THRILLER Best Scene Script Reading of DOUBLE BLIND TEST, by Herb Schultz

Genre: Crime, Thriller, Con Game, Revenge

Logline: After a professional mediator is conned by identical twin businessmen who sought her help to resolve a dispute, she meets another woman in a suspiciously similar circumstance, and the two team up to take down the con artists.

CAST LIST:

NARRATION: Julie C. Sheppard
Marilyn – Katelyn Vanier
Calvin/Fletcher – Trevor Marlatt
Tracy – Vanessa Quagliara

Get to know the writer: 

1. What is your screenplay about?

An independent, driven woman who mediates corporate disputes for a living is taken in a complex confidence scheme by a pair of identical twins.  The twins portray themselves to the mediator as having a dispute between themselves over the future of an experimental drug they are developing to cure a rare disease – one that happens to afflict her father.  Drawn in, she accepts the challenge to mediate the dispute in order to advance research on the drug. After the con, the mediator makes it her mission to find the perpetrators and exact some form of punishment.  In her pursuit of leads she encounters another woman in a suspiciously similar situation.  Once the other woman is convinced she’s vulnerable to an epic scam, the two team up to take down the bad guys.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

The con game.  The revenge story.  A twisty, noir tale of crime and punishment.

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

First, the screenplay is intelligent and twisty, and reminiscent of movies that were once the mainstay of Hollywood during a period when people flocked to the theater.  “Double Blind Test” could be the kind of movie that might help generate the resurgence of the 45+ demographic – as well as condition younger audiences to demand something more than fart jokes and exploding metal objects.  It could serve as an antidote to the ever-expanding and tedious offering of leaden apocalyptic movies, comic book adaptations and stupid buddy comedies.  Second, I can see the movie as a vehicle for one or more mid-career stars who have had trouble landing serious parts. Third, the screenplay ends with a fork in the road. If the movie were successful, a second movie could follow the thread.  Perhaps the main character could become an enduring role.

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

Lex Talionis

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

Probably “Casablanca.”  Or possibly “The Godfather.”  If you consider the whole “Godfather” series as a unified movie, then that would most likely be the answer.

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

I started working on “Double Blind Test” in 2011 shortly after the publication of my novel of the same name.  As a script never seems to be done, I have been working on it for 6 years, but it was mostly written over the course of a year.

7. How many stories have you written?

I’ve written three novels – “RonnieandLennie” about the lives of conjoined twins who become suddenly separated; “Architect’s Rendition” about a man who orchestrates an elaborate murder plot that includes the mutual killing of the murderers; and “Double Blind Test” – and a collection of short stories titled “Sometimes the Sun Doesn’t Shine There.”  I’ve also written three scripts in addition to the screenplay for “Double Blind Test.”

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

Favorite or not, I’ve definitely listened to Todd Rundgren’s “Hello it’s Me” more than any other song (even more than “Happy Birthday.”)

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

The story takes place in the current time when every movement is captured on video, every transaction is monitored, and even the most elusive forensic evidence cannot hide from scrutiny. So the development of the screenplay required careful construction so as not to rely on an action that would quickly lead to an unraveling of the plot.  Unlike movies of the 1940s before cell phones, close-circuit TVs, credit cards, DNA evidence and the like, modern crime stories struggle to make a convincing case that the what the characters do is believable.

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

Reading, watching movies, swimming and biking, traveling, driving sports cars, architecture, technology.

***

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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THRILLER Best Scene Script Reading of RETIRE WITH A VIEW, by Behzad Sedghi

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Family, Thriller,

Logline: An old rundown RV tarnishing the idyllic view from the window of a newly retired couple’s dream home becomes the focal point in developing a bumpy and slow relationship with their odd and reclusive neighbour who safeguards a past memory in the dilapidated vehicle.

CAST LIST:

NARRATION: Vanessa Quagliara
Ethan – – Sean Ballantyne
Officer Julie C. Sheppard
Peter – Peter Nelson
Geeve – Trevor Marlatt
Megrangiz – Fiona Mongilla

Get to know the writer: 

1. What is your screenplay about?

It is about testing people’s ability to overcome their rigid mindsets and try to see the world in new lights.

 

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Comedy and thriller

 

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

Because it embodies a myriad of topics that often engage us such as human relationship and bondage, love and sacrifice, being a fish out of water and social norms. In addition, given the humour and playfulness of the script the film could be a perfect combination of comedy and thriller where both could equally contribute to laughter.

