GRAND PRIZE WINNER: SUGAR LAND (TV pilot) by R.B. Ripley - After a unassuming, small town Texas housewife begins laundering money for an ambitious new cartel leader in order to save her family’s sugar refinery business, she makes an enemy of the state's crooked Governor and sets out on a perilous path to unseat him.
FIRST RUNNER-UP: DESERT RAIN (feature) by Colleen Burns - Bruised by scandal, a journalist heads to Mogadishu on assignment where amidst hunger and terror she confronts her former love – as violence draws them in.
SECOND RUNNER-UP: A FISH FOR RUDY (feature) by Helen Darvall - No one in the small beach town in pre-war Australia understands the young boy who defies his banker father in his quest to become a fisherman. As the war begins, his true love stands with him and within the shadow of world-changing events and environmental changes he must grow up as progress becomes an all too real antagonist.
2017 SEMI-FINALISTS TELEVISION PILOTS
ALCUS (TV pilot) by David Neubert & Alcus Todd Thompson - An African-American hustler, growing up in Milwaukee in the 60s and 70s, finds success trafficking huge amounts of cocaine from LA in the 80s. A savvy, charming opportunist with a knack for earning respect, his mettle is definitively tested when his fate falls in the hands of the DEA at the crest of the country's surging war on drugs.
AMERICAN SAGA (TV pilot) by Zachery Halem - Both Alice Moffett, a young Irish lady and Mack Freeman, an ex-slave, arrive in New York on the exact day in the late 1800's. The convergence of their paths sets into motion the birth of generations of an American family, whose paths vary and beliefs diverge, with one objective in mind: “make it” in America.
BEFORE MARS (TV pilot) by Shruti Saran - When an eccentric multimillionaire recruits her to captain the first manned mission to Mars, Dr. Priya Seghal believes she has just landed the opportunity of a lifetime until she meets her insane crew and sees the reality TV cameras.
CONNECTION (TV pilot) by Jace Lacob - When the members of a secret support group for psychics are targeted by a murderer, they must band together to unmask the killer.
DIVISION I (TV pilot) by Christopher Crane - The student/athletes at powerhouse Mount Evans State University try to avoid stumbling over the college life trappings of sex, national stardom, and their own teammates while earning their Bachelors' Degree in adulthood.
IMMACULATE (TV pilot) by Charles McNamara - Nora, an atheist small-town teenager, is accidentally impregnated by a stray bullet which passes through the nether parts of a nearby hapless teenaged boy. She must battle her Christian fundamentalist dad and the town's Rapture-hungry faithful while striving to discover the truth about how she really got pregnant.
INFAMOUS (TV pilot) by Phil Brody - Fame becomes a double-edged sword for two aspiring actresses hell-bent on avenging the cold-blooded murder of their friend.
JET LAGGED (TV pilot) by Jeffrey Opdyke & Erika Nolan - A Colombian-born American female CEO takes over the family business and must rely on her ex-husband to help grow the business internationally as a way to ward off a hostile competitor out for revenge. Along the way, she and her ex face the struggles of language barriers, food challenges, sleep deprivation, managing a business back home, and trying to tolerate each other every waking hour.
JUPITER (TV pilot) by Zachary Volker & Brandon Weaver - In this animated comedy set in 1969, a senior homicide detective attempts to investigate a prolific serial killer in Western Oregon while his talented and eccentric wife, his artistic children, the dim-witted police department, and the once-complacent citizens of his hometown struggle with a looming and unprecedented terror.
LIGHT OF THE SOUTH (TV pilot) by Samuel Christie -American and Australian spies operate under extreme pressure in Singapore during World War II.
MIDDLE MEN (TV pilot) by Matthew & Jayson Zambito - Desperate to put his contract killing career behind him, a hitman risks losing everything when his wife, an FBI special agent, begins investigating the secret assassin syndicate he is a part of.
PROOST (TV pilot) by Anne-Marie Caluwaert - Police Inspector Olivier Proost serves the law by day and fights it by night; solving crimes in the shadow of the Third Reich, where justice is an alien concept and racism a norm.
THE RESET (TV pilot) by Kate Traill Price - In a dystopian world set 25 years after a mysterious plague has killed every male on the planet, one young woman discovers that she's pregnant with a baby boy.
THE ROAR (TV pilot) by Lynsey Murdoch - Former convict DORIS AYO and ex-society girl ABIGAIL LARK are secretly employed by the Met to infiltrate the dark, criminal underbelly of post WWI London and become the first female undercover detectives.
