Congratulations to the Winners and Finalists of the Grim North Screenplay Festival, Winter 2019! The standard was exceptionally high, and we could not have asked for a better cohort of submissions for our first ever season. The winning and runner-up screenplays are circulated to industry producers and contacts.
WINNERS: Feature Screenplays
WINNER: Horror Feature Screenplay
“The Father of Lies” (Shiva Rodriguez, D. Duckie Rodriguez)
Loki, the Norse Trickster God, leaves a path of death and destruction in his wake as he searches for the keys that will free his monstrous children and bring about the end of both the gods and humanity.
Writer Bio: Shiva Rodriguez and D. Duckie Rodriguez are a writing team based in Florida. Both have a deep love and respect for world mythology. Find out more at http://www.shivarodriguez.com/.
WINNER: Thriller Feature Screenplay
“Dolly Daydream” (Natasha Langridge-Thorpe)
Katie’s misbehaviour at her fifteenth birthday party causes her Mother to send her to West Side Academy, a boarding school for young ladies. However, Arnold Hemingworth, the headmaster, enforces strict rules over his pupils. Katie’s reluctance to follow these rules causes her to get into trouble and she becomes isolated from her submissive peers. One of the rules prohibits girls from speaking to their family members. Nonetheless, Arnold makes an exception of allowing one girl at a time to visit her family if she conforms to the rules. Nevertheless, Katie discovers that Arnold’s exception comes with a sacrifice.
Writer Bio: I am currently a third-year film production student at the University for the Creative Arts, who is working towards my BA (Hons). I specialise in screenwriting and have written scripts for short, fictional films ranging in various genres. I have recently completed a feature-length script and I am currently working on a television script within the urban fantasy genre.
WINNER: Drama Feature Screenplay
“Two Nooses” (Wale Atoyegbe)
TWO NOOSES is a racially charged drama with thrilling overtones about Drew Rice, a down and out black British comedian abducted by Neo Nazi couple, Brandon and Jean, after Drew’s one-night stand with Jean. In a race against time, Drew must help a timid and guilt-ridden Jean find her courage to free him, before Brandon kills them both to bury his sordid secret.
Writer Bio: I was born in Lagos, Nigeria, where I lived for 12 years, before moving to the Republic of Ireland, where I discovered my passion for films and filmmaking. In 2014, I moved to the United Kingdom, the city of Plymouth to be precise, where I completed and acquired a Bachelor of Arts degree in film. I used to do it all, writing, producing, and directing, but recently I have realised that I prefer screenwriting, so now I’m solely a screenwriter.
WINNER: Dark Comedy Feature Screenplay
“Art of Revenge” (Stephen Quinn)
NICK SALT, an abstract painter heavily in debt, convinces his cat PABLO to help him create the paintings for his next exhibition. In exchange NICK will ensure the cat is not neutered, even though NICK’s wife LISA PEPPER insists. The critics herald NICK as a genius and he receives plenty of commissions. LISA suspects NICK is having an affair with her best friend and house guest, LILY. Seeking revenge, LISA insists the cat be neutered. PABLO overhears and attacks LISA. On her return from hospital LISA demands PABLO be destroyed. The cat escapes from the vet’s office and returns to the house planning revenge.
Writer Bio: In 2011 Stephen Quinn had a near-death experience. Since then his focus has shifted from writing non-fiction (28 books published) to fiction. He has written three novels (with one published), poetry (one collection published) and screenplays. More information can be found at https://sraquinn.org/
WINNERS: Short Screenplays
WINNER: Horror Short Screenplay
“All Alone, Not By Myself” (Matthew Ford)
A ten-minute ghost story. June 2013 A Cardiff Council employee visits a tenant whose Housing Benefit has stopped, as she did not return her Single Person Discount form. The tenant, however, is not alone.
Influenced by the writing of M.R. James and Susan Hill, ‘All Alone, Not By Myself’ takes the traditional British ghost story and updates it to a Welsh capital hit by austerity and Welfare Reform.
Writer Bio: An inventive writer who can deftly switch a scene from comedy to heart-wrenching drama, and vice versa. I continually put people I have met, conversations I have had, into my writing, creating characters who are recognisable, who you are keen to know more about. My work is candid, heartfelt, and unashamedly emotional. I am one third of Watchers Productions, writing and producing the award-nominated (UK Offline Web Fest) web series Whovians, directed by Rhys Jones (Rory Romantic, It’s My Shout 2017).
WINNER: Short Thriller Screenplay
“Sweet Pea” (Neil McLarty)
In the year 2079 three terrorists in the North of England attempt to extract information from a cybernetic being. But are these people who they appear to be and what is the cost of their actions?
Writer Bio: Neil McLarty is a Scottish director and writer based in West Yorkshire. He graduated from the University of Bradford in 2016 with a Masters in Digital Filmmaking. He has directed over 16 no budget shorts ranging from horror and science fiction to micro documentaries.
