14991179_1160320370670608_2778740851033389402_oThe New Mexico Film Foundation is proud to announce the winner of our 2016 George RR Martin Screenwriting grant. Congratulations to Michael Chase Walker. Look for a presentation by George RR Martin and a stage reading of last year’s winner Jocelyn Jansons in early January.

Our runners up were;

Mary Haarmeyer, Kirt Bozeman, John M. Broadhead, Regina Scherffius, Marina Ashrei Victoria Giorgii, Kristin Goodman and Cathy Weber. Congratulations to them as well.

And a big shout out to our judges; Terry Borst, Donald Davenport, Scotty Nërdräge and Ginny Cerella.


Thank you, Dirk, and thank you, judges! I’ve served at the screenwriting bench many times and I know how hard your task can be. It is an incredible honor and I am thrilled. Moreover, I am in awe of our own resident genius and raconteur supreme, George RR Martin. Every year, I marvel at George’s mastery at having fashioned the greatest televised cinematic event in history. I don’t think I’ve ever read or watched more stunning character arcs so deftly drawn since the works of our earliest literary masters. To receive this acknowledgment associated with his name makes all those years of lonely, nail-biting, deprivation and hard work worth the endeavor.

I was first inspired to write scripts at an Academy lecture by Larry Kasdan. Years later, dead broke, and going through a divorce, I ran into him at a Wrap party in Santa Fe (Wyatt Earp). I told him how he had inspired me to write and thanked him for ruining my life. He laughed, patted me on the back and asked, are you going to quit? Nope!

Thank you, George. Thank you NMFF. Thank you, Dirk Norris, you are a great credit to NMFF, and thank you, judges!

Bridging the Divide


Having spent a few years in the Midwest recently the problem is much more complex than mere politics. While the denizens there enjoy all the modern amenities of technology: cell phones, computers, cars, television etc., their world view is still very much centered on an intractable and widely-shared fundamental belief that this “6,000 year old” planet was created by an invisible theocrat whose principal adversary works through science, progress, intelligence, education, reason, culture, and, yes, even women’s reproductive organs to undermine, thwart and depose His absolute authority and dominion over all.

While there are many denominations and subtle differences between these closed doxastic cults, the underlying mind-set for the majority of these fellaheen is that this life, our deaths and afterlife will continue on into a Manichaeans structured tyranny for eternity.

If you have even a modest understanding of history, government and politics, Heaven and Hell pretty much host the same type of slavery and uniformity — only in different climates.

Essentially, this parochial worldview has been nurtured, accredited, cultivated, promoted and institutionalized on every church corner and religious school in every tiny village throughout the country for centuries.

Moreover, anyone who tries to intervene is demonized, ostracized and must be shunned, because they have socially and individually immunized themselves from reasonable argument and logic. They will not, cannot, nor even approach an ideological detente with us, because to do so severely threatens their entire personal identity, as well as their social standing from here to eternity. It would be existential suicide.

Ultimately, this is what we’re up against when we propose repairing the divide. It won’t happen and can never happen until we asseverate and demand that the freedom to practice religion is not an absolute right to legislate and instruct ignorance, intolerance or an ideology or spiritual slavery that is antithetical to our country’s founding principles.

There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that “my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.”
― Isaac Asimov


“There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that “my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.” 

― Isaac Asimov

The dark rigidity of fundamentalist rural America: a view from the inside




A classic scene from (what I consider the the best of the Bond movies) FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE, the exquisite Tatiana Romanova (Daniela Bianchi), a Soviet double spy, is ordered by the KGB to seduce Bond, and shows up uninvited in his lavish Istanbul hotel suite wearing nothing but a silk ribbon around her neck.

Bond is skeptical, even hostile, but Bond being Bond, he is not one to turn away a beautiful woman who has availed herself so freely.

As the hot sex ensues, we pull back to get a shot behind the two-way mirror behind their bed to watch it being filmed by the nefarious Rosa Klebb (Lotte Lenya), her KGB handler.

