Tag Archives: Steve Rizzo

Winning Feature Screenplay Reading: SAILING SARAH, by Phil Davey

After 14 years in jail, a father seeks to reconnect with his daughter.


Beth: Judy Thrush
Ling: Daniel Jones
Lucas: Peter Nelson
Narrator: Carina Cojeen
Jason: Steve Rizzo
Sarah: Emily Weir
Julie: Caroline Concordia

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

Festival Moderators: Matthew Toffolo, Rachel Elder

Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne

Editors: Kimberly Villarruel, Kyle Drier, John Johnson

Festival Directors: Rachel Elder, Natasha Levy

Camera Operators: Denissa Palmer, Temitope Akinterinwa, Efren Zapata, Zack Arch


Screenplay Movie: CATCH!, by Jerry Nield

Synopsis: Could David really defeat Goliath?

A historical madcap comedy drama depicting family values, romance, morals, religion, gambling, corruption and revenge.

Written by Jerry Nield
Produced by Matthew Toffolo
Visual Design and Editor: Kimberly Villarruel

Voice Over Performers:

Matt Barnes
Val Cole
Geoff Mays
Danielle Nicole
Manny Pacheco
Steve Rizzo

Screenplay MOVIE: NORTHWOOD, by John Fraser


Genre: Action, Thriller

The commander of a nuclear submarine struggles to deal with an accident during NATO submarine exercises that quickly escalates into a deadly international conflict.

Visual Design by Kimberly Villarruel

Produced by Matthew Toffolo

Narration: Matt Barnes
Jack: Manny Pacheco
Geoff: Geoff Mays
Tom: Sean Tabares
Alex: Steve Rizzo
Maryam: Val Cole

Feature Screenplay Reading: Ube Bubog Volume 1 #School of Hard Knocks, by Sway Stagall

Ding Bangus, a skateboarding Filipino college dropout is mistakenly marked for death by motorcycle riding vigilante assassins and must rely on Clutch ‘Cobra’ Carsten – a crazy American UFC fighter wannabe – to save his life!

Various: Madeleine Eddy
Governor Mukong: Isai Riveras Blas
Narrator: Val Cole
Ding: Dustin Ragucos
Clutch: Steve Rizzo

Writer Biography

Writers should go out into the world, far away from their comfort zones, and find a story to tell that is truly meaningful. There are so many stories the world is just holding onto.. But it’s no mystery why armchair novelists are having ‘writer’s block’, they aren’t tapping into these tremendous human interest stories – without a champion, that are waiting, just over their horizon.

Writer Statement

A good martial arts comedy film is about the human spirit rising to meet an intractable social problem – and overcoming it.


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

Festival Moderators: Kierston Drier, Shepsut Wilson
Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne
Editors: Kimberly Villarruel, Kyle Drier, John Johnson

Festival Directors: Mary Cox, Rachel Elder, Natasha Levy

Camera Operators: Hugh Fraser, Andy Camp, Aser Santos Jr., Zack Arch

Winning Under 5min. Short Screenplay – ONE STOP SHOT, by Hazel Allan

Genre: Drama, Romance

James’s world is pretty dull and mundane, varying shades of gray – until his eyes meet Kerry’s on the train. He finally works up enough courage to talk to her, but is left devastated when she appears to ignore him. Dejected, he doesn’t acknowledge her on their next commute, which confuses her. Kerry later tells her friend that she thought he was ‘The One’ but she must’ve mis-read the signs – the twist being that she tells her friend this in sign language.


Narrator: Julian Ford
James: Steve Rizzo
Friend: Rachel Salsberg
Kerry: Emily Weir

 Get to know the writer:

What is your screenplay about?

It’s a light-hearted romantic comedy about love at first sight and the disappointment that too often accompanies this.

What genres does your screenplay fall under?


Why should this screenplay be made into a movie?

Because it’s simple and endearing! The message that love might strike at any time offers hope and light in a world that is too often bleak. I think the characters would transfer well from paper onto screen. James is awkward and likeable, a hopeless romantic – and we can all relate to that just a little. Can’t we?

How would you describe this script in two words?

Charming yet frustrating!

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

‘When Harry Met Sally’. It’s sheer perfection.

How long have you been working on this screenplay?

It didn’t take long. The characters came to me fully formed and were so endearing and straightforward that the story flowed. If there’s one thing I would change I’d like to add more hope to the ending. Perhaps James could see Kerry and her friend talking in sign language and the penny would drop?

How many stories have you written?

Too many to count but some of these have never seen the light of day. My main writing achievements are my three published children’s novels (The Bree McCready series), a six part family drama series which I am currently working on, and the two shorts I have had accepted by Wild Sound Festival.

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

“Little Green” by Joni Mitchell. It never fails to make me cry.

What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

Making the scene where James talks to Kerry for the first time feel authentic was a challenge. I mean why did he not simply tap her on the shoulder? But that would have been a dangerous move, as the miscommunication would too easily have been discovered. I had to keep everything brief due to the limited length of the piece.

Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

Being a mum. Raising my son alone has been a challenging yet immensely rewarding journey. He is my inspiration.

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

I’m used to writing longer pieces with complex plot twists and turns. I wanted to try something short and snappy as I thought this would be an excellent opportunity to practise self editing. It was more difficult than I had anticipated! The initial feedback on ‘One Stop Shot’ was both thorough and constructive. I couldn’t believe it when I saw the word ‘winner’! The suggestions really helped me to reflect on my idea and think about how best to strengthen the story.


