Cecil's Woods - Feature Script - USA
Cecil's Woods will be presented at a table read on Saturday November 26, 2022 - location still to be determined, most likely it will be at Alamo City Studios with one other script, Amy and Angel.
When construction of a gas station threatens his home, a young orphan living in harmony with nature on a densely wooded interstate median must unite his unique animal friends and a cast of characters to save "Cecil's Woods." A multicultural Moonrise Kingdom meets Holes with a dash of The Jungle Book.
Former journalist and recovering novelist, CJ is a late bloomer in the screenwriting arena. He began working with playwright Kevin Renshaw during the pandemic to channel their comedic energies honed together as Air Force Broadcasters in Greece. CECIL'S WOODS placed as a Catalina Film Festival, StoryPros 14th Annual Screenplay Contest, and Animalis Fabula finalist. It is also a semifinalist at Ojai and others.
Kevin is a publishing industry executive, as well as a playwright, actor, and stage director near Atlanta. Also an Air Force veteran, Kevin & CJ met while serving and worked together as TV & radio producers and on-air talent during tours in Greece and Turkey.
In addition to Kevin's work on Cecil's Woods, he has written , produced, and directed several stage productions and is Executive Director of the CenterStage North theater in Marietta, Georgia. He is the author of the stage plays FARMING BEAUTY, DESTINATIONS & TABLEAUS, and SEPULCHRE.
Kevin is currently working with CJ on the comedy screenplay POETRY IN MOTION, in which an aging poet must face his fear of "sportsballs" to reclaim his career, his respect, and the son he never knew he had.
Amy and Angel - Feature Script - USA
Amy and Angel will be presented at a table read on Saturday November 26, 2022 - location still to be determined, most likely it will be at Alamo City Studios with one other script, Cecil's Woods.
Shy 16-year old Amy just wants to dance, but her deafness causes her dreams to be shattered when she is bullied out of dance class.
Finding the most unbelievable new dance partner, her neighbors neglected dog, they perform a spectacular routine that lands them on a national TV talent show where they compete against her former dance crew.
Veteran filmmaker Julia Verdin is a multi-hyphenate – she is known as an accomplished producer, award-winning Director and has written a number of screenplays.
Having been in the film business for 30 years, Julia has established herself as one of Hollywood’s leading independent producers, with over 36 critically acclaimed feature films produced to date.
Deedee Benkovich, born Denisa Benkovicova, is a screenwriter/producer from Slovakia.
She received her first Bachelors degree in Mass Media and Advertising with focus of Marketing at University of Constantine the Philosopher in Nitra, Slovakia. Shortly after her graduation she moved to London (UK) to start her second Bachelors degree in Filmmaking at London Metropolitan University. Inspired by the various classes film studies offered after receiving her 2nd bachelor degree, she decided to continue her studies at New York Film Academy in Los Angeles where she graduated with her Masters in Screenwriting. Deedee worked on several short films along side Julia Verdin and Arturo Vargas.
'The Awakening of the Asian Elephant' is a short observational documentary about an elephant who falls sick and the local mahouts (elephant caretakers) who fight to save her life.
The story takes place inside the Yok Don National Park where Animals Asia homes a few retired elephants who used to work carrying tourists in the Dak Lak province, Vietnam. Together with H'Plo, AAF hired her mahout, Nhat, to work for the park close to his elephant. This is a story of resilience, camaraderie and trust between two different species who have always lived alongside each other.
My passion for science and conservation began when I studied my Masters in Social Anthropology in 2010.
In 2015 I consumed myself in becoming a filmmaker and received my Advance Diploma in Screen and Media from Sydney Film School, specializing in Documentary filmmaking.
Passionate about moving images, I started freelancing as a videographer while working on my own personal projects. 'Through Their Eyes' was my first solo project, a six mini documentaries series about human-animal connection stories released in 2019, available on DocPlay streaming platform.
I then received development fundings from ABC Australia for “Mother Crocodile”, a 40min documentary about an eccentric lady who shares her house with 3 pet crocodiles in Melbourne (about to be released).
In 2020 I moved to Ho Chi Minh where I freelanced as a videographer for RICE, a local production company while also creating content for Fight Dog Meat and Animals Asia animal protection organizations. 'The Mahout' is a short documentary I filmed for Animals Asia about their elephant rescue program in Vietnam which is now available on Waterbear online streaming platform.
