Futuristic Western, Sci-Fi Tale Top Brit List of Stellar Scripts

'Their Finest,' starring Gemma Arterton, featured on The Brit List two years ago

Their Finest TIFF
Courtesy of TIFF

Projects in development at Ken Loach’s Sixteen Films, Colin Firth’s Raindog Films and Steve Coogan’s Baby Cow are among entries on this year’s Brit List, a compendium of stellar screenplays by non-U.S. writers that have yet to go into production, nominated by leading U.K. film biz professionals.

Topping the list is Ruth Greenberg’s futuristic Western “The Competitors,” about “a runaway prostitute who falls in with a lone rider pursuing a stolen child through a brutal landscape,” and Felix Harrison’s sci-fi tale “The Far Edge of the World,” which centers on three scientists at a remote research base in Antarctica.

The Brit List was set up in 2007 to complement the Black List in the U.S. Scripts to make the Brit List in past years have included “The King’s Speech,” “My Week with Marilyn,” “We Need to Talk about Kevin” and “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.” The list took a break last year, but the 2015 lineup included several scripts that were subsequently produced, such as “Lion,” “The Girl with All the Gifts” and “Their Finest.”

This year, more than 80 companies made up of producers, agents, distributors and sales agents from the British film community were invited to nominate screenplays. While 22 scripts have made the grade of three votes or more, the spread of nominated scripts was much wider than in previous years, with more than 160 scripts put forward.

“The Competitors” by Ruth Helen Greenberg (The Agency)
Producers: Escape Plan Productions
Genre: Futuristic Western
Summary: A runaway prostitute falls in with a lone rider pursuing a stolen child through a brutal landscape.

“The Far Edge of the World” by Felix Harrison (42)
Producers: Newscope Films
Genre: Sci-fi
Summary: When three scientists at a remote research base in Antarctica discover they’re picking away at the very edge of reality, their world begins to fray and their existence threatens to collapse around them.

“Bride or Groom” by Olivia Poulet (The Agency) and Lucy Brown (The Agency)
Producers: Stigma Films
Genre: Rom-com
Summary: On the eve of their wedding weekend in Paris, newly engaged lovers Sophie and Philippe magically swap bodies and attend each other’s stag and hen dos, to eye opening results.

“Rovaniemi” by Simon Stephenson (Knight Hall Agency)
Producers: Big Talk Pictures
Genre: Dramedy
Summary: After being left a mysterious gift on Christmas Day, a depressed woman walks out of her life as a doctor and onto a plane to Rovaniemi, Lapland, in search of the one person she believes may have truly understood her: Father Christmas. There she strikes up a reluctant partnership with an alcoholic failed entrepreneur, and together they search for magic and hope in a world where all seems lost.

“Beats” by Kieran Hurley (The Agency) and Brian Welsh (Independent Talent Group)
Producers: Sixteen Films
Genre: Coming of age
Summary: Tells the story of Johnno McCreadie, a teenager living in a Scottish town at the time of the 1994 Criminal Justice Act – a new piece of legislation that effectively outlawed raves, or “public gatherings around amplified music characterized by the emission of a succession of repetitive beats.” “Beats” explores rebellion, apathy and the irresistible power of gathered youth.

“The Enemy Within” by Brian Martin (Sayle Screen)
Producers: Stray Bear Productions
Genre: Drama
Summary: 1984, Yorkshire: 18-year-old Ste is a miner who dreams of being a rugby star. Rocked by the industrial strike that threatens to destroy his family and way of life, Ste’s complicated life becomes impossible when he falls in love with newcomer Bobby.

“The Last Right” by Aoife Crehan (Independent Talent Group)
Producers: CrossDay/Baby Cow/Deadpan
Genre: Comedy Drama
Summary: A reluctant man drives a stranger’s corpse across Ireland against the wishes of the police, finding love, and mending family relations along the way.

“Lonesome Tonight” by Paul Viragh (Knight Hall Agency)
Producers: Ecosse Films
Genre: Biopic
Summary: The intimate biopic following Priscilla Beaulieu as she meets Elvis while he’s on military service in Germany in the late ‘50s.

