LOS ANGELES, Aug. 1 /PRNewswire/ -- The field has been narrowed from hundreds of entries, and five emerging filmmakers have been chosen as finalists to continue toward their ultimate goal: a $1 million dollar feature film production deal courtesy of Chrysler and Silverwood Films.
"At Chrysler, we are committed to inspiration and we are pleased at this opportunity to bring a new talent to a wider audience," said David Rooney, Director, Chrysler Brand Marketing and Communications. "The Chrysler Film Project illustrates how mainstream brands can directly impact the arts and bring inspiration to life."
Five finalists were chosen from more than 550 submissions. The selection was based on the merit of their submitted screenplay and an original short film. As the finalists enter the second phase of the competition, they will shoot and edit a three to five minute short film that will incorporate Chrysler's newest vehicles, the 2007 Chrysler Aspen and Chrysler Sebring. The entries will be judged on the finalist's ability to direct, how well they tell a story and the overall quality of the film. The winner of the Chrysler Film Project will be announced in September.
"We're pleased that the quality and level of filmmaking is so extraordinary," said Michelle Byrd, Executive Director of IFP. "The fact that the screenplays of these five nominees have yet to be made into films underscores the significant challenge that talented emerging filmmakers have in making their first feature films. Chrysler and Silverwood are providing a real and significant new opportunity that previously hadn't existed for these five directors."
Chrysler Film Project's Selection
The names of the five finalists along with an overview of the screenplay they've placed into the competition include:
-- Derek Cianfrance, BLUE VALENTINE. The simultaneous story of a couple
breaking up and, ten years earlier, falling in love. The film
juxtaposes dualities - love versus hatred, the past versus the present,
fantasy versus reality, youth versus adulthood, man versus woman - to
present a portrait of an American marriage.
Derek Cianfrance of Lakewood, Colorado started making movies as a
teenager before attending the University of Colorado's film school.
Cianfrance's work includes criminal photography and feature film
direction, for which he has won several international awards. He
currently lives in Brooklyn, NY with his wife and two-year-old son.
-- Paul Fitzgerald, WE NEIGHBORS. A powerful ensemble story of the
relationships between two families in a small Southern town. Truett
Cahey has just found a boyfriend - a fact that is hard for his
community to accept. Andee Kelly has moved back home with her new
black boyfriend, putting a strain on her homecoming as well. Together
Andee and Truett must explore their relationships as they come to terms
with each other's needs, hopes and tragedies.
Paul Fitzgerald of Lynchburg, Virginia is a classically trained actor
and published playwright who began his entertainment career on the
stage at age 8. Fitzgerald's potential as a filmmaker was realized in
1998 when he began writing for the big screen. Fitzgerald currently
lives in New York City.
-- Jonathan Jardine, TOUCH. Jesse is a master pickpocket, an artist among
thieves. He teaches his tricks to Billy, his eager young apprentice,
and to Lisa, a young drifter. As Billy and Lisa compete for Jesse's
affection, tension mounts. As the distrust builds and violence
escalates, Jesse, Billy and Lisa fight over what they all want most.
Jonathan Jardine has been a successful writer, director and producer of
television commercials and music videos for more than 10 years.
Jardine lives in New York City with his wife Monica. The couple is
expecting their first child in October.
-- Pamela Smith, LOVE ON SPEC. Finding himself old news and not hirable,
a once-legendary Hollywood screenwriter is forced to team up with a
young upstart to get work. Their project: to breathe life into one of
his oldest unproduced scripts, which is suddenly a hot commodity.
Pamela Smith is former fashion stylist, originally from Montclair,
Virginia. Smith and her writing partner recently sold a half hour
comedy to HBO aptly named "Downtown," based on her earlier life in New
York City. Smith has also recently signed with Untitled Entertainment.
Smith lives in Los Angeles.
-- Abe Sylvia, DIRTY GIRL. Dirty Girl is a comedic story of the search
for identity and the redemptive power of unexpected friendship.
Danielle is the dirty girl of Norman High School. When Danielle's
misbehavior gets her banished to special ed, she teams up with an
innocent closet-case and together they head out on a road trip to
discover each other and themselves through a funny and serendipitous
Abe Sylvia of Norman, Oklahoma is a former dancer from the Broadway
stage. He earned his BFA in theatre from The Boston Conservatory and
is currently a student at UCLA's Graduate School of Film. Born in Ohio
and raised in Oklahoma, Sylvia now resides in Los Angeles with his
Golden Retriever, Betty.
Judging of the Chrysler Film Project will be overseen by the IFP and evaluated by an eminent panel of industry professionals, and Chrysler and Silverwood Films executives. All entries will be judged on the quality and production viability of the screenplay.
Chrysler has partnered with independent film production company Silverwood Films to produce and develop the winner's film.
"We admire the Chrysler brand and its continued efforts to provide unique platforms for independent filmmakers to get their work recognized on the big screen," says Lynette Howell, a principle of Silverwood Films. "This is a great opportunity for all parties - the Chrysler brand, Silverwood Films and the winning filmmaker - to have a voice in the film industry and showcase out- of-the-box thinking."
"It's a win-win situation. Chrysler is teaming up with a smart, nimble production company that shares its interests in finding an inspired film that can reach its audience," says Scott Osman, program director of the Chrysler Film Project. "The partnering between strong brands and quality production companies will become a significant approach to getting films made."
The Chrysler Film Project is the second initiative developed by the Chrysler brand to support independent filmmakers. An earlier program, known as the Chrysler Million Dollar Film Festival, awarded Jeff Wadlow the opportunity to co-write and direct the feature film "Cry Wolf" with producer and co-writer Beau Bauman. The film was released by Rogue Pictures in September 2005 on more than 1,800 screens.
For additional information, please visit the Chrysler Film Project Web site at http://www.chrysler.com/film .
About Chrysler Brand
Driven by award-winning new models, the Chrysler brand has seen a dramatic increase in sales, market share and brand image, culminating in 2005 calendar year sales of 649,293 units - an all-time sales record. Since 1990, Chrysler brand sales have jumped 251 percent. No other American automotive brand has grown as much during the same time frame.
"The Chrysler brand's succession of innovative product introductions continues to solidify the brand's standing as the leader in great design, purposeful technology and value," said David Rooney, Director - Chrysler Marketing and Global Communications. "With the launch of the all-new 2007 Chrysler Sebring and the 2007 Chrysler Aspen - the first-ever full-size SUV for the brand - the momentum is sure to continue," he added.
About Silverwood Films
Silverwood Films, headed by producers Lynette Howell and Doug Dey, debuted its first two features at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival. "Half Nelson," starring Ryan Gosling and directed by Ryan Fleck, has earned top honors at the film festivals across the country and will premiere theatrically in August. The Amber Tamblyn, Tilda Swinton and Timothy Hutton project "Stephanie Daley," captured the best screenwriting prize at Sundance for writer/director Hilary Brougher.
IFP is the preeminent resource for the independent film community -- bringing together filmmakers with film fans and the companies trying to reach them. It is the country's largest nationwide network of independent filmmakers. Headquartered in New York City, independently operated IFP organizations can also be found in Chicago, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Phoenix and Seattle. For additional information on IFP, visit http://www.ifp.org/ .
Web site: http://www.ifp.org/