The following screenplays are the Top 25 Short Screenplay Finalists for the 2020 FilmQuest Best Un-produced Screenplay Competition. If you are a producer or filmmaker, collaborating with these writers may produce your next film, so feel free to explore these great projects waiting to be made. Featured here are some of the best un-produced genre screenplays on the circuit today.
Written By: Dorian Frankel
Synopsis: Katie wakes up in a strange place, in an unfamiliar condition, not knowing if she’s experiencing a miracle or a nightmare.
Genre(s): Horror, The Beyond
Screenwriter’s Bio: Dorian Frankel is a Los Angeles based casting director.
Written By: Avishai & Tova Weinberger
Synopsis: A woman has lapses of memory as a new personality takes hold.
Screenwriter’s Bio: Tova and Avishai are siblings from Brooklyn, NY. Avishai is primarily a screenwriter, and Tova is primarily an actress and artist. This is their first collaboration as writers.
COME ALONG, HARRY HIGGINS
Written By: Kevin Machate
Synopsis: Set in 1899, successful safe cracker Harry Higgins decides to hang up his drill for good when he meets the woman of his dreams, only to be tailed by the constable that put him away once already.
Screenwriter’s Bio: MBA, 3-time Guinness World Record holder, Austin Film Festival Alum, screenwriter, producer, director, dog rescuer, weirdo.
FEAR OF FALLING
Written By: Jeffrey Stackhouse & Renfield Rasputin
Synopsis: A dedicated and driven EMT takes a rescue call during a deadly storm. The tortured angel he finds in the old man’s shed will not be his most life-changing discovery.
Genre(s): Horror, The Beyond
Screenwriter’s Bio: Jeffrey has won The PAGE, Shriekfest and more on 5 different scripts, and shares an illustrious FilmQuest Best Short Screenplay Award with Renfield who previously was awarded the Platinum Remi.
Written By: Vincent DiSanti
Synopsis: A popular vegan restaurant is haunted by the ghost of a chicken.
Genre(s): Comedy, The Beyond
Screenwriter’s Bio: Vincente DiSanti an award-winning writer and director based out of Los Angeles, California, where he also produces genre content with his company Womp Stomp Films.
Written By: Jeff Kallet
Synopsis: The daughter of a church pastor uncovers her father’s dark secrets using a supernatural power that may have been gifted directly from God.
Genre(s): The Beyond, Fantastic
Screenwriter’s Bio: J. Michael Kallet is a writer, director and content creator based in South Florida.
Written By: Troy Dewinne
Synopsis:The greatest wizard pop star begins his comeback tour in a massive party tower. Everyone’s invited – except goblins.
Genre(s): Fantasy, Comedy
Screenwriter’s Bio: Troy DeWinne is a writer and director from San Antonio, Texas. He has a bachelor’s degree in radio-television-film from the University of Texas at Austin and has been selected in multiple prestigious film festivals.
Written By: Daniel Holliday
Synopsis: A prehistoric hunter pursues her wounded prey through the forest and into a cave where she must fight a being not of her world.
Genre(s): Horror, Sci-Fi, The Beyond
Screenwriter’s Bio: As a director, Daniel draws deeply on his past lives playing in bands and as a graphic designer. Working holistically across the script, the edit, the score, as well as producing, Daniel exploits all possible avenues of expression, building a product from all sides.
Written By: Curtis Threadgold
Synopsis:Three short horror tales set in the North of England. Anthology. 1) Underground: After finding himself buried alive, a desperate man’s only lifeline is a little girl who just wants a pet. 2) Feast: An anxious hostess must rescue an abducted girl on the day of an important dinner party. 3) The Trade: An exhausted young mother is given a magical opportunity to start all over again.
Screenwriter’s Bio: Graduated with an MA in Television and Radio Scriptwriting (distinction) in 2017. Currently writing short films for production as well as spec feature screenplays and pilots. Horror lover.
I NEED A SIXER!
Written By: Jesse Mattson & Steve Weber
Synopsis: A small town local, who owns and operates his own Ghost Hunting Company, gets wrapped up in an actual haunting when he investigates a friend’s home.
Genre(s): Horror, Comedy
Screenwriter’s Bio: Jesse Mattson and Steve Weber won the Society of Professional Journalist 2010 Mark of Excellence National Award for their winning documentary “The War at Home” about war Veterans. Jesse is also the Author of the novel, Into the Den, a coming of age story set in New England. Steve and Jesse both worked at Sony Pictures Entertainment, where Steve still currently works. Jesse now writes and acts in movies, film and television.
