KATE ROBBINS AND JILL GARSON WIN BEST SCREENPLAY AWARD AT LA’S LE FEMME FILM FESTIVAL
Writers Kate Robbins and Jill Garson have won the award for “Best Screenplay” at this fall’s La Femme Film Festival for their screenplay SCOUTS HONOR. Based on true events SCOUTS HONOR is the coming of age story of four teenage boys during WWI.
Suzanne Lyons, president/producer of Snowfall Films, Inc. (UNDERTAKING BETTY, JERICHO MANSIONS) has optioned SCOUTS HONOR and partnered with Michel Shane, president/producer at Hand Picked Films (CATCH ME IF YOU CAN, I ROBOT) to produce the film. SCOUTS HONOR is scheduled to shoot in the fall of 2009.
WindChill Films, Inc. a division of Snowfall Films, Inc. produced Kate Robbins’ and Jill Garson’s project CANDY STRIPERS which was released by Screen Gems in 2006.
“SCOUTS HONOR is a gem” said Suzanne, “and Michel and I are thrilled to be producing this deeply moving story of heroism and intrigue.”
RL: WHEN DID YOU LADIES KNOW YOU WANTED TO PURSUE A CAREER IN WRITING?
Kate: I had wanted to be a writer for many years before I dared to even speak it. I studied acting at NYU and took courses in playwriting and fiction writing. My teachers were really encouraging, but it was years before I felt I could call myself a writer. Jill: I’ve always written something. I started out writing songs, but after awhile, the three minute time constraint made me look for something where I could tell a longer story. It took me a long time to actually take the plunge and start a screenplay.
RL: KATE, CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT BEING A SEMI-FINALIST IN THE WELL KNOWN NICHOLL FELLOWSHIP, SPONSORED BY THE ACADEMY AWARDS. HOW HAS IT HELPED YOUR CAREER?
Kate: I’m sorry to say, that I don’t think it was particularly helpful. I did find being a winner of the Chesterfield Fellowships very helpful. They was sponsored by Amblin and Universal Studios and I met some amazing studio executives and some great writers during the 11 months of the fellowship program.
RL: JILL, HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR WRITING STYLE?
jJill: Dark. And I usually think of stories in terms of comedy. I can hear a story that is sad and serious for everyone else, but to me, I always seem to find the funny side. I think my strongest suit is dialogue. And quirky characters.
RL: HOW DID YOU TWO MEET? AND WHEN DID YOU DECIDE TO BECOME WRITING PARTNERS?
Kate: Jill and I met through a mutual friend and then we were in a writing group together. We decided to be writing partners several years ago and have really enjoyed working together.
Jill: It’s funny, because one of our teachers urged us to partner up years ago, but neither one of us wanted to work with someone else at that time.
RL: WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO WRITERS AS THEY THINK ABOUT TEAMING UP WITH A WRITING PARTNER?
Kate: Make sure you share the same aesthetic and that you get along because you’re going to be spending a lot of time together.
Jill: We’ve both worked with other people and it’s interesting. Some people really like to argue a point, and some people give up easily, and some know when to push. Kate and I strike a nice balance, and what’s better, each of us is strong in different areas. I would say that’s important, too, because you don’t want to write with someone who has the same strengths and weaknesses as you.
RL: TELL US ABOUT THE PROJECT CANDY STRIPERS, HOW DID IT COME ABOUT FOR YOU LADIES?
Jill: We’d written a few scripts already, and had gotten that age-old response. ‘Great. What else do you have?’ So, we did a little research and realized that horror scripts were the way to go. They had a big audience, sold and got distribution. We watched a lot of cheesy horror and agreed that we needed a creature, boobs and blood. We decided to make it funny, and got playboy bunnies to be featured. We actually had a great time writing the script, and like the way it came out.
RL: THE FILM WENT ON TO WIN AWARDS AND WAS DISTRIBUTED BY SCREEN GEMS. DID YOU HAVE DISTRIBUTION IN PLACE BEFORE OR AFTER?
Kate: Our sales agent secured distribution after the film was made.
RL: KATE CAN YOU TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT SNOWFALL FILMS AND WINDCHILL FILMS?
Kate: Suzanne Lyons and I formed Snowfall Films in the late 90’s. We produced four festure films with some great actors: Brenda Blethyn, Christopher Walken, Alfred Molina, James Caan, Naomi Watts, Jennifer Tilly. Then we formed the genre division of our company called WindChill Films and made three horror films: Candy Stripers, Seance (staring Adrian Paul) and Portal. I have stepped down from Producing full time and am now focusing back on my writing.
RL: TELL US ABOUT SCOUT’S HONOR AND THE DECISION TO GO AGAINST THE NORM OF WOMEN SCREENWRITERS AND WRITE A COMING OF AGE STORY ABOUT YOUNG TEENAGE BOYS AND NOT GIRLS?
Jill: Kate and I have always been comfortable writing stories about both men and women. And in this case, the story was true, and it was about boys, so we really didn’t have to make a decision.
RL: JILL IN WRITING YOUR FILM, SCOUT’S HONOR, DID YOU FIND IT DIFFICULT WRITING A PERIOD PIECE OR WAS IT FAIRLY EASY?
Jill: By the time we got around to actually writing, we were pretty much immersed in the time. I actually do like writing period pieces because you have some built-in restrictions that force you to be creative. At the same time, there is a tremendous amount of research that goes into writing a period piece, and we both knew that a good portion of our time was going to be spent on fact checking.
RL: WHAT’S NEXT FOR THE FILM?
Kate: The screenplay is under option with Suzanne Lyons at Snowfall Films. She’s partnered with Michel Shane of Handpicked films. He produced I, robot and Catch Me If You Can, and we’re all excited to work with him.
RL: WHAT’S NEXT FOR YOU LADIES?
Kate: Jill and I just finished a project for hire where we adapted a novel into a screenplay treatment. We have just started writing a stage play about Houdini and have interest in the play from two different theater companies.