Screenwriter Interviews

MovieBytes Interview:
Screenwriter Christopher Canole

An interview with screenwriter Christopher Canole regarding the Queens Writing Competition.

Q: What's the title of the script you entered in this contest, and what's it about?

A: Felix the Flyer

As a Cuban mailman runs in the 1904 Olympic Marathon he recounts his 1200 mile super-run up the Mississippi River to battle the world's greatest marathoners chasing him in the most bizarre race in history, filled with racism, cheating, and drugs to become an inspiration for all future underdogs.

Q: What made you enter this particular contest? Have you entered any other contests with this script? If so, how did you do?

A: Everyone I know praises the excellent films chosen each year for the QIFF, so a win puts me in excellent company. Since we write to make movies, film festivals like QIFF give us more access to producers, directors, and actors than most contests. The Queens Festival was a return to New York City for me. I was the NYC’s first artist-in-residence in the park system as a sculptor back in 1976 and wanted to reconnect with old friends with my new career (some waited for an East Coast award before acknowledging me as a true writer). So far Felix’s results in contest are: Scr(i)pt Open Door ( Winner - Gold ), Screenplay Shootout ( Winner - Gold ), ( Winner - Gold ), Contest-of-Contest ( Winner - Silver ), Screenplay Festival ( Winner - Silver ), Acclaim Film and TV ( Winner - Silver ), San Diego Film Festival ( Winner - Bronze ), GAFFERS Film Festival ( Winner - Bronze ), 20/20 (Finalist), All Access (Finalist), Red Inkworks (Finalist), Scriptwriter Dig (Finalist), Script Shark (Semi-Final), Scriptapalooza (Semi-Finals), Page International (Semi-Finals), American Accolades (Semi-Finals), Writers on the Storm (Semi-Finals), Fade In Magazine (Quarter-Finals), AAA Screenwriting (Quarter-Finals), New York City Latino Film Festival (Quarter-Finals), FilmMakers International (Quarter-Finals), Nicholl Fellowship (Quarter Finals) and I eagerly await the results of the International Family Film Festival (IFFF) in Hollywood on Feb 3, 2007 where I am one of two finalists in the feature length action category.

Q: Were you satisfied with the adminstration of the contest? Did they meet their deadlines? Did you receive all the awards that were promised?

A: Each stage of the QIFF was presented on their web site to give me plenty of advanced publicity. I only wish I could have received the award personally at the awards dinner. I requested a copy of the film catalogue and poster which I will display proudly next to the “Queens Spirit Award for Best Screenplay- Feature”. And the cash prize will go towards more ink and paper for future scripts.

Q: Were you given any feedback on your script? If so, did you find the feedback helpful?

A: This was not a feature of the competition.

Q: Has your success in this contest helped you market your script? Were you contacted by any agents, managers or producers?

A: My manager Leslie Rabb of RPM International uses these wins to promote all my scripts. A win at such a distinguished film festival builds momentum. At the upcoming International Family Film Festival actors will perform a scene from Felix the Flyer and I have a meeting with the Creative Artist Agency at the IFFF.

Q: What's your background? Have you written any other screenplays or television scripts?

A: I am a Cal Arts masters degree graduate, union set photographer and actor who decided it was time to create my own stories. In the past three years I have written eleven screenplays: Bloodgroove (60’s college story), Drawn Together (political thriller), DVD Day (science fiction doomsday), Spring Snow (Mishima novel adaptation for my PhD in literature), Runaway Horses (Another Mishima), Z.I.A. (Family Zoo story), Counter-Clockwise (Science fiction romance), Felix the Flyer (sports biography), Pen Dragon (comic book fable), and The Last Limo (post 9/11 American Odyssey).

Q: Do you live in Los Angeles? If not, do you have any plans to move there?

A: I live in La Jolla and keep a suitcase packed and the engine running for meetings in Los Angeles, or a night out with a very talented actress friend.

Q: What's next? Are you working on a new script?

A: I am now rewriting my eleventh screenplay, Her Swastika Sword, about Helene Mayer German a Jewish fencer attending the University of Southern California who drew her sword to fence in the 1936 Berlin Olympics. I am writing in the style of a Western lone gunfighter forced to stand tall against multiple antagonists including Hitler and the US Olympic Committee. And blocking out my first romantic comedy in the world of the New York City art community.

Posted Friday, January 19, 2007