New York Lift-Off Officially Selected Screenplays

After a huge number of submissions for New York Lift-Off Film Festival, here are the 5 screenplays officially selected to go forward onto the Network platform. Congratulations all! In order to read the screenplays, sign up to the Network here!

The Tooth Hurts – Christopher Kerr

SYNOPSIS:  A new-arrival to a small Welsh community wrangles an emergency out-of-hours dental appointment. However, things are not as they initially seem – and his reckless, drink-driving past is about to catch up with him.

What was the inspiration behind this script? 
Never been to a dentist? Pure, helpless, paralysing, terror! Pain and terror. Terror and Pain. Script practically wrote itself. (Though, also, a reflection upon my initial arrival to rural Australia; how discombobulating I found the attitude there towards drink-driving, compared to where I grew up in Scotland – with a quadriplegic uncle, victim of a drunk-driver. But mostly my own abject dentophobia.)
What are you looking for to take this project to the next stage?
Deliberately penned to be such a self-contained piece, I’d naturally be hoping to get The Tooth Hurts filmed and distributed this year. Given the positive reactions to the script alone, it’s bound to be a winner on the Festival scene; intended as a calling card of sorts for everybody involved, as well as an entertaining thriller reminding audiences of the dangers / consequences to drink-driving. All that’s stopping us at the moment is a few quid to pay the cast / crew, and hire the equipment for a day (avenues are being actively pursued!). Ideally the success of the completed Short will provide a degree of additional cachet to our other projects / scripts / financing – such as, even, The Cut: also in the top-5 Lift-Off New York!
What advice has helped you get where you are now?
Let’s NOT fix it in Post!?


Lufthansa 181 – Jack Ecker

SYNOPSIS:In 1977, Palestinian terrorists hijacked a Lufthansa 737, taking ninety-one people hostage. Their demands: the release of twelve incarcerated terrorists and 15 million U.S. dollars. While a crisis team of diplomats raced against the clock to buy more time, a team of elite German and British special forces operators prepare to launch a daring raid and rescue the hostages.

What was the inspiration behind the screenplay

Lufthansa 181 was originally written for a class at my university called “Writing the Adaptation” but it quickly became so much more as I truly fell in love with the story and knew that it had to be told. All my life, I have loved dramatic non-fiction films. While I enjoy some great original content, I truly believe the best stories are ones about real people overcoming real adversity. Lufthansa 181 is such a story. It follows a group of admirable characters, from dedicated civil servants like Hans, to unlikely heroes like Jurgen and Vietor. It is my dream that this script get produced so that more people know the heroic actions taken by the hostages, crew and the West German government’s response team during those tense five days.

What are you looking for to take this project to the next stage?
I really hope a producer reads this script and falls in the love with this story as much as I did. I truly believe we need more films like this made so people can learn about heroic events such as these. Being fresh out of college and still very new to the entertainment industry, I welcome any and all help to get this script in front of the right people. Lufthansa 181 has also placed as a Semi-Finalist at the Atlanta Film Festival Screenplay Competition and I plan to keep enrolling it at other festivals. It also resides on the Black List.
What advice has helped to get where you are now?
My family and many of my friends and trusted professors from my university have always told to be persistent and keep writing. Without that advice I don’t believe I would have gotten this far. My journey is just beginning but if not for the people who love, care for and support me I don’t think it would have even begun.

The Guide – Henry Radoff

SYNOPSIS:Father and Son escape the Nazi occupation of Frieberg, Germany in 1938 by going over the Swiss Alps with their guide being a dog.

What was the inspiration behind this screenplay?

The script is based upon a true event as told to me by a Holocaust survivor. Most of the story was researched by me over a five year period. I taught a course at a local congregation for thirty years and have collected survivors stories during that time. This story was never told to the Shoah project so I decided to write and publish first the novel “Breaking Free, A Journey for Survival” and then the script based upon the novel. I wrote the script with the assistance of Kris White, a Los Angeles script writer.I always felt this script was ripe for production and entered it into numerous contest and it has won awards but only one expired option. I felt the project should be done over seas such as at Pinewood Studios.

The Unnaturals – DJ McPherson


SYNOPSIS: Extraordinary teen Ryder Clarke is on the run from the ruthless enemies that murdered his Mom. Changing his identity and moving towns, Ryder encounters his first love, the onset of powerful new abilities and a strange connection to four others who all share his incredible origins.

What was the inspiration behind this script?

The key concept was inspired by my love of comic books, graphic novels and YA fiction. The Unnaturals is not a superhero tale…. there are no superpowers, mutants or superheroes. It’s a gritty, action-packed, coming-of-age-story with real stakes, real danger, underpinned by a horrifying historical sci-fi mythology.

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

We are looking for international production partners.
What advice has helped you get where you are now?
Write everyday whether you feel inspired or not!

The Cut – Christopher Kerr

SYNOPSIS:In a world without experts – where trope trumps truth – an unlikely male duo must find passage through the canals of post-apocalyptic London; to peace and freedom in the ‘Promised Land’ beyond – Bristol.

What was the inspiration behind this script?
The beauty – the often ‘hidden’ beauty – of London’s waterways, and the glorious scenery on beyond towards Bristol… not to mention the array of absolute characters you meet living on the water. It’s an almost entirely untapped vein of Film inspiration. One I couldn’t resist but try to leverage!
What are you looking for to take this project to the next stage?
Short of an outright sale on the script? – which I would, certainly, be happy to entertain!? Well, since I live in London, wrote the script with a limited budget in mind, already have access to some boats, etc, it makes perfect sense to move ahead and Produce this particular project in true Indie spirit! To that end I’ve already been actively seeking A-list actors for the supporting roles (hoping to give some up-and-coming talent a breakout opportunity in the lead roles themselves). Looking to get the script out to some of those – past the gatekeepers – and find some savvy investors; partners with the foresight to appreciate both the artistic and commercial rewards The Cut has to offer as a Feature Film.
What advice has helped you get where you are now?
Never give up! Never surrender!… by Grabthar’s hammer! Oh. Wait. That was Galaxy Quest, wasn’t it? Meh, applicable to my situation all the same.