The following screenplays are the Top 20 Short Screenplay Finalists for the 2019 FilmQuest Best Unproduced Screenplay Competition. Featured here are some fo the best unproduced screenplays on the circuit today:
Written By: James Croke
Synopsis: A man in love, waiting in a drawing room to propose marriage, is led by his curiosity to a fantastic discovery, and horrific end.
Screenwriter’s Bio: James Croke is a freelance writer and director with extensive experience in the field of design for both stage and screen. Starting his career in stage design, James has transitioned into writing and directing for the screen. His short film, SHIFT, was screened at over twenty festivals world wide, including ScreenQuest 2014.
Written By: Zeus Kontoyannis
Synopsis: Candypop has been sent to kill the rogue PoP called Lillypop. What she finds instead is a bunch of women ready to take on the theocratic rule of The Collective.
Screenwriter’s Bio: Zeus Kontoyannis is a producer and writer with nearly 10 years of experience in the film industry. After arriving in New York City in 2009, he worked with Cinetic Media on the Banksy documentary “Exit Through the Gift Shop.” From there, he continued his career under veteran Hollywood and Broadway producer Scott Rudin, working on films including “The Social Network,” “True Grit,” and “The Dictator,” and the original theater production of “Book of Mormon.” Following his time at Scott Rudin Productions, Zeus joined projects under veteran indie producers Terry Leonard and Mynette Louie.
An avid traveller, Zeus was born in the United Kingdom, raised in Athens, Greece, and has studied film in both New York and Texas. While living in Dallas, he produced, directed, and edited live concert events and short-films, including a feature “rockumentary” showcasing local indie-rock bands. In addition to his creative endeavors, Zeus also serves as a board member for The Nikolas Symposium, a charity founded by his parents to find a cure for LCH, a rare disease that affects one of his brothers.
In 2014, he began working as an independent producer developing new, compelling projects under his company Zeus Pictures.
Written By: Marion McDowell
Synopsis: When two rival ghosts haunt Brendan’s struggling bar, he just wants them gone. But when his half-baked attempts to reclaim his pub end up adding to his spiritual crisis, he has to make a difficult bargain to get rid of his unwanted guests.
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 COSTUME DRAMA, which explores what happens when you insult a witch on Halloween night. Marion stopped answering questions about her age when she hit 35 and lives in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
Written By: Sam Williamson
Synopsis: Two women meet at the funeral of their ex-husband. In order to collect a $1 million life insurance policy, they must bury him by hand.
Screenwriter’s Bio: Sam Williamson began his career in military broadcasting with the Air Force in the late 1980’s. After military service, he went on to earn an MFA from UCLA’s famed theater, film and television program. He has four children and has a successful voice over business with his wife, Deb.
Written By: William G Chandler Jr.
Synopsis: Three bored teens need something to do. One teen plays a game of Freeze better than his other friends, but faces a final competitor he did not expect.
Screenwriter’s Bio: I am just a writer. I wanted to get my work noticed and would like really on a few projects to make it to a screen, but I wanted to get the writing right first.
GIVE LOVE A SHOT
Written By: Al Finocchio
Synopsis: Hitman vs. Cupid. Valentine’s Day.
Screenwriter’s Bio: Al Finocchio is an award-winning screenwriter who likes to weave Dark Comedy into the Action, Crime, Fantasy, and Sci-Fi genres.
HAND OF ME
Written By: A.L. Adams
Synopsis: A gifted art student discovers that she is a sleeper soldier for a psychic warfare operation called Goodnight Pinocchio and programmed to self destruct. Highly artistic, drug addicted, Cassie joins an experimental Mind/Body Art Class that triggers a nervous breakdown followed by a new ability to see future events. In a search for answers she meets a mysterious therapist who reveals Cassie’s suppressed, psychic warfare abilities are leftover from an aborted Cold War mission. Now Cassie doesn’t know who to trust in a race to free herself from her controllers before her suicide program activates.
Screenwriter’s Bio: Award winning screenwriter and costume designer Allyson Adams is a third generation, Hollywood descendant and made her acting debut at one years old playing opposite Elizabeth Montgomery.
Flash forward and she finds herself writing thrillers with daring female protagonists to festival acclaim. Rusalka Revenge, 26 Stabs and Hand of Me have all garnered recent Best Short Screenplay awards. Adams has had over 30 plays produced. PINK, L.A. Weekly Pick of the Week drew sold out audiences. Los Angeles Times wrote, “PINK is a raw but searing drama about exploitation, double sexual standards and females under siege that is free of cliché and bawdily devoid of political correctness.” The L.A. Weekly said, “Besides her rich raw material, playwright Adams has both wit and profound honesty on her side.” An Addict Speaks selected and produced by Urban Theatre Movement One Act Festival Los Angeles. Duck Ugly, a musical produced by Orphan Girl Children’s Theater at the historic Mother Lode Theatre in Butte, Montana.