 

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

Playful and sharp.

 

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

Betty Blue.

 

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

A month or two (still not finished)

 

7. How many stories have you written?

Screenplays? 6 on my own and 4 co-written

 

8. What is your favourite song? 


most times in your life?) Bahar (Spring) by Radio Tehran

 

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

If you mean the ending, I had it early on and I think it works really nicely, so no obstacle there. But the second act requires more mini-stories that should tie in to the core story. Creating characters that would remain secondary is a bit of a challenge.

 

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

Directing.

***

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

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

Camera Operator: Mary Cox

THRILLER Best Scene Script Reading of FOOTSTEPS OF MY FATHER, by Erik V. Wolter

 

 

Genre: Drama, War, Thriller, Family

Logline: An American teenager struggles to believe in his German American father, a controversial writer accused of being a Nazi spy, only to discover they are more alike than he ever imagined.

CAST LIST:

NARRATION: Julie C. Sheppard
Attorney Fritz – Peter Nelson
Cohen – Sean Ballantyne
Robert – Trevor Marlatt
Pretty woman – Katelyn Vanier

Get to know the writer: 

  1. What is the screenplay about?

Logline: When a German immigrant faces deportation during WWII for alleged Nazi ties, his combative teenage son takes on the FBI and struggles to keep the family together.

Drawing parallels to the prejudice and profiling in post 9/11 America, FOOTSTEPS OF MY FATHER is an untold story of WWII, exposing egregious violations of civil liberties by government with striking relevance to every American’s relationship to their government today. The screenplay is based on a true story and adapted from my book, “Loyalty on Trial: One American’s Battle with the FBI.”

The story begins in 1942 and is told from the point of view of Kai, the impetuous native-born teenage son of Arthur, a naturalized citizen, who is targeted by the FBI as disloyal for his alleged pro-Hitler writings in the mid 1930’s.  Kai’s secret “Blue Notebook” of poems and commentary serves as an outlet for his anger and frustration.

Kai naively assumes that justice will win out. Instead, his trust that the system works equally for all is tested. and his entire family is torn apart. He sees his normal life of an American teenager spin out of control, and blames Arthur’s pride and his refusal to apologize to the judge.

Kai’s inability to understand his father’s commitment to his innocence, and Arthur’s unwillingness to back down or betray himself for any reason, even for his family, becomes a divisive force in the father-son relationship.

Once Arthur is incarcerated at Ellis Island and scheduled for deportation, Kai quits school to help his mother make do. Soon after, justice eludes Kai one more time, his mother, an enemy alien, is arrested and interned and Gabi, his childhood sweetheart, is deported with her family. With no hope in sight, he’s forced to survive on the streets of New York and care for his little sister.

Without any parental guidance, Kai turns to Arthur’s attorney and an elderly Jewish neighbor to help sort out his frustrations. Only then does Kai come to grips with his selfishness, reassess his own loyalties, begin his quest to save his father and ensure that the family’s good name is reestablished. At the same time, he must figure out who he truly is at heart, and what it is that he ultimately longs for.

After a former teacher discovers the Blue Notebook, Kai see the opportunity to channel his anger and utilize his writing talent to try and save his parents from deportation. With the teacher’s counseling, Kai argues for public support through letters to the editor and even makes an eleventh-hour desperate personal appeal to the Supreme Court for a reversal.

By the end of his personal journey, we see Kai as a hopelessly loyal young man who will stop at nothing to protect his family, friends, and country.

  1. What genre does your screenplay fall under?

Historic/Thriller/Coming of Age/War

  1. Why should this screenplay be turned into a movie?

Drawing parallels to the prejudice and profiling in post 9/11 America, FOOTSTEPS OF MY FATHER offers an untold story of WWII while exposing egregious violations of civil liberties by the government with striking relevance to every American’s relationship to their government today.

The screenplay is based on a true story and adapted from my book, “Loyalty on Trial: One American’s Battle with the FBI.” Actual historical events, characters, and dramatic action from WWII, including those from the Emmy nominated and acclaimed documentary “Children of Internment,” are the inspiration for this story.

This is a coming-of-age story that illuminates a dark period of America’s history by focusing on the human lives affected by government policies, rather than lecturing. By grounding the story in a teenager’s very real and relatable emotions, it delivers a powerful message that should resonate with audiences of all ages.

