drunkenly assaulting his intolerant father, a young transgender man, Vinny Talarosa, meets a fastidious lawyer and trans woman, Jillian Hunter, who helps him out of his family predicament. Relating to his experience, she invites him to stay with her, but on two conditions: he can’t drink and must keep a job. His father’s old school Italian ways push Vin out of Staten Island, while Jill gives him the key to his new family in Brooklyn.
When Vin drops the booze he meets a number of challenges in his journey to self-discovery: adjusting to a community of hipster queers, his family’s intolerance, and his own personal insecurities.

CAST LIST:

Taylor – 4 – KATELYN VARADI
Silver – 4 – PETER NELSON
Narration – NICK DOLAN
Vinny – 23 – KYANA TERESA
Jillian – 17 – ADRIAN CARLOS CARTER

Submit exclusively via FilmFreeway:

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Interview with Winning Screenwriter Farook Qais (THE PORTAL)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Farook Qais: ‘The Portal’ is about a girl becoming a woman, her relationships with people in her life and the small matter of defending earth from whatever emerges out of a mysterious portal.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

It’s a sci-fi drama.

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

Into a television show; well there’s nothing like it out there. I believe the depth of the main characters as well as the action and adventure that comes with the portal itself lend to an exciting show full of emotions and possibilities.

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

Go Shay.

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

‘The Crow’ by Alex Proyas, written by James O’Barr

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

It took me about six weeks from thought process to pilot script completion.

7. How many stories have you written?

Far too many to recall. In my life it’s definitely in the late hundreds.

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

‘The Stone’ by Phillip Phillips.

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

There were a few work commitments and family situations that came up, but it wasn’t going to be unfinished.

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

Sports. I watch a lot of it. I enjoy video games and I’m passionate about the people that are important to me too.

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

It’s been OK, although I haven’t quite been “discovered” as yet. Wildsound Fest has been a great start.

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

I was taken aback, but happy. Every new set of eyes that reads my work can only be a positive thing. To hear my characters come to life is an extra bonus for which I’m grateful.

 Watch the Screenplay Reading:

CAST LIST:

Shay – 8 – Brittany Clough
NARRATION – Jen Daniels
Laura – 12 – Anne McMaster
Terry – 13 – Ron Boyd

A FilmFreeway preferred festival:

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Interview with Winning Screenwriter Robert Tartell (Hard-Hearted Hannah & Funny Boneyard)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Robert Tartell: Hard-Hearted Hannah: A rookie detective, sent on a routine hotel skip case, find himself instead up against a diabolical serial killer with a grudge against the Eight Air Force, holding their 25th reunion there. Can he stop him before he kills again…and again?

Funny Boneyard: A young entrepreneur, fresh out of a job but full of ideas, turns an overgrown hill property he has inherited into a Cemetery of the Absurd. To everyone’s surprise, he makes a killing- but then things go horribly wrong.
2. Genres: Hard-Hearted Hannah: Drama, War, Historical.
Funny Boneyard: Comedy

3.Why should these be made into movies?

a. Each is uniquely original, thought-provoking, well-written, and of appeal to a broad audience.

4. How would you describe your scripts in two words?

Hard-Hearted Hannah: War’s cost.
Funny Boneyard: Funereally Funny

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

The Third Man

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

Hannah 6 months, Boneyard 3 months.

7. How many stories have you written?

Four feature-length screenplays, Five short screenplays, several short stories.

8. What is your favorite song?

Desafinado (and Bossa Nova in general)

9. What obstacles did you face in finishing this screenplay?

For Hard-hearted Hannah, researching WWII and Eighth Air Force military/historical details . For Funny Boneyard, none- once the original idea hit, the screenplay naturally flowed.

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

I enjoy photography, especially abstract subjects, and a variety of crafts, lately jewelry making. I have always loved aviation, flew ultralights, and have an aircraft design I’d like to make (if my wife wouldn’t leave me.)

11. Re Film Freeway what has been your experience working with the submission platform site?

It seems user-friendly- no complaints so far.

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

I am interested in anything that will help bring my work to the screen. Feedback, positive or negative is always welcome.
 

 Watch the Screenplay Reading:

A rookie detective, assigned to a routine hotel skip case, instead finds himself pitted against a diabolical serial killer with a grudge against the Eighth Air Force. Can he stop him before he kills again…and again?

