CHICAGO — In its inaugural year, the Cinemaesque Screenplay Competition (www.cinemaesquescreenplay.com) announced local filmmaker Stuart Wahlin’s script, Slay Utterly, is a top-three finalist in its feature category. Judges include notable industry professionals from network TV and major motion pictures. The winner will be announced Feb. 1.
Last month, independent film icon Bill Oberst Jr. was slated to star in the thriller, which is inspired by real events. Responding to the news, Oberst indicated, “Quite an honor for Stu, and I’m tickled to join in the applause.”
Although the film is not yet financed, Wahlin and co-producer Oberst are optimistic shooting will begin this year.
“We’ve got some momentum right now,” the writer/director said. “The addition of Bill to the cast has been really huge for us in terms of stirring up some buzz in the press. And just to be a finalist in this competition will only help our cause, whether we ultimately come away with the win or not, because it acknowledges that we’ve got a marketable film here. Now, it’s all about getting the story into the hands of people in a position to find us the dollars we need to bring it to the screen.”
Wahlin is estimating a modest budget of $100,000, which he feels leaves plenty of room for a return on investment. Should Slay Utterly win the competition, contest organizers will assist in getting the screenplay produced.
Wahlin, also a former local journalist, was awarded “Best Director” for his first feature film, Hand of Glory, at the 2012 Prairie State Film Festival in Chicago.
From the Jan. 8-14, 2014, issue