NRFF London 2019 Screenplay Finalists

Congratulations to this year’s screenplay finalists. For possible collaboration with any of the writers, please contact NRFF.

Feature Screenplays

LITTLE THINGS MEAN A LOT Writer: Michael Monteith Genre: Biographical, Drama

By the time she appeared on stage of the London Palladium, the most popular singer in the U.S. had endured the childhood loss of her mother, the gauntlet of travelling big bands and Frank Sinatra’s efforts to destroy her career but nothing prepared her for the challenge she was about to face. “Little Things Mean a Lot” is the true story of Kitty Kallen told in flashback amid news of her untimely death. With a career that spanned from the late years of Vaudeville until the early years of Rock N Roll, her story is also that of the changing entertainment industry and the famous men who dominated it, sometimes ruthlessly. A script filled with twists and turns as Kitty battles demons both external and internal while achieving comeback after comeback, concluding with a surprise ending that is hard to believe.

Michael Monteith is the author of the screenplay “Little Things Mean a Lot,” recent winner of over forty awards and selections, including Grand Prize at the Nevada International Film Festival and Best Screenplay at the Woodbury Film Festival.

TESLA Writer: Walter Stewart Genre: Biographical, Romance

Nikola Tesla arrives in New York in 1884 with a plan to revolutionize the world with his alternating current motor, but his ideas receive a cold reception. He hits bottom then amazingly makes a meteoric rise to the top of New York society once his inventions and brilliance are recognized. It is here that the heart of Tesla’s journey is revealed in his complex relationship with Kate Johnson – the married woman with whom he shares a desperate love affair that forces him to re-evaluate his belief in his destiny as a scientist counterpoised against the yearnings of his heart.

Walter Stewart is a California native who earned a doctorate from UCLA in Germanic Philosophy and Linguistics. He teaches in several disciplines at a private university. He also specializes in the life and works of the philosopher Nietzsche about whom he has written both a scholarly study as well a novel, Zarathustra. His first-year German language study book, German in Action, will appear later this year. Stewart wrote, produced and directed the feature film Sweet Deadly Dreams. His interest in Nikola Tesla resulted in a screenplay and in the novel Wizard of the Phantom Night.

THE CEDAR ROOM Writer: Thomas Conway Genre: Thriller, Drama

Michael is an Irish man who makes his living as a labourer in London. At night he is an underground bare knuckle boxer. His promoter Nicholas informs him of a fixture; easy money. Michael pulverises his opponent in an equal display of strength and rage. A family bereavement leads Michael back to Ireland, leaving his friend Mary, a partially sighted girl, vulnerable in London. In Ireland, Michael encounters his father – a brutal drunk with an incredibly violent past. When Michael returns to London he discovers Mary has been raped. He channels his inner monster, savagely killing her attackers in an act of revenge and becoming everything he promised he never would be. His own father.

Thomas Conway, a psychological researcher at NUIG, is also a budding screenwriter. The Cedar Room is his first script. The script made it to the final 36 of 2040 scripts in the Channel 4 initiative, 4 screenwriting.

Short Screenplays

BLACK LAKE Writer: Martin Stocks Genre: Thriller, Horror

A man navigates a hostile world following a fatal car crash. Martin developed Black Lake over several years, and will be producing it as his next short film. This is also a thriller and explores the main protagonist’s total isolation in an alien and hostile world. He has attached Richard Glover (Casual Vacancy, Informer) as lead voice actor and Mark Boston as lead animator (Loving Vincent).

Martin Stocks is a writer/director with a distinctive dark voice he has honed over numerous screenplays. His previous short thriller Toll Booth (which he wrote and directed) has won 11 awards, and was nominated for Best Yorkshire Short at Leeds International Film Festival. He has now adapted this into a feature screenplay with the project in development. Martin’s feature screenplay Humble Pie was commended by BAFTA, and has been a finalist at several screenwriting competitions. He developed earlier drafts with Nick Goldsmith, Producer, Son of Rambow. This is now in development with Artful Films.