Despite a rising tide of xenophobia in America and abroad, the relevance of what happened nearly seventy-five years ago remains an untold story.

  1. How would you describe this screenplay in two words?

Heart wrenching

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

“Break the Stage” the movie is my first produced film. I wrote the screenplay and was executive producer. Expected release is mid-2018. I have watch “Break the Stage” countless times.

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

My book, “Loyalty on Trial: One American’s Battle With the FBI” came out in 2004. I wrote the first draft of this screenplay, titled then as Loyalty on Trial, in 2005. Who works on a script for 12 years? One who has a passion for a script based on a true story of immigration that since 9-11 seems to be repeating itself. During this time, I wrote many other screenplays as well.

  1. How many stories have you written?

My resume lists twenty-six, nine of which were collaborations with various other writers.

  1. What is your favorite song?

Anything by James Taylor

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

The first obstacle was adapting a 430-page nonfiction book into a movie. The second would be not listening to the naysayers who said it’s a period piece. The third would be finding the right balance between the historical truth and dramatizing for maximum entertainment. And the ongoing obstacle is not to give up and let it go.

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

Family, friends, politics, skiing, and tennis.

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

Very positive experience. User friendly process.

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

The opportunity to see a performance of pages from my script was the number one factor. Additionally, the chance for feedback is always attractive. In this case the feedback was extremely helpful and useful for my never-ending rewriting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

***

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

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

Camera Operator: Mary Cox

THRILLER Best Scene Script Reading of THE PSYCHONAUTS, by Jonah Jones

 

Genre: Mystical thriller.

Logline:  When a corrupt astral-projecting policeman discovers gold on another planet, he enlists another policeman to help him bring it back but the forces of law on their own planet and on their target planet – Earth in the year 33 AD – combine to corrupt them further.

CAST LIST:

NARRATION: Julie C. Sheppard
Supervisor – Trevor Marlatt
Janty – Katelyn Vanier

Get to know the writer: 

What is your screenplay about?

The real story of Jesus and John the Baptist – two corrupt alien policemen trapped in political manoeuvres.  On the fable level; it’s about the state versus the individual.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Thriller, fantasy, drama, Sci-fi.

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

It’s a new take on what Jesus and John might have been and it’s exciting even when you know the ending from the human perspective.  Don’t you want to know how I got to the Resurrection?

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

Jesus confused.

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

No idea but in context; Ben Hur – the Charlton Heston version.  Maybe North by North-west.

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

I’m still working on it but probably a year.  I’ve been busy doing other stuff like writing and directing short films.  The original concept was one that I thought would make a short story.  That was a few years ago.

7. How many stories have you written?

Full screenplays – 7, short films – 8, Radio plays – 4, short stories – something like forty, novels – 6, stage plays – 12, short stage plays – 7.

I am terribly old.

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

Impossible to say.  Strawberry Fields – the Beatles.

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

Having established the rules of what the Psychonauts can and can’t do, I had to make sure that the logic didn’t veer off along the way.  I also had to ensure that I hadn’t gone so far into my own thinking about such matters that it made no sense to people coming to the script for the first time.

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

Music – I’m a guitarist.  Art – I’m a cartoonist.  The natural world – I’m a recorder for the South Wales biodiversity database.

***

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

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

Camera Operator: Mary Cox

THRILLER Best Scene Script Reading of MIND OF A POLITICAL ASSASSIN by Stephen W. Lincoln and Steven Michael Farney

 

Genre: Political Thriller

Logline: The author of a book on political assassination is forced to fight a deadly cell of assassins only to discover his most dangerous enemy may be the co-author of the book; his dead fiancee

CAST LIST:

NARRATION: Fiona Mongillo
Lawrence – Peter Nelson
Fat Thug – Sean Ballantyne
Skinny Thug – Trevor Marlatt
Stupid Thug – Sean Ballantyne

Get to know the writer: 

What is your screenplay about?

“Mind Of a Political Assassin” is the story of an author being thrust into the world of political intrigue and murder based on a book he wrote.

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What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Thriller and Action / Adventure.

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Why should this screenplay be made into a movie?

“Mind Of a Political Assassin” encapsulates elements which attract big box office and have been loved by audiences for over 100 years…an action filled-story surrounding a mystery they are being called on to solve along with the characters in the movie.

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How would you describe this script in two words?

Historically captivating.