Written By: Kurt Choate
Synopsis: An investigative reporter, damaged by his past, discovers the reason behind the double life led by an acquaintance.
Screenwriter’s Bio: I am an older gay, cigendered male who has taken his experiences in his career of psychology to help him create characters and stories that are meant to uplift, thrill, and surprise audiences.
Written By: Catya Plate
Synopsis: 500 years from now, Earth is nearly decimated from rain-less centuries and eclogical collapse caused by selfish human inaction. Can a group of unlikely pot-apocalyptic environmentalists save Gaia?
Genre(s): Sci-Fi, Fantasy
Screenwriter’s Bio: Catya Plate came to New York in 1987 through a Fulbright Scholarship for postgraduate studies at School of Visual Arts. She has been exhibiting internationally since the mid1980s and her work is included in public and private collections worldwide, such as the Brooklyn Museum and Museum of Modern Art Library in New York City. Articles and reviews of Plate’s films and art have appeared in the new York Times, UK Film Review, The Independent, and many others. In 2009 she created Clothespin Freak Productions to bring her “Clothespin Freaks” characters to life through stop-motion animation short films. Clothespin Freak productions has produced “The Reading”, “Hanging By A Thread”, and “Meeting Macguffin”. The latter two are the first installments in a trilogy of ecological thrillers. Catya’s completely handcrafted post-apocalyptic films combine imagination with humor and hope against the backdrop of a world in peril. In 2019 Indie Shorts Magazine proclaimed: Meeting MacGuffin is the Best Stop-Motion Ecological Thriller Out There! Her short screenplay “Las Nogas”, last short in the trilogy, won the Grand Prize for Best Animated Script at the 2019 Oscar qualifying Flickers’ Rhode island International Film Festival Screenwriting Competition.
Written By: Jeff Bassetti
Synopsis: A sickly boy is singled out by some in his Boy Scout troop for initiation into their ranks.
Screenwriter’s Bio: Graduated from San Francisco State University. I was able to secure 2 consecutive internships at Lucasfilm’s Industrial Light and Magic. Graduated from the American Film Institute. Co-wrote, co-produced, and directed the award winning indie feature F-STOPS. Multi-award winning screenwriter in the horror and thriller genre.
NOT A CREATURE WAS STIRRING
Written By: Michael Hogan
Synopsis: Trying to make it to her mother’s house by Christmas morning, a single mom, her young son, and her overly-testosteroned boyfriend drive through the desert late at night. Too tired to continue, the decision is made to stop and catch some sleep as a seedy motel comes into view. Soon after, karma and a hungry toilet catch up to the boyfriend when he forces the boy to sleep alone in his own room.
Genre(s): Horror, Comedy
Screenwriter’s Bio: Michael William Hogan is a screenwriter whose unusual trinity of genre specialties includes comedy, faith-based and horror. He wasn’t always so twisted. For many years, Michael was a corporate executive-type. Until one day he woke up and realized that he was working for all the wrong reasons. And all the wrong people. Alarmed but enlightened, Michael thought about checking himself into one of those outrageously expensive facilities in the hills above Malibu but discovered their practice didn’t include corporate executive-typectomies. Undeterred, he bought a tattered volume of Mid-Life Crisis Management for Dummies at a used bookstore in Brentwood only to then discover the chapter on transitioning from corporate hell to career heaven had been torn out. Left with only self-reliance, Michael managed to burrow into his own head, rewiring his grey matter to finally pursue what matters: faith, happiness, creativity, screenwriting. In the time since—and somehow without the help of artificial intelligence or an MFA in Writing for Screen & Television—multiple short and feature scripts magically appeared on Michael’s hard drive. To-date, his scripts have garnered over 100 awards, including over two-dozen outright wins in competitions.
Written By: Gil Saint
Synopsis: After a strange metamorphosis, a lowly office drone finds out how to make her way to the top of the corporate food chain.
Genre(s): Horror, Sci-Fi
Screenwriter’s Bio: Gil Saint is an award-winning screenwriter and proud FilmQuest alum. His first short script “Virtually Fine” was a Top 5 Finalist at FilmQuest 2017. His work has garnered acclaim at many fests and competitions since then, including Austin Film Fest and the International Page Awards.
Written By: Sophie Black & Tommy Draper
Synopsis: Robin has to face his fears (and his future) when he goes to rescue his pregnant ex-girlfriend from a mysterious, multi-dimensional building.
