Winning Feature Screenplay: PEACE PLEDGE, by George M. Johnson

Watch the Winning August 2017 Feature Screenplay Reading

Genre: War, Drama, Romance

A disillusioned First World War veteran, challenged by a reckless Anglican priest, reluctantly fights for peace against fascists in 1930s Britain, losing both friends and family but gaining a second chance in love. Based on the true story of Canon Dick Sheppard and the Peace Pledge Union.

CAST LIST:

Narrator: Elizabeth Rose Morriss
Dick Sheppard: Scott McCulloch
John: Brogan Caulfield
Esme: Sandra Krstin
Alison: Julie Sheppard
Burt: Peter-Mark Raphael

 

B>Get to know the writer:

What is your screenplay about?

A disillusioned First World War veteran, challenged by a reckless Anglican priest, reluctantly fights for peace against fascists in 1930s Britain, losing both friends and family but gaining a second chance in love. The screenplay is based on the true story of Canon Dick Sheppard and the Peace Pledge Union, the strongest pacifist movement in history.

What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Period drama, history, biopic

Why should this screenplay be made into a movie?

Peace Pledge is a gripping and heart-felt story about standing up for what you believe in, even against all the odds. It is also a tale of redemption, love and the power of the human spirit. Peace Pledge is timely with the centenary commemoration of the end of WWI on the horizon (and the 80th anniversary of the beginning of WWII); the story becomes more relevant every day with the escalation of military spending and worldwide violence.

How would you describe this script in two words?

heart-warming, uplifting

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

Monty Python and the Holy Grail

How long have you been working on this screenplay?

I started researching it in 2012 and have worked on it along with other projects since then.

How many stories have you written?

I have written about a dozen stage-plays, some of them award-winning. “Still Life With Nudes” is a comedy about seniors who stage a sit-in at a contemporary art gallery in protest when their full-length nude self-portraits were rejected. It won the National Playwrighting Award and several other awards. I’ve also penned three award-winning screenplays, including “Peace Pledge,” which received Honorable Mention in the Euroscript Competition, and “The Wonder,” a finalist in the British Independent Film Festival, as well as half a dozen children’s stories, one, “Marissa and the Mountains,” to be published by Simply Read next year.

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

Universal Soldier has been a long-time favourite.

What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

Information about the Peace Pledge Union has been buried in history and so it took considerable digging to piece together the peace story.

Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

I am passionate about social justice issues, particularly fighting threats to the environment where I live in B.C.. I also enjoy canoeing, camping, and travelling with my family.

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

It has been great!

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

A friend had entered and told me it was worthwhile. I was elated at the encouraging, articulate, insightful feedback and inspired to make further revisions to make this the best script possible.

 

****

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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August 2017 – Interviews with Award Winning Short Filmmakers

Read this month’s interviews with filmmakers from around the world. Their short films have played at multiple festivals and have won multiple awards. 

Interviews by Matthew Toffolo

Interview with Director Jeremy Garcia (STAR WARS: TRIALS)
https://matthewtoffolo.com/2017/08/04/interview-with-director-jeremy-garcia-star-wars-trials/

 

Interview with Director Richard Paris Wilson (A MONSTER CALLED CHARLES)
https://matthewtoffolo.com/2017/08/04/interview-with-director-richard-paris-wilson-a-monster-called-charles/

 

Interview with Director Holy Fatma (PLEASE LOVE ME FOREVER)
https://matthewtoffolo.com/2017/08/04/interview-with-director-holy-fatma-please-love-me-forever/

 

Interview with Director Liv Mari Ulla Mortensen (65.5)
https://matthewtoffolo.com/2017/08/03/interview-with-director-liv-mari-ulla-mortensen-65-5/

 

Interview with Director Knútur Haukstein Ólafsson (HOPE)
https://matthewtoffolo.com/2017/07/31/interview-with-director-knutur-haukstein-olafsson-hope/

 

Interview with Director Camille Laloux (NOVEMBER UNDER ASHES)
https://matthewtoffolo.com/2017/07/31/interview-with-director-camille-laloux-november-under-ashes/

 

Interview with Director Carla Shah (ICARO)
https://matthewtoffolo.com/2017/07/31/interview-with-director-carla-shah-icaro/

 

Winning FAN FICTION Screenplay – DR. WHO “The Kingdom of the Mara” by Paul Hewitt

Genre: Fantasy, Adventure

The Doctor accidentally picks up Shona and the two investigate a red comet that lands on Earth. The Doctor discovers the Mara are back, and must use their technology against them to defeat them once more.

CAST LIST:

Narrator: Elizabeth Rose Morriss
The Doctor: Brian Carleton
Shona: Konstantina Mantelos
Solomon: Anthony Botelho
Vladislav: Jack Comerford
Mila: Andrea Meister
Enok: Jordy Kieto

Get to know the writer:

What is your TV spec screenplay about DOCTOR WHO about?

The Doctor and Shona (last seen in the episode “Last Christmas”), find themselves in Bohemia during the Dark Ages. A tyrant, Lord Ivan, hoards a peculiar red crystal with telepathic powers called the Crimson. Wearing jewels made of Crimson, Lord Ivan and his followers collectively conjure a serpentine gestalt being from the darkest recesses of their minds: The Mara.

