Interview with Winning Screenwriter Carl F. Zimmermann (TOE TAG MURDERS)

1. What is your screenplay about?
Clearwater, Florida rising-star homicide detective, Mike Carol gets the chance of a lifetime when he goes to New York to work a two-year stint as a liaison in the Queens 112 precinct. But, the day he arrives bodies start showing up pitting him against the hardcore NYPD detectives he has to work with. The murder victims share two crucial clues – they were all booked for a crime they committed the day before they were murdered and they were all left posed with toe tags attached to their shoeless foot identifying that crime. Somebody doesn’t believe in the justice system. Somebody is a vigilante.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Crime, Mystery, Drama.

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

This is a delightful, suspenseful murder investigation that twists often accurately following NYPD protocol, but often in unconventional ways. You will be surprised by the reveal.

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

Intriguing investigation

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

Broadcast News

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

I wrote it in 6 weeks

7. How many stories have you written?

4 finished features and numerous starts

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

“Suddenly I See” by KT Tunstall

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

Finding several NY detectives to consult with to keep things real and authentic – and to go from start to finish in 8 weeks.

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

I am a teacher, a former member of the Florida House of Representaives and a used car dealer. I am passionate about doing the right thing in everything I do.

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

I love FilmFreeway. It simplifies things for everyone.

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

I entered because it was tailored to my genre and it was billed as a premiere festival. The feedback was outstanding. It was very complimentary and very detailed pointing out areas I knew needed to be worked on. I have taken the advice and am currently making the changes suggested.
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Interview with Winning Screenwriter JoAnn Hess (FRAMER)

1. What is your screenplay about?

Simon Webber, intelligent with a high moral compass, exists on society’s edge, mostly forgotten and ignored. When his wife and child are killed by a distracted driver, the court shows an unecpected leniency in the case. Enraged by a justice system that fails to act, Simon retaliates, using his highly technical skills to not only kill the guilty but frame another for the act. While his vengence is sated, its only temporary as he hunts among the dregs of society, where murder is the only outlet for his rage. Simon is pursued by Jack Donovan, an ex-FBI agent turned detective, dealing with his own moral crisis after failing to save a child from a serial killer. Where Simon sees a kindship in Jack who fights his own battle within a corrupt police department, Jack retains a stead-fast belief in the law. As their worlds collide, the line between morality and justice fade, causing a reckoning that neither can survive.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Thriller, Suspense, Crime

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

FRAMER’s themes of vengeance, moral justice and self-sacrifice will have strong appeal across multiple age groups and genders.

It will also garner appeal across social classes and race, especially with those that believe our political and judicial systems have failed. These are all very current and provocative social issues seen all over the news.

Women will be attracted to the struggle of both lead characters as they deal with family issues to protect or avenge children. In addition, FRAMER’s female cast covers a broad spectrum from motherly to strong policewoman exhibiting the characteristics of compassion, power and inner fortitude that audiences of today expect.

Men and older viewers are attracted to FRAMER’s action, suspense, tension and danger. The complex and intense plotline with unique twists will keep male viewers engaged.

Younger audiences will appreciate the cleverness in which Simon facilitates his crimes: the use of technology to commit, trap and frame his victims.

In addition, there is an exuberance of twenty-something characters engaging in activities that 18-30 year old audiences can relate to.

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

Vigilente justice

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

The Lion in Winter, the subtextual dialogue exchange between the characters is the best I’ve ever seen.

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

Three years, this month

7. How many stories have you written?

12 scripts (8 for hire), 1-webseries (optioned), 2-TV series

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

In Your Eyes by Peter Gabriel

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

The key was to make an anti-hero character like Simon empathetic enough so an audience would relate to him. It was important to create a character such that, while on the surface his actions are horrific, how would anyone react in a similar situation? I wanted that conversation after the movie was over. Additionally, Simon’s adversary needed to be equally strong and wounded. To do these characters justice, I had to draw from darker places than I’m used to.

10. Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?
I do Voice over work which is very rewarding and fun. My work can be found on several websites and I’ve voiced several audiobooks. I scuba, play golf when the weather is nice and can be found to play a videogame now and then – I especially like RPGs. Anything with a good story.

