The 2017 Canadian Film Fest/Harold Greenberg Fund
The Canadian Film Fest and The Harold Greenberg Fund proudly partnered on this unique opportunity for screenwriters. Open to Canadian screenwriters who've written a feature-length screenplay, the CFF’s Harold Greenberg Screenwriting competition received over 200 submissions. Alison Parker received $10,000 in financial support as the Grand Prize winner. In addition to the development funding, the Harold Greenberg Fund will provide feedback on the script as well as guidance throughout one development round. Alison Parker and runner-up Roslyn Muir also receive passes to the fantastic Toronto Screenwriting Conference, taking place in April 22/23 2017. Here is the complete CFF/HGF 2017 “It List”, which is a list of the best unproduced scripts in Canada - a great resource for producers:
THE TOP FIVE:
1. LOG by Alison Parker
A weekend of debauchery turns to terror for a group of friends staying at an old lumberjack camp when a bloodthirsty log springs to life and embarks on a murderous rampage. You read that right. A murderous piece of wood. Parker writes a bat-shit insane, beautifully crazy tale which is so strange, unique and terrible that it’s outrageously fun and a crime if it doesn’t get made. Was one of the funniest, fearless, most ridiculous scripts submitted this year, or any other.
2. MATTER by Roslyn Muir
A gambling addict and a young mother is overwhelmed with guilt when her boyfriend dies after a botched casino scam, so she attepts a cross-country road trip with her kids and her boyfriend’s body in the car, in order to bury him on an acre of land they won in a card game. A tense, slow-burn of a thriller, with high-stakes and even higher-emotions, Muir is able to interweave multiple storylines and themes all at once in an economical, well-paced and vigorous script full of excellent action and metaphor.
3. LIKE A THIEF IN THE NIGHT by Kyle D’Odorico
Part band story, part sister story, part cancer comedy and sexual awakening roadtrip film celebrating James Joyce, Like a Thief in the Night deftly navigates sorrow and laughter with aplomb and a wry familial smile. Revealing an interesting, dramatic and dynamic world of rock musicians and cancer treatments, relevant topics and themes culminate in a well-written screenplay. All points lead to the central relationship of the two sisters at the centre of D’Odorico’s story though, and as catastrophes waiting to happen, they are enticing and empathetic.
4. RED SCARE by Pierre Larouche
Montreal’s Park Extension in 1980 is a cultural melting pot melting away in the summer heat. Stavros is a hard-working husband and father who just opened a video store in a neighbourhood where the VCR is a luxury item most can’t afford and because of that, the business falters. The only man to help bail him out is not only the store’s best client, he might just be a KGB assassin. An everyday-man thrust into a spy thriller story, Larouche weaves an intricate tale of espionage, cold-war intrigue and VHS rentals. He deftly paints a picture of 80s Montreal while reconnecting with 50s Commie hysteria in a satisfying, evocative and nostaligic tale.
5. FRANCES LOVES OSCAR (WILDE) by York Davis
In Victorian Canada, a female artist tenaciously loves Oscar Wilde, enduring his marriage to another woman and then coping with his emerging homosexual lifestyle, until she is forced to change to realize what true happiness really is. Phenomenal character development with exposition well disguised in the dialogue, the script’s pacing is steady, well orchestrated and crafted. This important, little-known Canadian Artist’s story would be a perfect fit for a CBC/BBC movie or mini-series.
The rest of the “IT LIST” presented in alphabetical script order:
CARNIVORES by Barbara Kelly
After smashing her car on the anniversary of a tragic event, a novelist retreats to a cottage for the weekend as a storm sets in and must spend time with an ex-husband and his girlfriend. When her latest lover shows up, the four wounded individuals are forced to confront long-held secrets, guilt and agonizing loss. Visually striking and with full pathetic fallacy with the storm fast approaching the storm within the cabin, with the right cast this could be a powerful, award-winning film. Expertly written, compelling and suprising despite it basically being a one-location movie. It’s still visually and disturbingly dynamic.
THE COLONY OF UNREQUITED DREAMS by Angela C. Antle & Wayne Johnston
Set in pre-confederate Newfoundland, where a childhood secret fuels a love/hate relationship between an ambitious politician, Joey Smallwood, and a smart-assed, hard-drinking journalist. One is determined to hold onto the past, the other is hell-bent on forcing his homeland into the future. A superbly crafted tale about Newfoundland joining Canada as everything falls apart around it, it’s filled with sharp, witty dialogue, solid structure and engaging and compelling characters – the “Joey Smallwood Story” – which helped build the foundation of indeliable Newfoundland spirit.
LITTER by Connor Gaston
In an isolated community where hillbilly wisdom supersedes law, a tobacco-chewing tomboy finds a pregnant dog caught in her hunting snare and must unravel the truth behind the town’s ominous dog ban. From page one, Gaston is able to establish an eerie, foreboding nostalgia which uniquely carries through the entire script. The pacing, tension and well-crafted thriller elements are impeccable and the dialogue is buoyant and authentic, peppered with surprising, bain-tickling turns of phrase that creates a freshness and a familiarity – the type of dialogue relished by performers. Each character feels distinct and rich in backstory without heavy-handed exposition – which is a real credit to the writing. We look forward to it being made.
MAN LOST WORLD by Frank Tremblay and Francesco Giannini
A grieving postman agrees to help a new friend connect with his teenage son, but begins to befriend the kid, believing he would make a better father figure. A wonderfully crafted story, rich in character, pathos, humour and compassion, the script’s visuals and descriptive nature jumps off the page. A literal call-to-arms for people connecting and reconnecting, the themes, conflicts and contrasts in this script are well thought out and executed. A fantastic read.
NIGHT OWL by Joel Irwin
When an old-school projectionist discovers he’s been murdering people in his sleep, he must take (brain) matter into his own hands. A truly engaging horror hybrid with the potential to be stylish, artistic and refreshingly true to its genre roots, Irwin has created a high brow presentation that merges classic horror elements with the contemporary zombie aesthetic. The script is a page-turner with fantastic set pieces, jaw-dropping moments and delicious characters.
PORT OF CALL by Amir Kahnamouee
For as long as Ali can remember, he dreamt of leaving a revolution-stricken Iran with his father to forge a better life in Canada. But when an unexpected tragedy takes his father’s life, Ali is forced to embark on the journey alone. Topical, relevant and more important now than ever to tell, Kahnamouee has created a solidly structured, gripping and emotional immigrant story for our time. Set in Montreal’s rugged, dark, nighttime urban landscape – Port Of Call would be an amazing addition to this festival’s programming, creating a true Canadian experience through the eyes of someone trying to find his place in this great, contradictory and messy country of ours.
HUGE thanks to the fine folks at The Harold Greenberg Fund and
the Toronto Screenwriting Conference for making this happen!