As part of the next stage of Bombay Sapphire's Imagination Series campaign, the judges gathered in New York on Monday, September 23 to start the judging process. Today Examiner.com had the opportunity to interview Imagination Series head judge and Academy Award winning screenplay writer Geoffrey Fletcher about the competition.
Tell us the highlights of the selection process.
Well to see so many inspired works from so many different genres, that’s one. Another is to see an increase in the entries. Last year we had entries from 33 countries; their year we've had entries from 68. And another highlight is the unbelievable directions people have taken the script. There are things that really really enforce the belief that imagination is alive and well. There are people who take things to such far out places. Bring them back, throw in a twist and have it all land in a place that not only makes sense but resonates and even says something about who we are as people which, of course, all the cleverness in the world, I don’t think it’s really relevant without that humanity underneath, regardless of where the setting is - outer space or down the street.
Can you tell us about the caliber of the entries the competition has received?
That’s the hardest part every year because we always want to make more films than we can because the entries are so so strong. Last year, when we did this I didn’t know what to expect and now in our second year, the quality of the work has been exceeding our expectations.
Are there any updates on things you’re working on besides this project?
Yea there’s some in the pipeline that are yet to be announced but may be announced soon, but a couple of them involve writing scripts for directors I admire. Another is adapting a book that I will write, direct and produce and then there are several other projects in various stages along the pipeline. But I’m thrilled and feel so fortunate to not only work on projects that I care very much about, but to work with some really wonderful people. That has been some one of the greatest joys I’ve had since Precious to know and work with such wonderful talent.
Are you excited for the awards season coming up?
Indeed. I think this is shaping up to be one of the strongest years in memory and there are a number of films that I want to see, if they are even half as good as I’ve heard they are or suspect they will be, I’ll be thrilled and I can’t wait. It is really descending upon us quickly, so I plan to see a number of them in the coming weeks and I am so so excited. To me, it seems they can do more than just entertain. My hope is that they are part of a wave or movement in cinema towards these well-crafted human stories. You can have a spectacle film be quite human - it isn’t so much the budget or whether it is grounded in everyday reality, it is the inspiration behind the ideas and hopefully this Bombay Sapphire competition can be some part of that larger movement.