“Doing Great Things” by Christopher Bacon (unrepresented) and Edward Hemming (Independent Talent Group)
Producers: Mount Diablo Entertainment
Genre: Drama
Summary: April 2009: A “60 Minutes” reporter, a Vanity Fair writer and a documentary film-maker spent over 100 hours with a lawyer accused of stealing over $700 million. Each comes away with answers, but only one discovered the truth. Based on a true story.

“Gypsy Boy” by James Graham (Curtis Brown Group)
Producers: BBC Films
Genre: Drama
Summary: Adaptation of Mikey Walsh’s memoir about growing up in a Romany family.

“Rose of Dyapazon” by Sean Buckley (Knight Hall Agency)
Producers: Film 4
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Summary: Rose is set a series of quests in order to find her lost brother, Aidan, and uncover her true identity.

“Stolen Time” by Nick Whitfield (The Agency)
Producers: Forward Films
Genre: Time Travel Comedy Drama
Summary: Charlotte, a Victorian-era petty thief, is catapulted to 21st-century London.

“The Untitled Alexander McQueen Project” by Chris Urch (United Agents)
Producers: DJ Films/Pathé
Genre: Biopic
Summary: An emotionally charged depiction of the six months leading up to one of McQueen’s greatest shows, probing both his personal and professional personas.

“13 O’Clock” by Johannes Roberts and Ernest Riera (42)
Producers: The Fyzz
Genre: Horror
Summary: The American Mid-West – A brother and sister on the run after killing their father, meet a strange man who makes them an even stranger offer: spend an hour in the coffin of a recently deceased corpse buried six feet underground. Soon they will discover what happens every night at 13 O’clock – the hour of the dead.

“Ciphers” by Dawn King (Berlin Associates)
Producers: Cowboy Films
Genre: Thriller
Summary: A woman tries to find out the truth about her twin sister’s mysterious death.

“Dry Land” by Marcus Shepherd (Noel Gay)
Producers: Dan Films
Genre: Comedy
Summary: Five years after drinking himself into a coma on his stag night, Duncan Blake wakes up to discover that all alcohol has been banned and that he is the poster boy for the prohibition campaign “Don’t be drunken like Duncan.”

“Eichmann” by Matthew Orton (The Agency)
Producers: MGM
Genre: Historical Thriller
Summary: Based on the true story about Mossad agents tracking down a Nazi war criminal in South America.

“Enter the Dragons” by Joy Wilkinson (Berlin Associates)
Producers: Jeva Films
Genre: Comedy
Summary: 1970s, Britain: when a flasher strikes, Gloria is forced to defend herself by learning karate from Hao at the Chinese takeaway. But Hao isn’t Chinese, and he doesn’t know karate… A kick-ass comedy about women, men and unleashing the dragon inside us all.

“Excellent Women” by Jemma Kennedy (United Agents)
Producers: Raindog Films/BBC Films
Genre: Comedy Drama
Summary: Based on Barbara Pym’s comedy of manners about a woman in the 1950s.

“Gimme Danger” by Sam Hanna (Curtis Brown Group)
Producers: Eighty Two Films
Genre: Thriller
Summary: 1950s, Cuba: A holed-up British spy on the verge of defection is pursued by the British secret service, the CIA and the KGB.

“Small Houses” by Clare Holman (Independent Talent Group)
Producers: Dan Films
Genre: Drama
Summary: Niamh has made the difficult decision to have a child using IVF. Tinashe is a Zimbabwean refugee who works in an IVF clinic. When they meet both are drawn together, but little do they know that this will lead to the unravelling of their lives — love, betrayal, murder and indeed, the making of their futures.

“The Good Nurse” by Krysty Wilson-Cairns (United Agents LLP)
Producers: Protozoa/Lionsgate
Genre: Thriller
Summary: When a nurse and single mother with a heart condition discovers that her colleague may be taking the lives of numerous patients, she is tasked with secretly gathering evidence against him.