Adams wrote, directed and acted in the Montana PBS docudrama Peace is a Woman’s Job, about first Congresswoman Jeannette Rankin and toured the one-woman show for a decade. She published The Rebel & The King written by her late father, Oscar nominated actor Nick Adams, about his friendship with Elvis Presley and launched the book at Graceland.
HOUSE OF AEGEA
Written By: Diana Lanham
Synopsis: In the beginning of things, when the world was ruled by Gods and magic, Hanuman the Monkey King took the Siren Sovann Matcha for his lover. How could they know that the sins of their forbidden passion would cause ripple effects for those of us living in the present.
Screenwriter’s Bio: When my dad took me to see Star Wars at age 12, it changed my life. Not only was it the beginning of a lifelong love affair with cinema, but it also introduced me to the fascinating world of Fantasy and SciFi. I stared writing professionally in 2008, and self-published my first fantasy adventure novel, House of Aegea, on Amazon in 2013. I decided to give screenwriting a go and now, several scripts in, I’ve found the thing that feeds my writing monster.
Written By: Matt Harris-Freeth
Synopsis: A short horror – Livvy’s trapped in a violent relationship, but when she’s attacked by an invisible monster she must learn to save herself.
Screenwriter’s Bio: Matt’s award-winning short films have screened at Oscar & BAFTA qualifying festivals around the world.
He was recently mentored by director Corin Hardy (The Nun) & developed short horror, INVISIBLE MONSTER with BFI & Creative England.
Matt is currently developing short horror, DARK ROAD & features BLOOD BIKE and CUTTHROAT, a period thriller pitched as “Reservoir Dogs With Pirates”.
Written By: Kevin Brennan & Robert Brandsma
Synopsis: A bad-ass family hunts down and confronts a violent group of savages to avenge a fallen loved one and retrieve a dangerous artifact, set in a mashup post-apocalypse/magical “Earth’s future” dystopia.
Screenwriter’s Bio: Robert Brandsma, US Air Force Veteran, is a screenwriter living in North Central Alabama and Kevin Brennan is a fulltime Masters-Student in San Francisco, California. Robert and Kevin met while both studying film production at the Santa Fe University of Art and Design (SFUAD) in New Mexico. Both are non-traditional students, meaning they left behind former professional careers to return to school. The two met in 2016 as classmates and also as co-workers at a film equipment grip-house.
Robert earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Story Development from SFUAD in 2017, and while Kevin studied film post-production and VFX before transferring to San Francisco to pursue a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Animation at the Academy of Art University. Robert also has a degree in Screenwriting from Colorado Film School, and Kevin has a Communications degree from University of Alabama. “LEGENDS” screenplay began as a passion project while at University in Santa Fe and Robert & Kevin are very pleased with its reception on the film festival circuit. They are hoping its acceptance at FilmQuest will help them generate more BUZZ for the project!
LIFE ON THE FARM
Written By: Laurel Vail
Synopsis: Two strangers with no memory, wake up together on a farm where a kindly old couple look after them.
Screenwriter’s Bio: Laurel hails from the 208*, went to college in Boston, and calls LA home. She wrote and directed an award-winning short film called “That Metal Girls Are Into” that is currently screening in the festival circuit.
Written By: Kristy Walsh
Synopsis: After his daughter is possessed by a supernatural being, Frank must lure the spirit out of her body by any means necessary.
Screenwriter’s Bio: Kristy Walsh was born and raised just outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She works in academic medicine by day and writes speculative fiction by night.
Written By: Travis Davidson & Jack Davidson
Synopsis: An action comedy set in present day, “Perpetual Valhalla” is the story of a young socially awkward “Live Action Role Player,” (LARP), who’s run-in with the high school bully causes his soul to accidentally be sent to Valhalla where every day is a repeated battle to the death. Taken under the wing by a larger than life Viking warrior, the young man must learn to defeat history’s toughest warriors if he ever hopes to return to his normal life in the real world.
Screenwriter’s Bio: Amateur brother writing team who enjoys mixing dark comedy with every genre possible.
PIECES OF ME
Written By: Jonathan “Gus” Eid
Synopsis: After a young woman is sexually assaulted by her boss, her skin slowly falls off, she must find her courage to confront him or die.
Screenwriter’s Bio: Gus Eid is a writer/filmmaker who is obsessed with Buffy the Vampire Slayer, One Tree Hill, slasher films, chick flicks, and teen dramas. He loves randomly bringing up Neely from Baywatch in everyday conversation.