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

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

Camera Operator: Mary Cox

March 2016 Feature Screenplay Winners

Watch the 2 winning feature screenplay table readings from the festival in March 2016. 

Feature Screenplay – MOTHS TO FLAME
Written by Fredric Maffe


Genres: Horror, Thriller

Days from receiving his inheritance, young Nick hops in his truck and is California bound. Starved for a mentor/hero in his life, Nick hooks up with as canny a secret predator as ever was. One sizzling night on the town with babe-magnet Henry, and Nick flutters about him like a moth to flame. Enter Bunny! Smart and gorgeous, she’s an African-American filmmaker intent on making a documentary about Nick’s deceased dad, a little-known novelist of a bygone day. But when Bunny and Nick strike up a flame of their own, a jealous Henry looking on — there’s death to pay! Now Henry has not one but two moths to play with, to seduce, to cause to breathlessly hurl themselves against the deathly white heat of him. One delicate-winged little moth will break the cycle and fly away. One won’t.


NARRATOR – Fran Townend
NICK – John Marcucci
HENRY – Jonathan Robbins
BUNNY – Nikita Ivy Boston


Feature Screenplay – GATES OF HELL
March 2016 Reading
Written by Pamela Green and Everett House Sr.


Genres: Drama, Family

Entails the life of Everett House as he grows up in a poor, Christian home in a Midwest city following the Great Depression, portraying his passion for playing the steel guitar just as his invalid father had, and then, beginning at age 17, portraying Everett’s years in a mental asylum. While in the institution, Everett undergoes shock treatment and other psychiatric practices popular to that era. But through it all, Everett finds God to be his stable source of strength, hope, and deliverance, and he is left with a divine promise concerning his future that his testimony will one day be used to warn mankind of the mark in the forehead.


NARRATOR – Sean Ballantyne
EVERETT – Ryan Anning
MABEL – Alicia Ryan
VARIOUS – Steve Rizzo
VARIOUS – Suchiththa DeSilva
VARIOUS – Nadia Gigi Inara



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

Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne

Editor: John Johnson

Best Scene Table Reading: SCREAMING MY HEART OUT by Janyce Lapore

Watch the March 2016 Winning Best Scene Reading



NARRATOR – Sean Ballantyne
MANNY – Suchiththa DeSilva
DON – Steve Rizzo
DOCTOR – Ryan Anning
TONI – Alicia Ryan
BABS – Nadia Gigi Inara

Get to know Janyce Lapore:

1. What is your screenplay about?

“Screaming My Heart Out” is the dramatic tale of a large Italian family of girls coming of age in a small steel mill town in the late ’60’s

The Scarletta family live in row houses near a large, roaring Steel Mill. It’s 1968, and as tradition dictates, the men work in the mill, and the women work in their homes. But, times are changing, and the Scarletta girls know it. Toni, a vibrant hairdresser with big dreams, wants to escape this blue collar world, where her neighborhood, alive with Motown music and passionate love affairs, defines her . She and her conservative sister, Celia, and cousin Babs, wearing GoGo boots and carrying a transistor radio struggle, each in her own way, to find their independence . But, It’s their youngest cousin, the fragile, Lisa Marie, the mother of 5, who attempts a sudden act of violence that shatters the certainty of this “Old World” family forever.

This is a deeply felt story of love, pain, joy and sisterhood, as four girls, with strength and dignity, overcome the obstacles they face and come into their own as women.

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

I have been told that “Screaming My Heart Out” will never get made because, “No one wants to see a film all about women”. It is for that very reason that I want to make a film that portrays the profound strength, dignity and beauty of not just Italian women, but all women who struggle to find their own truth and independence.

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

Hilarious and heartbreaking.

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

“The Godfather” 1

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

“Screaming My Heart Out’ is the film adaptation of my play, “Ferris Wheel “. I have been working on both scripts for quite some time. “Ferris Wheel” is now published by Dramatic Publishing in English, Dutch and soon, German. “Ferris Wheel” premiered in New York City and has been produced in several live theaters. Dan Lauria read “Ferris Wheel” and brought me to Los Angeles to have a reading of the play. It was then that he advised me to write the screenplay version, which is now “Screaming My Heart Out”.

6. How many stories have you written?

I have written 7 screenplays and 2 plays. Both plays, “Ferris Wheel” and “Dolores Rain”, have been produced in major theaters. Two of my screenplays, “Screaming My Heart Out” and “10 Minutes From Paradise” have both won major film festival awards.

7. What motivated you to write this screenplay?

I grew up in the world of “Screaming My Heart”. I watched my 4 aunts struggle against tradition, expectation and fear. This is a tribute to those brave women.

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

I was a single parent working two jobs. Trying to find time to write was difficult, but I knew what I wanted to say, so I never stopped writing.

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

I am also a painter. Like my scripts, my paintings tell a specific story. My paintings were most recently displayed at the wonderful Torche Gallery in New Jersey.

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

I always research the festivals I enter. I was intrigued by WildSound. I had heard many good things about this festival, and they all turned out to be true. The feedback was right on the money. I agreed with every suggestion and was able to tweak the script. I do think it’s now complete.

11. Any advice of tips you’d like to pass on to other writers?

There is no reason or excuse to not follow your greatest passion.


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

Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne

Editor: John Johnson