Currently I am in the US working full time as a videographer and editor for SideXSide Studios.
Eden's Empire - Short Narrative - Israel
After she loses control, and pushes her mom in an argument, a lonely girl runs away to the woods, where she finds a dog that helps her deal with her guilt and anger at her parent's separation.
Joshua Trachtman was born in a Travel trailer in the USA, and moved to Israel in his childhood where he grew up in a large religious hippy homeschool family, sandwiched between six other siblings and numerous pets.
While not on set or at the editing bay, you can find Joshua Volunteering with holocaust survivors or enjoying walks with his beautiful dogs.
It is said that the two hardest things on set are directing children, and directing animals. My movie has both. I knew that the key thing on which the film would rise or fall was the casting of the lead role. In earlier versions of the script, the protagonist of the film was a boy. I auditioned over 60 kids, and I felt like none of them had the precise combination of natural acting for a complex role, screen presence, and maturity to thrive on a busy film set. Then at one of the auditions for the role of the protagonist's younger sister, a young actress named Tal (Without any previous acting experience) arrived, I was amazed by her from the very first moment of the audition. I knew that this is the solution that has eluded me so far, and at the center of the film must stand a heroine, not a hero. So I rewrote the script and cast her as the lead.
I found out that Tal is going through similar things to the main character, she just also dealt with her parents' break up, and was living with her single mother.
It was very important to me that the set be a safe place for her, and a place where she could express herself. Tal told me that she felt that the film helped her a lot to cope With the difficulties she is facing. She managed to bring a lot of herself into the role, and I would not be surprised if she wins an Oscar in a few years.
The next crucial step for filming was creating a real bond between Tal and Loopy, so Tal and I spent many days rehearsing with Loopy and his trainer.
The script I wrote is fictional, but it combines a lot of my childhood experiences and moments from life. It was very important to me to write a screenplay about a kid learning to cope with hardship and guilt through her relationship with a dog. In my childhood after we came to Israel and my parents divorced, I went through an extremely lonely and painful period of my life, I took the guilt of the divorce upon myself, and my dogs helped and gave me the tools I needed to grow and cope.
The main reason why I had to create the film is my belief that there is hope for healing for every person, no matter how low they have gotten. I want the audience to go on a journey with the protagonist, from the starting point of great pain, to the decision to eventually return to her home even though her problems have not been fully resolved, because she has found tools to help her cope and grow and to rebuild her special mother daughter connection.
While writing this screenplay like everyone else, I was shocked by the arrival of this crazy pandemic, suddenly nothing was certain. It was unclear if this thing we all love called cinema, would survive. I was facing a crossroads. I could do The rational thing and postpone the production by a year, due to all the obstacles that faced the upcoming production: lockdowns, lack of financing, fears and depression all due to covid, Instead I chose the second option, which I knew was right… to move forward with my dream, and shoot my script in spite of everything. I just knew I had to get it out into the world!
Added Years - Short Documentary - USA
A film essay of an aging man's love and devotion for his horses, and the joy and optimism they bring him.
Dave Garcia is a filmmaker in Texas.
Making his directorial debut with his 2021 documentary short film, Added Years, he has worked primarily in post-production on multiple award-winning productions, including shorts, independent features, documentaries, music videos, commercials and training videos.
I’ve always had a deep respect and admiration for people who are fully committed to their passion. I made this film to be an immersive glimpse into one man’s daily expression of his love, devotion and commitment to his horses, as well as their impact and the joy and optimism they bring him.
Dream Carriers - Short Narrative - USA
On a final ride through her neighborhood, a college-bound Chicana reflects on past generations of women through the telling of the migration of monarch butterflies.
Esmeralda Hernandez is an award winning independent filmmaker and artist, born and raised in San Antonio, Texas.
With her art, she highlights the voices and faces of underrepresented people. Her short films explore the American experience and other worlds, putting Latina protagonists at the forefront of the story. She graduated from the Radio-Television-Film program at The University of Texas at Austin in 2019. Her thesis film Cake had a successful festival run playing at Cine Las Americas, South Texas International Film Festival, CineFestival, Hill Country Film Festival, Hollywood North Film Festival, and San Antonio Film Festival where she won the jury prize for Best College Filmmaker.
#AniFab the Animalis Fabula Film Festival '22 compiles the information presented in the official selections from FilmFreeway our film festival partner as well as from the filmmakers.
The Festival Director presents the information as it is presented to AniFab.