2015 Screenplay Competition Semi-Finalists

Thank you to all who submitted to the 2015 Vail Film Festival Screenplay Competition. So many wonderful and unique screenplays were submitted. It made the job of choosing the semi-finalists very difficult.

We are excited to announce the 2015 semi-finalists. The finalists will announced on January 15th. Stay tuned!

2015 Feature-length Screenplays (in alphabetical order)

Comic Book Kings by Amanda Keener

Cupid Kills by T&T Wynn

Grace by Lynda Lemberg & Jeffrey Allen Russel

Private Air by Billie Bates

Reckless Hearts by Corey Bodoh-Creed

Tater Tot & Patton by Andrew Kightlinger

The First Detective by Callie Lane

The Interrogation of Ike Tully by Philip Sedgwick

The Third Bomb by Phillip Parker

War Dogs by Thomas Pace

Welcome to the Fishbowl by Sheryl Glubok & Donald Rae

Zombie Kong by Jason Vaile


2015 Short Screenplays (in alphabetical order)

All Things Chicken by Julius Galacki

Belly Kisses by Lisa Gold

Between Darkness and Light by Jake Teeny

Boomerang the Great by Ana R Dominick

National Pastime by David Lieto

One Reason by Michael Walsh and Ryan Andrew Jones

Rule of the Law by Stan Rodman

Save Kill Father Son by Judy Vann

Something to Regret in the Morning by Philip T Brewster

To Place in all Races by Louise Bylicki

Mockumentary: Road to Pyeongchang with Laura Adkin

Laura Adkin has been working as an actress for awhile now, but has recently begun directing, and producing. This short was shot on an Olympus OM-D E M1 in Whistler during a 72-hour filmmaking contest.

How long have you been directing/writing? This was actually only the second film I’ve directed. I’ve been working professionally as an actor for over a decade and I got the itch to move behind the camera. I’ve been writing seriously for probably 4 years having made three of my short scripts into films and am currently working on a feature.

How many short films have you directed? So far I’ve directed 3 short films but I’ve acted in everything from shorts to features to Network TV to Webseries.

What is your top advice for first-time directors?

  • Get an AMAZING team together. A great DP, First AD, Sound Guy (or girl) and Producer will save your life. Work with people who know what they are doing and trust them in their roles. Be clear with your vision and they will do what they need to do to make it happen
  • PREP! Being prepared beforehand is essential. Work with your team, plan your shots, know what you want to get out of the day and then when you’re on set you will be as efficient as possible.
  • Don’t forget to eat! The Director never leaves set and often forgets to eat. Understand what kind of fuel you need to keep you going and make sure it’s on set (for me it’s Coffee and sandwiches – and when I need that extra boost I need some gummy worms and chocolate).
  • Have fun and don’t be afraid to ask for help – but don’t let people talk you into things that compromise your goals. Know your vision but be open to ideas.

Is there any one part of the process that you enjoy more than the others? I love making movies, the entire process is great! Being on set and getting that perfect shot, when everything comes together is magic. But I also really enjoy the writing process, when your idea finally makes sense and falls into place. I generally do more than one thing on my films– for example on this film I wrote/directed/produced and starred in it, so when I produce, I’d saying doing paperwork is my least favorite thing and getting crew to fill out their paperwork is defiantly the hardest part!

In this mockumentary snowboarder, Gabby Parker, is interviewed on her road to the next Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

In this mockumentary snowboarder, Gabby Parker, is interviewed on her road to the next Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

What drew you to wanting to tell this story? We knew we’d be shooting in a mountain location and so I wanted to do my best to utilize our surroundings. Whistler is beautiful and I wanted the scenery to be part of our story. I also wanted to make a mountain culture film and I love doing comedy, so I started to brainstorm ideas of how that could work. I actually watched an amazing documentary called “The Crash Reel” by Lucy Walker about snowboarder Kevin Pearce. It was a really incredible film, and is clearly a different tone from “Road to Pyeongchang”, but it sparked an idea in my head about the snowboard culture and I thought it would be fun to make a mockumentary about someone training for the Olympics. As a bit of an homage to “The Crash Reel” my character wears a “Love Your Brain” (Kevin Pearce’s organization to help promote brain injury awareness) t-shirt during the interview section of the film.

What were some of the challenges in getting this film made and how did you overcome them? We made this film as part of the Whistler 72 Hr Filmmaker showdown so the most difficult part was shooting and editing a film in 3 days! We made it work by being prepared, I knew exactly what I wanted before we started shooting.

If you'd like to learn more about Laura, you can check out her website or find her on twitter @LauraAdkin or facebook at Facebook.com/TheLauraAdkin.