11. You entered your screenplay via FilmFreeway. What has been your experiences working with the submission platform site?
It’s really great overall. Easy to submit and find film festivals. There is a great amount of information given and I like all the submission in one place to track. It’s not very flexible though. I’d like to add festivals I entered (not realizing they were available through film freeway).

12. What influenced you to enter the festival? What were your feelings on the initial feedback you received?
I liked that it was genre specific. That I was competing with like scripts and the judges were experts in the genre. When you enter, a win needs to mean something and being chosen for a read through the Thriller Festival brings credibility to the script as it moves into market.

***

Genre: Crime, Thriller, Drama

A highly-intelligent, socially-disenfranchised man seeks moral justice and eludes a former FBI agent as he manipulates others to disguise his own criminal acts.

CAST LIST:

NARRATOR: Rachel Rain Packota

Jack: Isaiah Kolundzic
Walter: Julian Ford
Simon: Jason Gray
Christine: Vanessa Burns
Paula: Olivia Jon

Interview with Winning TV Pilot Writer Ed Vela (PSI-COM)

What is your TV Pilot screenplay about?

At a secret government facility, young psychics are being trained and their psychic gifts developed but when one group: Psi-Com 5, finds out about an enhancement program that is killing and maiming some of the younger less powerful psychics, while at the same time discovering a powerful young psychic on the outside being used as a pawn, they decide to try to escape the confines of the Clinic.

Why should this screenplay be made into a TV show?

Psi-Com 5 has at its core a few elements that make it very appealing for episodic television or platform viewing: it has well drawn characters relatable for who they are and who they aren’t, it has a basic “chase” plot element as PC5 works to stay hidden from society at large while staying one step ahead of the Clinic as they relentlessly pursue them, and it combines both a sci-fi and thriller element as it deals with both psychic powers and the danger of the pursuit.

How would you describe this script in two words?

Super Psychics.

What TV show do you keep watching over and over again?

Game of Thrones.

How long have you been working on this screenplay?

A few years.

How many stories have you written?

About 60, if you count stage plays, screenplays and teleplays.

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

The Longest Time by Billy Joel.

What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

Firstly, the framing device, it seemed natural once I realized that Lynx is such a acerbic character that if you didn’t know what he was thinking he wouldn’t be near as likeable as he ended up being, so I told it thru his eyes. Secondly, the age old dilemma in a pilot: making sure ask more questions than you answer.

Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

I love producing, directing and acting in my own short films, and web series. It offers me a creative smorgasbord.

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

As a TV pilot there aren’t that many festivals to enter a script like: Psi-Com 5, and this is the 1st contest I have entered it. I found the feedback thorough and helpful.

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

I find FilmFreeway a fantastic way to search, find and enter festivals all over the country and the world.

Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers?

If its not a story that you feel you have to write… Don’t write it. If you think it’s interesting… The audience will too.

****

 

CAST LIST:

NARRATOR: Becky Shrimpton
Lynx: Merlin Simard
Lucien: Allan Brunet
Joselyn: Mahtab Sabet
Liticia: Kate Varadi
Titansor: Anthony Tran
Hadley: Scott Beaudin
Cho: Salma Dharsee

Interview with Winning Screenwriter Sheri Davenport (EYES OF DAWN)

1. What is your screenplay about?

Eyes of Dawn is new look at the life of Mata Hari. It tells the story of a woman far ahead of her time, a woman in touch with the strength, beauty and power of her femininity and her sexuality. A woman who loved with passion, danced with abandon, never gave up on finding the child who was taken from her. And in the end, she was a woman betrayed by men who were threatened by her free spirit — men in power who forced her into the world of espionage and ultimately took her life.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Historical Fiction

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

Because it’s time for more films about strong women overcoming obstacles to become their whole, complete, best selves. And the subject of men who feel threatened or insecure using their power to diminish, harass and limit women has never been more relevant than it is today.

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

Powerful. Relevant

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

All About Eve

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

Two years

7. How many stories have you written?

Dozens.

