Local high school students named finalists in Charleston International Film Festival screenwriting competition

By Ed Buckley  ebuckley@postandcourier.com   – Friday, January 17, 2014

Five budding screenwriters from local high schools are one step closer to a big screen debut.

On Friday, the Charleston International Film Festival announced the finalists in the Script-to-Screen Education Initiative competition, which offers local high school students the chance to see their original screenplays produced by film industry professionals and screened at the festival.

The nominees include “Turpentine Nails” by Megan Montgomery of Goose Creek High School, “The Last One Left” by Matthew Rogers of Wando High School, and “Empty” by Jake Williams, Coleman Kiester and Max Toubiana of Academic Magnet High School.

The short scripts were developed as part of a collaboration between the festival and local high schools. More than 150 students at Wando, Goose Creek and Academic Magnet high schools developed original screenplays in the program’s first year.

Local filmmaker and screenwriter Margaret Ford Rogers and CIFF co-founder Summer Peacher led students in three workshop sessions in addition to regular class time spent perfecting the scripts, which range from six to eight pages in length.

Rogers said that she hopes the program will help students express themselves through a creative medium. Depending on factors like student participation and class evaluations, the course may be expanded to other area schools next year.

The Charleston International Film Festival will run April 9-13 at the Sottile Theatre. Festival organizers said the winning screenplay will be announced in the next few weeks.