Archive for September, 2017

BlueCat’s 2017 Winners & Finalists

Thursday, September 14th, 2017

Congratulations to the 2017 BlueCat Screenplay Competition Winners & Finalists! 

Feature Winner 

Cadaver Dog by Judy Soo Hoo & Isaac Ho 

 

Feature Finalists 

Spree by Laura Allen

The Townhouse by Baruh Benjamins

Chico Grande by Jesus Celaya

Westchester by Sachin Mehta

 

Fellini Award Winner – Best International Screenplay

Unpromised by Jason Chan 

 

Pilot Winner 

White-Shoe U by Beanie Barnes 

 

Pilot Finalists 

Junk Dreams by Maria Soscia

The Orphan by Allie Kingsley and Tony Allen

Squat by Bill Keenan

Clementine by MJ Palo

 

Short Screenplay Winner 

Ageusia by Will Schneider 

 

Short Screenplay Finalists

Sun Shine by Walker Hare

Borders of Life by Mohamed Karim

The Call by Colm Ryan

The Scientist by Cameron Thrower & Joe McKernan

 

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2017 Feature Winners Judy Soo Hoo & Isaac Ho

Monday, September 11th, 2017

 

Cadaver Dog by Judy Soo Hoo & Isaac Ho

 

When a young autistic Latina rescues a stray cadaver dog, she stumbles upon a 15 year-old cold case that no one wants solved.

 

Email: JudyIsaacWriters@gmail.com

We found each other working in live theater. Separately we were both playwrights, struggling to find our voices in a community of nomads and dreamers. Together we discovered our voices created harmony in a dissonant and often contradictory world.

In live theater, the audience shares the same space, breathes the same air as the actors who portray the characters, but for the characters to come alive, they must be grounded in the human condition.

For us, this was the most important aspect of theater we wanted to bring to our screenplays.

We have a shared love of mysteries, especially old British whodunits with all their assorted characters and their deep sense of place. We were fascinated with cadaver dogs and how they were oblivious to our human uneasiness toward death. We also knew we didn’t want a professional investigator at the center of our story. Since both of us have family members with autism, we wanted to show some of what they experience on a daily basis.

These were the pieces that began our journey into the world of Cadaver Dog.

 

Cadaver Dog took nearly a year to write: three major restructuring of the story events, and close to three dozen drafts. We searched for signs of life in the flat, computer-generated voices reciting our dialogue. We relied on close friends for constructive criticism (some of which was brutal but honest). We took comfort in the pure, unconditional love of a dog. We were determined to write a script that reflected our artistic sensibilities and stayed true to our commitment to diversity and honest representation.

And over time, the characters became as real to us as the close friends we had known for years.

Lastly, we discovered that when you’re passionate about something, that something becomes a metaphor for life with all its joys and disappointments.

 

 

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2017 Feature Finalist Laura Allen

Monday, September 11th, 2017

 

 

Spree by Laura Allen 

 

Liv, a single-mom and small-time shoplifter, barely makes ends meet with her deviant lifestyle.  But when she reconnects with her estranged father she finds she must navigate a new place for herself in the world.

 

Email: Laura_Allen27@hotmail.com
Instagram: @Laura_AllenLA
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/public/Laura-Allen
IMDb: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0020751/?ref_=nv_sr_1 
 

My name is Laura Allen.  I am a working actress in Los Angeles since 2000.  I wrote my first script, Spree for a screenwriting class and had a fantastic time.  As an actress all these years I have read tons of scripts, and noticed that although some are terrific, lots and lots are really, really crappy.  We know many roles for women over 40 are clichéd; the nagging wife, the one-dimensional lawyer/doctor/cop.  I wanted to write something I thought would be compelling for an actress in her 40s, something I would find juicy to play.

The idea of Spree came about when I was doing endless errands as a new mother.  Professionally, I had enjoyed some minor success as an actress but once I became a mom, I felt the glamour and notoriety slip away as I schlepped about in sweats with bags under my eyes.  I thought:  wouldn’t it be fascinating to write a female character who has a shameful secret, a deviant lifestyle, but is perceived as a plain mom pushing a stroller and slipping into a playground, a most innocent getaway.  What if there is quite a bit more to the everyday woman you meet at Shoprite?

I delight in studying human behavior and idiosyncrasies in small moments between characters.   I enjoy real world environments, and I discovered with Spree a love for the everyday world; the Rite Aid, the JC Penney, the Food Court, the Marriott.  We know these places, they can be tedious but relatable, and we are often tedious and relatable as their patrons.   But mostly I relish the mash up of characters you can find in these public cesspools, and the chance encounter that may have a deep impact on a person’s journey.  I like challenging our tendencies to underestimate the inner life of a regular person in the regular world.