Possessed by The Mara, Lord Ivan quickly conquers all before him. He besieges the largest castle (and only cathedral) in the rival kingdom of Vladislav. The Doctor knows that walls, warriors and weapons are no match for the insidious, seductive spell of The Mara.

The Doctor and Shona rouse King Vladislav and his people to fight The Mara through very unconventional means – particularly for The Doctor. The world’s future truly rests on a hope and a prayer.

Why does this screenplay fit into the context of the show?

It’s a traditional good versus evil story with the odd bits of comedy and horror that you’d expect from Dr. Who. I wrote it for the 12th Doctor, Peter Capaldi – who I think is fabulous – a throwback to the 70’s Doctors, Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker.

This story is very much in the mold of classic Doctor Who. You have a historic setting that is disrupted by the presence of a perfidious alien – oh, and then there’s The Mara and a mysterious red crystal. Seriously though, The Mara was one of my favourite Who monsters from the 80’s and I am surprised it has not reappeared on TV (yet). The companion Tegan’s experience with the “evil dream snake” is what made her my favourite during the Peter Davison years.

We all know The Doctor’s companion is a surrogate for the audience and a great companion makes for a great Who story. I chose a character from a recent Christmas special – Shona McCullough (played wonderfully by actor Faye Marsay)– because I immediately saw in her the potential for a long term TARDIS traveller.

How would you describe this script in two words?

Faith Wins

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

Doctor Who
(also Game of Thrones, Mad Men…)

How long have you been working on this screenplay?

Six months (Off and On). So maybe 6 weeks’ worth of an actual research and writing (and rewriting).

How many stories have you written?

Two Features (Housesitting, Guttersnipe)
One Documentary (All About Me)
One Short (co-wrote) (Saved From The Grave)

Next up is my own TV series and this TV spec script was an excellent exercise in writing for this genre.

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

In My Life (The Beatles)

What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

Time was my biggest obstacle… finding the time.

The second challenge was how to portray The Mara. It is obviously not my own creation, so I wanted to do justice to the original Mara stories with my version.

Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

Acting, films, politics, history, rugby and beer (not necessarily in that order)

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

I had my first feature screenplay analyzed not once, but twice. I was impressed by the depth and value of the criticism. So I did not hesitate to submit my Doctor Who script for analysis and I am pleasantly surprised in the end to have it recognized here. Thank you.

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

It’s an old cliché but true: Write what you know. That’s why I picked Doctor Who for my first TV screenplay.

Be prepared to take a lot of criticism along the way. Your story (and your skills) will benefit from it.

Procrastination is thine worst enemy.

*****

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

Camera Operator: Kierston Drier

Editor: John Johnson

Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne

May 2017 – Read interviews from 10 different festival directors from around the world.

Interviews with 10 Film Festival Directors from 7 different countries from around the world. Interesting insights from festivals on how they run the festival and why. Interviews by Matthew Toffolo. Enjoy:

1. SIMPLY SHORTS Festival
Interview with Festival Director Gregory Kelly (SIMPLY SHORTS)

2. GREAT LAKES CHRISTIAN Festival
Interview with Festival Director Shawn P. Greene (Great Lakes Christian Film Festival)

3. LIGHTS, CAMERA, TAKE ACTION Festival
Interview with Lindsey Paricio (Lights, Camera, Take Action Film Festival)

4. AMERICAN YOUTH Festival
Interview with the American Youth Film Festival

5. OCEAN CITY Festival
Interview with Festival Director William Strang-Moya (OCEAN CITY FILM FESTIVAL)

6. KEW GARDENS Festival
Interview with Festival Director Jayson Simba (KEW GARDENS FESTIVAL OF CINEMA)

7. FAMILY Film Festival
Interview with Festival Director Warren Workman (Family Film Festival)

8. PRAGUE INDY Film Festival
Interview with Festival Director Diana Ringo (Prague Independent Film Festival)

9. COURTS D’UN SOIR Festival
Interview with Festival Director Stéphanie Demers-Hébert (Courts D’Un Soir)

10. MONMOUTH Film Festival
Interview with Festival Director Nicholas Marchese (Monmouth Film Festival)

FAMILY SHORT Screenplay: TWO GEESE AND A LADY GIRAFFE by Chanda Walker

Watch the winning kids writing family screenplay for 2017.

Winning Screenplay – TWO GEESE AND A LADY GIRAFFE
Written by Chanda Walker

CAST LIST:

NARRATOR – John Fray
JEFF – Brian Carleton
VALERIE – Andrea Meister
ELVIS – Gabriel Cameron
LADY GIRAFFE – Cynthia Crofoot
GRANDMA – Victoria Urquhart
HARRY – Peter Mark Raphael

SYNOPSIS:

Genre: Family

Talking animals teach children various basic concepts on a playground, such as the alphabet.

Get to know the winning writer:

What is your screenplay about?

2 GEESE AND LADY GIRAFFE is about two siblings who wants to go to the park with their grandmother, and comes across surprising adventures.