Written By: Samantha Kolesnik & Jason Tostevin
Synopsis: Kidnapped and imprisoned by a child-murderer, a seven-year-old boy discovers he has otherworldly allies who may be even more dangerous than his captor.
Screenwriter’s Bio: Samantha Kolesnik is a writer and filmmaker living in Pennsylvania. She writes, directs and produces at her company, Above the Line Artistry. Samantha is one of the co-founders of the Women in Horror Film Festival, a festival showcasing women creatives in genre filmmaking. She is also the founder and director of the PA Indie Shorts Film Festival. Samantha has served as a guest juror and judge at multiple film events, including Les Femmes Underground Film Festival, GenreBlast Film Festival, Nightmares Film Festival, and more. Her directorial debut, Mama’s Boy, premiered at the Telluride Horror Show and has been playing festivals across the country.
Jason Tostevin is an American filmmaker, screenwriter, film festival director, and founder of Hands Off Productions, a boutique studio with a worldwide reputation for its short genre films. Jason is the Co-Founder and Festival Director of Nightmares Film Festival. In 2017, film site Cinema Runner named him independent horror’s “most influential short-film maker,” noting that he is considered “a sort of indie prophet” by his peers, honoring him for “changing the face of indie horror shorts and elevating horror expectations.”
Written By: Mary Anzalone
Synopsis: A wizard and the most powerful witch in the land fight to save a young protege who has cast a spell on herself with the purpose of leaving their world for good. When the young girl survives, but loses her powers, she becomes enlightened to help save others from a similar fate.
Screenwriter’s Bio: Mary Anzalone is an award-winning actress, writer, and producer from Central Texas. Her screenplays, shorts, and stage plays been recognized with readings across her home state and most recently in contests in California, Georgia, Utah, and Illinois. You can find out more about Mary and her latest projects at maryanzalone.com.
Written By: Neil McLarty
Synopsis: In the year 2079 a group of terrorists attempt to steal nanobot technology from the cybernetic being the bots reside in.
Screenwriter’s Bio: Neil McLarty is a Scottish filmmaker currently based in Saltaire, West Yorkshire, in the UK. His day job is working as a script supervisor in broadcast television, high end drama and feature films. Neil has written several several short screenplays in the sci-fi and horror genres and two feature scripts (which are to never see the light of day under pain of death).
He is currently working on the second draft of a third feature, a horror comedy called ‘Tartan Army’ which he is far more optimistic about and is looking to produce and direct one of his short films this year.
THE ERRANT SIGNAL
Written By: Nik Theorin
Synopsis: A 911 operator struggles to pinpoint the origin of an otherworldly distress call.
Screenwriter’s Bio: Nik Theorin is a screenwriter and playwright presently studying at Sarah Lawrence College. He currently writes for Something’s Awry Productions.
THE FLAVOR OF FURY
Written By: James H. Lee
Synopsis: A young aspiring chef discovers her lethal martial arts abilities when a gang of extortionists descend on her road side restaurant.
Screenwriter’s Bio: James H. Lee is a veteran producer and writer. He worked on TV productions for E! Entertainment’s, Fashion Police with Joan Rivers and their entertainment news division. He also wrote and directed a short action film called “The Most Interesting Man in Show Business.” Urban Action Showcase, Vancouver Badass, Seattle Asian American Film Festival, and Boston Asian American Film Festival, and Hollywood Comedy Shorts. He is also a graduate of USC School of Cinema and Television.
THE SQUIRRELS IN THE ATTIC
Written By: Rachel S. Thomas-Medwid
Synopsis: A spitfire public defender unexpectedly finds herself in unchartered territory while interrogating a dangerous ex-con and his inappropriately young girlfriend in their isolated rural home.
Screenwriter’s Bio: Rachel Thomas-Medwid’s screenplays have placed in numerous competitions, including the Page International Screenwriting Awards, BlueCat Screenplay Competition, Table Read My Screenplay Contest, Circus Road Screenplay Contest, The Screenplay Festival, StoryPros International Screenplay Contest, WriteMovies International Writing Contest, Hollywood Screenplay Competition, and Bankable Script Contest.
Her fiction has been published in 10,000 Tons of Black Ink, Freight Train Magazine, Farmhouse Magazine, Katherine Press Review, In Posse, Literal Latte, Belletrist Coterie, Soundings Review, and Sleet Magazine. She is a 2012 Pushcart Prize nominee. A few of her other writing honors include placing as a finalist in the 2014 Serena Kennedy McDonald Prize contest, the Lorian Hemingway short story contest, the Literal Latte contest, the Writer’s Digest Competition, and the National John Steinbeck Competition. One of her short stories, The God of Meat, was performed as part of the Open Theater Festival in Boston.
Professionally, Rachel is the news editor of the American Meteorological Society’s monthly magazine and blog, The Front Page.