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2017 Feature Finalist Baruh Benjamins

Monday, September 11th, 2017

The Townhouse by Baruh Benjamins

 

A young black writer spends a busy day coming to terms with his crumbling relationship with his older white girlfriend as they prepare for an afternoon recital and an evening party in their townhouse. The day comes to a head as demonstrations throughout the city break out into a full-scale riot before escalating into something much more terrifying.

 

Email: Baruhwritesmovies@gmail.com

I was born in the Netherlands a mutt – equal parts American and Indonesian, with a few dashes of various other cultural ingredients tossed in for flavor. I moved to the U.S. when I was eight and bounced around a bit until I settled in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, where I grew up. Becoming a filmmaker is something that I’ve aspired to ever since I read Kurosawa’s autobiography, Something Like an Autobiography, while in high school. I distinctly remember deciding what I was going to do with my life the moment I closed the book. From then on I began devouring as many films as I could, haunting local video stores like a ghost with unfinished business.  Eventually, I ended up studying film and television at The Savannah College of Art and Design. After working on several documentaries and short films in L.A., Puerto Rico and Ghana, I’m now living on the border of Brooklyn and Queens where I freelance as a copywriter while continuing to pursue my dream of writing and making movies.

The Townhouse is a story about a young man recognizing and coming to terms with the ending of a relationship. My aim was to explore the rollercoaster of emotions that almost everyone has experienced at some point in their lives, from denial and paranoia to anger and sadness, all over the course of a single day and night. Exacerbating the loneliness felt by the main character as he witnesses his relationship deteriorate is his alienation from the environment around him, heightened by the rapid gentrification of the city, which I presented in the story in the form of a metaphor: the outbreak of a zombie epidemic.

I wrote The Townhouse after I moved to NYC in an attempt to focus on my writing and, basically, to start over. The sense of loneliness and isolation I felt from being in a new environment following a failed relationship was something that I wanted to explore (read: get off my chest) on paper. The idea was to examine variations of these themes in three different screenplays, all of which take place in a single location. The Townhouse is the second story in this triptych. While writing, I was influenced by several films, most notably Woody Allen’s Manhattan, Fassbinder’s The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant and Antonioni’s La Notte. Oh, and Romero’s Night of the Living Dead. I wouldn’t say that The Townhouse is a zombie movie, but there are zombies in it and they do zombie things. 

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2017 Feature Finalist Jesus Celaya

Monday, September 11th, 2017

Chico Grande by Jesus Celaya

 

A boy in 1960’s Mexico struggles with what it means to be a hero- all the while obsessing over the TV Western serials of that era.

 

Email: jesusjcelaya@gmail.com

 
 
 
My name is Jesus Celaya. I was raised in both a small town in Washington State, and an even smaller town in Sonora, Mexico. I come from a storytelling family born from a storytelling culture. Everything was a time consuming, gripping story, whether we wanted it to be or not. From how our parents met/opened the door to our existence, all the way down to how grocery shopping went that day. In fact, Chico Grande is based on a story my Father told me about his youth. About a boy that wore a Lone Ranger outfit and refused to ever take it off. It spoke to me of identity, and the meaning of heroes. Plus I enjoyed the strangeness of old-school Americana re-imagined and integrated into a story set in the Mexican desert. Two things that perhaps some would believe couldn’t possibly work well together, but do.
 
 
I know because I’m a mongrel myself. By blood and culture. There was no level ground really. Through that, Cinema was a home to me because it allowed for travel outside the self. If I was completely honest I’d say that empathy is the only real endgame for me with film. I have never been, nor ever will be a starving Samurai living in Feudal Japan…but when I watch Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai, I am Toshiro Mifune standing in that river, holding a screaming child watching that building burn. It’s the only travel worthwhile in my opinion. There’s more to it than my brain can really embrace at the moment, but I think that mystery is what helps me keep moving forward with this. Hopefully do something of worth eventually. Maybe Chico Grande is that.
 
 
Chico is one from the heart. I hope I’m lucky enough to have them all be from there. Because to be honest, I’m tired of these same old perspectives, film after film. We’re not predictable, formulaic people- so why should our stories be? Give me a bit of that Buñuelian anarchy any day. It’s what I am. It’s the world. It’s a storm out there. I was born between two races at odds with each other, pushing back and forth. I’ve lived Mexican spiritualism and American pragmatism each in turn. I’ll never be entirely one or the other and I don’t care to be. I’d rather be something new. Something different.
 
