March 21, 2017, St. Paul — FilmNorth, a St. Paul-based media arts center, has announced the winner of the FilmNorth Screenwriting Residency, an annual competition for Minnesota screenwriters. Matthew Dressel, of Duluth, MN, has won the $10,000 residency out of a field of 56 applicants. His screenplay, THE OTHER MAN, is a taut thriller: a weekend in the country turns deadly when an inebriated hunter accidentally shoots a passing motorist and discovers a man bound-and-gagged in his trunk. The St. Paul-based residency is funded by the Knight Foundation’s Knight Arts Challenge with matching funds by FilmNorth, as an annual competition through 2018.
THE OTHER MAN was selected by a national panel consisting of key influencers in the film industry: Los Angeles-based script consultant and story editor, Ruth Atkinson, who is also a story analyst for the Sundance Institute’s Feature Film Screenwriting and Directing Labs; Film Independent Spirit Award Nominee Angela C. Lee (SONGS MY BROTHER TAUGHT ME), who is also the Senior Manager of Artist Development at Film Independent; and veteran film and TV writer Scott Myers (K9, ALASKA, TROJAN WAR), who also hosts Go Into the Story, the official screenwriting blog of the influential Black List.
“This is a great opportunity for all 10 finalists,” said IFP MN’s Executive Director, Andrew Peterson. “As a result of the Residency competition, last year’s winner, Andy Froemke, secured industry representation and several finalists were championed by last year’s national panel for additional opportunities.” Peterson added, “This year’s panel was excited about THE OTHER MAN, feeling it would play well with both critics and audiences.”
In addition to Duluth resident Dressel, the other 2017 finalists are Tim Dahlseid of Minnetonka, Brianna Deihl of Minneapolis, Kyle Ensrude of Minneapolis, Patricia Fox of Minneapolis, Michael Gorrie of Eagan, Cristina Pippa of Minneapolis, Ann Prim of St. Paul, Nickolaus Swedlund of Minnetonka, and John Thavis & Julianne O’Connell of St. Paul and St. Joseph, respectively.
The FilmNorth Screenwriting Residency is a blind competition (all submitted screenplays had no identifying elements, author’s name, bio, awards, etc.). Three sets of panels—two local, and one national—participated in a process that selected 10 finalists and ultimately chose THE OTHER MAN as the winner. All 10 finalists will receive guided mentorships, services from The Black List, and free classes at FilmNorth to refine and improve their work. Additionally, Dressel’s screenplay will receive a staged reading in St. Paul.
2017 IFP MN SCREENWRITING RESIDENCY WINNER
Originally from West Michigan, Matthew Dressel moved to Duluth after spending six years out in Southern California working at a film advertising company.
Matthew has written and directed short films that have gone on to screen and win awards at festivals across the country.
His first feature length screenplay, the dark comedy Killing Daniel, is in development with Toronto-based Darius Films. Matthew also has two screenplays optioned by producer Don Schmeichel.
Matthew lives with his wife and young daughter in Duluth, where he runs The Duluth Film Collective: an ever-growing group of filmmakers and film lovers who watch and discuss films, workshop projects, and program the film series Midnight Movies at 7 at Zinema 2. Matthew also runs The Duluth Film Directory: a growing list of active filmmakers working in Duluth.
THE TEN FINALISTS (listed alphabetically by title)
ANATOMY OF A TOWN by Patricia Fox
The Chief of Police investigates the murder of a young woman while confronting the Sheriff, who blocks his every move for jurisdiction, in order to protect himself from the Chief finding out about his ties to the murder victim and the killer.
HOUSEKEEPING by Ann Prim
A transgendered cocktail waitress seeking to normalize her life takes a daytime job at a low-rent motel. She quickly learns that a maid’s life at the Aqua City Motel is anything but normal.
HOWEVER VAST THE DARKNESS by Kyle Ensrude
When his mother joins a cult and children start to go missing, a young boy struggles with whether or not to trust the strange man he finds living inside his wall.
THE HUNT by Tim Dahlseid
A psychological thriller about an ex-con who finds a camera with pictures of kidnapped girls. He sets out to find the kidnapper and clear his name before a vindictive detective can pin it on him.
JUNK by Nickolaus Swedlund
Based on actual events in northern Minnesota, a resourceful teenage boy named Junk is forced to grow up when he helps his uncle defend their scrapyard from a hostile takeover by the local business magnate.
THE LAYOVER AGREEMENT by Michael Gorrie
A 1920’s Jewish moonshiner runs from a murder charge and flees to Saint Paul where gangsters are protected by police and politicians, but his rise to power brings the attention of J. Edgar Hoover and unchecked power hungry gangsters.
