Home Virginia Film Office announces 2014 Virginia Screenwriting Competition winners

Virginia Film Office announces 2014 Virginia Screenwriting Competition winners


film2The Virginia Film Office has announced the three winners of the 2014 Virginia Screenwriting Competition.  The winners and their screenplays are:  Ms. Dawn Wise (Lynchburg) THE POEM, Mr. Neil Harvey (Roanoke) CHARTER ARMS, and Mr. Eric Carlson (Williamsburg) SEMPLE’S GOLD.

The Virginia Screenwriting Competition was created by the Virginia Film Office to celebrate the accomplishments of Virginia writers, as well as to promote the future of filmmaking in Virginia.  It provides screenwriters with a forum for their work and an opportunity to present their scripts to decision-makers in the film industry.  Each writer submits a full-length screenplay to be evaluated by a panel of Virginia judges.  Final scripts from the first round of judging are then sent to a second panel comprised of professionals active in the film or television industry.  The winners were presented with their awards during the 2014 Virginia Film Festival in Charlottesville.

Finalists in the competition were: Daniel Ardura (Richmond), Chris Bishop (Charlottesville), Jennie Eng (Vienna), Eric Hurt (Charlottesville), Jeff Landon (Richmond), Shirley Mills (Virginia Beach), Tom Randolph (White Plains), Scott Selden (Harrisonburg), Jürgen Vsych (Williamsburg), and Lawrence Whitener (Springfield).

The Virginia Screenwriting Competition is held annually and is open to Virginia residents.  The majority of the script must take place in Virginia or at locations which could reasonably be found in Virginia.  For further information on the competition, contact the Virginia Film Office at (800) 854-6233 or visit the website at FilmVirginia.org.



Ms. Dawn Wise (Lynchburg) THE POEM

BIOGRAPHY: Dawn Wise is an award-winning screenwriter and playwright, most recently taking top honors in the Historical Screenplay category at the 2014 Nashville Film Festival.  She is the founder, creative director, and playwright of Old City Cemetery Candlelight Tours in Lynchburg, Virginia.  Her contest entry, THE POEM, is based on one of the citizens buried in the cemetery whose life has been portrayed on the tours.

SYNPOPSIS: A teenage journalist gets more than he bargained for when he interviews a reclusive heiress on her deathbed about her affair with a famous Virginia poet.


Neil Harvey (Roanoke) CHARTER ARMS

BIOGRAPHY: Neil Harvey is a reporter who covers crime and local courts for The Roanoke Times. When he’s not doing that, he’s usually either writing a movie or going to see one. Neil won the Virginia Screenwriting Competition in 2011, and again in 2013.

SYNOPSIS: Residents of a suburban cul-de-sac – a disenchanted high school basketball player, a troubled-but-devoted father, a narcissistic housewife, and a peculiar husband – find their lives intertwining in unexpected and dangerous ways.


Eric Carlson (Williamsburg) SEMPLE’S GOLD

BIOGRAPHY: Eric is a screenwriter from Williamsburg, Virginia, who has written numerous screenplays, and just became the director of the Richmond-based Virginia Screenwriter’s Forum.  His most recent work has covered relatively unknown but important historical events, including this year’s winning entry, SEMPLE’S GOLD.

SYNOPSIS: During the Confederacy’s final days, naval officer James Semple and Julia Tyler, the widowed wife of the 10th President, make a daring attempt to smuggle gold from the Confederate treasury from Georgia to Canada while a determined Union general gives relentless pursuit.  The story is inspired by true events.



Daniel Ardura


After a botched suicide attempt, Matthew Moore is admitted to a psychiatric facility on the outskirts of the city. Police are baffled by his mental state and purpose – and his only nearby acquaintance, his younger sister Megan, has been missing for weeks. In order to find the girl and uncover the truth of his situation, investigators turn to a young psychologist – but what they discover is more horrifying than they ever could have imagined.


Chris Bishop


Dismal Swamp teens in wheelchairs build a flying machine.


Jennie Eng


Rogue CIA Agent Iris Beeman assembles an undercover boy band comprised of Special Ops soldiers in order to take down a drug cartel. When the band achieves fame and fortune, though, Iris must convince them to stay the course and fulfill their mission, no matter how alluring the boy band lifestyle is.


Eric Hurt


On a secluded island in the Chesapeake Bay, an aging waterman, Burnham Maphis, lives an isolated life. When Burnham rescues a boy and a woman from the banks of the bay, his solitary life becomes their shelter.  Burnham’s deep-seeded sorrow slowly dissipates as he finds hope and vows to protect the boy and woman from the dangers that follow them.


Jeff Landon


The Goners is an unusual love story about a family that leaves their home in Virginia Beach after the father has lost his job to stay in Roanoke for the summer with the father’s grandmother and her live-in boyfriend.  Eventually, the father finds work at a low-end traveling carnival, and the story chronicles the family’s rocky, humorous-at-times journey to make a life that feels OK.


Shirley Mills


A man adopts 25 shelter dogs, and in so doing, saves a beach town from real estate development and finds the girl he loves.


Tom Randolph


During the Civil War, a band of guerrilla raiders on horseback in the northern Virginia countryside  comprise ‘Mosby’s Raider’s’. Honor and valor was their code; their lives were spiced with love and adventure.  When the word went out, forty or fewer of them would meet and battle an enemy that outnumbered them forty to one.


Scott Selden


Private counsel Johanna Palmer is sent to a mountain town on a case that threatens to swallow her very soul.


Jürgen Vsych


When Clancy Redbeard, the sweet-natured son of a notorious Virginia pirate, bumps into Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, John Adams, Patrick Henry and Thomas Paine on his travels, he resists their pleas to employ his father’s teachings and join their fight against the British – until he meets William Death, a pirate with a sweet tooth.


Lawrence Whitener


After many years, a retired K-9 sheriff visits his sister and discovers crime and corruption in her small hometown.  When the local crime boss tries to murder him, Jonathan Doge, known as “Dog,” uses his military and law enforcement training to bring everyone to justice.  Based on the unfortunate true facts surrounding dog fighting, this action drama was written to raise public awareness of these animals’ inhumane treatment.




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