Vail Film Fest screenplay winner in town for festival
March 29, 2013
In an ironic twist, Benjamin Fingerhut wrote his screenplay “I Hate Your Kids” shortly after his son, Alexander, was born, when he was in the thick of bonding with his newborn.
“I would already be awake for the midnight and 3 a.m. feedings and wrote a little each night,” said Fingerhut, who lives in Chicago where he works for a small book publishing company. “I quickly got into a routine where I’d leave the pages that I had written the night before on the toilet seat for my wife to read in the morning and she’d read it and mark it up with her thoughts.”
Fingerhut’s hilarious – trust us, we read it and it is –piece won the Vail Film Festival’s annual screenwriting contest and Fingerhut is in town now enjoying his winnings – namely passes to the festival and accomodations while he’s here. The screenplay (which was sent out to producers as part of prize package) will also be read aloud today at the festival by a group of actors.
“I will be watching along with everyone else,” Fingerhut, 39, said. “I’m sure there will be a moment while watching the reading that I’ll think, ‘Hey. I wrote this alone in my office in my underwear, and now there are people acting it out. How cool!'” Though Fingerhut will answer a few quetions after the reading, we got to him first.
Vail Daily: How do you sum up the screenplay’s storyline in a few sentences?
Benjamin Fingerhut: A middle-aged school portrait photographer struggles to maintain his juvenile life after his best friend violates their pact and has a baby.
VD: What was your inspiration for this screenplay?
BJ: Actually the inspiration came from a dream that my wife had when she was pregnant with our son. She dreamt that I had written a screenplay called “Married with Friends.” Consciously or subconsciously when you have your first child, I think there’s a pretty universal fear that once the baby is born you’re going to lose everything you enjoy in life, including good friends. I thought it would be interesting to look at this from the perspective of the friend who doesn’t have a child and doesn’t want one. They have to pretend like it’s all very exciting and great, but deep down they’re probably pretty pissed that this new amazing and precious creature is ruining everything.
VD: Is this your first screenplay? If not, tell me about the others.
BF: This is my third feature screenplay. Several years ago, I wrote a screenplay about a group of bored guys who try to kidnap their small town mayor, called ‘The Bend.’ Then I spent five years making a feature documentary called ‘Breaking and Entering’ about people trying to get into the Guinness World Records book. (Available on iTunes, Netflix and Amazon, etc… !) After my son was born I decided to focus on writing again.
VD: What’s the next step for “I hate your kids”? How do you go about selling it, or getting people interested in making it into a film?
BF: The documentary that I worked on took five years to make and was what I imagine childbirth to be at times, so I knew that I just wanted to write this one and not make it myself. Therefore, I chose a very universal theme that a lot of people could appreciate. I’ve been lucky enough to do well in a few screenwriting contests and in turn there are some production companies that have expressed interest in possibly making it. It’s always a longshot, but it’s exciting to think about it getting made.