The next L. A. CineFest will be held January 14-15 at the Promenade Playhouse in Santa Monica. This monthly festival has grown internationally throughout the past year, earning a listing on IMDb. Master Moon is one of four screenplays to have made the final round, a short script about a gruff Korean Seon master who raises a little girl. See: http://www.lacinefest.org/november2016.html.
Lexington Blue has been selected as a quarterfinalist in the Monthly Film Festival in Glasgow: http://tmff.net/winners/screenplay-competition/october-november-2016/
The online literary journal Scintilla, edited by Tim Lepczyk, published its 10th issue on December 1st. It contains fiction by Jessica Barksdale, Joey R. Poole, Jude Brewer, and Michael Putnam, and nonfiction by Yousef Allouzi. It also features poetry by Claire Scott, M.V. Montgomery, Charity Winters, David James, Nancy Flynn, William Doresky, Jen Karetnik, Carter Vance, Steve Klepetar, Linda Nemec Foster, Jack Ridl, January Pearson, and Alan Montes.
From Feel the Reel’s recent review of Ginny Has a Grunge Band. The complete review may be found at http://www.feelthereeliff.com/ginny-has-a-grunge-band-review:
“Most movies nowadays seem to be focused on grand adventures out of reality that portray superhuman heroes achieving feats unthinkable for real people. The superhero genre dominates the big screen and even the small screen with movies based on original or established comic book universes. While this is great and shows that cinema is finally up to date with the human imagination, it is sometimes important to share stories about the common everyday heroes who may not be out there saving the universe from destruction but still find the strength to wake up every day, face their own problems, and keep the world running — which can often be a harder, more important endeavor.
“Ginny has a Grunge Band tells the story of a young woman fresh out of college who now must face the reality that she´s been preparing to enter a world that doesn’t actually exist anymore. Ginny holds a degree in a field that is no longer so sought after; she has a crippling debt on her back, no good job prospects, and soon finds out her mother has spent the money saved to pay for her college loans. Not only that, but her new stepfather, with whom she is forced to live, is a violent man who physically abuses Ginny´s mother and even once tries to rape Ginny herself.
“As the story progresses, things slowly start to look better. Ginny gets a job at an old chicken restaurant where she used to work and is actually on the fast track to becoming a manager. While this is still a horrible job, it at least puts some money on the table. And thanks to the job, Ginny meets new friends who share a common interest with her — grunge music. They start getting together to jam and soon enough find themselves forming a band.
“Ginny tries to confront her mother with the reality of her horrible husband, but the mother seems to be oblivious, preferring to live a life of fear and pain instead of stepping out of her comfort zone, pushing her daughter away in favor of the abusive new man in her life. Ginny has to abandon her mother´s house in a rush, feeling depressed and defeated, but just as her new job paved the way for her meeting new friends, this new debacle allows her to meet Selah, a kind young soul who sees the value behind Ginny´s pain. Soon the two become a couple.
“The plot of Ginny has a Grunge Band is quite straightforward, without any turns or flashbacks or too many surprises, but in a market saturated with movies containing dozens of twists and plot devices used as a way to shock and intrigue the audience, it is refreshing to read a script that manages to build rapport without resorting to cheap tricks. The story has a troubled beginning, a knot where all hell breaks loose, and an ending where problems are resolved in a believable way.
“The manner in which Ginny acquires her independence is believable because she doesn’t suddenly become a super strong character who kicks her stepfather out and wins the lottery, or who stumbles upon her dream job (well a little), but because she works hard and has the emotional intelligence to step out of harm’s way and make good decisions.
“The story teaches that from a horrible predicament can eventually sprout something good, as long as people remain constant and dedicated to the good they can do, focusing on building good relationships and discarding toxic ones…”
Ginny Has a Grunge Band won “2nd Best Screenplay” in its debut at the Feel the Reel Festival in Bucharest last night. It was a spirited battle of the bands at the M60 Café with Stephen M. Hunt’s Weaver’s Stairs, Pamela Turner’s Final Curtain, Sarah McKinnon’s Conspiracy Project, and Callum Bryce’s Churchill in Sudan — all of them worthy projects by writers with well-deserved international reputations.
In the preliminaries, Marten’s righteous riffs, Koos’ full throttle bass, Viv’s energetic drumfire, and Ginny’s heartrending singing quickly narrowed the field to three — Weaver’s Stairs, Churchill in Sudan, and the Glutens (Ginny’s band).
Hours later, as the evening wore on, just two contenders were left standing — Ginny, and that jowly, redoubtable champion of the free world himself, Mr. Churchill. As we all must certainly know, Sir Winston actually charted two number-ones, “The Voice of” in 1965 and “Reach For the Skies” in 2010; in between gigs, he did a stint with the heavy metal band Iron Maiden in 1984.
In such company, to finish second is practically one’s patriotic duty.
And thus, in their first-ever competition, Ginny and the Glutens were silver and not gold. But given the closeness of the competition, the enthusiasm of the crowd, and the glory of the night, all I can say at this point, in looking ahead to the next festival, is GO GINNY GO!
Neema and Sid Remember to Be Awesome, the sequel to Neema and Sid Go Totally Off Grid, will debut at the New York Film and TV Festival on Dec. 3-4 at the Wythe Hotel in Brooklyn.
Note to Neema and Sid: Congratulations on being selected as semi-finalists! Don’t think I’d forgotten about you two while you were busy adjusting to your senior year of high school — never!