With more than 10 thousand submissions to the Austin Film Festival, Central Wyoming College professor, Jeremy Nielsen, and alumna, Connie O’Donahue’s, script is a finalist. The winners will be announced at Austin Film Festival conference on Saturday, October 27.
Their drama submission, Ticker, has been more than a year in the making. The sci-fi drama is set in the future where people must sell years off the end of their lives for money. It’s set in a world where corporations decide who lives and who dies. A rule-following paramedic and his impulsive partner struggle to save society by overthrowing the system.
Since their success in 2015, after their script, Devil’s Due, was accepted to the Sundance Institute’s Episodic Story Lab, the duo has continued to expand their talents as writers. Earlier this summer the duo was a finalist at the New York Television Festival for Ticker which brought them a win for best drama script.
“Finding someone who believes in your work enough to vouch for you is a big morale booster,” O’Donahue said about her experience at Sundance.
In following years, the pair gained experience in the television industry and received feedback on Ticker through their LA-based manager. Prior to attending NYTVF, Nielsen and O’Donahue said they felt well-prepared to engage with industry executives at the event. O’Donahue said, their primary motivation for attending is building and maintaining industry connections for their project. After the festival, Nielsen and O’Donahue will be in the process of meeting with producers from the festival who are interested in taking their work to the next level.
The duo is grateful for their “Wyoming roots” which offers differing perspectives coming from an area far removed from the “industry.” O’Donahue believes that they have strength in their point-of-view, distinct from the big-city norm that often attended the same film schools and experienced similar things.
“CWC’s outstanding film program was integral in my development as a writer, and I know how fortunate I am to have been a part of it,” O’Donahue said. “I’d encourage anyone interested in telling their stories through the medium of film or television to come take a closer look at all the program has to offer.” Start learning about CWC’s film program HERE.
There will be one winner for each of the 13 categories at the Austin Film Festival with the winner of the drama feature screenplay award receiving two to three weeks stay at the Capri Residency in Marfa to further develop the script. The winners will also receive cash, travel reimbursement for Austin Film Festival and access to renowned writers, agents, producers and filmmakers in the industry. Nielsen and O’Donahue are one of six for the AMC drama teleplay pilot category.