Kairos Prize Winners and Where They Are Now
Created in 2005, The Kairos Prize for Spiritually Uplifting Screenplays was established to further the influence of moral and spiritual values within the film and television industries. The competition recognizes the importance of inspiring first-time and beginning screenwriters whose screenplays are compelling, entertaining, spiritually uplifting, and either increase man’s understanding or love of God. The Kairos Prize first announced its winners at the 14th annual MOVIEGUIDE® Faith and Values Awards in February 2006. Presented each year since, the competition has received over 4000 entries and remains the largest screenwriting competition of its kind in the United States.
The Kairos Prize wrapped up its thirteenth season this last February at the 26th Annual MOVIEGUIDE® Awards after reviewing 368 entries from all over the world. This year’s winner of the Timothy Plan Sponsored $15,000 Kairos Prize for Beginning Screenwriters was awarded to William Gebby for his script NORTH STAR about “an emotionally cold Quakeress who learns to love after she rescues an eight year-old runaway slave.”
The $15,000 Kairos Prize for Established Screenwriters, which was also sponsored by the Timothy Plan had a record 38 submissions from a variety of filmmakers, including successful Directors and former major studio executives. The winner of this prize was awarded to Alexandra Boylan, John K.D. Graham and Andrea Polnaszeck for their script SWITCHED about a young girl who prays that her nemesis at school knows what it’s like to walk a day in her shoes, and God answers her prayers.
Over the course of 13 seasons the competition has awarded a total of 36 prizes. After concluding this 13th season, the Kairos Prize continues to realize its intended vision with 6 previous winners and nominees having completed production (2006 – JOHN, THE REVELATOR, 2009 – SEASON OF MIRACLES and 2009 A MATTER OF TIME, 2017 – ALL SAINTS and 2017 – MULLY), 6 others are in various stages of development and/or nearing production.
Last year’s Kairos winner THE PRAYER BOX has also completed production and will release on Pure Flix Streaming sometime in late 2018.
2017 marks the first year a Top 10 Kairos Screenplay received a national theatrical release from a major studio. ALL SAINTS was a 2013 finalist for the Kairos Prize and is a true story about a Tennessee pastor that saves a dying church by planting a farm on the land with the help of some Burmese refugees. It was released on August 25, 2017 through Sony Pictures and grossed $5.9 Million.
Last year production also finished for the Kairos Pro Winner (formerly known as the Chronos Prize) BURNING AT BOTH ENDS, written by Matthew G. Hill and Landon Johnson, a World War II drama starring Cary Elwes (star of PRINCESS BRIDE), Judd Hirsch (TV’s TAXI and SUPERIOR DONUTS), Sebastian Roche (THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE), and Greer Grammar (Kelsey Grammar’s daughter). It is currently in post-production, and does not have a distributor or a release date.
While two of the scripts mentioned above have already been released, the 2009 Grand Prize winner A MATTER OF TIME (retitled A PLACE IN THE HEART), written by Christina Denton of Martinsville, VA was released in March 2016. Featuring Kevin Sorbo (SOUL SURFER, HERCULES), Shelley Long (THE BRADY BUNCH MOVIE, CHEERS) and Jason Burkey (OCTOBER BABY), the film centers on the story of young man with a broken heart that consumes him with bitterness, blinding him from the true love of his life. In the end, he realizes that sometimes finding love and happiness is as simple as opening up your heart.
The 2015 winner WHEN MOUNTAINS MOVED, written by Jeffrey Peabody of Federal Way, WA was recently sold to producer Cary Soloman (GOD’S NOT DEAD, DO YOU BELIEVE?). Based on a true story of Charles Dickens investigating the incredible tales he has heard of George Muller, a dirt-poor preacher from Victorian England who is saving thousands of orphans from the streets, the script is currently in development with Believe Entertainment.
PLAY BALL, 2013 Runner Up, written by Romeo Ciolfi of Toronto, Canada is currently in preproduction through Pate Productions of New York. The script centers around A young boy and his unstable mother who cross paths with a grief-stricken minister and his wife that leads to an unexpected miracle.
I, JOHN, the story of a homeless holocaust survivor who inspires an atheist surgeon and a disillusioned minister to believe that he might be the beloved biblical disciple John, is the 2012 Runner Up, written by Sean Paul Murphy of Baltimore, MD. It is slated to begin production through Sandalphon Entertainment at a to be determined date.
WINNER UPDATES [continued]
The 2012 First Runner Up A DOLPHIN IN OUR LAKE, written by David (Nicholas) Hartmann of Mason, OH is currently in preproduction with producers Adrian Carr and Rosemary Marks. After a dolphin appears to his cancer-stricken son in their fresh water lake, a Midwestern farmer in WWII America must find the faith to save his family farm, help his ailing son, and believe in miracles. Recently brought on board the development team are: Academy® Award winning editor Anne Coates; casting director Mary Vernieu (Noah, Divergent) and former president of United Artists, Paramount Pictures and Columbia Pictures – David Picker. The team is currently seeking to produce the script on a mainstream budget which would be a significant step forward for the Kairos Prize. It is currently set to begin filming in September, 2018.
The 2011 Grand Prize winner BLUE WATER METAL, written by Justin Eade of New Zealand optioned his script this last February to Cary Solomon and Chuck Konzelman. An amazingly well written script, this riveting tale revolves around seven people, from vastly different backgrounds, stranded on a sinking shipping container in the middle of the ocean… together they must battle the elements, and each other, to survive. Because of the nature of this script, the producers would have to raise a considerable budget… but that is their current goal.
The 2011 winner UNDER THE APPLE TREE, written by Matthew Hill and Landon Johnson of Los Angeles, CA., (incidentally winners of the first annual Chronos Prize) – brings a coming of age story of friendship turning to romance when a staunchly religious boy is forced to work with a true party girl on a college project that sends them on a journey through churches, frats and everything in between. Currently in development with producers Steve Allison and Jonah M. Hirsch, we are awaiting news of production.