FiLMLaB Premier

FiLMLab’s Script­-to-­Screen Contest awards its winners with the production of their script into shorts with the aid of professional directors and actors. With the deadline for the contest coming tonight (Tuesday, March 29, 2016, 11:59 p.m. PT) we’re getting excited about the winner’s premier at the Annual Willamette Writers Conference. The past few years have blown us away with the amount of hard work and creativity put into films, and we can’t wait to see what this year’s submissions will unveil.


Alis_Volat_PropriisHaley Isleib won the inaugural FiLMLaB contest in 2012 with her script, Alis Volat Propriis, and the resulting short starred Katie Michels and Randall Jahnson. The film won Best Comedic Short at the 2013 Oregon Independent Film Festival and was shown at the 2014 Portland Film Festival.


In 2013, Barbara Thomas won theScript­-to-­Screen contest with her short script INSPIRATION, which post­production had its name changed to Coffee. Table. Book. Cinematographer Eric Macey added his creative flare and helped create a beautiful silent, black-and­white film that delighted our audience when it debuted on opening day of the 2013 Willamette Writers Conference.


The winner of 2014, Jon Dragt, had his short script transformed into the film Unwelcome Guests with the talents of Portlandia’s DP Phil Anderson, Paige McKenzie of the web series The Haunting of Sunshine Girl, and other accomplished pros. According to Jon Dragt, it was “a huge growth opportunity for me to see these film professionals operate and be an active part of the creative process.” Shortly after debuting at the Willamette Writers Conference, Unwelcome Guests also went to the 2014 Portland Film Festival.


Bug-Eyed-Bill-768x994Remember The Return of Bug Eyed Bill, written by Mark Scarbrough, the winner of the 2015 Script-­to-­Screen Contest? The film began its life as a script entitled “The Robbery,” but after submission to FiLMLab’s contest, it underwent several rewrites based on feedback from Hollywood professionals and the mentorship of Randall Jahnson Though Mark could not attend the conference, the director Mike Parisien of Going Street Films headed a panel of those involved in the film’s production. According to award winning author Mindy Halleck, The Return of Bug Eyed Bill “was one of the best [shorts] I’ve seen in a long time.”

Can’t wait to see what FiLMLab has in store in 2016? Stay tuned for details about this year’s winning script and updates on its production.

Gail Pasternack

Gail Pasternack has been a member of Willamette Writers since 2010 and joined the Board of Directors in 2015. Since stepping up as President of the Board, she has provided leadership for the organization and worked closely with the Executive Director and the board to run the daily business of Willamette Writers. She is a storyteller and writer who tells re-envisioned folktales to live audiences and has published short stories and essays for magazines and anthologies. She is the founding member of the Women’s Storytelling Collective. They will publish their first anthology in 2025.