Seven years after a religious-nationalist sect has taken over most of the country, as the last of the sanctuary cities begin to fall, a poet and her friends fight the forces of oppression.
Narrator: Steve Rizzo
Mischa: Hannah Ehman
Lili: Julie Sheppard
James: Shawn Devlin
Get to know the screenwriter:
1. What is your screenplay about?
"7 Years After" is a near-future sci-fi imagining of what the US might become if religious extremists take over the country. Similar in tone to "The Handmaids Tale" or "Years and Years", the story begins seven years after the United States was "graced" with a more perfect union. The Reconstructed Dominions of American Grace, led by the Right Reverend President Hobbes was formed as predestined by God.
In New York City, one of the remaining sanctuary states still following the old US Constitution, we meet a group of friends clinging to the liberal ideals of their past, as their rights are slowly eroding.
The story starts as the sanctuaries begin to fall to Grace. How these 6 characters resist or succumb to the new regime is at the heart of the series.
2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?
3. Why should this screenplay be made into a movie? SERIES?
It's extremely timely. Populism, in the form of Christian Nationalism has been gaining a foothold around the world. Here in the US, those that follow the 7 Mountain Mandate, Dominionism or other Christo-fascist groups already believe they are fighting a holy war. Members of these groups are shaping the political conversation and chipping away at progressive gains made in the last half century. With members in positions of power in the courts, the legislatures, in media and entertainment there is a real danger that democracy could be history.
4. How would you describe this script in two words?
Chilling and possible.
5. What movie have you seen the most times in your life?
Has to be Wizard of Oz - a family tradition when growing up and seen at least a dozen times since becoming an adult. It's still ac classic that speaks to audiences of all ages!
6. How long have you been working on this screenplay?
On and off for about seven years. It originated as a nightmare I had about 20 years ago that stuck with me long after I woke up. (the subject of that bad dream shows up in episodes 2 and 3 of the series!) I toyed around with it as a short story and as a play before settling in to writing a screenplay. I originally outlined it as a feature film but once I started writing I discovered it wanted to fill up more space than that.
7. How many stories have you written?
A few! I have written for both stage and screen and have had a number of both that have been produced. I have one feature length screenplay completed, 6 or 7 short screenplays as well as 2 that I co-wrote, a full length play and 5 or 6 one-acts. In addition to this pilot, I have completed episodes 2 and 3 as well as the bible for 7 Years After.
8. What is your favorite song? (Or, what song have you listened to the most times in your life?)
Tough question. the music I want to listen to changes with my mood - and can also change my mood. My go to at Karaoke is probably Extraordinary by Liz Phair or Zombie by the Cranberries!
9. What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?
I hit a major block sometime during Trump's presidency. The things I wrote seemed too close to reality while he was in office; It felt too "real" and I was too raw - the possibility that a world as bleak as the one I was envisioning might spring to life shut me down. Once Biden was sworn in I finished the first and second episodes in a matter of weeks!
10. Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?
Filmmaking in general - I am a director, producer and editor as well as writer (director primarily) and love everything about making movies. I'm pretty passionate about women's rights as well!
11. You entered your screenplay via FilmFreeway. What has been your experiences working with the submission platform site?
My experience is mostly positive - It's great to be able to upload a project once, and have so many opportunities to share, present at the click of a button. But that's what's also a bit dangerous! There are thousands of "festivals" available and "buyer beware" you need to do some research before clicking that submit button or else you'll waste a lot of money.
12. What influenced you to enter the festival? What were your feelings on the initial feedback you received?
My short film MY DINNER WITH SCHWARTZEY had been accepted to the Feedback Festival a few years ago and that was a really positive experience. The feedback received both on that short film and on this script has been incredibly useful!