Stormdancer
Stormdancer

 

Winner “Angel Award” Best Original Family Adventure – Monaco Film Festival, Dec 2009  Screenplay by Katherine Huston 

Story by Katherine Huston & John Alphonse Lage 

CMC 2014© All Rights Reserved 

******NEED TO INSERT WHAT THE PERSON PUTING UP FUNDS WILL GET***********

 

Stormdancer Top Sheet 

Elements 

Film Type - Young Adults, Family Entertainment 

Budget - 6.3mm- 12mm 

Location - New Mexico, Utah, Texas, Oklahoma, Canada 

Source - Original Screenplay, USCO, WGA Registered 

Producers - John Alphonse Lage, Gary Hudson 

Dir. Short List - Edward James Olmos, Carroll Ballard, Michael Mann 

Title Holder - Chelsea Multimedia Inc. 

Story By - Katherine Huston & John Alphonse Lage, WGA Registered 

Screenplay By - Katherine Huston WGA Registered 

Start Date - T.B.A 

Shoot  - 30 Days

The producers of the project, John Lage and Gary Hudson wish to make the modestly budgeted picture in late 2014 either in rural America (Georgia) or Canada (Alberta or Calgary).

John of CMC, Chelsea Multimedia, is a career media professional with over 20 years in television, film and commercials. 

The companion business plan aims to make the case that a cleverly budgeted “family-adventure” movie intended for a broad-based audience (Family) can yield healthy returns with modest risk.

Equity partners sought. Historically, 25% – 33% of the budget must be raised in order to qualify for and trigger subsidies and tax credits either in the U.S. or Canada.

For example, Calgary and Alberta offer 33% in tax credits which may be used to cash flow a picture AFTER producer’s equity is used up. Georgia offers a 30% Tax Credit on monies spent in the state.

The production budget for this picture is currently penned at $7.3mm. This budget includes star talent using “schedule “F” SAG rates” as basis. With the cast assembled, the picture should do nicely in theaters, before enjoying a long shelf life on television, cable and video. 

Theme - 

A young handicapped girl, overcomes her limitations and rediscovers her self esteem, when she trains and learns to ride a prized Peruvian Paso horse on the ranch where her father works. However, when the horse has to be sold, the girl sinks into depression again. Upon learning that the horse may be secretly destroyed for insurance reasons, the girl, with the help of a cynical yet sympathetic female truck driver rescue the horse from destruction with the intent of setting him free. 

Comments 

Six of the ten highest grossing films of 2011-2012 were broad based commercial family films like "Stormdancer". With a skilled director drawing honest, naturalistic performances out of the actors and with a Director of Photography taking full advantage of the potentially beautiful landscape, this film has tremendous box office value and upside compared to the modest budget. With proper P&A money, this film has all the elements of a hit as a wide release theatrical film. In addition, this film has the demographic capability to do substantial business in the ancillary markets such as; Home Video, Cable, PPV, and Network. Foreign box office projections are equally bright. While definitely not a high concept film, this project offers the lead actors well developed characters, a compelling story, beautiful photography and believable dialogue. Though not a star driven vehicle, this project has enough going for it to attract star names. 

Coverage 

Must consider- CREATIVE ARTISTS AGENCY 

 

Page is confined to a wheelchair having lost the use of her legs in a car accident that killed her mother and has apparently ended her dream of training horses. Will, who was driving the car, is consumed by guilt and anger. The relationship between father and daughter has deteriorated into a tense and occasionally volatile standoff. 

Page would rather spend her time alone, but Zeke Winters, a black stable hand in his late 60's has other ideas. Zeke, who has a firm, but gentle, way with horses and people, stubbornly ignores Page's hostile silence and downright rudeness. He spends his free time with Page. If Page won't talk, Zeke will... and he has wonderful things to share... secrets for working with horses... how to read the stars... the miracle of a new foal...Zeke's 50 year old secret of a hidden valley in the Tularosa Mountains of New Mexico... But all Zeke's charm and kindness seem to have no effect. 

Zeke's patient stubbornness finally pays off when Page is drawn to the stable during a storm by the news that a mare has died giving birth and the foal is in danger, as well. As Page sits in her wheelchair watching Zeke fight for the life of the motherless colt, he realizes that the little creature is giving up, just like she has. She wheels into the stall to help Zeke and as the foal responds to Page, they both come to life. A sudden, sharp crack of thunder frightens the foal. It rears up and paws the air, then falls on its rump. As it squeals indignantly and scrambles back to its feet, Page laughs for the first time in a very long time and gives the colt a name... Stormdancer. 