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

Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini

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

Still facing some obstacles as I rework it into a three part series: To make each character arc interesting and believable and to reveal what truly drives Mata Hari, what’s in her heart.

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

Theater

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

I’ve had no problems. It’s efficient.

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

I loved that the festival focuses on women’s work. Also the chance for a reading was motivating and that feedback was included. I thought my feedback was terrific. I’m impressed by the effort the reader took and how truly helpful it was. I couldn’t be happier to be a winner and have a very professional read of my script. Thank you!

****

Mata Hari — a spy who betrayed her country or a woman ahead of her time? This is the back story of Mata Hari.

CAST LIST: 

NARRATION: Elizabeth Rose Morriss
Mata Hari: Marisa King
Bouchardson: Dan Cristofori
Vadime: Yehuda Fisher
Macleod: Michael Sabet
Clunt: Scott McCulloch
Sister Leonide: Elizabeth Skidmore

Interview with Winning Screenwriter Danielle Erlich (LEGACY)

What is your screenplay about?

“Legacy,” is a fantasy story rendering a teen’s initiation into a magical world, in order to find out the truth about his own origins. Lachlan is an outcast who
uses his journal to try and figure out why his father left him at such a young
age. After a horrible last day at school, Lachlan decides to go against his
mother’s wishes. He ventures to the ruins of an ancient castle by his home, to
write in his journal. On this day, Lachlan meets Atlas, the Centaur, after falling through a portal outside of the castle. Atlas will lead him on an adventure filled with magical, and mythological creatures. Lachlan will soon find out the truth about his own origins, which is that his father, Kyros, comes from an ancient, magical, royal family in a realm called “The Garden.” His father had gone to the human realm on a spiritual quest as all royals do on their eighteenth birthday. He fell in love with a human, Abigail, and they marry against Kyros’s parent’s wishes. Abigail then gave birth to Lachlan. Soon after, Kyros’s parents died leaving the kingdom of Gershwig situated in “The Garden” without a monarch. Atlas tells Lachlan that his father didn’t leave him by choice but rather to keep him safe. Upon the death of his parents, Kyros realized that an ancient prophecy about his son was beginning to come true. It was prophesied that, “A half human, half magical, royal child would be born. This child would be the only chance humanity and the magical creatures have of
stopping evil from enslaving them all.” Kyros tried to stop the prophecy by
returning to his kingdom, but he was to late. The die had already been cast.
Years later, Kyros gets kidnapped and disappears. This prompts Atlas to
retrieve the king’s son from the human realm, in order to save them all.

What genres does your screenplay fall under?

“Legacy” is the first screenplay in a big fantasy saga.

Why should this screenplay be made into a movie?

“Legacy” is not just a typical fantasy story. What it’s really about, is
the impact that parents have on their children. It is also about
overcoming obstacles, staying true to yourself, being loyal and the
lasting power of integrity. This is a tale of love and sacrifice.

How would you describe this script in two words?

Magical adventure.

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

I would have to go with “Harry Potter.” I read all the books, listened
to them on tape, and own all the movies. I think J.K. Rowling is the
Tolkien of our time.

How long have you been working on this screenplay?

I have been working on the idea of “Legacy” for about eight years. I
was first published in the sixth grade. I won a poetry writing contest
whose prize was having your work published. Later in life, I started
working on “Legacy.” It took me eight years for the screenplay
because I was unaware at the time that I had a rare auto-immune
disease. This disease gave me brain fog, along with other symptoms.
It made it very difficult to write, and to engage in day to day
activities. Instead of giving up, I forced myself to sit in front of the
computer and write a little something everyday. I figured my writers
block would eventually lift. I was right. When I finally received my
diagnosis, which was eight years later, and started my treatments,
the writers block lifted. I have been non stop screenwriting ever
since.

How many stories have you written?

I am currently on my fourth screenplay, which is a sequel to “Legacy.”

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

I would have to say my favorite songs are either “Dancing Nancies”
from The Dave Matthews Band, or “I Want My MTV” by Dire Straits.