Neil works as a script supervisor and assistant and has worked on a number of productions from features like ‘Ilkley’ staring Derek Jacobi and Harry Melling to high end drama like ‘The Feed’ and Julian Fellow’s ‘The English Game’. Most recently Neil has worked on children’s drama ‘Get Even’ for Netflix and CBBC comedy ‘So Awkward’.
WINNER: Drama Short Screenplay
“Heal & Prey” (Damien Michael Aulsberry)
Hardworking student Erin Donlon gets a shot at the job she’s wanted all her life.
Damien Michael Aulsberry is a screenwriter based in Co. Kildare, Ireland. With a unique voice and idiosyncratic style, Damien hit the ground running when his first two screenplays were optioned and produced. FAMILY BUSINESS, shot in Dublin in July 2016, stars Bosco Hogan (King Arthur, In The Name of The Father), Paul Ronan (The Devils Own, Nothing Personal), Karl Shiels (Batman Begins, Veronica Guerin) and Anthony Morris, (Game of Thrones, Redemption).
SONS & BROKEN NOSES was filmed in Galway in December 2017. It stars Jason Byrne, (The General, Killing Bono), Eric Lalor, (Fair City, Amber), Frank O’Sullivan, (Michael Collins, Fair City) and Robert McCormack (The Professor and the Madman, The Delinquent Season).
WINNER: Dark Comedy Screenplay
“Sisters Kill Misters” (Chezdan Mills)
Three estranged sisters from a council estate in Bolton reunite for Christmas, only to spend the night disposing of an abusive husband.
Writer Bio: Chezdan Mills, 27, is a final year student studying Film Production (BA Hons) at the University of Salford in Media City, UK.
Chezdan’s short ‘Old And Perilous’ won Best Film at the Film Production Awards 2018 and has been screened at HOME Manchester Cinema. Exploring Dark Comedy further, his latest short ‘Sisters Kill Misters’ was set in his hometown of Bolton on the council estate he grew up on.
Chezdan is in pre-production for a quirky short Drama/Dark Comedy ‘No Refunds’ set in the UK and Switzerland. He enjoys Dark Comedy, Drama and LGBT films, and is hoping to develop a feature film in the near future.
WINNER: Bonus Category (Northern Exposure)
“A Bed For the Boy” (Simon Sylvester)
A cash-strapped dad buys a second-hand sofa. One problem… how’s he going to get it home?
Writer Bio: I’m a writer, teacher and occasional filmmaker. I was born in 1980 and grew up in Scotland, England, Germany and Northern Ireland. I studied English Literature at Lancaster University and Film Production at the University of Bristol.
After years working as a camera assistant and then a magazine journalist, I started writing fiction in 2006. My short stories have been published in journals, anthologies and magazines including Dark Mountain, Gutter, Valve, PANK, Fractured West, Fire Crane, Southpaw and Smoke: a London Peculiar, as well as performed by Liars’ League and featured on BBC Radio 6Music.
FINALISTS / RUNNERS-UP Winter 2019
FINALIST: Horror Feature Screenplay
“Snuff Box” (Ronald Wright)
Sunday Girl is a young woman abducted when she was just ten years old seven years before, and kept in a box in the basement of her captors. Terrifyingly, it appears that she’s the lucky one. She is kept in the Tool Box… but there are two other boxes in the basement with her. The disturbingly named Toy Box, kept for “special occasions”; and finally, the terrifying Snuff Box.
FINALIST: Drama Feature Screenplay
“A Dangerous Game” (Bristol MacDonald)
An enigmatic writer, determined to expose the truth behind an explosive story, gets dangerously close to the subject of her next book, a devious narcissist, plunging her into the dark underbelly of Hollywood, where a game of sadism and deception turns deadly.
FINALIST: Dark Comedy Feature Screenplay
“Quiet Ones” (Stephen Schroeder)
Two high school misfits hatch a plan to rid their school of its tyrants.
FINALIST: Horror Short Screenplay
“Ember Paradise” (Dene Stark)
A group of horror fans travel through the Nevada desert only to be greeted by a mysterious Amusement park named Ember Paradise.
FINALIST: Thriller Short Screenplay
“Love, Post-Mortem” (Nathan Ludwig & Chad Farmer)
A low-level mob enforcer finds himself embroiled in an underground ring of necrophiliacs that may or may not be connected to the tragic fate of his wife.
FINALIST: Drama Short Screenplay
“Mouse” (Daniel Cotter)
Tormented by her ex, a working-class mother battles the pains of separation, inadvertently dragging her son and his new pet mouse along for the ride.
FINALIST: Dark Comedy Short Screenplay
“Don’t Talk to Strangers” (Simon Wilkinson)
A Mother is horrified when her young daughter suddenly disappears after talking to a creepy stranger.
FINALIST: Bonus Category (NorthernExposure)
“Limpet” (Mark A. C. Brown)
The North Yorkshire fishing town of Whitby comes under threat when an unconscious drug dealer with a suspicious rash is discovered below the sea wall the night before the town’s biggest event of the year: THE WHITBY GOTH WEEKEND!!