Watch Laura's short NOW!

Adorably awkward IT guy finally gets a shot with the girl of his dreams - shortly after a zombie apocalypse.

This latest short on our VFF Online Series, BAD TIMING, can be watched in episodes, if you don't have the full 20 minutes to watch it in one sitting. Just head on over to Andy's YouTube Channel, Goldentusk.

Andy Goldenberg is an actor and writer, and if you peruse his imdb page, you will see he does a little bit of everything (producing, directing, editing). Not to mention he has a youtube channel with over 54,000 subscribers! So head on over there and stay awhile...wait, first finish reading this post...then you can click over.

Ready to learn some more about Andy? Here you go:  Andy Goldenberg grew up in FL and graduated from the University of Miami with a BFA in Theater, but considers himself an Angeleno.  With several commercials and tv roles under his belt, his big break came as Adam Sandler’s Acting Double and Scene Partner in Jack and Jill (2011): when Adam played Jack, Andy played Jill. His Goldentusk YouTube Channel has more than 53,000 subscribers and 50 million views, with Time Out New York film critic Keith Uhlich nicknaming him “The Theme Song Sondheim”. He was a coverboy of the Nice Jewish Guys Calendar and recently published a children’s book called Peter, the Paranoid Pumpkin. He regularly performs with the record-breaking improv team, Freedom Snatch. He wouldn’t last very long after the apocalypse, but please save him anyway.

How long have you been writing? I’ve been writing my whole life, but I took a short break around middle school to draw in cursive. My father had one of the first consumer camcorders, so I was making home movies since I was about 8 years old. I wrote for a sketch comedy group called Rebels Without Applause in high school and for National Lampoon after moving out to LA. I started filming videos for the internet back in 2004, so I’ve been playing close attention to short attention spans for a while. My sister, though, is a superior writer and we collaborated on BAD TIMING to really make it sing. While my first drafts of the script were essentially monologues, she really fleshed out the dialogue and characters to open up the story.

How many films have you written? I’ve written several short films for online consumption through my YouTube Channel. I have two finished pilots and first drafts for two feature films. Aside from that, I have hundreds of scribbles over countless scratch pieces of paper that, one day, will turn into something more.

What is your top advice for first-time writers? I love, LOVE, writing dialogue. I’m a huge fan of Kevin Smith’s wordiness (especially Clerks) and grew up in the theater performing extended monologues. Film, however, is a very visual medium and people want to see action. So, you can keep writing lots of dialogue, but audiences tend to get ahead of your speeches faster and faster. It’s better if you can say what you need to say with less words. Jokes also work better, for the most part, when they’re shorter. Be brief. Always let the audience in on the joke. Don’t keep it from them at the top. They want to know what’s going on in a scene immediately or they’ll switch away. We don’t have time for long exposition anymore.  All that being said, there are no hard and fast rules, and you should break every single one of them and make people copy your style.

Bad Timing

An adorably awkward IT guy finally gets a shot with the girl of his dreams - shortly after a zombie apocalypse.

An adorably awkward IT guy finally gets a shot with the girl of his dreams - shortly after a zombie apocalypse.

What drew you to wanting to tell this story? The initial idea for BAD TIMING stemmed from a conversation I was having with friends. “Who would you want to be stuck with on a deserted island?” A common answer for my guy friends was always the current hottest supermodel, but I always thought that the models wouldn’t want to be there with THEM. Thus, Andy and Eve together at the end of the world: He’s infatuated she doesn’t know he exists. I also wanted a project where I had written the role I played so that I was overwhelmingly proud of showcasing my talent.

What kind of camera was BAD TIMING shot on? Canon 5d Mark 3. My director’s camera and my DP’s lenses.

What were some of the challenges in getting this film made and how did you overcome them? Money, go figure. We raised donations with crowdfunding and then I took money I needed to live and funded the rest. It was the first project I had ever produced where I wanted to pay people to work on it, because I wanted it to be a professional film. We also overcame desert heat, flying bugs, and scorpions by praying at night that none of us would die.

Watch BAD TIMING now!

Getting to the heart of the matter with director Emma Zaiachkowski

"Marriage is often a conventional step forward in the lives of adults, but Travis and Stephanie's union is particularly exceptional. Both born with Down syndrome, they are now navigating a unique set of obstacles in their married life". Director Emma Zaiachkowski wanted to tell Travis and Stephanie's story. In her third year at the Film and Television Production program at Humber College in Toronto, Ontario, Emma directed her first documentary. We hope you have a few minutes to watch this touching, short documentary.

About Emma: Emma's interest in this field first took root in high school. In grade twelve, Emma’s short film, “Leaving” received the Critic's Choice Award at the Take Two - Young Reels Film Festival. This recognition was instrumental in forming Emma’s passion for filmmaking.

