A woman with mental health issues, pressured by the insults of her own mother, attempts to stage the kidnapping of her daughter to prove she can make money... but the stunt goes wrong.
Narrator: Hannah Ehman
Amanda: Elizabeth Rose Morriss
Richard: Geoff Mays
Rage: Sean Ballantyne
Get to know the writer:
"What is your screenplay about?"
- "A Dangerous Gamble" is the story of a woman who tries to circumvent her sensitive monetary situation and family peer pressure in risky or illegal ways, and it all goes drastically wrong. It is, ultimately, a reflection of the sinister influence of capitalism in mental health. The concept had been gestating on me for a long time, and it morphed into what it is today as I started becoming more politically aware. Often I would think to myself about people who may not have a choice other than try to survive and yet, their own attempts for survival represent the further deterioration of their health, but they can't do anything about it because, well, you're just expected to eat it up and move on. I kept going back to this old "conspiracy theory" elevator pitch of sorts that I came up with as a child, of a mother who faked her child's kidnapping to earn money from donations. Think I came up with that during the early years of the Madeleine McCann disappearance case (I am Portuguese haha).
"What genres does your screenplay fall under?"
- It is a drama and thriller. With some dark comedy elements, but primarily a Breaking Bad/Ozark-style drama and thriller.
"Why should this screenplay be made into a movie?"
- I think this is a script that deserves to see the light of day, primarily due to what I think is an intriguing set of themes and underlying messages. It is necessary to be open about mental health and living in crisis with yourself; to understand that you don't need to live up to the standards that other people set up for you; and to be critical of the way the world is structured, mainly for its unfairness to people do not have the same instruments to cope, and to call it out for it, as well as people's conjunct apathy - and in many cases, complacence, not to change anything about it (a lot of people benefit immensely for it, in the detriment of so many others).
"How would you describe this script in two words?"
- "Complex" and "thorough".
"What movie have you seen the most times in your life?"
- Oh boy. Well, I wish I could say that a Kurosawa or Kubrick masterpiece was the answer, but in actuality, I grew up with a lot of animation - Disney, specifically. I think I've seen Finding Nemo more than any other film in my life. Not that I regret that, though, because I consider it to be a wonderful film all in all.
"How long have you been working on this screenplay?"
- The actual physical script - all of its previous drafts included - was written entirely during the year of 2023, but I've had the idea running in my head for years, and it's been a wish of mine to turn it into a real screenplay ever since I started writing, which began at around the time I entered college, so about 2016/2017.
"How many stories have you written?"
- Besides this script and all the other school or otherwise film-related projects I've made (which I can count on about two hands, but hey, I started in 2016), I have been working as a freelance screenwriter since last year, and I've kinda lost count of the amount of short film screenplays I have written, even if a lot of them aren't based on original ideas. This one, thankfully, is original. Regarding stories at large, probably since middle- to high-school. I remember having my written assignments praised a lot, if I recall correctly haha.
"What is your favorite song? (Or, what song have you listened to the most times in your life?)"
- Well, I'm not sure if I have *a* favorite song, but I think the song I've heard the most times in my life... I guess, something like a "Luca" by Brand New. That's a, rather, intense song, I'd say, but the storytelling is immense.
"What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?"
- To be honest, not that many. It took me a few drafts, but I applied for feedback and got it rather soon, thankfully. Beside that, though, I assume my own struggles with work and concentration, derived from my own mental health, but I was able to push through.
"Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?"
- I'm really into video games; I like *watching* select sports (definitely not playing them, though); I obviously am very much into film and TV; I also enjoy listening to radio. And, well, just trying to spend life one day at a time haha.
"You entered your screenplay via FilmFreeway. What has been your experiences working with the submission platform site?"
- Honestly, mostly positive. The only time in which I encountered a hiccup was right at the beginning, when I applied for a film festival that probably isn't real (just a scam). Beyond that, though, I've had no bad experiences to report.
"What influenced you to enter the festival? What were your feelings on the initial feedback you received?"
- Off the bat, my initial intuition to apply for the WildSound Festival was the amount of different branches - many different festivals for pretty much any kind of distinct categories - and, most of all, the actual feedback haha. I applied for the festival three; the first time was for a short film script I had developed, and I was impressed enough with the scope and thoroughness of the feedback that I wound up applying an earlier draft of this script after all (which was a more productive thing, given that it is a financial effort to apply for film festivals most of the time, but it has been worth it). Then I got two different feedback writings for both that earlier draft, and the more recent draft that ended up as award-winning in this festival. I will admit I was surprised that the feedback is very much centric on the actual writing and formatting, but to be fair, I have gotten substantial feedback on the actual storytelling ins and outs, which has been tremendously useful. So yeah, very happy with the feedback I received, all in all.