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Dallas International Film Festival Announces 2023 Screenplay Competition Winners

Dallas International Film Festival, Torfoot Studios and Event Horizon Films revealed today that feature script For Billie by James Froeschle, pilot script FIX by Jeff Bower and short script Sneakerhead by Jamie Campbell have been named as winners of the 2023 Dallas International Film Festival Screenwriting Competition. 

Grand-prize winner Sneakerhead, a suspense-horror script, will be produced by Event Horizon Films and Torfoot Studios, and directed by award-winning filmmaker Johnathan Brownlee. The produced short film screen at the Dallas International Film Festival and across the film festival circuit.

“I read a lot of scripts and I’m always looking for one that doesn’t lean on clichés or telegraph the ending,” Brownlee said. “Short films can be particularly challenging in this regard. Jamie Campbell’s “Sneakerhead” really surprised me. The plot, characters, and twist are all so well-crafted that I started to visualize how I would shoot it. I really look forward to making this film.”

Each script submitted into the competition was vetted by readers from the industry’s top talent agencies and management companies based on strength of characterization, dialogue, theme, concept and marketability. The winning scripts were selected by Oscar winner Brenda Chapman; Jessica Sharzer, a three-time Primetime Emmy nominee; Kelsey Scott, a two-time Emmy-nominated actress; award-winning TV writer Aaron Rahsaan Thomas; veteran screenwriter Thomas Dean Donnelly; award-winning director Brownlee and James Faust, DIFF artistic director.

These expert writers and filmmakers also credited the following scripts as finalists for the screenwriting competition: 

Feature Scripts
Labyrinth of Destiny by Ernestina Juarez
Crabs in a Mother F*cking Bucket by Kari Mote
Maeta’s Story by Charles DeRykus
Take My Life by Larry Collins

TV Pilot Scripts
Broken by Dathan Paterno
Murder-in-Marsh by Elisabeth Hayward
English Only Policy by HyoJeong Choi
The Row by Gregory Caruso

Short Scripts
The Paranormal Prankster by Sean Whitley
The New Moon in the Old Moon’s Arms by David Sanders
Behind the Curtain by Tadiwa Barwa
A Homecoming by Ari Mostow

Semifinalists and quarterfinalists can be viewed here.

“It was another great season with some top-quality scripts,” Faust said. “It’s been fun reading them. We’re looking forward to introducing these writers to our city’s strong film community, and we’re certainly excited to see Sneakerhead screen at the Dallas International Film Festival.” 

In addition to festival passes, the winning screenwriters receive an invitation to a luxury Hollywood screening event, professional feedback and access to industry networking platforms.

The grand-prize announcement marks the second season that Event Horizon Films and Torfoot Studios have joined together to produce a short film for DIFF. The previous winner, (*)hit Squad, written by Harry Hunsicker and directed by Brownlee, earned a bronze Telly Award and was an official selection at Texas Short Film Festival, ATX Short Film Showcase, Waco Independent Film Festival, Texas Hill Country Film Festival, Twin Falls Film Festival, Chandler Film Festival and others.

For more information on DIFF, visit dallasfilm.org or contact info@dallasfilm.org. Information can also be found on Facebook and Instagram. Details on the screenplay competition are available at eventhorizonfilms.com. Visit FilmFreeway for information on the 2024 Dallas International Film Festival on April 26, 2024 through May 2, 2024.

About Torfoot Studios
Torfoot Studios is an award-winning film, television and digital content production company founded in 2010 with offices in Canada and the US. Veteran filmmaker Johnathan Brownlee serves as President and CEO. Brownlee is a Canadian/American director, producer, writer and actor.  Torfoot’s work has been viewed in more than 100 countries in multiple languages and was recently honored with 32 Telly Awards. Torfoot has a variety of content in development and production. For information, visit torfoot.com

About Event Horizon Films
Event Horizon Films (www.eventhorizonfilms.com) is an online network of experienced film professionals established to help screenwriters improve stories, increase exposure and understand the business of Hollywood. From screenplay competitions and analysis services to industry exposure and production deals, Event Horizon Films is committed to encouraging writers to keep writing.


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Dallas International Film Festival

Through curation of the broadest range of expression through film, the Dallas International Film Festival (DIFF) is the region’s most powerfully inclusive and equitable platform for diverse, emerging and underrepresented voices. Since its founding, DIFF has screened more than 2,500 widely diverse new films from 50 countries, provided more than $1.1 million in awards and hosted more than 100,000 filmgoers and filmmakers. The Dallas International Film Festival (DIFF) is the signature program of our organization, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit established as Dallas Film Society, Inc. in 2006 by people who believe passionately in the magic of film.

We exist to celebrate films and their impact on society, honor filmmakers and recognize their contribution enhancing both the creative community and the city of Dallas, provide leadership in film education, and celebrate excellence in the art of film. Through a variety of year-round screenings, educational programs, community partnerships, and festivals, we raise awareness of the world’s most approachable and inclusive art form. More information is available at www.dallasfilm.org.