The Brothers McDonagh – Feature Screenplay

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

We’re pleased to announce the latest news for our Feature Screenplay ‘The Brothers McDonagh’, written by Shannonn Kelly. Today, Woods Hole Film Festival in Cape Cod, MA, announced its screenplay winners and ‘The Brothers McDonagh’, scored an ‘Honorable Mention’ in the Drama category. Woods Hole is a veteran film festival in the industry for 19 years and winning a place here is indeed an honor.

Thanks to Jean-Paul and the people at Woods Hole for the great news!

So far we are 3/4 in festival entries:

Here’s the logline: Ray McDonagh fights for closure to a childhood of torment for him and his brothers, but first he must face his worst fear – his father…

To read some great feedback from Gordy Hoffman (yes, Philip’s brother), please see below:

What did you like about this script?

Child abuse, whether psychological or physical is a troubling subject matter. It is something that is horrifying to imagine and an upsetting topic of discussion. To take it on as the subject for a movie is a challenge. It’s not something that is easy for an audience to willingly come to and engage in viewing. Therefore, it’s important to show characters that are strong and likeable and ultimately for there to be some sense of justice for the victims. I think you do a great job and giving the audience a satisfying ending to a sad story.

What I liked the most about this script was your pacing and your sense of setting up a visual timeline. Your opening sequence is a nice mix of the micro and the macro. I like that you create a timeline showing the personal history of the McDonaghs mixed in with current events in America.

On page 34 you do a good job of creating suspense. When Ray confronts his father and throws out an accusation, you’ve let the actual deed go unsaid. I thought this was a great way to maintain the tension that was building and stalling the reveal was a deft way to keep the plot going.

Consequently, when we do find out that Camas has been abusing his sons, you manage to wrap it up in a montage that is quite dramatic. Again, your sense of timing is interesting. You’ve almost buried this momentous occasion in what at first seems like a conversational scene between the brothers, but it’s a realistic way to frame the dramatic high of the moment. It’s certainly an interesting choice – one that is not the obvious choice.

You do a good job and really picking up the pace and momentum by pages 78-80. Inter cutting between John’s purchase of the gun and Lena’s efforts to gather the DNA evidence propel the story forward.

Your character development is very strong. By page 8 we get a clear sense of what a strong-willed, hardheaded individual John is. John clearly has the more forceful personality of all the brothers and it is easy to believe that he is capable of doing something irrational. It is not a surprise that he would want vigilante justice against his father and it is easy to believe that Ray and Kennedy would be able to talk him out of it.

I liked that the brothers all have clear, distinct personalities that complement each other. I think that’s a detail that is very realistic and really reinforces the positive message that ultimate comes from this story – one cannot take the law into one’s hands and that justice ultimately prevails.

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