Los Angeles Lift-Off Officially Selected Screenplays

After a huge number of submissions for Los Angeles Lift-Off Film Festival, here are the 4 screenplays officially selected to go forward onto the Community platform. Congratulations all!

In order to read the screenplays, sign up to the Lift-Off Community here:


Seeds – Natalie van der Meulen

SYNOPSIS: In a post-apocalyptic world of climate change and scarce biodiversity controlled by a cartel of five companies, a father and his daughter seek out a green guerrilla community. Together they will plan a heist on world’s most valuable resources: the last global seed vault on earth.


What was the inspiration behind this screenplay?

My first inspiration for the script was the global warming crisis and the recent trend in urban agriculture that is developing over the world. I imagined a post-apocalyptic world in which plants no longer exist, or are controlled by large multinational companies. A world of poverty, inflation, malnourishment, private and corporate greed. A world in which we actually already live, only pushed to its extremes, and in which humans are left to fend for themselves for food, unless they want to eat white beans day in and day out for the rest of their lives.

Through Tom and his daughter Lou, or Marv and his exploded family, the script explores how such conditions can strain personal and family relations, when in fact it is of primordial importance to nurture these relationships in order to survive.

The script shows how people react under such extreme circumstances, how their survival instinct will kick in, giving them the strength to think they can defeat an adversary of Goliath-like proportions.

I have always enjoyed and admired heist movies in that they always succeed in getting the audience to root for the team, to make sure they got the objective/treasure they were after. A collective spirit emerges, whatever the goal or outcome. I am hoping that by placing nature and plant diversity as the holy grail of the story, more people will engage with the environmental message, even those that had initially just come to enjoy a heist movie.

What are you looking for to take this project to the next stage?

At this point I am looking for a producer to take this project forward. I have attached a Director with a proven track record, and who shares the same passion for the subject and message of the movie: Frédéric Forestier ( Together, we have consulted with a first AD and a line producer on a shooting schedule and preliminary budget, which helps us also position the film on a certain market and elaborate ideas on the production structure. Due to the shooting locations and topic, we believe this movie would work best as an international or European co-production with a few countries, such as Belgium or Norway. We have made preliminary contacts with potential co-producers that have expressed an interest, but at this point we need a strong producer to take leadership and help access casting and distribution to take it to the next level. The script is still entirely my own and has not yet been optioned by anyone.

What advice has helped you get where you are now?

I received a lot of advice from many different people in order to get where I am now, whether in life, or in my script. Be it my family, strangers on a train or plane, or other screenwriters and filmmakers. But the most valuable advice I received in life would probably be this: trust your instinct. If something doesn’t feel right, change it. Try something else. I was an attorney in a big law firm for a few years before realising many things didn’t feel right, so I decided to change. I went back to school, got a degree in fashion design and started working as a costume designer on tv- and movie-sets. That’s when I remembered I had always wanted to work in the movie business, without knowing precisely in what capacity. Gradually, over the next three years, reading scripts for over 30 productions I have worked on, I found what I believe is my true calling: screenwriting. Bringing your imagination to life, penning it down. Giving voices to characters, building them up to bring them back down, caring for them and hating them at the same time. I can’t imagine a single day without writing now, a single day without a least trying to figure out why my characters behave in a certain way, or how my stories should move forward next. And there again, I always try to follow my instinct.



The Dress – Bill Brock

SYNOPSIS: It’s Hollywood, 1985, and a hotshot film director struggling with substance abuse must conquer his demons to fulfill the mystical dream of a starlet who died in his mansion 62 years earlier.

What was the inspiration behind the screenplay?

The mysterious death of actress Natalie Wood in November, 1981. I was a teenager at the time and followed the investigation closely, and yet, to this day, the mystery continues. “The Dress” focuses on the death of an actress in 1923 Hollywood. As you read the script, I pay homage to Miss Wood. During a flashback to 1969, our protagonist, Steve Harp, is also a teenager at the time, reading a movie magazine with Natalie Wood on the cover.