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

Don’t have the exact count but it would have to be between “The Bad and the Beautiful”, “Sunset Boulevard” or “That Thing You Do”.

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How long have you been working on this screenplay?

This screenplay has seen several revisions, being set aside a couple of times over the last 10 years. Based on professional notes and feedback, it’s last genesis has been over the last 3 years.

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How many stories have you written?

Including short stories in a class taught by author James Lee Burke and my post college screenwriting years, over 20 stories.

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What is your favorite song?

A tie – “Don’t Be Cruel” – Elvis Presley and “I Honestly Love You” – Olivia Newton-John.

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What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

Working late night on it while attending classes and working. The notes and the relative ease the way the story laid out helped.

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Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

Church, family, Wichita State basketball and Kansas City Royals baseball.

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***

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

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

Camera Operator: Mary Cox

THRILLER Best Scene Script Reading of SLEEPING PROPHETS, by Alex Moreno

 

Genre: Psychological-Thriller

Logline: A vengeful mother teams up with seedy criminals to expose a Sleeping Prophet; one who claims to speak God’s word to help the afflicted, after the death of her daughter.

CAST LIST:

NARRATION: Vanessa Quagliara
Dvorak – Peter Nelson
Ava – Julie C. Sheppard
Thomas – Trevor Marlatt

Get to know the writer: 

 What is your screenplay about?

Sleeping Prophets follows the story of a vengeful mother who teams up with seedy criminals to expose Edgar Cayce for the death of her daughter.

What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Thriller-Period Piece

Why should this screenplay be made into a movie?

Although Edgar Cayce’s story is very fascinating, Sleeping Prophets is a tale of mis-placed revenge, human deficiency and individual flaws; a fatalistic story to remind us “not” to cross over the line.

How would you describe this script in two words?

Psychological thriller.

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

Jacob’s Ladder.

How long have you been working on this screenplay?

About 5 years.

How many stories have you written?

6 animation shorts. (produced)
2 shorts. (produced)
5 full length screenplays

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

Street Life Parade by Secret Affair.

What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

Research and procrastination-LOL. (I also produced one of my shorts during the same time).

Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

Being a dad.

***

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

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

Camera Operator: Mary Cox

THRILLER Best Scene Script Reading of KOPKILLER, by Shane McCabe

Genre: Supernatural Thriller

Logline: Rising New York City detective, Erika James, is tasked with the impossible: solving her OWN murder…. a 25 year old COLD CASE. The only lead, unbelievable. The only witness, unreliable. The only suspect…. unthinkable.

CAST LIST:

NARRATION: Vanessa Quagliara
Erika – Fiona Mongillo
Mark – Sean Ballantyne
Jimmy – Trevor Marlatt
Dispatch voice – Julie C. Sheppard

Get to know the writer: 

 What is your screenplay about?

KOPKILLER follows Erica James, a young narcotics detective on the verge of a major promotion within the NYPD, who discovers she has lived a past life, one in which she was murdered by the very cop now tasked with promoting her. Her major problem is that the proof she needs to prove this comes in the form of a strung out junkie who can claims to see past lives. As Erika peels back the layers on a 30 year old cold case and piece together the evidence she needs to take down a dirty cop, she comes to realise she is in fact investigating her own murder.

What genres does your screenplay fall under?

I would call it a supernatural thriller.

Why should this screenplay be made into a movie?

I am a huge fan of both the thriller and supernatural genre, but in KopKiller there is an added dimension; that of a powerful female lead. This is about a cop who is given irrefutable proof that her boss is a cold blooded killer, but to use that proof would end her career, so she has to resort to using her smarts and through dogged detective work is able to bring to a close a cold case; one in which the investigating officer is also the murder victim.

How would you describe this script in two words?

Utterly Intriguing.

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

12 Angry Men.

How long have you been working on this screenplay?

I wrote this script five years ago and have just reworked it this year.

How many stories have you written?

Over 10 now.

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

One by U2

What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

Getting the supernatural elements of the story just right so they do not appear contrived. I wanted to keep it that the central character had zero memories of her past live, so had to introduce an addition character to compensate for that. In doing so I was pleasantly surprised that I was able to use this character as a catalyst character as well.

Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

Directing. I have directed a number of very successful short films, one of which screened and sold all over the world and now has over 3 million views on YouTube. I hope to direct a feature next year. I also enjoy teaching, and teach a number of screenwriting classes.

***

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

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

Camera Operator: Mary Cox