Screenplay · table reading

Winning LGBT Feature Film Reading of ARRANGING MIA, by Joanie Fox

Genre: LGBT, Romance, Comedy

A dying mother wants to marry off her lesbian daughter to a man before she dies.

CAST LIST:

Narrator: Elizabeth Rose Morriss
Mia: Pip Dwyer
Helen: Julie Burris
Cole: Geoff Mays
Alex: Hugh Ritchie
Dr. Harrison: Ariel Brooker

Get to know the writer:

What is your screenplay about?

Arranging Mia is about a dying mother and her controlling need to marry off her lesbian daughter to a man before she dies.

What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Romantic Comedy or Dramedy

Why should this screenplay be made into a movie?

There was a time when I thought this script might not be relevant any longer with the legalization of gay marriage in many states. However, once Trump was elected, I realized just how divided America is on human rights issues. As storytellers we have an opportunity to enlighten those who are limited by their belief systems. If someone were to see this film and be able to have empathy for all the characters, perhaps there is an opportunity to heal the divide and nurture compassion and acceptance beyond our differences.

How would you describe this script in two words?

Organized Cauious.

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

Into The Wild

How long have you been working on this screenplay?

For almost a decade. It started out as a drama, inspired by a close friends experience with her dying mother coming to terms with her daughter’s sexuality. It eventually became more comedically inclined when I allowed myself to use my friends story as inspiration and not tell it literally.

How many stories have you written?

Four screen plays to date, numerous treatments and am now branching out by directing my first documentary short film.

What is your favorite song? (Or, what song have you listened to the most times in your life?)

I’m a huge fan of Brett Dennen and listened to his first studio album a lot while writing ARRANGING MIA. The song I listened to the most was “All We Have.” As many times as I’ve heard it, I still get emotional. Dennen is a wonderful storyteller.

What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

Whether Helen lives or dies at the end of the film was challenging. When I wrote it with Helen dying most people were very upset and would get stuck on the mother dying instead of the healing Helen and Mia experience within their relationship. I think leaving it up to the audience to imagine what happens next with both women hopefully keeps the discussion open and the community dialogue can continue beyond the story.

Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

Music, dance, art, food, wine, nature and my dogs!

What influenced you to enter the festival? What were your feelings on the initial feedback you received?

I was thrilled to see a festival choosing to focus on LGBT screenplays. The feedback I received was fantastic. The notes empowered me to update the script to our current political climate and also eliminate the fluff and go for the heart. The feedback was specific and well thought out. I wish I could get this kind of coverage whenever a script is submitted. As writers we’re alone on this journey, having feedback makes all the difference and having professional notes elevates you to the next level. I’m very grateful for this experience. It’s been a joy working with the Toronto LGBT Film Festival.

*****

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

Camera Operator: Kierston Drier

Editor: John Johnson

Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne

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