And I hope my work will be the same.  
 

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2017 Feature Finalist Sachin Mehta

Monday, September 11th, 2017

 

Westchester by Sachin R. Mehta

 

An Indian jeweler struggling to fulfill his family’s American dream gets caught up in the darkest corners of the 1980s L.A. jewelry district.

 

Email: sachinmehtawrites@gmail.com 

I have many memories of following my father around the streets of Los Angeles’ Jewelry District. Back then, the industry was crackling with energy. It was a fishbowl of immigrants – Asians, Armenians, Israelis, Hispanics – all with accents, all first generation, and all depending on each other to make their businesses work, so that they could help their children get ahead.  

 

For Indians especially, many were navigating new marriages which were often arranged. They were dealing with the first relationship of their lives, some getting married after only meeting their spouses once or twice.

 

All the while, the cross-current of Americanism – winning, consuming, not being good enough unless you’re climbing – was especially pulsing in the 80s. Profits and opportunities abound, but like with anything else, they were finite. Some won, and some lost.

My story Westchester navigates these worlds through the eyes of a family not too different than my own.

 

A few things about me: I’m a Los Angeles native. I was a public defender in the South Pacific territory of American Samoa, where I lost my home to a hurricane. Since moving back to Los Angeles, I’ve moonlighted as an actor and VO artist. There’s a fire beneath me to write, write, write as I can barely keep up with the many stories I want to tell.

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2017 Pilot Winner Beanie Barnes

Monday, September 11th, 2017

 

White-Shoe U by Beanie Barnes

 

Four Ivy League students build an illegal drug operation, using it to orchestrate and grow their own social power. But as their power accumulates, they find it harder not to become pawns in the game of their own making.

 

Email: ken@circleofconfusion.com 

I became acutely aware of my “otherness” when I was six.  During a playground game of kickball, I dropped an easy out when I lost sight of the ball in the sun.  The other team scored off my error and, incensed, my team captain — a classmate — yelled a racial epithet at me.  My world changed forever in that moment.  And, as hurtful as it was at the time, I don’t know if I’d be the storyteller I am today without it.

That experience lit my curiosity in, and empathy for, “others.” It also ignited my search for “self” as an outsider, resulting in artistic expression that reflected my own evolution with identity. 

This evolution has allowed me to use from my personal experience, research background and full imagination to write stories and characters that humanize “others.” It’s something I’m passionate about, so I always strive to bring as much authenticity, and nuance, to each of my stories/characters that I possibly can.

 

Illustration copyright Becky Munich

 

The idea for White Shoe U came to me after learning of a series of drug arrests at elite universities.  It made me think of my own experience in the Ivy League.  I was intrigued by those, who seemingly had “everything,” but were drawn to a type of power that cannot be attained through book smarts and connections.  I realized that, even among the circles of those who seemed to have the most, there were still “outsiders.”

This is a story I knew I could tell because life – e.g. my education, race, gender, etc. – has taught me that, in American society, there is nothing more powerful than the power…of power.

True power is not found in books, but in will.  Nor is it bound by race, class, gender or title.  True power is weakening your opponents…and your allies.  White-Shoe U is about the evolution that this type of power has on one’s identity…and humanity.

 

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2017 Pilot Finalist Maria Soscia

Monday, September 11th, 2017

Junk Dreams by Maria Soscia

 

Following years of separation from her elderly mother, a mentally unstable woman confronts deep-seeded family hostilities after a radio psychic relays a message from her deceased father.

 

Email: msoscia@gmail.com 

My love of writing began with Shakespeare. Growing up, I often attended the theater with my mother, watching her perform or lending a hand backstage. I saw many plays, but Shakespeare’s stood out above all others. I was in awe at how flawed, yet loveable, his characters were – even a character as cruel as Richard III has redeeming qualities – there’s something beautiful and true in that. I strive to write all my characters with a certain level of compassion, remembering that the complexities of human nature exist in even the most vile of personae.

Currently, I am an MFA candidate in photography at Indiana University Bloomington. My previous work as a photography archivist, has fostered a love for early photographic processes, such as daguerreotype, albumen, and wet plate collodion. Recently, I began working with video and plan to make short films in the near future.

