Screenplay Winner: Johan Perruchoud

Your winning script stood out above several hundred others. Have you entered or won other competitions?
Yes, I have entered a few competitions. I was honored to be a Finalist at the New York Screenplay Awards and a nominee at the Prisma Awards in Rome. Though I haven’t won any other competitions, I am truly grateful to be the winner of this amazing competition. Thank you all.

What was the inspiration for your winning script?
Having grown up in a Catholic family, and also having served as an altar boy during my youth, God was always present around me. At least, He was forced to watch over me thanks to my grandmother’s prayers. Today, my grandmother is still alive thanks to her faith, which has given her the courage to overcome a deadly car accident as well as alcoholism. The question of religion is very present within our family. This strength, this energy dictated by religion, is both surprising and frightening. To be clear, I do not practice Catholicism.

Describe your writing process. Do you work from an outline…or do you just start with FADE IN?
At the very beginning, I attempt to write down different ideas that could lead to a compelling logline. Once I have a logline that sparks imagination, I proceed to start my writing with the treatment. When the treatment is sufficiently developed, I proceed to write the script.

Was your winning script a first draft…or had you received coverage that helped improve your work as a second or third draft?
Well, I received feedback from different professionals, and it was interesting because this short film has a very “European style.” The story and the characters develop gradually, without revealing too much information at the beginning. I had two professionals who gave me feedback—one from L.A and one from Switzerland. Both feedbacks were completely different, reflecting their own styles. In the end, I only took the elements that could elevate my story.

Which film or television writers have inspired your work…and how?
Jordan Peele is one of my favorites; his scripts are awesome. He has a remarkable ability to conceal essential elements within the script and later reveal them, effectively maintaining suspense and tension throughout. He is interested of telling the story of important social issues, as well.

What’s your #1 favorite movie or television series…and why?
“Delusions of Grandeur” is a French comedy from the 70s with catchy lines that still resonate with me to this day. One of the main protagonists, known as “the King,” arrives in a village to collect “his” taxes, where he is greeted by exhausted villagers. They inform him that the harvest this season was excellent, which pleases the king and leads him to request double the taxes. The villagers become furious because they are already struggling financially. The King’s response is, ” It’s normal! the poor are meant to be very poor, and the rich to be very rich!”

What has been your greatest challenge as a writer?
To clarify my ideas! I come from the music video world, which is where I began my journey in filmmaking. In this realm, music videos can often be quite abstract, sometimes excessively so. To stay focused on the main idea, I had to establish some rules for myself.

Have you made any further progress in your writing career?
I believe I am moving forward as much as possible. I have the final draft of a feature film that is being reviewed by different professionals, along with a TV pilot, and I am currently working on the writing treatment for another feature film set in Chicago.

What advice do you have for writers hoping to win a prestigious contest as you have?
Believe in yourself, never let go, question yourself, and accept criticism.

What other writing projects are you working on that you want the world to know about?
CHIMERA! It’s a feature film currently in development. To generate interest from different producers and get them to read the script, I created a “trailer,” which proved to be successful. However, upon further reflection and criticism, I realized that the initial script was too abstract. As a result, I embarked on a rewrite, and now the screenplay has taken a completely different and truly amazing form. I can’t contain my excitement to direct this movie! (Yes, I am also a nice and chill director!)

Would you be interested in attending a live year-end online event at minimal cost to meet with senior judges, selected literary managers, and independent producers?
Absolutely! Networking with professionals and receiving feedback is crucial in our industry.

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