Watch the February 2017 Best Scene Winner.
Genre: Drama, Thriller, Fantasy
When Ginny and her best friend Susie investigate the strange barn Ginny has on her property they see a vision of a man hanging himself, getting his eyes trampled out by goats and then being seen by a young boy (Ginny’s preacher father Sheldon).
What is your screenplay about?
Ginny Sprigg, a sixteen-year old girl from Tennessee, fights for her life against her fundamentalist preacher father, Sheldon. Satan shape-shifts to mimic Jesus and convinces Sheldon to kill Ginny to save her soul—and kill anyone else who interferes. Ginny must find the strength to save her mother, boyfriend, and best friend by killing her own father and facing Satan alone.
What genres does your screenplay under?
Horror, supernatural thriller
Why should this screenplay be made into a movie?
It has a unique monster—Satan appearing to be Jesus Christ. It has a high-concept theme: the harm that toxic religion does to people. It can also be made on a limited budget, with few scene changes and only a few special effects.
How would you describe this script in two words?
What movie have you seen the most times in your life?
How long have you been working on this screenplay?
How many stories have you written?
Two published short stories; three published novels
What motivated you to write this screenplay?
Once in Bible class when I was in high school a man told us in ominous tones that if we did not share Christ with others, we would go to hell. He became addicted to prescription drugs, became convinced he was Jesus, and eventually committed suicide, leaving behind a wife and daughter. I wanted to place characters somewhat like him and his daughter in a horror setting.
What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?
I had to figure out whether Ginny or Sheldon was the main character. In the end, I believed Ginny’s struggle to save herself and her friends from her father was the core of the plot.
Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?
Philosophy (I’m a philosophy professor), chess, vegetable gardening, canning, walking in the country
What influenced you to enter the festival? What were your feelings on the initial feedback you received?
I wanted to expose my screenplay to potential interested parties and improve it if it needed revision. The initial feedback was not wholly consistent with the latest feedback, but that’s fine—different reviewers have different perspectives—and the screenplay is stronger as a result.
Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers?
Do not give up. Strive to improve. Get a thick skin—you must be able to stand criticism and learn from it. Write what you enjoy writing.
Director/Producer: Matthew Toffolo http://www.matthewtoffolo.com
Casting: Sean Ballantyne
Editor: John Johnson