Winning Short Screenplay – Last Rites by Martin Keady

LAST RITES
Written by Martin Keady

CAST LIST:

NARRATOR – Peter Nelson
WOMAN/NUN – Laura Kyswaty
CHRIS – Gabriel Darku

SYNOPSIS:

Comedy

‘Last Rites’ is based on the true story of my own mad dash, from Ireland to London, to see my grandmother when I was told that she was dying. And it is a reminder that love, by definition, is always about the unexpected.

Get to know the winning writer:

What is your screenplay about?

‘Last Rites’ is based on the true story of my own mad dash, from Ireland to London, to see my grandmother when I was told that she was dying. And it is a reminder that love, by definition, is always about the unexpected.

What genres does your screenplay under?

Comedy. More specifically it is what I like to call a “feel alive movie”. Forget “feelgood movies” – the finest films make you feel ALIVE, and not just good. And I hope that ‘Last Rites’ achieves that even to a small degree.

Why should this screenplay be made into a movie?

Because I genuinely believe that it depicts one of the truly universal, but relatively under-explored (especially in cinema), relationships, which is that between grandparent and child. I studied anthropology for a year at university and consequently I know that the relationship between grandparent and child is one of the few truly universal human relationships, found in every culture, in every country, indeed in almost every conceivable human setting. As the saying goes, “Grandchildren are the reward for having children”, and I hope that in a small, one-minute way, ‘Last Rites’ shows that.

How would you describe this script in two words?

Grandmotherly love.

What movie have you seen the most times in your life?

‘Withnail and I’, the finest screenplay ever written and the only screenplay where EVERY SINGLE LINE is truly quotable. Read it again and you’ll see.

How long have you been working on this screenplay?

I had had the idea for a long time and initially it was the opening of a feature that I wrote a very long time ago. The feature script lies at the bottom of my very big bottom drawer, but the opening – i.e. the story of ‘Last Rites’ – has always been there somewhere at the front of my subconscious. And when I saw your competition, I was intrigued by the idea of trying to tell a story in one minute. Coincidentally, I was inspired to write it (or rather rewrite it) almost immediately after seeing my own mother become a grandmother for the fourth time (to my sister’s first child). After returning from seeing my first ever nephew, and despite being absolutely shattered (partly from trying to stop my own three children from loving him to death!), I was determined to rewrite ‘Last Rites’. And thankfully now it has all been worthwhile.

How many stories have you written?

A lot: approximately 10 full-length screenplays, including ‘The Shakespeare Plays’, the first ever feature-length biopic of Shakespeare (available to read at http://theshakespeareplays.com/); about 20 to thirty short films (including ‘The Final’, a short film about the famous ending to the 1979 FA Cup Final, which was broadcast on Britain’s Channel Four television network); a couple of full-length stage plays and several one-act (or shorter) plays, including ‘Moon the Loon’, a play about the legendary Who drummer Keith Moon, which premiered at The Edinburgh Festival a few years ago; and finally about three or four short radio plays.

What motivated you to write this screenplay?

The challenge of trying to tell a complete story (as Philip Larkin said, with “A beginning, a muddle and an end”) in just one minute. That was irresistible to me.

What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

The practical one alluded to above, of trying to submit it by the deadline while also welcoming my lovely little nephew to the world. Both were equally important and I’m glad I managed to do both.

Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

As is probably apparent from the stories I mention above: Shakespeare; sport (especially football/soccer and tennis, which I also write about for the LastWordOnSports website); and above all (especially as I get older) injustice – as in the battling and (hopefully) eventual eradication of it. Tragically, injustice is the one truly great inexhaustible subject for any writer or indeed any other artist. Write about injustice and, sadly, you will NEVER run out of subject matter.

Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers?

Yes. At nearly fifty (and boy it’s weird, but necessary, to write that), I genuinely feel like I’ve discovered “the secret of success”. It is, of course, hard work – but the trick is to do something that doesn’t FEEL like hard work. Something that you would want to do anyway. Find THAT (and it’s taken me nearly half a century to do so, but better late than never) and you will, at the very least, achieve the most important form of success, which is to do what you want with your life. That, for me, as for all writers, is writing.

Thank you very much for asking me so many truly thought-provoking questions. If you require any further information about the story or about myself, please do ask.

Once again, very best wishes to you all and sincere, humble thanks.

Martin Keady (8 December 2016)

Director/Producer: Matthew Toffolo http://www.matthewtoffolo.com

Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne

Editor: John Johnson

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