Genre(s): Horror, Fantasy
Screenwriter’s Bio: Sophie Black and Tommy Draper have been writing films together since 2014, when they made the multi-award-winning short film ‘Night Owls’, which premiered at LSFF in 2016. After graduating from the University of Creative Arts in 2010, Sophie Black briefly worked as a producer, with credits including the time-travel drama short Stop/Eject, which premiered at Raindance in 2014, then became long-listed for ‘Best British Short’ at BAFTA in 2015. Tommy Draper’s credits include the black comedy Der Letze Tropfen, which was commissioned and screened by NBC Universal International (Germany), and the short film Keep Breathing, which screened at the BFI London Film Festival in October 2019.
Written By: Lachlan Marks
Synopsis: After a local birdwatcher disappears, the two investigators piecing together his final movements encounter unexplainable phenomena when they enter a remote hut in the woods.
Genre(s): The Beyond
Screenwriter’s Bio: Lachlan Marks is an up-and-coming Australian screenwriter living and working in the Netherlands. He specialises in elevated horror, sci-fi and crime projects for film and TV. The Birdwatcher is a short written for Cornish director Ryan Mackfall with a planned shoot for early 2021.
Written By: M.R. Fitzgerald
Synopsis: After receiving numerous letters from a prison inmate, a renowned children’s author agrees to meet him for a conjugal visit.
Screenwriter’s Bio: M.R. Fitzgerald was born in the farmlands of Minnesota, raised to overcome harsh landscapes whether in the literal form of unrelenting winters to the internal, mental and spiritual surrounded by strict religious-based abuse. Setting out on a lifelong path to carve her own identity from her past, Fitzgerald graduated from the University of Minnesota with a Bachelor’s Degree in Studio Art and Art History and MFA in Film Production from Ohio University.
Written By: Justin Giddings
Synopsis: A retired CIA agent is being forced to move into a nursing home by his very loving but very tired daughter, but over the course of his final night in his own home he begins to transform into something that transcends the pain in his soul.
Genre(s): Fantasy, The Beyond
Screenwriter’s Bio: Justin Giddings is an award-winning writer and filmmaker whose films have screened at over 100 festivals and been distributed across the globe.
Written By: Marion McDowell
Synopsis: Just for a laugh, a Dungeons & Dragons group has a go at summoning a real demon, and gets both more and less than they bargained for.
Genre(s): Comedy, Fantasy
Screenwriter’s Bio: Marion McDowell is a freelance scriptwriter from Juneau, Alaska, where the rugged weather gave her a deep desire to not be out in it, and thus a career in writing instead of lumberjacking. After a foreign exchange to Northern Ireland in the 90s turned more permanent, she developed as an actor and writer within the local film and television industry.
Recent works include DARK & STORMY, a comedy horror about a woman who literally refuses to play the victim, and BOOS UP, a farce about rival ghosts competing to haunt a pub. Marion stopped answering questions about her age when she hit 35 and lives in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Her first broadcast credit came in November 2019 with MUSHROOMS, a short revenge drama released by RTE, the Irish national broadcasting service.
THE TOY RABBIT
Written By: Russell Whaley
Synopsis: A four year old boy with mysterious powers uses them against his strict father in order to protect his toy rabbit.
Genre(s): Horror, Fantasy
Screenwriter’s Bio: Russell is currently working on improving his craft writing and shooting short films that explore psychological horror and fantasy/sci-fi genres.
Written By: Sam Moony
Synopsis: When blue-blooded Theo overdoses on diet pills, he has 30 days to get clean or else his family will cut him off. He signs up for a study that claims it can give him a new body, but when his sanity starts to unravel he will do horrible things to become the perfect organism.
Genre(s): Horror, Sci-Fi
Screenwriter’s Bio: Director, producer and writer Sam Moony has been a filmmaker for the better part his life. He helped run his high school’s AV society under his teacher and mentor, John Dalton. Since then, he has gone to college in Santa Barbara in the SBCC media department and worked an internship at TVSB, the local broadcast station. He now continues studying and developing his portfolio while taking production courses in the Peralta college network of Oakland, California. His passion is in cerebral genre-based films like those of Cronenberg and John Carpenter. His favorite film is Alien (1976), and he particularly is inspired by art that is produced from limited resources (Low-budget without being schlock). His favorite color is purple.
Written By: Christina Bryant
Synopsis: A teenaged girl learning to surf attracts a dangerous entity when she begins to express her own sexuality.