What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

I had a very large obstacle. A rare auto-immune disease that causes
the immune system to attack the nervous system. This led to brain
fog, writer’s block, and I became a prisoner in my own home as well.
One of the main themes I like to write about, is that obstacles aren’t
placed in your way to ruin you. Instead, they are placed there to
help you grow into the person you are meant to be. As long as you
have faith, trust your heart, and work hard, no obstacle can stop
you.

Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

I am extremely passionate about acting, and frankly just making
movies. I studied acting for over ten years, and after two years of
college, I decided to give acting a real try. I graduated from an
acting conservatory with a vocational degree in theatre. We spent
two years on script analysis and character breakdown. I feel it has
really helped me to create different character’s story arcs. When I
wasn’t acting, I was working with producers, directors, and
representation. I interned at Smart Entertainment, was the assistant
to the CEO at CFP Entertainment, and was a casting assistant on
location in Arizona for the film “Transamerica.”

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

FilmFreeway has been a game changer. It makes submitting so easy.
I just wish that they had a way to rank all the contests, not just the
top 50 and 100. For instance, a lot of screenwriting competitions
seem not to be ranked. If they had a separate ranking system for
screenwriting festivals, that would be a dream come true!

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

“Legacy” is “Harry Potter” and “Lord of the Rings” fan fiction. When I
saw that there was a festival for fan fiction on FilmFreeway, I felt like
it was meant to be. The feedback I received was very helpful. I may
not have agreed with it all, but it definitely made me re-think certain
parts of my story. I feel like the people at the Fan Fiction Film
Festival really want to help develop you into the best writer you can
be.

****

Genre: Fantasy, Adventure

A boy, Lachlan, unknowingly stumbles into a magical world, outside of Dublin Ireland, where the father who had abandoned him as a child is king. He comes to find the king has been kidnapped, and it is up to him to save his father and marshal good against evil in this fight for all of humanity.

Narrator: Sean Ballantyne
Lachlan: Gabriel Darku
Ludlow/Kyros: Neil Bennett
Devlin/Atlas: David Schaap
Makani/Lynch: Noah Casey
Anya: Clare Blackwood

Producer: Matthew Toffolo http://www.matthewtoffolo.com

Director: Kierston Drier
Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne
Editor: John Johnson

Camera Operator: Mary Cox

Interview with Winning Screenwriter Clark Moriarty (LURE)

What is your screenplay about?

When a group of InstaSnap addicted Crazy Rich Kids ignore warnings not to go to the haunted Gomen Island, fun soon turns to horror when an activated augmented reality game forces them to #PlayOrDie

What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Horror

Why should this screenplay be made into a movie?

I think an audience would find it thrilling, scary and an entertaining night out/in, plus with all the tech stuff I think it’s really ‘now’ and is perfect for its natural audience.

How would you describe this script in two words?

Creepy horror.

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

Silence of the Lambs

How long have you been working on this screenplay?

Since January this year.

How many stories have you written?

5 feature screenplays, 1 TV pilot, three novels, 1 stage-play.

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

Go Your Own Way – Fleetwood Mac – or pretty much most other songs by Fleetwood Mac.

What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

Time poverty – I was supposed to be finishing my second novel…

Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

Animal Welfare/Rescue, particularly dogs.

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

I think it’s a brilliant tool. So useful to see so many amazing film competitions/festivals you probably wouldn’t hear about otherwise.

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

I thought it would be absolutely brilliant to hear audience feedback. It’s so key to hear this and often you don’t hear it until the very end of the filming process (when it’s too late to change it!). The initial feedback we received from the festival readers was very encouraging.

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Genre: Horror, Thriller

When a group of Instasnap addicted Crazy Rich Kids ignore warnings not to go to the haunted Gomen island, fun soon turns to horror when an deadly augmented reality game forces them to #PlayOrDie. We like to think of it as Super Rich Kids of Instagram meets The Hunger Games.

CAST LIST:

Narration: Xavier de Guzman
Sofia: Carina Cojeen
Lily: Angelica Alejandro
Archie: Anthony Yu
Slick: Fabio Abreu

Producer: Matthew Toffolo http://www.matthewtoffolo.com

Director: Kierston Drier
Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne
Editor: John Johnson

Camera Operator: Mary Cox

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Interview with Winning Screenwriter Maria Hinterkoerner (AS AN ACTRESS)

What is your screenplay about?