LOST BOY STANDING Writer: Mark J. Rigby Genre: Historical, War, Drama, Action

A boy soldier awaits his execution at dawn. His best pal is ordered to carry out the sentence. The story’s key themes explore belonging, identity and making a stand against oppression. It is the writer’s hope that by unearthing untold stories from our history, such as African-Caribbean contributions during the First World War, we can bring about change in our collective beliefs of belonging, which will evoke a greater sense of unity today. The dynamics of this story also allow us to explore mental trauma within a young working-class male, which remains largely a taboo. This story will therefore be a valuable inclusion to that conversation.

From acting, Mark J Rigby side-stepped into filmmaking, initially directing and producing live event and branded content films. With this solid foundation he has since explored more narrative driven films. The most important of those to date, being the experimental concept film, ‘DOGS of WAR’, for which Mark wrote the adapted screenplay. This was an ambitious, award-winning and contemporary story.

SACRE COEUR Writer: Lois Norman Genre: Romance, Women, LGBTQ, Drama

Paris. 1964. Lovers Margurite and Simone meet again, 20 years after Liberation…or is it? This short Romantic film, holds open a space in which Queer Love is often on the outside: Romance. It allows a second chance at true unconditional love 20 years after the lovers first met and parted. Whilst much might have changed on the outside, what is still sacred to both, is the honesty of accepting both themselves and each other for all of who they really are. A Queer Romance in which, no one dies!

Lois Norman is a British/Australian Creative Artist, whose work focuses on the bravery and diversity of the human condition. Primarily, using the ‘Female’ word and image in its broadest sense, she explores and questions the truth of who we are and the strength it takes to be all of who we can dare to be. Her Award Winning Documentary ‘She Is Juiced’, a first feature for Lois, which she filmed entirely solo, celebrates the work and lives of Four LGBTQIA+ Female Identifying Artists, had its World Premiere when Lois was invited to screen ‘She Is Juiced’ at Tate Britain in 2017, both as part of Tate’s ground Breaking Exhibition, Queer Britain and to launch London Pride 2017. She Is Juiced has also won Best Art Film at NRFF Amsterdam 2018, Best Documentary at Brighton Rocks 2018, was a BAFTA Cymru Finalist at Carmarthen Bay Film Festival 2018 & 2019, and the ‘Most Innovative Film Maker’ at Wales International Film Festival 2018.

Young Talent Short Screenplays

AUDITION Writer: Bailey Shropshire Genre: Women, Drama

Riley, a 19-year-old girl, auditions for an elite and selective orchestra.

Bailey Shropshire is a young writer from London who aspires to become a screenwriter.

GROUNDING Writer: Oisín-Tomás Ó Raghallaigh Genre: Social Realism, Drama

Sarah, a shy 17-year-old girl, finds the courage to open up about the abuse she and her brother have faced at the hands of their mother and the psychological consequences of it while attending an appointment at CAMHS. Inspired by the genre of social realism this story brutally honest about Mental Illness and the effects of abuse. Rather than offering some ‘eureka moment’, often portrayed in films where people magically feel better, the short shows that reaching out for help is the first step in the long road to recovery. The writer consulted with multiple mental organisations on the script including the ‘Mental Health Foundation’ that called the screenplay ”Great’…..’very realistic and sensitively done’.

Oisín-Tomás Ó Raghallaigh is a young filmmaker, born and raised in Strabane, Ireland. He directed his first short film ‘Attraction’ in 2016 and has continued to develop his skills and make short films. His most recent short film ‘Hindsight’ was created at the National Film and Television School and was an official selection at ‘Richard Harris International Film Festival’, ‘Kerry Film Festival’, ‘New Renaissance Film Festival’ and at 25 others so far. He also produced a 35-minute film ‘Grapevines’ about vigilante violence in Ireland, which is premiering at ‘Belfast Film Festival in April 2019 and won the ‘Into Film’ Ones to Watch Award, sponsored by EON Productions in 2019. He has also been selected to receive directing mentorship by BAFTA and has written his next short film ‘Grounding’, tackling issues around Youth Mental health.

HUM Writer: Ivan Cush Genre: Mystery, Drama

A man, tormented for reasons unknown to us, looks for a moment of sanctuary and solitude in a quiet gallery room. His wish is not granted.