As Stormdancer grows into a beautiful and spirited silver-gray stallion, Page grows emotionally stronger with him. Her smile and confidence return; as well as her dream to train horses... beginning with Stormdancer. 

Will watches with growing concern. He believes Page's dream is only a fantasy, and is encouraged in that belief by Jack Kelly, a manipulative assistant trainer with a talent for making trouble and an eye on Will's job. Finally, he confronts Page and Zeke, demanding that Page waste less time with "that horse" and spends more time on schoolwork so she can go to college and get a good job. Page snaps back, telling Will she's learning all she needs to know to get a job from Zeke and Stormdancer. In a moment of anger Will tells Page the truth. No one will hire a woman in a wheelchair to be a trainer. He turns Stormdancer's training over to Jack and orders Page to stay away from Stormdancer. 

The soft-spoken Zeke explodes. Page might not walk, but she isn't a cripple... yet. The accident didn't make Page a cripple, but Will's fear and guilt might. Stormdancer's first training session with Jack is a disaster. The stallion throws the assistant trainer and makes a dangerous enemy. 

Page continues to secretly work with Stormdancer. Page believes Jack and Will have left the ranch and it's safe to take the horse to the paddock. Zeke watches proudly, but from a distance, as Page saddle trains Stormdancer. The powerful stallion responding to the young woman in the wheelchair is a compelling sight, but a suspicious Jack has secretly returned. He calls Will back to the ranch and settles in to watch the fireworks. 

Will arrives just as Page is preparing to mount up. Will leaps from the pickup only to be intercepted by a very determined Zeke. Will watches as Stormdancer "kneels" down on his forelegs. Page wheels alongside the stallion and grabs the saddle horn, pulling herself up out of the chair and astride the silver-gray back. Zeke and Will watch with a mix of awe and fear as the stallion rises gracefully to stand patiently waiting for the next command. 

Will thinks things have gone far enough, but, again Zeke intervenes. If Page falls, let her have the chance to fall. Page urges the stallion forward with her hands and voice. Stormdancer begins to walk, Zeke smiles at Will and Will realizes... Page's walking. Page signals again, Stormdancer effortlessly moves into the famous free flowing trot of the Paso. Zeke laughs. The girl’s not walking, she's flying. Will begins to accept the possibility of Page's dream at last. A proud Zeke designs a special saddle to make it easier for Page to ride. 

A devastating fire destroys the ranch's winter feed supply. Mr. Sanchez, the owner, informs Jack that unless they sell enough stock to replace the feed, Jack will have to go and the ranch will be sold. A furious Jack contacts Mick Jarrett, a circus trainer, who convinces Mr. Nakamura, a wealthy Japanese circus owner, that the horse could be a valuable attraction. 

Mr. Nakamura, in his early sixties, appears to be the very epitome of the stereotypical Japanese businessman. He authorizes Jarrett to bid whatever it takes to get Stormdancer. Stormdancer's owner, Mr. Sanchez is in a horrible position. He can't turn down the offer. Stormdancer is sold. 

The ranch is saved, but Page is devastated. She no longer wants to train horses. She returns to her angry, silent shell. This time even Zeke can't reach her. 

Stormdancer is as devastated as Page. He won't perform for the trainer and refuses to eat. The angry Jarrett, afraid that he has wasted a huge amount of Mr. Nakamura's money and fearful of losing his job, tries to force Stormdancer to perform. When the badly abused stallion fights back, the trainer claims that the horse is vicious and should be destroyed. Billy, a little person who works as a clown doesn't believe it for a minute, and has befriended the horse. When he overhears Jarret and Jack planning an "accident" he decides to get involved and manages to contact the ranch and Page. 

When Page hears what's happening to Stormdancer, she has to act quickly. She tells no one her plan... to somehow get to Arizona, where the circus is performing, and steal the stallion. She'll take him to Zeke's wonderful valley and set him free. She knows this means losing Stormdancer forever, but at least her friend will be happy and safe. Page packs a bag and taking the special saddle, sneaks out in the dead of the night. She wheels her chair to the nearby interstate and tries to thumb a ride. 

She's just about to give up, when she's picked up by a lady long haul truck driver in her early forties. She introduces herself as Jughead, her C.B. handle. She's witty, cynical and outspoken, thick-skinned, prickly and not easily fooled so she threatens to pull over and kick Page out in front of the next police station unless she tells her why she's run away from home. She's expecting a number of stories... She's heard 'em all... but Page's story and "gloriously impossible" plan to rescue her friend and set him free fires her imagination. She's a burned-out rebel from the 60's who gave up thinking one person could make a difference long ago., but Page's unselfish love for Stormdancer touches her in spite of her reluctance to believe in anything. She offers to help. 

