Finalist: Cinequest 21

My script “Welcome To Akron” is a finalist in this year’s Cinequest screenplay competition. A winner will be announced at Cinequest, which is in San Jose, CA and runs March 1st through March 13th, 2011. I’m happy to be a Finalist (or better) in any competition, but it’s particularly nice (and convenient) to be recognized by the best festival in “my own backyard” of the SF/SJ/Oakland Bay Area.

The particular script that was chosen, “Welcome To Akron”, has also placed in several other competitions (including as a semifinalist at Nicholl). This story asks the rhetorical question: “Dying’s boring, why rush into it?” Young Deathrocker Akron Szabo comes to realize this with a little help from a cantankerous, old terminal cancer patient named Izzy Mendelbaum. Akron’s dead-end path of worthless jobs, methamphetamine abuse and hiding from life within the Gothic party scene leads him to take a job at a hospital. He doesn’t plan to clean up, work hard and get out of his old life, but rather to use the job to maintain his party lifestyle while he hangs his hopes on a long-shot win at a national synthesizer building contest – dreaming that he’ll luck into a life of fame by parlaying contest money into his own music studio and become a big name music producer. But in the hospital he meets Izzy, who clings to life in order to make amends to himself for his own angry, debauched past. Through Izzy, Akron starts to see that there’s really something to life — but then his world falls apart around him. His girlfriend dies in a meth lab explosion, and he spirals deeper into self denial and abuse, and finally loses his job, his remaining friends, and misses the deadline for his dream contest. It’s his friendship with Izzy that saves him. When it seems Akron has lost the battle with himself, Izzy gives him just the kick in the ass he needs to pick himself up. Akron sends himself packing off to Los Angeles to try to win the contest despite missing the entry deadline and open his own studio. Finally realizing the foolishness of living in fear and trying to fake your way through life, Akron returns home able to accept himself for who he is, and face life’s challenges without crumbling before them.

This is my most personal of all my scripts so far, and the one I’m most passionate about making “at all costs.” I’ve been trying to get financing for it for quite a while. Hopefully Cinequest, along with its placing in Nicholl and several other competitions, will help with that.

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