Winning Under 5min. Short Screenplay – THE PLAGIARIST, by James M Freeman

Genre: Drama, Political

A pompous professor is confronted with a scandal of his own making.


Narrator: Julian Ford
Beecham: Dan Cristofori
Hardy: Steve Rizzo
Megan: Emily Weir
Wright: Rachel Salsberg

Get to know the writer:

What is your screenplay about?

Title of Screenplay: The Plagiarist.

A university lecturer defends himself against a dead student’s complaint.

What genres does your screenplay fall under?


Why should this screenplay be made into a movie?

As students, many of us have endured insufferable–even worse, harmful teachers–and have been powerless to do much about it. My story addresses this issue.

How would you describe this script in two words?

Injustice. Redress.

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

How long have you been working on this screenplay?

I wrote a draft a couple of years ago and set it aside. I rewrote it this year over about a week and then revised it over another few days based on the reader’s insightful suggestions.

I expect to incorporate this story into a feature-length screenplay, which I have been writing.

How many stories have you written?

Narrative screenplays and short stories: One feature script, six short scripts, two short stories based on scripts.

Several of my seven Non-Fiction books use stories, which serve as the basis of my screenplays. Examples are “Untouchable: An Indian Life History,” and “Hearts of Sorrow: Vietnamese-American Lives”–which won a 1990 American Book Award.

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

What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

How to end the story. How to make the situation outrageous/intolerable, but still believable.

Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

Human rights. For many years, as a volunteer, I headed a non-profit agency that provided assistance to Vietnamese unaccompanied minors seeking asylum as refugees. My short script, “Best Interests,” draws on my experiences in Southeast Asian detention centers, where the children all too often suffered abuse and neglect.

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

Entered the festival because: The story felt right for a short exposition.



Producer: Matthew Toffolo

Director: Kierston Drier
Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne
Editor: John Johnson

Camera Operator: Mary Cox

By under5minutefilmfestival

The quarterly festival that focuses on the greatest under 5 minute short films from around the world. Films get showcased at the FEEDBACK Film Festival and receive an audience moderation video on their short.

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