SET THEM FREE (TV pilot) by Matthew Duriez - When allegations of political fraud, physical abuse, and even murder fall across the desk of the District Attorney’s Investigator Amelia Mooney, she embarks on a journey that will lead her into the very dark heart of the cult Peoples Temple and lead to her to witness one of the most tragic moments in history; the senseless loss of one thousand lives.
WHISPER IN THE VINES (TV pilot) by Sasha Siljanovic - An absurd comedy that follows a crude, party loving sommelier, trying to salvage a wasted career by graduating the world’s ponciest wine institution. But when he’s gifted a mysterious ability that allows him to step into the past memories of a wine’s essence - it creates havoc at the illustrious Spit & Swallow Wine Institute.
2017 SEMI-FINALISTS FEATURE SCREENPLAYS
00:16 to SHINJUKU (feature) by Eric McEver - According to Tokyo urban legend, the last train at midnight transports sinners straight to Hell. 10-year-old schoolgirl Nao, left in the care of an abusive mother after her beloved father's suicide, escapes one night onto just such a train finding herself in the company of eight co-passengers who are carried deep beneath Tokyo to a hidden catacomb filled with lurking monsters. They each must confront the truth not only about their attackers, but about where they really are...and why the train has taken them there.
13 EAST (feature) by Enrique Posner - Based on a true story: The enduring power of a father's love is tested when a brilliant scientist, known as one of the first to cure cancer, discovers that his own son has a rare blood disease which he may have inadvertently triggered, and for which the boy became infamously known as “The Boy In The Plastic Bubble.”
AUDACITY (feature) by Juli Del Prete - Seventeen year-old Kate thought she'd quit dancing forever – until her twin sister's injury draws her back to the world she left behind. Forced to face the most painful parts of her past and herself, Kate must choose: stay in the safety of shadows or step out into the spotlight?
THE BEASTS OF RAMREE (feature) by Alistair Collinson - A British marine is captured by the Japanese during WWII and bears witness to what has been called 'The Greatest Disaster Suffered (by humans) from animals' - While evacuating tropical island they are attacked by hundreds of deadly saltwater crocodiles. Inspired by true events.
BLOOD ALONG THE ROAD (feature) by Bobby Marino - After five peaceful years, an ex-outlaw is thrown back into a world of violence when a shootout sends his wife spiraling down a path of vengeance.
BLUE UMBRELLA SKY (feature) by Michael Sloane - BENJAMIN KING had it all, and lost it all. Off society’s radar and about to be declared legally dead, Benjamin joins up with headstrong young DANIELLE and together they undertake a cross-country odyssey to find their way 'home'.
BRINGHURST'S EQUATION (feature) by Steven Cegelski - A desperate horologist constructs a mechanized chess machine far superior to any human in order to challenge a longtime Grandmaster who utilizes an unbeatable chess equation.
CHOKE JOB (feature) by David Johnson - After saving a man's life in a restaurant, a hotshot defense attorney's life is methodically and mysteriously destroyed by the very man whose life he saved.
CHOKEPOINT (feature) by Erik LeDrew - After ten years in prison, two ex-soldiers seek revenge on the mercenaries who framed them and murdered their friend.
CLAY TOMMY (feature) by Jared Egol - An emotionally crippled young man must overcome his infinite delusions of grandeur in order to become the greatest artist of all time. The story of a young, Donald Trump-like figure who must find the courage to face himself.
THE COWBOY (feature) by Brian Molloy - A teenage slaughter house worker returns to his decaying outlaw family to reap his inheritance and slay his father's killer in 1930's West Texas.
CRESCENT (feature) by Edward Worthy - In a final attempt to raise his bi-racial son, an estranged black father and jazz musician shares his teenage struggles adapting from an all white school to a black school.
CRUSH THE MONSTER (feature) by Alex Odaguar - Based on true events, an idealistic psychiatrist aides a group of men accused of sex crimes in 1950s Boise, Idaho, while the city rallies behind a tenacious investigator who seeks to lock the men up behind bars.
DIE WELL (feature) by Maz Lahooti & Steven McCaal- An old and dying crooked detective teams up with a young street level criminal to set out to find his decades since exiled and estranged son.
D.T. (feature) by Ken Comer - When a terminally ill female detective is denied the opportunity to investigate her partner's brutal murder by police brass, she used her badge to become a legal vigilante.
DANCING WITH THE NOBODIES (feature) by Geronimo Perez - A fallen high school football idol, struggling under a mountain of debt, gets a chance at redemption when he's chosen for a reality show dance competition, only to find his life and future hijacked by its populist, amoral producer.