 

Junk Dreams is a portrayal of complex family dynamics, including sibling rivalry and parent/child relationships, while exploring one’s ability to make decisions in the face of both increasing age and mental illness. The story unfolds through the main protagonist – Eva Bowen, a woman living on the edge of society, afraid to throw anything away, and caught in an endless loop of her yesterday’s hopes and dreams, and her present day mental deterioration. The character is inspired by the novels of Jean Rhys, whose female protagonists, despite being ostracized by society and family, fight to fit into a world that seeks to discard them. Similarly, Eva refuses to give up. She reaches out to her estranged daughter, and battles with her uncompromising brother for permission to see her elderly mother. In a larger sense, Eva represents the marginalized of society – the lost individuals by whom we pass by everyday yet dare not pay attention to.

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2017 Pilot Finalists Allie Kingsley & Tony Baker

Monday, September 11th, 2017

 

The Orphan By Allie Kingsley & Tony Baker 

 

Al, a down and out reality show host, must make the best of the worst TV show in history: The Orphan, a show about impoverished children from around the world competing to be adopted by a wealthy family in Bel Air

 

Email: alliekingsley@gmail.com & tonybaker.180@gmail.com
Social Media: @alliekingsley

 

Tony and Allie came up with the concept for The Orphan on their very first date. Tony; a graduate of the UCLA MFA program in screenwriting, and Allie; a published author and celebrity ghostwriter, bonded over their affinity for biting humor and appreciation of irony.

 Over the following year, as their relationship developed so did the story and characters for The Orphan. Inspired by shows such as The Bachelor and Curb Your Enthusiasm, Tony and Allie spent many date nights at the writing desk in pursuit of a hilarious half-hour comedy script.

 The series, a single camera half-hour comedy, centers around Al, a desperate reality show host whose career and marriage have hit the skids. Al is thrilled when he’s offered a chance to redeem himself by hosting an experimental show called The Orphan. Al believes this new show about an unfortunate child being adopted by a wealthy family will restock his bank account, refurbish his public image, and heal his ailing marriage. But, when The Orphan turns out to be a distasteful competition show where children are being voted out of a Bel Air Mansion and sent back into poverty, Al is left to make the best of the worst show in television history in order to salvage what’s left of his dignity – and his life.

 

Tony and Allie create and develop fresh and entertaining material for both features and television. As a team they compliment each other well, especially now that Tony understands Allie is always right. Their goal is to become successful screenwriters. They would love to start by seeing their passion project, The Orphan, getting purchased and produced.

Tony and Allie live in Los Angeles. They are currently working on a half-hour comedy, an hour-long drama, in addition to their upcoming vows. 

www.AllieKingsley.com 

 

 

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2017 Pilot Finalist Bill Keenan

Monday, September 11th, 2017

 

Squat by Bill Keenan

 

In a wryly comical near future, where too many baby boomers have saved too little money and amassed too much debt, an unemployed man aspires to the affluent lifestyle of his rich brother while trying to avoid the humiliating fate of his destitute brother who lives in a vast ghetto of boomers known as Squat City. 

 

Email: bbb4749@hotmail.com

The inspiration behind Squat was simple: I’m scared to death—and I know I’m not alone—that someday when I retire I won’t have enough money to live on comfortably because I don’t have a pension.

You can’t read a newspaper or go online without reading something about how ill-prepared we all are for retirement. Environics TD Waterhouse recently reported, “Thirty-two percent of Canadians aged 45 to 64 expect lottery winnings to support them in their retirement.” The New York Times wrote, “Almost half of all middle-class Americans will be poor or near poor in retirement, living on a food budget of about $5 a day.”

What would the world look like if the worst that could happen, did?

Besides Squat, I wrote and directed a feature film called Eating Buccaneers that skewered advertising and was nominated for five Canadian Comedy Awards, including Best Writer. It opened theatrically in Canada before airing on The Movie Network, Movie Central and HBO Canada. I also wrote, directed and produced an award-winning short film called The Homework Bureau, a satire of TV cop shows. After opening at TIFF and playing festivals around North America, it aired on Global TV and The Comedy Network.

I’m currently developing a seven-part comedy series and another feature film comedy. You can learn more about me at billkeenan.ca

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2017 Pilot Finalist MJ Palo

Monday, September 11th, 2017

 

Clementine by MJ Palo 

 

After a recently murdered high-school sweetheart’s body is dug up from her grave, the secrets of a small mountain town begin to unravel.