THE OTHER MAN by Matthew Dressel (winner)
A weekend in the country turns deadly when an inebriated hunter accidentally shoots a passing motorist and discovers a man bound-and-gagged in his trunk.
QUESTICA by Cristina Pippa
A boy’s video game comes to life when a Princess convinces him to break into a theme park and rescue her from an evil sorcerer.
SISTERS IN ARMS by Brianna Deihl
The strength of a woman can stop an army.
WABASHA by John Thavis and Julianne O’Connell
A mother and daughter move to a small town to rob the local bank, but their plans – and their lives – are thrown off course by friendship, love and a crusade to save the Mississippi River wetlands.
Ruth Atkinson is a Los Angeles-based script consultant and story editor who has story edited and consulted on countless features and short films, including many that have won awards and been distributed internationally. Ruth is also a story analyst for the Sundance Institute’s Feature Film Screenwriting and Directing Labs. In addition she is a screenwriting advisor for Project Involve, Film Independent’s (FIND) signature diversity program, where she helps develop short film scripts, which are produced and showcased at the Los Angeles Film Festival. Recently Ruth was story advisor for the inaugural Global Media Makers program, a joint venture between FIND and the US State Department involving 14 filmmakers from the Middle East and an advisor for the FIND Screenwriting and Directing Labs. Ruth is also a story advisor for the Whistler Film Festival/Praxis Screenwriters Lab held in British Columbia, and is screenwriting mentor for the prestigious RBC Michelle Jackson Emerging Filmmaker Award in St. John’s, Newfoundland.
Angela C. Lee is the Senior Manager of Artist Development at Film Independent, the non-profit arts organization that hosts the Spirit Awards and the LA Film Festival, where she oversees the filmmaker lab programs including Screenwriting, Directing, Producing, Episodic, Documentary Labs and the Fast Track Finance Market. Angela is also a Spirit-Award nominated independent producer. Her first feature film, Songs My Brothers Taught Me, premiered in competition at the Sundance Film Festival and in Directors’ Fortnight at Cannes. She is a 2015 Sundance Creative Producing Lab Fellow and has also been supported by Berlinale, Film Independent, IFP, PGA Diversity Workshop and the Center for Asian American Media. A native Chicagoan, Angela graduated from the University of Chicago with a degree in Economics.
Scott Myers has written over thirty movie and TV projects at every major Hollywood studio and broadcast network. His screenwriting credits include K-9, ALASKA, and TROJAN WAR. From 2002-2010, Scott was an executive producer at Trailblazer Studios, overseeing original content development for TV. Scott has taught in the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program, receiving its Outstanding Instructor Award in 2005; the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; and since 2008 has hosted GoIntoTheStory.com, the official screenwriting blog of The Black List. He joined the faculty at DePaul’s School of Cinematic Arts in the fall 2016. In 2010, Scott launched ScreenwritingMasterClass.com, a unique online educational resource for writers. He is a graduate of the University of Virginia and Yale University Divinity School.
Writer/Director Shelli Ainsworth is a Minnesota-based artist whose work in experimental theater and film has earned her national recognition. She is the past recipient of grants and fellowships from ITVS, The Bush Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Jerome Foundation, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the Minnesota State Arts Board and the McKnight Foundation. Shelli’s short narrative films have been seen in festivals and museums in the United States and Europe. Her first feature film, STAY THEN GO, was a 2014-15 selection in film festivals across the country, as well as the official selection for The Southern Circuit, a highly regarded touring program. Shelli was awarded the “2014 Pioneering Women in Screenwriting” award from the Los Angeles Diversity Film Festival. In 2015 she was invited to be a resident of the Provincetown Film Society Women Filmmaker Residency program.
Hafed Bouassida graduated with a Ph.D. from the famed Prague Film School, FAMU. He subsequently produced, directed and wrote more than forty productions: feature, documentaries, news, ads, corporate, audiovisual and multiscreen programs, in Europe, The Middle East, Africa and The U.S. After teaching at Film in The Cities in St. Paul, he joined the Minneapolis College Cinema Division in 1992 to teach Cinema Production, History and Screenwriting. In 1996, he developed the new award winning Screenwriting program. He currently chairs the Program, is President of the Screenwriters Workshop and is a member of several boards and commissions while developing his own screenplays and acting as script consultant and panel member to different local and national competitions, foundations and grant organizations such as the Jerome Foundation, the Minnesota State Arts Board and the MN Legacy Amendment. In 2012, Hafed won an excellence award in teaching and was recognized by the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities as Teacher of the Year. He is currently the national Screenwriting chair of the University Film and Video Association.