FEAR GOD (feature) by Silvia Arribas-Mantelli - An ostracized Pakistani-American teen buys into the rhetoric of ISIS and follows her best friend to an all-female community in Syria to become a medic; only to discover the truth is not what she was promised. To escape, she must find courage where her journey started—their friendship.
FELLOW MAN (feature) by Brian Smolensky - Separated from his wife when Hurricane Katrina hits New Orleans, a poor scavenger battles the brutal savagery of nature and the extremes of humanity in his quest to find her. Concurrently, drunk and alone in Oklahoma, a jobless widower sets out to find one last opportunity to be useful in a world that no longer needs him.
HEADSHOT (feature) by Paul Harker - Old age really is a killer... Years after a Grandmother assumes her dead son's contract killer persona, her plan to escape to a new life with her granddaughter is threatened as the mob boss closes in.
HOLLOW CHILD (feature) by Rachael Blackwood - When a small-town, alcoholic cop discovers an abandoned five-year-old girl wandering alone in the Arizona desert, she must sober up and face the devastating loss of her own child to unearth the disturbing truth about the abandoned girl's father, the charismatic leader of remote farming community.
JACKY BOY (feature) by James R. Ridley - The tragedy of how an orphaned boy from the slums of New York City became notorious serial killer, Jack The Ripper.
LEGATO (feature) by Steven Wexler - A major scientific discovery has a musician, office temp, and genius on the run from underground revolutionaries, Big Oil, and a fast food franchise.
LOVE IS FREE WILL (feature) by Amanda Samaroo - In the mountains of North Carolina, a high school football coach's love for his teenage daughter clashes with his religious views when he learns that she is a lesbian.
THE MAN ON THE FLYING TRAPEZE (feature) by SG Cannon - Jules Leotard rises from humble beginnings to become the world's first trapeze artist in 19th century France. After his career peaks, he finds himself on an abysmal quest to revive his waning stardom. Based on true events.
MUD SWIMMERS (feature) by Angela Ryan - Against her better judgement, a racist and bitter social worker helps a grieving, yet optimistic illegal immigrant, and is pushed to re-evaluate her outlook on life.
NIGHT FORCE (feature) by Alexandre Mullen - After his sister's death in a terrorist attack, Brandon is recruited by Night Force, an organized group of vigilantes with ties to his deceased father. Top Gun meets Batman Begins.
PICKLE (feature) by Steven Lowery - An effeminate boy and his beautiful twin sister navigate their world in 1960's rural Appalachia.
PORTCULLIS (feature) by Eveline Powell - Two warring political leaders, opposites in every way, leave their respective parties to set up a new centrist one, and with an unlikely team of a nerd, a bimbo and an amoral campaign manager, fight the election. A mash up of "Pride and Prejudice" and modern politics with its extremism, fake news and farce.
POSER (feature) by Susan Boyer - An "Election"-esque adult political satire masquerading as a teen comedy set against the backdrop of the 1979 Iran Hostage Crisis. Graduating senior JASMINE engages in Watergate-worthy tactics to win the high school presidential election--then must cover-up her misdeeds to avoid impeachment-- and winds up betraying not only her best friend but also her true identity in the process.
RUSTAM'S SOUP (feature) by Tiago Paulos - A failing high end kitchen chef becomes obsessed with finding the recipe for a soup dish he discovers in a small restaurant. His search leads him and those around him to uncover the dark secrets behind the family who runs the kitchen.
THE SNOWMAN (feature) by Nick Cammilleri - A recently released pedophile is the last hope to stop a child killer in 1983 Manhattan.
SPEAK ENGLISH (feature) by Kieran Angelini - To work off his massive debt to a dangerous South American kingpin, a commitment-phobic cardsharp agrees to marry the gangster's French mistress to keep her from being deported and.then puts his life in even greater danger by falling in love with the gangster's hot-blooded Mexi wife.
STELLA INCARNATED (feature) by Avi Glick - A grieving man in his late-50s with severe Asperger's becomes the caretaker for a newborn baby whom he believes is the reincarnation of his late wife.
VERBATIM (feature) by Jake Quinn - The psychological trauma and social backlash endured by eighteen year-old Casey after she is raped the night before her high school graduation.
VICTORIOUS (feature) by Rigel Dawson - Seeking revenge for the brutal rape of her daughters and the merciless beating that she endured, the Celtic warrior queen Boudicca leads her people to fight the occupying Romans. Rising up against her oppressors, she is willing to give her life in the pursuit of justice and freedom for her