Genre: Thriller, Crime

CAST LIST:

Smith (f) – 7 – Jen Daniels
Lewis – 9 – Ron Boyd
NARRATION – Brittany Clough
Brown – 22 – Hugh Ritchie
Jill – 10 – Anne McMaster
Cole – 2 – Rhys Harrison

A FilmFreeway preferred festival:

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Interview with Winning Screenwriter Gregory N. Ranky (GECKO ON-SIGHT)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Gregory N. Ranky: In a world like ours, where conscious robots are commonplace, a courageous female android enters a futuristic martial arts tournament to save her old neighborhood from developers.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Action, Adventure, Drama, Sci-Fi, Sports (these last 2 primarily).

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

Because I want to see settings where conscious A.I.s are commonplace, and story conflict derives from nonviolent causes; and I’m tired of the predominant android/robot/A.I. stories from Hollywood being a variant of Frankenstein, Pinocchio, Pygmalion, or a slave uprising.

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

Android MMA.

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

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

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

5 months on this draft.

7. How many stories have you written?

4 Feature Films and 1 Short Film as of January 2019.

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

‘The Remedy’ by Jason Mraz.

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

I had to research OCR (Obstacle Course Racing) and 4 martial arts styles for their movesets, develop convincing supporting characters, determine an engaging and valid motivation for my protagonist, and keep the pacing steady.

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

Advances in conscious A.I., alternative approaches to nuclear fusion.

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

Positive so far, I highly recommend it to other screenwriters.

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

Positive reaction to my submitted logline. I found the initial feedback useful and accurate, and plan to incorporate it into future drafts. 

Watch the Screenplay Reading: 

Logline: To save her old neighborhood from developers, a courageous female android enters a futuristic martial arts tournament.

Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama, Sci-Fi, Sports

CAST LIST:

Umar – 8 – Ron Boyd
NARRATION – Hugh Ritchie
Liz – 217 – 16 – Jen Daniels
Tia – NG – 10 – Anne McMaster

A FilmFreeway preferred festival:

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Interview with Winning Screenwriter Anoop Judge (THE RUMMY CLUB)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Anoop Judge: The Rummy Club is Joy Luck Club with an Indian cultural twist and tells the story of four Indian women bound by decades of friendship: Alka, a child of privilege and power; Mini, a beauty and a flirt; Priya, a nurturing earth mother; and Divya, who is insecure and envious of her friends. Now in their 40s and living in California, they find comfort and support in their weekly card game of rummy—even as their private lives begin to unravel.

In her younger years, Alka, the self-appointed leader of the group, was pressured into marrying a wealthy man whom she loathes in order to save her family’s failing business. As a result, she turned all of her attention to her son, Krishna, becoming an obsessive and overbearing mother in the process. As usual, her three friends adjust to her version of reality. But each has her own difficulties as well: Mini’s beloved husband dies unexpectedly; Priya catches her husband cheating; and Divya feels increasingly envious of her companions’ financial stability.

When Alka’s son lapses into a coma after a suicide attempt, her fabricated world shatters like glass. Mini, Priya, and Divya band together to support her, but a misunderstanding threatens to dissolve the foursome when they need each other most. It will take more than a game of rummy to repair the most important friendships of their lives.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Drama/Multicultural

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

How common is the knowledge that every sixth human being in the world today is Indian? Here in the United States, the East Indian population is one of the fastest growing ethnic groups and increasing at a rate of 69%. This trend compels me to give voice through my stories to the East Indian diaspora in the context of twenty-first century America much of whose population is unaware of the rich culture of their new neighbors.

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

Women’s Friendships

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

Too many to count

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

Two years

7. How many stories have you written?

I’m currently working on my third novel. An excerpt from my second novel “The Awakening of Meena Rawat” has just been selected for publication in a literary journal.

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

This is my fight song.

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

The obstacle I’m facing now is to turn this screenplay into a movie or T.V. show or a theater production.

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

Reading. Working out.
Being an advocate for, and providing pro bono representation to indigent women and disadvantaged children. Visit my website (http://www.anoopjudge.com) for more information about my pro bono efforts.

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

Absolutely wonderful!

 Watch the Screenplay Reading:

CAST LIST:

Mini: Cassandra Guthrie
Karen: Erica Levene
Narrator: Sean Ballantyne
Tom: Christopher Bautista
Rain: Luke Robinson

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Interview with Screenwriter Tali Zingman (HEADSTRONG)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Tali Zingman: Alice (32), a girl plagued by her own self-criticism and loathing, has just caught her boyfriend of five years cheating. Faced with the double-edged question of what to do, Alice confronts the different, zany sides of her personality. In this inner battle of the mind, she must weigh out what she is more afraid of: being in an unstable relationship or being alone.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Comedy, drama, psychological piece

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

Film often uses tropes for their depiction of female characters: the traditional mother, the punk rebel, the girl-next-door. Headstrong takes these tropes and shows that they can exist all within the same girl. The female lead is complex, multi-faceted, and most importantly, authentic. The film also addresses the themes of mental illness, anxiety, and feminism. Alice’s inner battle is one that so many girls unfortunately face in the modern age. They are instilled within this self-criticism and the social pressure to be dependent and a care-giver, rather than a self-functioning and thriving individual. For a short film, it covers a great deal of ground all under the accessible format of an innocuous comedy.