On the road to Arizona, Jughead fights her growing belief in Page's dream and is not quite willing to get close. Page begins to figure her out and puts her trust in Jughead completely, a source of great irritation to the lone wolf trucker, and faith and friendship begin to break down walls.

 They finally arrive at the circus and Billy helps them steal Stormdancer. With the stallion tucked safely away in a makeshift stall in the back of the 18 wheeler they make their getaway. They are aided and abetted over the C.B. radio by Jughead's "good buddies" and Papa Bear, an oddball assortment of rebels who follow the long haul trucker's "code of the road". In a high speed chase involving a convoy of big rigs and highway patrolmen from two states they near the hidden valley and freedom. 

Jughead gets as close as she can to Page's destination, then gives up. The patrolman, approaches with his gun drawn. Page and Stormdancer wait in the trailer as Jughead climbs out of the cab with her hands up and walks around back to open up the door of the trailer. Page and Stormdancer come flying out, soaring over the head of the astonished trooper speeding away through the boulder and brush-strewn landscape toward the distant mountains. 

The police car tries to follow, but Page and Stormdancer are in their element, dodging obstacles and leaping deep gullies at a heart stopping gallop. The girl and horse make good their escape, leaving the embarrassed trooper in the dust. 

Page and Stormdancer make their way cross-country using Zeke's hand drawn map to the hidden valley, the promised land. Battling heat and stalking by a hungry cougar, the two friends near journey's end. Page realizes that, all too soon, she really will have to say goodbye. 

Meanwhile, Jughead is in jail and she's making a lot of noise. She tells the press why Page felt she had to go to such lengths to save Stormdancer. The publicity is enormous. The story of Page's courage and loyalty and her "impossible dream” of becoming a trainer touch Mr. Nakamura. Billy reveals Jarrett's abuse of Stormdancer. Furious at Jarrett's dishonorable behavior, Nakamura drops the charges against Jughead and Page, fires Jarrett and pours all his considerable resources into the search for the fugitives. 

An exhausted Page and Stormdancer struggle to the top of a rocky, barren ridge and suddenly see the valley... lush grass stretching for miles... a river... and a herd of wild mustangs. It's beautiful and peaceful... like "heaven for horses". Page believes her friend will be happy here. 

She reluctantly signals Stormdancer and the stallion kneels. Page slides off and removes the saddle. She signals and the stallion rises. Page tearfully tells Stormdancer goodbye and tries to make him go, but the horse clearly doesn't want to. Fighting back tears, Page shout angrily forcing the stallion away. With Page left alone and vulnerable, the hungry cougar attacks. Stormdancer comes to the rescue, holding the big cat at bay. 

The sound of a helicopter fills the air, chasing away the cougar. Relieved at the rescue but devastated at his failure to save Stormdancer, Page watches in agony as the copter lands on the ridge. Stormdancer nuzzles her hair in concern. When Page sees Jughead climbing out of the helicopter followed by Will and Zeke, she's certain that all have betrayed her. 

In Mr. Nakamura's office, Page sits in angry silence across the desk from the equally silent businessman. Mr. Nakamura stares sternly at the girl taking her measure for a long tense moment. The businessman smiles suddenly. It's an expression that's just as surprising to us as it is to a bewildered Page. 

Mr. Nakamura commends Page for her honor and loyalty and reveals that as a boy, he too had an "impossible dream". He sadly confides his long-secret dream to Page... to be a performer in the circus. When his parents didn't approve he gave up his dream and worked very hard and became very important and very rich. But you can't buy dreams. He'll never have the life he really wanted because he hadn't had the courage to fight for it, like Page. Mr. Nakamura believes courage should be rewarded. He returns Stormdancer to Page and asks for one very special favor. Will, Jughead, Zeke, Billy and Mr. Nakamura sit at ringside. The crowd around them buzzes with anticipation. As a spotlight suddenly hits the empty center ring, Page proudly rides a high-stepping Stormdancer into the dazzling white circle of light. At a signal from Page, the stallion drops into a graceful bow, as the crowd goes wild. 

Jughead, prickly to the end, rides into the sunset, but unlike "Shane", it's very clear that she will come back. 

Home at last, Zeke and Page ride together. Page can't understand why Stormdancer wouldn’t leave her and go to the valley. “It was heaven, why didn't Stormdancer want heaven?" 

Zeke just grins, "Maybe Stormdancer figured he already had it." 

Page and Stormdancer race to the top of the hill. As thunder rolls in the distance, Stormdancer rises majestically, pawing the air. 

THE END 

 

 

 

 

 

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