Local Byron Shire screenwriter and filmmaker, Clare Sladden, has won the inaugural 2017 Byron Bay International Film Festival Screenplay Contest for her screenplay Broken Head.
Contest Director, Pim Hendrix, presented the US$2500 first prize and Final Draft Screenwriting software package to the writer at the festival’s final night gala at the Byron Community Centre on October 14. “Broken Head was the unanimous choice of the judging panel and a deserved winner,” said Hendrix after the presentation. “It’s so appropriate Clare’s screenplay won the inaugural contest, and really showcases the talent of writers in this area of Australia.”
“Clare’s screenplay was the only screenplay that made me laugh out loud on several occasions. It was absolutely hilarious. That’s so hard to do. And yet it was poignant, emotional, and had so much depth. It’s a great piece of writing.” Clare lives in Broken Head, which is a small village on the outskirts of Byron Bay. The screenplay tells the story of a woman whose personal life is a complete mess due to a car accident in which she was the driver which killed her sister many years before. She gets a chance at redemption when her estranged body builder brother hits his head and reverts to a 15-year-old with no memory of the accident, sparking a road trip up the east coast in the desperate hope of getting him back to normal before he gets married.
It was a big year for Clare, with her short film, Consent, also screening at the festival.
Second prize, winning the latest screenwriting software from Final Draft, went to Nicolas Hinze for his screenplay Running Girl. Running Girl tells the harrowing story of a traumatized teenage girl who’s rescued from an abusive foster home by her mysterious brother and goes on the run in outback Australia leaving a trail of bodies in her wake. Nicolas, originally from France, lives in Ballarat, Victoria, and flew up to Byron Bay for the presentation.
Third place went to Dusty, written by Michael Caleb Tasker. Dusty tells the story of a young girl growing up in a remote New Mexico trailer park, who develops a love for photography as a way to see her place in the world, and sets off on a journey that takes her all the way to the fashion runways of New York.
Hendrix said the inaugural contest had been a huge success. “The level on interest in this year’s contest was beyond expectations and augers well for the future. What was most pleasing was that the standard of the writing was exceptional, both from the international writers, as well as the Australian writers,” he said.
Congratulations to all the finalists. Entries for the 2018 Byron Bay Film Festival Screenplay Contest will open later in the year.
The remaining Official Finalists for the contest were –
DANNY. INVINCIBLE. LEGEND. GOD by Yavor Petkov
A DAY TO REMEMBER by C.C. Canning
RED VELVET by Tom Radovich
THE PROVINCES by Sinan Cevik
THE MINIMALIST SAILOR by Carla Sazunic Dorsey
THE CHRONONAUTS by Eduardo Soto-Falcon
THE BEST VERSION OF YOU by Mark Wood
PETTY CASH by Brett Elliott
FROM THE BOUNDARY by Claire McNeel
KEEPERS OF LIGHT by Christopher Salmon