In 2012, Emma began her post-secondary studies at Humber College. Although the program is often quite grueling, she remains fiercely dedicated to both the art of filmmaking and to the creative partnerships she has formed with her classmates and teachers. Emma is enthusiastic about the future and looks forward to continuing to better herself as a filmmaker and collaborator in the years to come.

How long have you been directing? I have been directing short films for two years but this is my first attempt at documentary filmmaking. “You & I”, was the first film that I had ever directed with a larger-scale crew, a budget and executive producers. It was my first professional filmmaking endeavor.

How many films have you directed? Four films. All of these films have been in association with the educational institution I was attending at the time. “You & I”, was formulated and produced at Humber College School of Media Studies & Information Technology, in the Film & Television Production Advanced Diploma Program.

Is there any one part of the process that you enjoy more than the others? I really enjoy the collaborative process in all aspects of filmmaking. This film in particular was such a collaborative effort. The final product is really a testament to all of the hard work and dedication from the crew and faculty. I enjoy this facet of filmmaking because it allows your initial idea to grow and develop in ways you never thought possible.

You & I

Marriage is often a conventional step forward in the lives of adults, but Travis and Stephanie's union is particularly exceptional. Both born with Down syndrome, they are now navigating a unique set of obstacles in their married life and continue to prove that love transcends all barriers.

Marriage is often a conventional step forward in the lives of adults, but Travis and Stephanie's union is particularly exceptional. Both born with Down syndrome, they are now navigating a unique set of obstacles in their married life and continue to prove that love transcends all barriers.

What drew you to wanting to tell this story? Many things drew me to wanting to tell Travis and Stephanie’s story. The main reason I was drawn to make this film was because I wanted to open up a dialogue about individuals who are differently-abled. The primary objective of this film was to explore the authentic, intimate day-to-day life of a couple that may not look like everyone from the outside but express love just like everyone else. By creating this dialogue I hope to put forth the notion that love or any other emotion for that matter, should never be discounted due to one’s intellectual ability and that life is pretty magnificent when it includes individuals like Travis and Stephanie.

What kind of camera did you shoot on? Sony FS100

What were some of the challenges in getting this film made and how did you overcome them? Challenges are always part of the filmmaking process. Some of the trials that arose were of course our time limit. We only had four days to shoot four interviews and gather b-roll footage. This particular challenge was solved by a great deal of preparation on the crew’s behalf. Another challenge presented itself in the editing suite. Cutting together a great deal of footage and formulating a story was difficult to say the least. This challenge was overcome again by extremely hard work and dedication.

 

To learn more about Emma, you can check out her website here.

Watch Emma's film, You & I NOW!

 

 

The Jackal, directed by Joe Mitchell

Thanks to a meeting at a local neighborhood pub, The Jackal, was born. It goes to show you that you never know where your next project or idea will come from.

About: Joe Mitchell has directed and produced four short films. Two documentaries (including The Jackal) and two narratives.

How long have you been directing? Off and on since I was young. It just takes so long for me to get projects off the ground since I don’t really have any money. I think that’s why I like documentaries so much because most of the time they are cheap to make.

 Is there any one part of the process that you enjoy more than the others? Editing. To me the edit is the most important part of the process. It’s where the feel comes from. It takes a long time for me to edit. I need the time because that's where I can get my personality across.

 

 

 

 

The Jackal

Life and times of former Canadian Kickboxing Champion Ian "The Jackal" Jacklin.

What drew you to wanting to tell this story? I train Muay Thai. It’s really a great form of exercise and it does help me mentally, it keeps me sharp. One night I was drinking at the bar next to my house where I met Ian (The Jackal). He lives next to me, we are both neighborhood pub guys. So we struck up a conversation about kickboxing. He began to explain his life to me. I was intrigued to say the least. But then he told me that he basically had all his fights, movies, and interviews on VHS. As a filmmaker that is what inspired me. I had access to all this great B-roll, so all I had to do was film the interview. It was a no-brainer. And Ian was down with the idea, so we starting shooting a week after.

What kind of camera did you shoot on? 5D. It proves you don’t need an Alexa or a Red to make something decent. It's what's on the other side of the lens that counts.

What were some of the challenges in getting this film made and how did you overcome them? Going through hours upon hours of VHS tape and converting it. Then putting some sort of story together. It really came together quite easily though, in terms of the subject. Ian is a great guy and gave me all the time I needed.

If you'd like to learn more about Ian (The Jackal), click here.

To see more of Joe's work, you can check out his Vimeo page.

Watch THE JACKAL now!