What are you looking for to take this project to the next stage?

A reputable production company with the proper capital to produce it and finding respectable literary representation as a professional screenwriter.

What advice has helped to get where you are now?

Nothing is ever written in stone. Be flexible as a writer. Writing and producing films is a collaborative process. Be kind and humble to everyone you meet.



Spanish for Beginners –  Raul Martin


SYNOPSIS: Spanish For Beginners is a 30-minute coming-of-age dramedy that follows Miguel, a queer Mexican American boy who creates his own portrait of neighborhood life as he experiences his city through the lenses of the unique and eccentric people who enlist his services as a private Spanish tutor. 
Each episode, a student from a different city, neighborhood, or street around Los Angeles will provide Miguel with a conflict, internal or external, or a moral lesson Miguel will either learn or choose to ignore, affecting the lives of those around him. The episodes are titled like the cities, neighborhoods, and streets where Miguel goes to tutor his lessons.


What was the inspiration behind this screenplay?

I was an English and Spanish high school teacher in Los Angeles for seven years. Almost 95% of my students were Latinx and I saw how their presence in entertainment and media was notably underrepresented. I wanted to tell a queer coming-of-age story based on certain aspects of my life and from the perspective of a Latinx voice.

What are you looking for to take this project to the next stage?

Spanish For Beginners is a half-hour coming of age story of a queer Mexican-American boy who learns new aspects about Los Angeles, and himself, through the eyes of those who hire him as a private Spanish tutor. Every episode is titled after the neighborhood, street, park, or freeway where my protagonist goes to teach and experiences a life-changing adventure.
The themes on my show are relevant to the climate we are living today and, as proven by other successful dramedies currently on TV or streaming platforms, I believe there is an audience for this format and these character-driven stories.
I’m looking for brave writers and producers who are willing to workshop my pilot and explore creative and marketable options to bring Spanish For Beginners to those who deserve to see their narratives represented on television.

What advice has helped you get where you are now?

“Write everyday, even if it has to be only for 15 minutes.” This piece of advice has helped me establish discipline as a writer. I also appreciate the following advice, “A TV writer makes other people’s ideas greater.” It has given me understanding of the essence of what this profession is all about and how important is the concept of team work.


Prentice Park and the Missing Monkey – Turi Haim


Based on a real place with a real situation.

GENRE: Adventure / Comedy 

FACT: In 1949, a wealthy citrus Mogul, by the name of J.E. Prentice, donated land to city to become the Prentice Park Zoo.  Only it came with a very peculiar caveat.  The zoo must house 50 monkeys on site at all times or else the zoo shall be willed to the oldest surviving heir of the Prentice family.

LOGLINE: During a heist gone wrong, a young seasoned thief takes the fall for his friends and sentenced to community service at a zoo; but when he is blamed for the disappearance of a rare monkey, he must use his criminal skills to unravel a much deeper crime to clear his name and keep the zoo from closing.

What was the inspiration behind this script?
I’m inspired by the REAL STORIES which compel me to explore WHAT IF scenarios. This script is based on a real place with a real situation. (In fact, every script I’ve written was inspired by a real story that I found crazy and compelling). The concept of this script is based off a real place with a real situation.
What are you looking for to take this project to the next stage?
A financier to fund the film. Or an A-list actor interested in being attached to help get financing. Or someone that can bring either of those to the table.
What advice has helped you get where you are now?
1. “Nobody knows anything” -William Goldman
2. “Because, why not?” – Unknown
3. You’d be surprised what you can do if you just BELIEVE…….there’s a gun to your head. -Me
4. “Despite what you’ve heard, you can NOT do anything if you just put your mind to it…
… also have to actually do it.” 
-Me on 2 cans of BANG energy drink.
(Speaking of BANG, I am now officially endorsed by BANG energy drink if anyone wants a discount code, hit me up! : )