Congratulations to our 2018 Screenplay Competition winners
We read all script submissions carefully and score each one in over a dozen categories including story arc, character development, and grammar/typographical accuracy. Below are our Winners, Finalists, and Honorable Mentions for this year. Being a judge for this competition was not an enviable task as we received many excellent scripts this year and picking the winners was extremely difficult. As was the case last year, if you submitted a screenplay and are not on this list, often you were in close contention for one of our awards.
TAKING DOWN THE MET
Synopsis: A Rembrandt masterpiece, forged by its owner, looted by the Nazis and hidden away more than half a century, is given life by a widowed art authenticator. She uses technical skill, moral courage and the help of its 17th Century artist and subject, to overcome the art world’s arrogance and return a priceless treasure to its rightful owners.
New York City art authenticator ANDREA RAND, who has recently moved to a Vermont farm from Manhattan, takes on the biggest job of her career. She is handed what purports to be a genuine Rembrandt, hidden for over 70 years by its owners, a family that escaped with it from Nazi Germany. In 1933, forseeing where Nazi rule will lead, the family patriarch LEOPOLD KOPPELL, a German Jewish industrialist and art collector, commissions a master forger to duplicate his beloved Rembrandt, displaying the copy in his Berlin apartment and secreting the original. The problem: the forgery, subsequently seized by the Nazis and then trafficked by unscrupulous middlemen and a corrupt museum director, now hangs in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Shortly before receiving the original for review, Andrea has recently resigned as a conservator at the Met, fed up with the museum director, EUGENE DE MANDEVILLE, who has made a career of cutting corners in the art world. De Mandeville, who oozes unctuous arrogance, knows that his Rembrandt has questionable provenance. Over the years, he has kept experts from looking at it too closely. But now, Andrea has in her hands a Rembrandt that may prove to be real and may expose de Mandeville and his acolytes themselves as frauds.
From an opening scene viewing the forged masterpiece hanging in the Met, the story moves to Andrea’s Vermont farmhouse studio, then successively, to Rembrandt’s 1665 work room, to the forger’s Berlin apartment, and back to the present. At Rembrandt’s studio, we see the portrait and its subject, GERARD DE LAIRESSE. We watch Rembrandt carefully mixing his unique ingredients, confirmation of which will only be discovered by Andrea’s 21st century technology. As the portrait is finished, we see the flourish with which Rembrandt affixes his distinctive signature, a gesture that 350 years later will be key to Andrea’s resolution of what’s real and what’s fake. And throughout the story, as an anachronistic, almost ghostly, presence, visual in shadow and heard subconsciously, there is the presence of de Lairesse, who guides Andrea throughout her authentication journey.
It’s a story of the meaning and depth of fine art, of the pain of history, and of the omnipresence of greed. It’s also a story of the triumph of science and the joy of obtaining justice, as the Koppel family is vindicated in its quest to validate, through his most precious treasure, their grandfather’s legacy.
Bio: Andrea Forrest was born in New York City and was an art major at Manhattan’s Hunter College. She holds a graduate certificate in art authentication from the University of Melbourne (Australia), one of the world’s leading institutions in that discipline.
Her research has included study into the provenance of looted Nazi art and research into using thermoluminescence in the dating of American artifacts. She developed a unique methodology for identifying counterfeit 17th, 18th and 19th century paintings produced by one of America’s most prolific art forgers. She is a long-time collector of early American furniture and artifacts and of Asian art.
Andrea began her career as a retail security specialist. She became one of New York City’s first female licensed private detectives, forming her own successful private security and investigative firm. She spent thirteen years as a licensed private investigator and polygraph examiner in New York City. Her exploits were featured in a cover article in Savvy magazine. She also served as director of corporate security for a large East Coast retail chain and wrote a regular column for Chain Store Age.
Andrea moved to Vermont in 1984 and fell in love with gardening, something that was entirely new to her. Increasingly frustrated by Vermont’s short gardening season, she responded by inventing a way to grow plants designed for warmer habitats. She holds three U.S. design patents on garden products that do just that. Additionally, Andrea holds two patents on an ultrasonic nail brush.