 

Email: mj.palo@yahoo.com

 

My name is MJ and I’ve been a storyteller and a movie lover as long as I can remember. For some reason, I didn’t pursue that passion when I was younger and instead focused on my second passion, science. After I earned a Ph.D. degree in cell and molecular biology, I worked as a medical writer for pharmaceutical and educational companies for several years. However, my love for storytelling was always there and after writing a few novels I found my passion in screenwriting. Soon after, I was given the opportunity to work as a story and script consultant. After working on numerous consulting projects, I was hired to write a feature screenplay. I also recently sold a short script “The Beast” that is going to production later this year.

I’m not really focused on specific genres but rather the story. My favorite stories are those that transport us to a different world or a different time and take risks in storytelling. After working several years as a scientist, my passion is to break the rules of science and write stories that do that. Recently, I have also begun to focus on stories that play with the psychological aspects of human behavior.

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2017 Short Screenplay Winner Will Schneider

Monday, September 11th, 2017

 

Ageusia by Will Schneider 

 

A depressed lunch lady finds new meaning in her mundane life when she falls for a troubled janitor.

 

Email: Williamschneider182@yahoo.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/willnoir182
Instagram: @willschneider82
Twitter: @Will_I_Was
Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/willschneider82 
 

My name’s Will and I’m a writer/director born, raised, and based in the wonderful city of Chicago, Illinois. I’m absolutely in love with Chicago and though I’ve been tempted to move to New York or Los Angeles many times, I truly cannot imagine calling any other city my home. I just recently started my first year in the MFA in Film and Television program at DePaul University, which I also attended for my undergraduate degree. I firmly believe that DePaul’s School of Cinematic Arts is one of the finest film programs in the entire country, and I cannot wait until this becomes less of a secret. I would not be the writer or filmmaker I am today had I not attended DePaul, and I owe much of my success to its wonderful professors.
 
 
    
My script “Ageusia” largely revolves around my love and empathy for the common folk that most mainstream films overlook. Lunch ladies and janitors are tradespeople anyone who’s ever attended any sort of school are instantly familiar with, yet I can think of few films that contain leads in either profession. Sure, we have “Good Will Hunting,” “The Lookout,” and several others, but despite being people that we are all so familiar with, they are still greatly underrepresented. I was always fascinated by these workers during my time in school, and even when my friends didn’t seem to notice that they existed, I spent time studying their actions and pondering what their home lives were like. My summer before college, just after I turned 18, I even worked as a janitor at my former grade school for several months and became much more familiar with the craft than I ever thought I would. This level of understanding has stuck with me, and it informs every word of “Ageusia.”
 
I love many different styles of films, and I like to think my taste is really more eclectic than I’m given credit for, but I often find myself much more drawn to human, character dramas with realistic leads than just about any other genre there is. I can enjoy big, visual blockbusters or stylized crime pieces as much as anyone else (when they’re done right), but even when watching such films, I’m usually more interested in the scenes showing these characters’ mundane lives than the ones showing them fighting off villains. In my opinion, Peter Parker’s high school troubles are more engaging than his tussles with the Vulture, and I usually find myself bored by the climactic battle scene every single one of these films offers.
 
 
    
“Ageusia” is a love letter to these small character studies that I’ve grown to love. It is influenced by films I’ve watched so many times their DVD’s are destroyed, while also sharing stylistic DNA with favorites I’ve only seen recently, like “The Good Girl” and “Moonlight.” Above all else, though, “Ageusia” is most clearly a descendant (ha) of the brilliant filmography of Alexander Payne. “Sideways,” “About Schmidt,” “Election,” and “Nebraska” are four of my favorite films ever made, and I strongly believe that Payne has been able to consistently make mainstream films about lonely, everyday people better than any other “big name” filmmaker out there. His characters are often flawed, poor, and unhappy, yet we love them for how relatable and realistic they are. The characters in “Ageusia” are just as flawed as those in Payne’s work, but if I’ve done my job right, they are also just as relatable.
 
 
“Ageusia” the film, however, will not necessarily be the exact same thing as “Ageusia” the script. There will be similarities in influence, I’m sure, but its shooting style will have much more in common with films like “Punch-Drunk Love” and “20th Century Women” than the works of Payne. I had a feeling that “Ageusia” was my strongest piece of writing yet, and this acclaim helps affirm that thought. I am doing everything I can to make “Ageusia” a masterpiece short film, and I cannot wait to shoot it and share it with the world! Thanks, BlueCat!

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2017 Short Screenplay Finalist Walker Hare

Monday, September 11th, 2017

 

Sun Shine by Walker Hare 

 

When an African American teenager gets a seemingly depressed white guy to open up, she discovers he’s on his way to commit a mass shooting.

