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C21 script competition finalists named

C21 has announced the six finalists in its Drama Series Script Competition, produced in association with Script Angel, featuring three projects from the UK, two from the US and one from Australia.

The finalists will be invited to pitch their shows at Content London on November 27, with the winner collecting a US$10,000 prize and development option through C21 WritersRoom.

Chosen from close to 200 entries, the finalists are:

Parasomnia
By Jan Smith (UK)
From 1898 to 1910 in the American Mid-West, 27 families were bludgeoned with an axe. A few of these murders were ‘solved’ by stitching up another family member or by lynching black suspects. Most went unresolved, and unconnected, until author Bill James wrote The Man From The Train in 2017.

Several spookily similar murders have happened since: Bavaria in 1922 , Detroit in 1929, Rochester in 1982, Kansas in 1988, Canberra in 1987 and Greenough, Australia in 1993.

But of course, they can’t possibly be connected… can they? What if reincarnation is real? What if a serial killer really can’t stop – ever?

Australian Monsters
By Zahid Gamieldien and Ella Roby (Australia)
Australian Monsters is a black comedy-drama series which centres on the surreal search for a lost masterpiece hidden on a fruit farm in Far North Queensland.

The main character, Margot, is a retired criminal strategist hiding from her past. But when she kills the iconic local crocodile that ate her dog, she finds the body of a backpacker in its belly. This brings her to the attention of a bumbling park ranger whose investigation into the crocodile’s murder exposes Margot to her old crime syndicate pals.

Margot inadvertently becomes part of a chain of events that will involve her in a race to find the missing painting. Also searching for the artwork is Bless, an American con woman posing as a fruit picker, and Jens, a Dutch psychopath who leaves a trail of dead bodies in his wake.

Margot could probably escape the whole mess if it were not for an unwelcome connection with a young girl – a connection that will ultimately heal the wounds of the past Margot thought she had escaped.

Switches
By Phil Mulryne (UK)
Switches mixes tech angst with fantasy and British folk horror in an atmospheric supernatural thriller. It builds an original mythology, uniquely blending cutting-edge technology, nature and the supernatural. In Switches, Black Mirror meets Stranger Things meets the landscape writing of Robert Macfarlane.

Ben is a young tech entrepreneur, at home in our ultra-connected world. But when his wife, Rachel, drags him hiking in the wilds of Scotland, his world is ripped apart by a direct lightning strike. It implants something ancient, something powerful, within him – a force, an ‘Elemental’ being that seeks to overpower him. Ben is left with a strangely marked body, mysterious visions and extreme reactions to EM fields.

Meanwhile, another young couple, Bethan and Pete, join a remote Scottish eco-community led by the enigmatic Reuben. Yet this supposedly technology-free idyll is, in reality, a base from which the Elementals plan to attack and destroy our modern world.

On Solstice Hill
By Alice Burden (UK)
Maggie is a solitary author living in a cottage on Solstice Hill, a place inspired by the dramatic hills and abandoned quarries of Titterstone Clee in the Welsh Marches, where isolation is rife and the myths of history are still keenly felt.

Maggie’s world and mental state are thrown into question when the discovery of what appears to be the grave of a baby coincides with the return of her wayward daughter, Aphra.

As Maggie investigates, her discoveries and the sinister happenings in their sleepy town force both mother and daughter and other members of the community to confront their pasts and each other.

The series explores themes of loneliness, mental ill-health and relationships (among many others), through the lens of a crime drama.

The Secret World of Danny Rizik
By Samuel Garza Bernstein (US)
Pop music fantasies, sex, war, child snatching and Valley of the Dolls – true tales of a precocious tween in 1970s Texas.

Danny is 10 going on 30 and back in Texas after living in Cairo, where his Jewish dad has been using his good looks and wily ways to sell arms to the Palestinians.

Danny idolizes his Latina mom and dreams of the day his dad will let him live with her again. Danny’s childlike sense of fun keeps the show firmly out of the world of self-pity and soap opera.

After all, if a 10-year-old can laugh at the chaos, you can too. Though it may give you pause afterwards. Did I just laugh at child abuse? A little bit…

The Second City
By Carolyn Kras (US)
In 1871, the Great Chicago Fire burns the city to the ground. When a murderous convict escapes from the burning prison and is roped into joining the Chicago Police Department, he must juggle a double identity, manage criminal associates and corrupt cops and muscle his way to the top of Chicago politics.

This is all while three titans – the head of the Chicago Tribune, a Catholic nun and a scheming city councilman – battle to build one of the greatest cities of the modern world from out of an ashen jungle.

The Second City is a post-apocalyptic drama about the power struggles involved in building a new civilisation. Through the journey of a convict-turned-cop, we will follow the rebirth of Chicago from the night it plunges into darkness to the night, 22 years later, when electric lights finally turn on at the World’s Fair and the Windy City takes its place on the global stage.

The competition final will take place on the first day of Content London at 9am.

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