As An Actress, on a broad scale, is about being a woman in the “industry” and how one sometimes has to push through, gnashing teeth and throwing fists, to reach the goals we have set for ourselves. On a much more personal scale, it is Schneider’s story, of course, and her development from starry-eyed cinema fledgling on the set of Last Tango in Paris to wise and aware woman in her later life. Schneider’s experiences shed light on a specific cinematic arena and constellation, which more often than not is dwarfed by the film maker and male co-star’s mere presence. As An Actress gives voice to a story which was muted by societal and industry-inherent protocol.

What genres does your screenplay fall under?

It aims to be a biographical Drama.

Why should this screenplay be made into a movie?

Schneider’s experiences on the set of Last Tango in Paris have been reviewed again and again in the media. While there is enough articles in circular citation, there is no biographical account or closer inspection of the forces that literally “perforated” her integrity during and surrounding the making of Last Tango. In light of recent occurrences of sexual harassment, mainly directed towards younger women in the industry, As An Actress still has so much relevance, and sadly so.

How would you describe this script in two words?

painfully empowering

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

Amélie

How long have you been working on this screenplay?

I have an on/off relationship with this script – altogether we’ve been dating for a good three years. A very early draft of it was my master’s thesis at uni. Since then, it has changed a lot, naturally. There’s always plenty a room to tinker with and sharpen into more refined, more appropriate shape.

How many stories have you written?

Around 15 in various stages of drafty-ness. Most of them feature strong female protagonists, as I believe there is still so much crucial storytelling ground to be covered.

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

I’m quintessentially Austrian, which means I listen to classical music a whole lot. Since my early childhood, Antonio Vivaldi has always been my go-to guy – the Winter section of his Four Seasons grabs me right by the heart every single time.

When I write, I listen to piano strumming, right now by Ludovico Einaudi.
My favourite karaoke songs are Jason Mraz’ I’m yours and Anouk’s Nobody’s Wife, which sounds a bit bipolar, come to think of it.

What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

I never have troubles finishing a script, and this one isn’t an exception. The major difficulty was to find the perspective that did justice to Maria Schneider’s experience. In its early draft, the story was framed by an interview with Bertolucci, which after some contemplation had to yield to make room for other scenes, because quite frankly, it’s not his story, it’s Maria’s. Another hurdle was not to victimize Maria. As a writer and woman, it’s a challenge to balance empathy and empowerment, especially if you want to do justice to a real human being and her experiences. Storyteller’s responsibility and thematic issues have to become indistinguishable.

Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

I spend lots of time and money at cinemas and theatres, naturally. I absolutely admire the power of language/s and how one can shape the world with words. I have recently rekindled my excitement for Flamenco, much to the dismay of my feet. And although I’m not blessed with any sense of winning ambition to speak of, I enjoy doing escape rooms and pub quizzes. And motorbikes, definitely those.

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

It’s quite purposeful, I’d say, and easy enough to use even for a technophobe like me.

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

By nature of my script, women centred festivals are a good fit for it, so the decision was an easy one. The initial feedback was a lovely surprise, for sure. It is very thorough and insightful, very kindly worded, and enormously supportive and inspiring. I can’t wait to glimpse into the scene reading and delve back into Maria Schneider’s world.

****

 

Genre: Biography, Drama

In 1971, young French model Maria Schneider gets cast in Bertolucci’s scandal-ridden “Last Tango in Paris” next to an imposing Marlon Brando. Starstruck and inexperienced, Maria finds herself torn between what she wants and how much she is willing to swallow for her breakthrough as an actress.

Narrator: Val Cole
Maria: Clare Blackwood
Romeo: Gabriel Darku
Turtleneck: David Schaap
Marie-Christine: Lauren Toffan

Producer: Matthew Toffolo http://www.matthewtoffolo.com

Director: Kierston Drier
Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne
Editor: John Johnson

Camera Operator: Mary Cox