 

Email: walkerhare@gmail.com

My name is Walker Hare and I’m an actor, writer, and filmmaker from California, currently based in Brooklyn. Sunshine, is a short film that explores mental illness, gun control and the tragic consequences of racial discrimination in America and it’s funny too.

Since receiving my MFA in acting from UCSD two years ago, I’ve written several short films, two pilots, and four features. The feature’s include, The Crying Man (Script Pipeline Semifinalist, NY Stage & Film Finalist, Roadmap’s Iconic Characters Finalist & BlueCat Screenplay Quarterfinalist) a thriller about an introverted children’s book illustrator who becomes obsessed with finding a missing seven-year old boy, Thorp (Finalist for the inaugural 7k Films Grant) a touching, comedic film about an alien returning to earth to see his best friend after being gone for twenty-five years, and Killer Wedding (BlueCat Screenplay Quarterfinalist) a horror/comedy that’s like Get Out meets Wedding Crashers. With all this output, I have noticed two major changes. Firstly, I am getting better (10,000 hours, right?). Secondly, my writing has been inspired by the state of the world, which brings me to this piece.

 

Sun Shine is a short that is funny and entertaining and then it’s not. It’s like real life. It’s like what’s going on in the streets across the United States, from Ferguson to Orlando to the Bronx, NY. On an average day, 93 Americans are killed by guns. People are dying because of how easy it is to get a gun, even if you are suffering from a mental illness.

In Sun Shine, Zora, a teenager, meets John, a man who is on edge, and she quickly finds out why. As she playfully gets John to open up, she discovers what’s lurking underneath. I want to shoot the whole thing in one take, a “oner.” This way, the audience can’t get away. It unfolds in real time. I found a perfect location, near a bustling area with delis on every corner. Just two streets over is a dead end, next to the eerie Gowanus canal. This film is going to take the audience on a ten-minute ride that ends in an unexpected place.

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2017 Short Screenplay Finalist Mohamed Karim

Monday, September 11th, 2017

 

Borders of Life by Mohamed Karim 

 

A gritty portrait of courage, tragedy and immigrant life through the eyes of a Syrian refugee.

 
Email:  info@losbandidos.studio
Instagram: @los_bandidos
Website: www.losbandidos.studio

 

My name is Mohamed Karim, born in Cairo, Egypt. I started my filmmaking career in 2006 as a trainee assistant director on the Egyptian film “The Aquarium” by Yousry Nasrallah. Between  2009 and 2016, I served as assistant director on several projects including work with Marwan Hamed in Egypt and high-end TV commercials. In 2008, I earned a bachelor’s degree in Cinema Production from the International Academy of Media Science in Cairo, and received my diploma in Film Directing from the Prague Film School in 2014. My year of study in Prague culminated with my short film “The Visit” which won many awards and nominations (Madrid, Los Angeles Lift-Off, Cairo FF, Dublin). 

I moved to New York on June 2016 which I can happily call home now. I partnered with my wife and we created a directing team called Los Bandidos. Moving to New York reshaped the creative aspect of my career, it has inspired me and helped me see another dimension to the stories I would love to tell.

On September 2015 I saw the news about the Syrian Refugee crisis, I decided to write something about it. After going through some serious research and closely monitoring the situation, I wrote many drafts and changed many endings to portrait the story of Adel’s family, a very human story about a father trying to just survive with his daughter. 

I wanted to show Adel’s family tough journey and highlight how by reaching a big European city it doesn’t mean that you made it and that you are safe (especially with the high percentage of children disappearance).

“Borders of Life” has all the ingredients to create a visually stunning story.

Our characters move through different situations taking place in a variety of locations, an evolving visual aesthetic is created for the film. With this film, we want to create a mood that continuously shows the gravity of our character’s struggles.

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2017 Short Screenplay Finalist Colm Ryan

Monday, September 11th, 2017

 

The Call By Colm Ryan 

 

A taxi driver is interrogated over a bank bombing. As he is questioned about what happened by a police detective, certain details do not add up.

