|20/20: SEARCH FOR INDEPENDENCE
NARRATOR – Sean Ballantyne
Genre: Thriller, Political Drama
An inventor with a plan that would replace oil must survive while forces in China, Canada and the United States vie for the technology.
What is your screenplay about?
The world is becoming a much more complex place. 20/20: Search for Independence is the story about Jeff Bekk, a young inventor who’s searching for his own validation by developing software to drive a project known as SEATech. Suddenly he’s left to finish the ICCCE invention started by his grandfather and search for the truth about his Icelandic grandfathers death.
Meanwhile, relying on Jeff’s SEATech software, China and Canada covertly prepare to eliminate oil sands greenhouse gas emissions undermining the future of major U.S. oil refineries and an unsuspecting U.S. government in the middle of a Presidential election.
As Jeff works on the SEATech project he “secretly” works on finishing the ICCCE prototype that can replace oil. His gambles to honour his grandfather put his grandfather’s legacy and ranch at risk. The deeper he gets, the more he realizes he must reassess who he can trust as he struggles to survive as global forces vying to steal “his” technology, guaranteeing their global energy dominance.
On a personal note, my grandparents are Scandinavian. I have always been fascinated by what countries with the climate changes they face, have, and continue to achieve. Maybe, colder air is better for the braincells.
What genres does your screenplay fall under?
20/20 is a techno thriller with strong political elements as major super powers fight for Jeff’s invention to achieve national security interests and energy dominance. Some have said it could be a political thriller.
Why should this screenplay be made into a movie?
This story is about the unintended consequences of well intended actions. We live in an increasing interconnected world where decisions or interests in an isolated desert are communicated as timely as decisions or demands on Wall Street. This is a world where you can push a button in a downtown village in Alberta that has catastrophic effects in Africa.
Jeff wants to see his grandfather’s invention realized and his obsession to realize his grandfather’s legacy nearly costs him his grandfather’s ranch. Worse yet, without a serious assessment, the invention in Alberta, could destroy an economy and a country half way around the globe.
How would you describe this script in two words?
Do Right. Be Selfless. Or in a few more words, do the right thing.
What movie have you seen the most times in your life?
Early on – The Firm; when I started to more seriously study story there was Casablanca, Schindler’s List, In the Heat of the Night, A Time to Kill, A Bronx Tale and Thunderheart. And, I have been lucky enough to meet Norman Jewison, one of the world’s greatest storyteller directors.
How long have you been working on this screenplay?
Total elapsed time, is more than a couple of years. It started as a germ of an idea and grew from there. Very few of my stories are short term ventures and they become deep stories of thought and reflection about me and the world I live in.
How many stories have you written?
I’ve lost count. I do know I have two techno thriller novels published, Deadly Invisible Enemies: Evil in the Air and Deadly Invisible Enemies: Hunt for Evil, and I’ve just finished the first draft of the third novel, Deadly Invisible Enemies: Evil Resurrection. I’ve also written a multi award winning miniseries, a web-digital series, two tv pilots including a project pitch/bible with 5 season and character arcs and at least eight award wining screenplays.
What motivated you to write this screenplay?
I wanted to explore the consequences a decision or special interest in one part of the world has on another part of the world. I landed on the idea of the impact an invention could have on the world. I wanted to move beyond a story that focus on one dimension, like the environment vs oil. As I already said, the world is increasingly interconnected. What is good for one region or group in a community or country may be catastrophic to another. In this story Jeff slowly begins to realize ICCCE is catastrophic—even destroying his girlfriend’s country. He realizes he cannot rely on anyone to figure out what to do—he must discover the facts, his truths and make a decision.
What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?
Unintended consequences is a tough thing to make personal and yet globally catastrophic. As for the subject matter of oil/energy markets, that is also a complex matter as others who have attempted it, such as Syriana have found out. People line up at the gas pumps and rage about the price of gas as they watch prices plummet half way around the world. It is a world of unintended consequences. Efforts to lower the price of gas, lead to an unexplained increase. That even made the story more compelling for me.
Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?
I have an unquenchable thirst for knowledge and the study of the human condition. Why do people or countries do what they do? Why I react in a certain way to a situation? Often these worlds intersect at some point and the germ of a story is formed. That is what becomes my next potential quest or project. The journey of self discovery and a potential revelation I can share through a story.
What influenced you to enter the festival? What were your feelings on the initial feedback you received?
I like writing. And I like writing thrillers. I would love to see one of my stories up on the big screen but hearing the story performed has also been a great experience for me and industry associates I work with. I have entered this festival several times and received feedback that has helped me improve the story I want to tell. I have also entered other competitions, like WILDSound many times, received incredible feedback that raised the quality of the story – to the point I garnered a professional reading of my racial drama screenplay titled “Hope is Not a Black and White Rainbow.”
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Matthew Toffolo: http://www.matthewtoffolo.com
Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne
Editor: John Johnson