What genres does your screenplay under?

It would be kids.

How would you describe this script in two words?

Fun-loving.

Why should this screenplay be made into a movie?

It’s a great screenplay because it teaches a lot. During the summer months sometimes kids forget what was taught in school. The key here is keeping small kids on track with the curriculum taught at school, while still having fun.

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

Friday the 13th. Every now and then I watch scary movies.

How long have you been working on this screenplay?

For a while on and off.

How many stories have you written?

All together ten.

What motivated you to write this screenplay?

I love kids.

What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

None, as a writer I make time.

Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

I like reading.

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

I was influenced by the many festivals. I think they are good. The feedback was wonderful. It strengthens you as a writer. I was so happy and excited with the last feedback results I received. Thanks wildsound studios.


TV CONTESTSUBMIT your Best Scene Screenplay or TV SPEC Script
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Screenplay CONTESTSUBMIT your Best Scene Screenplay or FEATURE Script
FULL FEEDBACK on all entries. Get your script performed
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*****

Director/Producer: Matthew Toffolo http://www.matthewtoffolo.com
Editor: John Johnson
Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne

SHORT SCREENPLAY – PROTEST SEEN by Donald J. Bingle

Watch the Winning January 2017 Short Screenplay.

Best Scene from the screenplay PROTEST SEEN Screenplay
Written by Donald J Bingle

CAST LIST:

NARRATOR – Val Cole
PROTESTER – David Straus
YOUNG MAN – Gabriel Darku
FLAME BOY – Nick Wicht
GIVER – Charles Gordon
BUSINESS WOMAN – Shannon McNally

SYNOPSIS:

Genre: Drama

What if they held a protest and nobody paid attention?


Get to know the writer:

What is your screenplay about?

It’s about how America reacts to protest.

What genres does your screenplay under?

Dark humor; drama.

Why should this screenplay be made into a movie?

In just a few pages, it touches on the commitment of protesters, the importance of protest movements, the futility of protest movements, and the apathy of the American public.

How would you describe this script in two words?

Protesting apathy.

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

Hard to say. No VCRs or DVRs when I was a kid. Probably something like the original Journey to the Center of the Earth (with Pat Boone) or Harvey (Jimmy Stewart) or Princess Bride.

How long have you been working on this screenplay?

I wrote it many years ago, but the process of actually writing it wasn’t that extended. It’s only a few pages.

How many stories have you written?

I have five books and fifty or so shorter stories published in the thriller, mystery, science fiction, horror, steampunk, comedy, romance, and memoir genres, along with a couple screenplays and a dozen or so adventures for role-playing game systems. More about me and my writing at http://www.donaldjbingle.com.

What motivated you to write this screenplay?

It was a creativity exercise triggered by a prompt.

What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

Screenplay formatting is a challenge for those who primarily write short stories.

Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

Causation. People don’t think about both the intended and unintended consequences of their actions and they don’t seem to care about the reasons why people may disagree with them about all sorts of important subjects.

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

The feedback was specific, helpful, and good. I entered because I believe Protest Seen would make a good, limited budget, limit cast, limited location project for a film student to tackle and submit to film festivals, but I don’t have ready access to people who might be looking for that kind of project.

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

Understand not only your strengths, but your weaknesses, and challenge yourself to write things you never would have imagined yourself writing to develop your craft and expand your skill sets.

****
Director/Producer: Matthew Toffolo http://www.matthewtoffolo.com
Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne
Editor: John Johnson

TV CONTESTSUBMIT your Best Scene Screenplay or TV SPEC Script
Voted #1 TV Contest in North America.
Screenplay CONTESTSUBMIT your Best Scene Screenplay or FEATURE Script
FULL FEEDBACK on all entries. Get your script performed
Screenplay CONTESTFIRST SCENE (first 10pgs) Screenplay CONTEST
Submit the first stages of your film and get full feedback!

 

Best Scene Screenplay of BAD PRESS, by Adam Santa Maria

Best Scene from the screenplay BAD PRESS Screenplay
Written by Adam Santa Maria

CAST LIST:

NARRATOR – Robert Notman
ALLEN – Hugh Ritchie
MELANY – Victoria Kucher
MANNY – David Occhipinti
JOYCE – Olivia Jon

SYNOPSIS:

Genre: Comedy, Drama

After being sacked by Melany, the mother of one of his ‘golden goose’ clients, publicist Allen Kentwood conspires to get revenge and his client back under control. Despite warnings from his PA Joyce, Allen employs a shady Mexican named Manny to plant drugs on Melany, and in doing so enable an opportunity for Allen to rescue her and win back favour.

****

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

Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne

Editor: John Johnson


TV CONTESTSUBMIT your Best Scene Screenplay or TV SPEC Script
Voted #1 TV Contest in North America.
Screenplay CONTESTSUBMIT your Best Scene Screenplay or FEATURE Script
FULL FEEDBACK on all entries. Get your script performed
Screenplay CONTESTFIRST SCENE (first 10pgs) Screenplay CONTEST
Submit the first stages of your film and get full feedback!