Andy Froemke is a highly collaborative screenwriter with a strong production background. He began his storytelling career following Robert Redford around the rivers of Montana, co-producing/co-directing Shadowcasting: The Making of A River Runs Through It. Shifting his focus to screenwriting, he’s optioned material to producer David Lancaster, Movierockets Entertainment, and provided scripted material for the ABC series IN AN INSTANT. He was recently named the winner of the 2016 IFP Minnesota Screenwriting Residency and made the Pitch Finale at last year’s Austin Film Festival.
David Grant is a Twin Cities-based screenwriter playwright, who has created work for Russell Simmons’ Def Pictures, HBO, Davis Entertainment and the Showtime Network, among others. David has received screenwriting fellowships from the Minnesota State Arts Board and the McKnight Foundation. He and Twin Cities Public Television were awarded the 1990 Regional Emmy, Best Original Dramatic Program, for THE SCREENPLAY PROJECT: FOUR SHORTS. David teaches screenwriting at FilmNorth and has also taught at The Loft Literary Center and the Playwrights’ Center. He is president emeritus of Screenwriters’ Workshop, a core alumnus member of The Playwrights’ Center, and a member of the Writers’ Guild of America, West.
Julie Hartley has been production managing and producing entertainment and media projects for the past thirty-five years. Her career began at Twin Cities Public Television as Production Manager for national programs. Julie also managed the Prairie Home Companion series live via satellite to the Disney Channel. She then worked for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation in the TV Features Department and was the in-house producer for Prince’s Paisley Park Productions. Julie made the leap to independent feature film production in 1988 with the production of Old Explorers. She produced World and Time Enough, With or Without You, Wooly Boys and Brothers Three: An American Gothic. She worked as production manager on several studio features including My Cousin Vinny, A Simple Plan, Out of the Furnace, Hot Pursuit, and USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage. She worked as the Line Producer on Dave Barry’s Complete Guide to Guys, Smother, Robert Altman’s A Prairie Home Companion, Thin Ice, In The Blood and the soon-to-be-released Phillip Noyce thriller, Above Suspicion.
Megan Kelly started her career in production and wardrobe in Marrakech, Morocco. She went on to work at Cinetic Media and ICM Partners, in New York, before going to work in festival operations at Sundance. She currently lives and works in Minneapolis. Megan graduated from Wesleyan University with a degree in Art History.
Kyja Kristjansson-Nelson’s films have screened at festivals in Asia, Europe, North America and Australia, at venues such as the Walker Art Center, the D.C. National Museum for Women in the Arts, & the Queensland Gallery of Modern Art. Her work has received awards, including the ICDOC “Kodak Vision Award for Best Cinematography,” Ann Arbor Film Festival’s “Griot Editorial Best Editing Award,” and the UFVA “Award of Merit for Documentary Filmmaking.” The Carnegie Foundation named her the 2014 Minnesota CASE Professor of the Year. Kyja is the Chair of the School of Media Arts & Design at Minnesota State University Moorhead.
Minneapolis native Kenneth Rance graduated cum laude with a B.A. in Radio/Television/Film Production from the Howard University School of Communications in 1992. The following year, Kenneth moved to Los Angeles, where he landed a position as an office production assistant on the FOX series “ROC.” After “ROC”, Kenneth worked as an assistant at the William Morris Agency. Soon after, Kenneth was admitted to the CBS Television Executive Management Training Program where he developed the movie-of-the-week. CYBERSTALK and coordinated the first annual, CBS/WGAw Television Writers Workshop for emerging minority writers. In 1996, Kenneth sold his first motion picture screenplay SCARY DATES to 20th Century Fox and was later inducted into the Writers Guild of America where he has served as Co-Chair for the Committee of Black Writers and Member-At-Large on the Committee Advisory Panel. Since then Kenneth has written and produced many film and television projects for several major studios and independent production companies. Kenneth’s most recent film NEW IN TOWN, starring Renee Zellweger and Harry Connick, Jr., was released January 2009.
Bianca A. Rhodes is an Emmy award-winning Media Professional and Cum Laude graduate of St. Cloud State University with a degree in Mass Communication. Her communication skills led her to become one of the first Black student commencement speakers in the history of the university. Before her college career she was involved in the Emmy Award winning show with TPT, “Don’t Believe the Hype.” With that show, she soon became an intern under the North Star documentary, produced by Daniel Bergin, about Black Pioneers in Minnesota. Currently, Rhodes is the Production & Sponsorship Coordinator for the Saint Paul Neighborhood Network and Associate Producer for WCCO’s Emmy-nominated urban affairs show “Urban Perspectives.” She is also the proud owner of BLovely Productions and LeMae Photography.
About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. knightfoundation.org
FilmNorth‘s mission is to empower artists to tell their stories, launch and sustain successful careers, and advance The North as a leader in the national network of independent filmmakers. We achieve our mission by nurturing a vibrant, diverse community of film and media artists; providing education and resources at every stage of their careers; and celebrating their achievements.