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

Self-love story (Hyphens count, right?)

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

Nightmare Before Christmas.

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

Two years.

7. How many stories have you written?

Over 30.

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

Lately, it’s been “Nobody” by Mitski.

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

I struggled with the “cheese-factor”, mainly because I don’t usually write rom-coms. When I started, I didn’t realize that what this was, at the end of the day, was a girl learning to fall in love with herself. At the end, when she goes around the room and tells the different sides she loves them, she’s finally accepts every part of herself and validates that she loves them. That to me felt dramatic, but at the same time, I questioned “Why?” Why is it so taboo to say you love yourself just the way you are? That for me was my own self-discovery.

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

Nothing…except caramel frappuccinos and my dog.

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

I found my experience with Female Film Festival to be extremely positive. They are personable, enthusiastic, and really focused on building a safe environment which nurtures each artist. I was truly touched by their constant passion and investment in my work.

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

I felt very proud of this script and wanted the right platform to present it. I found the festival’s mission to be exactly the right fit. The feedback was timely, constructive, and extremely helpful.

 Watch the Screenplay Reading:

Alice, age 32, is a self-conscious girl with a bitter dilemma: what to do after catching her boyfriend of 5 years cheating. It’s up to her and the kooky sides of her personality in her head to decide. This is one epic inner battle.

CAST LIST:

Revenge – KAT SMILEY
NARRATION – STEPHEN SANDQUIST
Mother – JULIE SHEPPARD
Alice – JESSICA BOWMER

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Interview with Screenwriter Marilyn Lee (WOMEN OF STEEL)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Marilyn Lee: Three women share their powerful and touching personal histories, past and present, to reveal phenomenal determination, steeling themselves, focusing on physical and emotional survival and overcoming inner conflict and pain. In the telling they share what and how they did this to create a new life for themselves. These women become heroes as they share their search for their identities and to realize the success they were able to achieve.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Women, traumatized by parents and other life events, overcome their challenges, rise to become who they really are. This story is meant to say to anyone abused or has suffered a debilitating trauma can stand for themselves and overcome whatever might be hindering their success in life. In other words, you too can do this.

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

To celebrate the overcoming of life traumas by those who are seen as weak or vulnerable. It’s a message to those who might need it.

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

True story

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?

Three years

7. How many stories have you written?

Three

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

Celebration

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

Getting it right for starters. Including elements significant to those involved that are easily overlooked and/or taken for granted.

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

Assisting others to see and better understand issues in life that might be mind-boggling, puzzling or just plain unseen speed bumps. Everything I write, whether fiction, non-fiction, or screen plays, everything has a message designed to be helpful or provide insight into human relations and other life issues. Currently I am enrolling in a graduate program for a PhD in Religion. I wish to explore the actual function of religion and how it impacts our lives, for good, bad, or in-between. Seeing religion as a function might provide us with other ways to see everything else.

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

Costly

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

My initial feedback provided much negative observations that I took seriously. I welcome critical reviews and re-geared myself to address what was seen as frailties in the story/script. I believe I greatly improved the story.

3 PART Best Scene Readings:

Short feature: Memoir of a childhood remembered as one of energy vampired away through routine rapes and sexual abuse until the age of nine. The child takes a stand for herself against her parents that provide relief of sorts.

PART 1:

CAST LIST;

Anna – JESSICA BOWMER
Dennis – STEPHEN SANDQUIST
NARRATION – STEVE SWITZMAN
Rachel – JULIE SHEPPARD
Mary – KAT SMILEY

PART 2:

CAST LIST:

Ma – JESSICA BOWMER
Rachel – JULIE SHEPPARD
NARRATION – SARAH-HAZEN BASK
Mary – KAT SMILEY
Jerry – STEPHEN SANDQUIST
Dad – STEVE SWITZMAN

PART 3:

CAST LIST:

NARRATION – STEVE SWITZMAN
Mary – KAT SMILEY
Ron – STEPHEN SANDQUIST

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