 
Email: colm.ryan10@gmail.com
Twitter: @Colmatthemovies
Instagram: @colmr10
Blog: https://trackingshot.wordpress.com/
 
 

Writing screenplays can be exhilarating and frustrating. When I studied films in college, I knew that one day I wanted to write them myself. I didn’t have a clue how to get into the industry, but I knew if I kept writing I would improve. When I wrote The Call it was out of a moment of frustration. I was trying to write a feature, a police detective story which I hopefully will finish, but I just felt stuck. I told myself as a fun exercise, maybe just try and write a short film about an incident. I really love films where you have to unravel the pieces of a detective story, like Memories of Murder or Zodiac, films where you are never sure if the actual antagonist will be caught, despite the best efforts of the detectives. It’s the process of working out the case that is exciting. Then there were films such as those of Park Chan Wook and The Vengeance trilogy, where a seemingly innocent person is faced with a moral dilemma and this can be influenced by their vices or past misdeeds. That’s what I’ve really loved in cinema, characters represented with a fork in the road and deciding what path they must take. It’s not always a positive call to adventure. Michael Mann is a master at this. I always feel the characters in his films represent both sides of the coin, that Vincent Hanna and Neil McCauley could have swapped roles in Heat if things had worked out differently. 

I find structure in films really interesting; the how of telling a story can sometimes be more interesting than the why. For me, though, it is the characters that do most of the heavy lifting. I can feel it sometimes when writing dialogue, that if what characters are saying is only to drive the story forward, rather than their inner conflict, something is not right. When I wrote this, I just upped the ante on conflict, whereas before I may have held back on it. To do that, I used the character of Abdul and his gambling addiction, a good guy who tried to hide his addictions but in doing so affected his marriage. Addiction is very interesting. What it can do to a person, how other people spot it and how they can manipulate someone with it. This is what what I really wanted to explore, a good person involved in a horrendous incident because their past addiction arises again. I do love the crime genre, but I knew that even by using the tropes of the genre, I would still need certain original aspects of the characters to take centre stage.

I love interrogation scenes because they allow unreliable narrators to enter a story. The person being interrogated will tell their version of events, but they don’t want to incriminate themselves so they will hold off on key details. It’s up to the detective to figure it out.

I don’t always write crime films though. The films by some of my favourite directors such as Wong Kar-Wai, Claire Denis, James Grey and Terence Malick are always able to switch up genres. I want to do that through my writing.

I have to keep writing, it’s the one thing that when I am doing it I don’t want to be doing anything else. When I am not writing, all I keep asking myself is why I’m not doing it! Fitting it in around work and other aspects of life is tough at times. If I miss a few days, I can get very anxious. It’s important to remind yourself that the story is in there, you just have to get it out by whatever means you can. You’re not always going to be inspired and you may only have ten minutes free, but if the intention is there, then that can be enough.

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2017 Short Screenplay Finalists Cameron Thrower & Joe McKernan

Monday, September 11th, 2017

 

The Scientist by Cameron Thrower & Joe McKernan

 

Dr. Roy Jackson was once an accomplished scientist. Now a 60 year old homeless man, living in the woods and spending all of his time acquiring junk to help him build a time machine out of a shopping cart. His latest attempt fails and he’s back to the drawing board. An unlikely friendship teaches our obsessive inventor that patience is the true key to time travel.

Email: Camthrow@gmail.com
Website: www.cameronthrower.com
Instagram: @camthrow
Twitter: @CamThrow
IMDb: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2979239/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1

My name is Cameron Thrower and I’m super excited our script, “The Scientist”, was awarded a finalist in the 2017 Blue Cat Screenwriting Contest! What an honor.

I’m originally from Charleston, South Carolina where I was introduced to theatre, acting, and directing at the age of 9 at a small town community theater. I was HOOKED! It always kept me out of trouble.

I attended college for Directing/ writing/ film and then made the big move out to California to work for the Americorps Program. It’s basically the peace corps for America. Being stationed in San Jose, CA to help underprivileged youth ranging from grades k-12 and educating on topics such as gang violence, domestic violence, homophobia, and conflict resolution, was an eye opener. Being apart of such an amazing program, hearing so many stories that needed to be told, I packed my suitcase and headed to Los Angeles to pursue my dreams of becoming a filmmaker.

“The Scientist” was the first script I had the opportunity to work with my writing partner, Joe McKernan. I usually write all my own scripts, but I knew I wanted to develop a feature film with a partner. So “The Scientist” was a test run, and it went so damn well… and being a Blue Cat finalist has just added more fuel to this fire. Joe and I have developed a working ethic that works so well for us and “The Scientist” laid that ground work for that. We are more than half way through our feature and both of us are so PUMPED about finishing it. Joe is a phenomenal writer, and I’m excited to see where our partnership takes us.

When I’m not making movies or writing, you can find me on a hike, having coffee at old diners catching up with friends, hanging with Brando & Bogart (my two pups), or relaxing with the Fiancé singing karaoke at our favorite dive bar. Thanks again for the recognition Blue Cat!!!

