North County San Diego is brimming with talented TV and film scriptwriters who aspire to reach the big screen. Bringing Hollywood vibes to the area, the La Costa Film Festival is hosting its annual The Reel Pitch event to support such talent.
Founded in 2012 by Michael and Ruby Callihan, the La Costa Film Festival is a four-day extravaganza featuring 48 films screened in three unique venues. In addition to The Reel Pitch, the festival holds other special events like ‘Sip & Savor’, where guests can enjoy local cuisine and drinks before the red carpet event.
The Reel Pitch was developed to bring a new opportunity to talented scriptwriters, providing exclusive access to discuss and improve their ideas with successful individuals in the film industry. A VIP celebrity pre-panel selects the top 10 from films submitted by local writers. The top contestants will have five minutes to pitch their film in front of a live audience and VIP studio executives, followed by a three-minute Q&A session.
Last year’s panel included television director/producer and Co-Chairman of Mandalay Sports Media Mike Tollin, who will once again curate this year’s event. Also present last year was film producer Cash Warren and producer, film executive, and Head of Production at STX Entertainment Cathy Schulman.
“It was a trio of heavy hitters, so simply the opportunity to meet them and present ourselves as storytellers in a rather small and intimate setting was very valuable,” says last year’s finalist Jared Hillman.
The winner of The Reel Pitch receives an exclusive meeting with film judges to further discuss and develop their story, while learning how to best network and improve their story pitch for potential studio executives they may present their ideas in front of.
Last year’s winner was Caitlin Reed, who works in production at Del Mar TV. Her winning story pitch was about a girl who is completely forgotten about as soon as the person conversing with her looks away. After speaking with directors from the panel, they decided her script would work best as a pilot TV series.
Reed’s ultimate goal is for her script to become a TV show with three seasons. “That would be the ideal trajectory for this story. Right now, it’s been a really great learning process. I have learned a lot about the development process and screen writing in general. Even if this doesn’t go anywhere, I am going to be able to take what I learn from this and translate it to other scripts I write.”
This year, the event will be held on Saturday, October 15th. “The Reel Pitch was born as kind of a ‘Shark Tank’ for filmmakers,” says Michael Callihan. “It’s that same concept, where you have people who can actually do something for you, right there listening to you. They’ll help move participants on to the next step or move them into an entirely different direction; but they help them achieve their dreams!”