Her garden at Rockledge Farm, the 1799 estate where she and her husband call home, has been featured in Old House Journal, Vermont Magazine and Old House Interiors.
She is an award-wining screenwriter for her screenplay Taking Down the Met. In 2017-2018, her screenplay scored first place in the Universe Multicultural Film Festival, the NOVA Film Festival, the New York Short Film and Screenplay Festival and the Williamsburgh Film Festival. It was a finalist in four other screenplay contests.
For the past thirty years, she has lived in Northern Vermont, where she gardens, invents, writes and researches fine art.
Synopsis: Greg Mania is fired from his retail job at a high-end consignment boutique in SoHo, Manhattan. Severely short with money for rent, he uses his connections in the world of New York City nightlife to rope him and Toni, his forty-something-year-old best friend and roommate, into a gig at a burlesque bar in the Lower East Side. Even though the owner of the bar, Chuck, says no, Greg, who we already know has no respect for authority, takes over Chuck’s bar for one night when Chuck conveniently has a gig with his band that same night. Toni takes over the turntables to spin a vinyl set while Greg go-go dances, but things go awry when a fog machine malfunction in the middle of their show causes the fire department to show up — just in time for Chuck to arrive for a nightcap after his gig.
Bio: Greg Mania is a New York City-based writer and comedian who is best known for his satirical columns for OUT Magazine. His work has also appeared in The Huffington Post, PAPER, BULLETT, Posture, LADYGUNN, CREEM, Baron, among other international online and print platforms. He’s also an award-winning screenwriter, and has recently co-wrote and co-produced his first feature-length film, Deadman’s Barstool. He’s a recent graduate of The New School, earning an MA in Media Studies with a concentration in screenwriting. He’s currently working on his first book.
RIDING ON DUKE’S TRAIN
Mick Carlon &
Synopsis: Told in flashback, RIDING ON DUKE’S TRAIN is about eleven year-old Danny Bolden, an African-American boy living in the backwoods of Georgia with his beloved Granny, in the 1930s. His life is suddenly and dramatically changed when his Grandmother dies, and he is left an orphan.
Facing an uncertain future, Danny decides to take his chances; he leaves his home and heads north to seek a new life. He narrowly escapes a KKK lynching party and then, one moonlit night, he comes upon a beautiful silver train. Entranced by this almost ethereal vision he sneaks aboard. Danny soon discovers he is on Duke Ellington’s private train carrying the legendary jazz composer and his famous orchestra. Ellington and his talented musicians take Danny under their wing and make him part of their touring family, with Ellington’s lead vocalist, Ivie Anderson, becoming a big sister to him. The adventure begins!
Bios: Mick Carlon’s three young adult novels—RIDING ON DUKE’S TRAIN; TRAVELS WITH LOUIS, and GIRL SINGER (Leapfrog Press)—are now in the curriculum of 100+ schools in America and Europe. He is honored to be collaborating with Ken Kimmelman on the film version of RIDING ON DUKE’S TRAIN.
Ken Kimmelman is an award-winning filmmaker and consultant on the faculty of the Aesthetic Realism Foundation in New York City. He received an Emmy Award for his work
on Sesame Street, and an Emmy for his anti-prejudice PSA, The Heart Knows Better. He produced films for the United Nations against apartheid, and prejudice. He was also nominated for an Emmy in 1992 & 1993 as a director on the animated TV show Doug. He teaches the class, “If It Moves It Can Move You”: Opposites in the Cinema, at the Aesthetic Realism Foundation, soon to be published as a book in 2019.
His film, Thomas Comma (2010), received many awards, and airs on PBS. Hot Afternoons Have Been in Montana (2006), based on the prize poem by Eli Siegel, won numerous awards, and also airs on PBS and is included on the website The Montana Experience.
He is currently in collaboration with Jazz at Lincoln Center on an animated feature-film about Duke Ellington, titled, Riding on Duke’s Train, based on the book by Mick Carlon. He has taught Film and Animation at NYU and SVA. His work was part of the 2006 Whitney Biennial.
As a lecturer on racism and bullying, he has spoken at numerous schools, colleges and public libraries.