The 2015 Canadian Film Fest/Harold Greenberg Fund
The Canadian Film Fest is proud to announce our 2015 CFF/HGF “IT LIST”! The Top Ten Scripts submitted to the 2015 CFF/HGF Screenplay Contest represent some of the best, most exciting unproduced screenplays in Canada from some of our nation’s most talented screenwriters. The first place script, “Us In Nine Months” by Dave Deveau and Nicholas Carella, will receive $10,000 in development financing from the Harold Greenberg Fund, plus a round of development, plus passes to the Toronto Screenwriting Conference (valued at $419.00). The runner-up, “In Dios” by Eric Johnson and Andrew Genaille, receives passes to the Toronto Screenwriting Conference (valued at $419.00).
THE TOP FIVE:
1. "Us in Nine Months" - DAVE DEVEAU & NICHOLAS CARELLA
Funny, endearing, real and touching – wrapped around a hot-button issue that plays well in the rom-com genre this screenplay exists in – Us In Nine Months delivers on its comedic and poignant promise of a journey of two dads trying to get a baby made. Charming, well-crafted and clearly structured, with each scene leading into the next at a terrific pace (and good comedic buttons) – it knows its distinctive characters and contemporary themes and would be a successful film to an audience hungry for a feel-good story and superior storytelling.
Contact: Dave Daveau: agent: Colin Rivers - email@example.com
Nicholas Carella: firstname.lastname@example.orgTwitter: @nicholascarella
2. "In Dios" - ERIC JOHNSON & ANDREW GENAILLE
Sweeping in its generational approach to storytelling, In Dios tackles the Residential School tragedy over decades and through multiple generations. Brutal, honest, inventive in its structure and assured in its writing – In Dios depicts the unbelievable horror that befalls not just one family, but an entire people. That, in itself, is ambitious enough, yet the script is able to somehow weave these stories without losing sight of its overall theme of regret and redemption – drawing more and more power from the calamities that befall the family. The ending is impactful and powerful – which is credit to the writers, for being able to keep each storyline and character unique enough to understand and empathize with throughout.
Contacts: Andrew Genaille’s agent: Doreen Holmes, Integral Artists: email@example.com
Eric Johnson’s Manager: Jai Khanna, Brillstein Entertainment Partners: firstname.lastname@example.org
3. "Orange Bathing Suit" - JAMES WALLEN
With its wistful, Stand-By-Me-esque opening voice over, to its bang-on depiction of small town Ontario life in 1968 – each character in this story is well-drawn and flawed, with a nostalgic storyline that still has contemporary relevance and pacing. Dialogue is stellar, with equal parts dramatic significance, comedic hilarity and romantic heart. Time and place is forefront however, and as a period piece, The Orange Bathing Suit has a strong voice of authenticity. The relationship between the three friends and their nicely developed romance infuse the script with high stakes and building tension – right up to the “will she or won’t she?” ending. The role of Nicole could be one of Canada’s most desirable female screen characters. Top-notch screenplay.
4. "Martin Mapes and the Misfits of Otherworld" - DANIEL J. PIKE
Imaginative, action-packed and incredibly stirring emotionally, the story of Martin Mapes and his adventures in the Otherworld is oftentimes spellbinding as it is terrifying for the young hero. Written by a screenwriter who shows incredibly sound chops at the craft while having sky-high creativity – the script is only hampered by what would be an incredible price tag to produce – which is a shame because this is a film that should be enjoyed on the big screen. This one’s for the dreamers out there who dream big.
Contact: email@example.comTwitter: @danieljamespike
5. "Eden Ridge" - CAITLIN FRYERS
A fast-paced, CSI-inspired, female-driven Western. If the lead character Charlene “Charlie” Willows were an actress, her name would be Jennifer Lawrence. With a dazzling plot steeped in turn-of-the-century serial killers and even more evil men, Eden Ridge’s rich storytelling, thrilling action scenes, compelling premise and lighthearted comedy is pitch perfect. Reads like True Grit meets Seven. The writer is even able to make the US/Canada border theme feel organic and necessary (not always an easy thing to do in film). Not one word is wasted - the script is that good – and more importantly, in writer Caitlin Fryers, it’s the clarion call of a new, fantastically talented voice in screenwriting.
Contact: Meridian Artists: firstname.lastname@example.org
The rest of the “IT LIST” Top Ten (in alphabetical order):
"Going Home" - MICHAEL HANLEY
The dialogue is sharp and evocative in this road-movie page-turner, each character is clear and well defined. The action is economically written and very detailed at the same time without losing its emotional power. The main theme about not being ever able to fully “go home” once you’ve left ripples each character’s actions. The script flows smoothly as drifter Connor returns home to Thunder Bay to find out all is not how he left things. The writer hooks you from page one and has you guessing every twist and turn of the way until the story reaches an exciting, cathartic and, in its closing image – pastoral - conclusion.