Genre(s): Horror, Fantasy
Screenwriter’s Bio: Christina Bryant is a filmmaker living in New York City and the owner of Filmnikita Productions, LLC. Over the past twenty years, she has worn many hats in film, and focuses her time on Directing and Assistant Directing.
Christina graduated from Fordham University with a BA in Theater Directing. She started her film career working in art department on short films and music videos including several for The Dresden Dolls. She also spent time in off-Broadway theater building props and puppets for Basil Twist, HERE Arts Center, Lone Wolf Tribe, F.U.C.T and the Fordham Alumni Theater Company, as well as puppeteering on stage and in the short film “I’m Not Wilbur.” She has also worked in production as a Production Manager, UPM, and Assistant to Producer Susan Downey on the feature film “The Brave One” directed by Neil Jordan. Most recently Christina Assistant Produced and UPM’d Amanda Palmer’s music video for “Drowning in the Sound” and the forthcoming “Look Mummy No Hands.”
Concurrent to her time in film and theater, Christina spent 12 years at Associated Press in the news related field of election results tabulation as a Project Coordinator and Research Coordinator, which included live vote reporting to customers including ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox News, NY Times, and the Washington Post. Christina once worked in one of NYC’s last Super 8mm and 16mm developing labs, Pac Lab and continues to hold a place in her heart for analogue technologies.
Written By: Alan Sanchez
Synopsis: After a bank heist has gone awry, a group of thieves find shelter in the woods overnight. Unfortunately for the group, an invisible malicious spirit has begun a hunt…for them.
Screenwriter’s Bio: Alan Sanchez is a Writer, Director, & Producer born and raised in San Bernardino, CA. He has recently graduated California State University Northridge with a BA in TV Production, & also has an AA in RTVF (Radio, television, & Film) from San Bernardino Valley College. Alan has been writing, filming, and directing short films since he was 14 years old with some competing in film festivals. Alan also has experience working for numerous companies in the industry such as Captivate Entertainment, Angels & Airwaves, This is Just A Test Media, & Bunim-Murray Productions. He also was an Associate Producer for the feature film “Beats of Rage” from Writer/Director Jason Trost. His recent Short Film “Banshee Avalon” has won two awards such as “Best Sci Fi Film” at the Oregon Short Film Festival and “Honorable Mention Drama” at the Short.Sweet. Film Festival in Cleveland, OH. Alan currently resides in San Bernardino with his pet pug Marty “McFly” Poe.
Written By: Margarita Zhtnikova & Jeffrey Weber
Synopsis: An unemployed chef thinks they found their dream job at a gourmet plant based food start-up, but the VC and their clientele have unimaginable hidden motives.
Genre(s): Horror, Sci-Fi
Screenwriter’s Bio: JEFFREY WEBER (he/him) was a professional jingle singer from 1976-83 having sung such classic jingles as “There’s nothing like the face of a kid eating a Hershey bar” and “He’s the marvelous magical Burger King.” After retiring as the Vice Chairman of York Capital Management, a multi-strategy hedge fund in 2018, Jeffrey decided to return to the entertainment industry focusing on acting and writing with his writing partner Margarita Zhitnikova. As an actor, Jeffrey recently starred in the short film “Appetite” and is a member of SAG-AFTRA and AEA. Prior to joining York in 2004, Jeffrey spent 12 years with William A. M. Burden & Co., L.P. as President & Chief Executive Officer. Previously, Jeffrey worked at Chemical Venture Partners and Drexel Burnham Lambert. He is Chairman of the Carter Burden Network and serves on the Department of Medicine Advisory Board at the Mount Sinai Health System. Jeffrey received his B.A. from Williams College and his M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.
MARGARITA ZHITNIKOVA (they/them) is a Russian Jewish award-winning actor & filmmaker. As a child, Margarita & their family moved to Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, from Russia, as Jewish refugees. Margarita grew up exploring their identity & studying acting in the heart of NYC. Dedicated to smashing the patriarchy, Margarita embraced writing & producing, leading them to Co-Found Besties Make Movies with Stacey Maltin. Margarita recently wrapped production on “Triple Threat” film where they play the lead role of Maggie and is the screenwriter of the award-winning short film “Jones”. Margarita is a proud member of The Filmshop, NYWIFT, Dreamers // Doers, The COBWEB, NYC Women Filmmakers, Glass Elevator & Women in Media. They are also honored to be a judge for the Revolution Me Film Festival.