 

Hi, my name is Joe McKernan and I like to make pretend people talk. It’s a lot of fun and the only thing I’m good at (Well, I also make a really killer spaghetti). I’m a native to Southern California and I grew up in Bugs Bunny’s favorite town to make wrong turn, Rancho Cucamonga. I’ve probably spent more hours in front of a television then any two people so it was natural that I would eventually gravitate towards contributing to creating films and TV shows. It’s been my singular goal since I was a sophomore in high school to write screenplays for a living. I’ve had the immense good fortune of combing efforts in this endeavor with the wonderfully talented Cameron Thrower over the past twelve months. “The Scientist” was our first script together but hopefully just the start of a long, successful partnership.

I love my wife and my son more than anything in the world, but telling stories isn’t far behind (hockey and football are pretty close too). I strive to emulate my favorite writers: Quentin Tarantino, Joel and Ethan Coen, Aaron Sorkin, Aline Brosh McKenna, Judd Apatow, Scott Frank, Tony Gilroy, Andrew Stanton and many others. I have to pinch myself daily that I get to collaborate with a filmmaker as talented as Cameron and can’t wait to make our ideas into reality.

 

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2017 Fellini Winner Jason Chan

Monday, September 11th, 2017

 

 

Unpromised by Jason Chan 

 

Waking up after 15 years in a coma as the result of a traffic accident, an unhappily married woman has to re-learn everything with the aid of her husband’s new fiancée, and map out a new path for her life.

 

Email: jasonchan@j-chan.net
IMDb: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm5244343/?ref_=nv_sr_3
Instagram: @jasonchan_1215
 

 

I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in economics in the wake of the 2009 subprime crisis. It was tough to find a job in finance. Companies were firing, not hiring.

Yet, a setback may turn out to be a blessing in disguise. Filmmaking has always been my passion, so I took a leap of faith and spent my personal savings on a one-year intensive at Vancouver Film School. Right after graduation, I joined the thriving film industry as a camera assistant and I had the good fortune to work with top-notch talents and technicians in TV and film. I love what I do. It is an absolute joy to read a script, step into its world on the set, and follow the project through from start to finish with appreciation for every moment of masterful cinematography, skillful production design, and accomplished direction. My unique experiences in the film industry have served me well in my growth as a screenwriter. When I’m not on set or playing badminton, I’m writing. My professional credits are listed on IMDB (Jason Chan XII). There are cool photos on my Instagram (jasonchan_1215) as well.

I started writing Unpromised immediately after film school. It is a multi-protagonist story that I probably shouldn’t have chosen as my first screenplay. I hit my head very hard on the ceiling of my talent. It was discouraging, I couldn’t go beyond page 60 because I had no idea how to structure the story, write good conflicts, or conceive an early inciting incident. The only thing I knew then was that a comatose mother is a good hook. In order to stay motivated, I kept myself busy writing “women in peril” rapist movies because the genre is tried and tested and has a better chance of selling to networks like Lifetime. I hated both scripts I wrote. They weren’t the kind of stories I wanted to tell. To this day, I get a bitter taste in my mouth when I see the files in my screenwriting folder. Nevertheless, any writing is great practice. I reunited with Unpromised after a yearlong cooling off period. I completed the first draft on my 29th birthday and the thought of winning the Fellini Award is a tremendous motivation for my thirties.

 

I am inspired by the screenwriters Paddy Chayefsky, Aaron Sorkin, and Quentin Tarantino. I started out by emulating their styles until I realized that my writing would always remain derivative with that approach. Instead, I live by John Lasseter’s golden rule for great storytelling: “Tell an unpredictable story, populate it with compelling characters, and put them in a believable world. Not realistic, but believable.” While I am hoping my screenplay can be produced one day, the challenges are great. They force a writer to be cruel, or “kill the babies,” as they say, in order to have a coherent story. The truth is, screenplays are limited by the boundaries of reality, as I have witnessed on set many times. My goal with Unpromised is to provide the audience with a memorable heartfelt drama at a budget that producers won’t frown upon. I take pride in killing off large party scenes that don’t drive the story forward. I strive to do the same for all my other high-concept ideas. As an industry veteran once told me, “respect what you don’t have.”

My own story begins in Los Angeles in the French Hospital (now the Pacific Alliance Medical Center) in 1987. For the next eight years after my birth, my family lived in Hong Kong until we immigrated to Vancouver in 1996. I look forward to meeting anyone interested in seeing my work. Perhaps, after three decades, my life will come full circle as a screenwriter in Los Angeles. Thank you for reading.

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