"Mac And Watson Springtime Reeferendum Show" - CAROLYN BENNETT
This script will have you laughing at their lovable stoner protagonists all the way through. The characters are bombastic, the dialogue was sharp and clever, and the overall tone was unique and very funny. The conflict developed smoothly and incorporated a lot of Canadian/world industry conflicts in an original, quirky way that served the plot. The script also used Montreal and Canadian history as an important supporting character, both as a setting and a great source of humour. We could watch these stoners and their antics all day.
Contact: Cbennettworld@gmail.com Agent: The Saint Agency
"My Life in Stereo" - CHRIS SMETS
Intertwining plots keep the audience engaged in an incredibly well written screenplay about the highs and lows of the rock’n’roll world. Part diatribe on the death of music criticism, part Cameron Crowe movie, the characters come alive in truly life-changing/life-altering situations during the worst day of embattled rock critic Clint Broadleigh. The comedy is crisp and layered – but centered firmly around believable characters and situations made up of sparkling and oftentimes hilarious, honest dialogue. It’s been awhile since we had a solid rock’n’roll love letter like High Fidelity – My Life in Stereo could be that film.
"Suspect" - TOMMY GUSHUE
A crime genre script that sits high above the rest – this one in the “Memento” category of amnesia-based thrillers – Suspect excels at tight, efficient plotting and a constant “what will happen next?” structure. Because we’re immediately thrust into the lead character’s Ryan’s world as soon as he doesn’t remember anything, the audience learns things as he does – which is a great narrative device that writer Tommy Gushue uses to full, harrowing effect on the reader. The intense, internal struggle of Ryan’s inner demons coupled with the unraveling of his spider-web-like memory is a satisfying puzzle solved by the writer’s overall polished skill and high talent level. This could very well be the most commercially successful scripts submitted to the contest and certainly one of the most thrilling.
Contact: email@example.com Agent: Tina Horwitz, Vanguarde Artists: firstname.lastname@example.org
"The Big Stink" - BONNIE ROBINSON & ROYCE MATTICE
A terrific animated feature, The Big Stink will hook you immediately with its sweet portrayal of a family of skunks, their strong dynamic making the characters leap off the page. While family-friendly overtones come across in a playful manner with witty dialogue, the early entertaining and engaging conflict makes the story an effortless page-turner. The lead character, Tux, a young skunk who is allergic to his own spray, is extremely likeable, his character arc and unforeseen challenges are set up in a creative manner right off the top. The metaphoric and moral issues that will come into play are cleverly designed for this script’s targeted audience. It’s an odiferous Finding Nemo meets Franklin the Turtle -- In the wilds of British Columbia.
Agent: Angela Argento, The Associates Talent Agency: email@example.com
“IT LIST” - Honourable Mentions:
“Beautiful Country” – Nathan Blacklock & Stephen Chambers
Centering around a family of MMA fighters set in Northern Ontario, great action set pieces intermixed with family drama scenes and PTSD-triggered flashbacks, keep the narrative moving forward at a great pace. An inventive, adrenaline-fuelled, sports-meets-father/daughter film with heart. Some great one-liners and cutting dialogue help a structure perfect for the MMA film genre and as that, it would be a cut above what’s already out there.
Agent: Tina Horwitz, Vanguarde Artists: firstname.lastname@example.org
“Bucket Bar” – Dylan Taylor
This hilarious and nostalgic script has a charm and comedy that’s undeniable. Centering on its “Boys grow up into Men”/”Truth will set you free” themes, the writer uses the plight of a bar’s uncertain future as a catalyst for hilarious situations with its main protagonist, a failed stuntman looking for redemption. Hence: a death-defying Bucket List for the bar itself. Although set primarily in “Dar’s Bar” – the story opens up with clever cutaways, a myriad of challenges for its patrons an staff, and stunt footage and locations in the community around the bar – so it never feels claustrophobic. A really solid, low-budget, ensemble comedy.
Contact: Marc Hamou at Thruline EntertainmentTwitter: @DylanTaylorEh
“Karma Police“ – William D. Corkum
Police officer Bill James needs to “let things go” but is having a hard time doing it. William D. Corkum’s “Karma Police” is a hilarious, biting satirical take on modern day media and its relationship to the law (or lack thereof). Corkum’s comedic voice is the revelation in this, as he weaves a nice thematic undercurrent of the uselessness of the law because of bureaucracy and apathy that the character Bill James grits his teeth to. If you like broad comedies, Karma Police is a sweet ride-along.
HUGE thanks to the fine folks at The Harold Greenberg Fund and the Toronto
Screenwriting Conference for making this happen!