It seems, the tactic of “Kompromat” was well known by master spy Ian Fleming, and universally well-established as a common KGB ploy.

Now, my former business partner, a film broker, (who shall remain nameless) moved to Russia just after the collapse of the Soviet Union and as a sideline established himself as a procurer of beautiful Russian escorts for the G5 set. His clientele were all very rich, and very important, celebrities, billionaires and CEO’s who thought nothing of flying in on their personal or corporate jets for libidinous Moscow nights.

Both Moscow and St. Petersburg soon became a not-so-secret playground for the international jet set. A few of them even met their future trophy wives over there. I’ve met a few, and on occasion spent many a fine dining evening here in the States discussing Pushkin in his native tongue.

Russian women, especially the more desirable ones, are often sophisticated, intelligent and very well-educated. They are also extremely sensible and unbound by traditionally prudish Christian American mores.

But now, we’re all supposed to believe that our “Grab her by the Pussy” President-Elect conducted himself as a perfect gentleman during his thirty years of business dealings in Russia.

We’re also being asked to believe that Vladimir Putin has zero compromising material on his favorite little lap lackey. Of course, the press is practically useless in ferreting any of this out, but if you’re taken in by any of it you’re probably oblivious enough to have voted for this two-bit, globe-trotting lothario in the first place.


Russia says it doesn’t gather dirt on others, but history of ‘kompromat’ says otherwise http://wpo.st/UDDS2

For Trump, Three Decades of Chasing Deals in Russia https://nyti.ms/2jRQ7mq

Several Foreign Intelligence Agencies Now Believe Trump Could Be Compromised (DETAILS) http://bipartisanreport.com/2017/01/15/several-foreign-intelligence-agencies-now-believe-trump-could-be-compromised-details/ via @Bipartisan Report


Boris Godunov, anyone? It’s not about a moose and a flying squirrel


I spent six years adapting the life of Alexander Pushkin for the screen. I read at least four biographies several times, but especially, Henri Troyat’s biography, which I may have read about nine times, as well as everything Pushkin ever wrote to accomplish my goal: to portray the life of one of history’s great literary geniuses.

It’s something every student in Russia does by rote. I’ve never met a single Russian who couldn’t recite Pushkin by heart.

When I look at the world that may become manifest by Friday, courtesy of Vladimir Putin, I am compelled to recall Pushkin’s political masterpiece, Boris Godunov.

It’s about a power hunger Czar who rises to power through manipulation, subterfuge and lies only to be brought down by another imposter.

The Russians are masters in agitprop and Kompromat. Donald Trump is an ignorant buffoon and a marionette.

Don’t believe me? Read Pushkin’s Boris Godunov, because I can assure you, Vladimir Putin has.

( Hint: It’s not about a moose and a flying squirrel)

For Trump, Three Decades of Chasing Deals in Russia https://nyti.ms/2jRQ7mq



A complaint you hear far too often these days implores us all to stop posting “political garbage” and get over a presidential election heavily influenced by a foreign power, a derelict Fourth Estate, timely interference by our own Director of the FBI, swayed by hyper-partisan agitprop manufactured, perpetuated and espoused by a profoundly unstable autocrat and his team of professional propagandists.

What exactly would you like us to get over and move on with?

Firstly, such a misbegotten plea requires some serious self-examination. What exactly bothers you about your fellow countrymen, a majority of whom voted against the president-elect for very sound, reasoned and historically informed purposes?

Psychologically, the complainant first bears the responsibility of self-examination. What precisely are you demanding, and why? Indeed, the sweeping demand you’re making reveals more about yourself than those you would stifle.

The truth is those of us who persist, resist, protest and dissent perceive a travestying injustice has occurred. Do you expect us to gloss over these evidence-based convictions simply because you’re fatigued or oblivious to them? In other words, you have acquiesced for personal reasons, and now foolishly, and, I must say, rather solipsistically suggest the uniform response for all of us.

If little else this attitude reveals a truly vulgar understanding of what a democratic republic is about. IT, however you intend for us to get OVER, is NEVER OVER. It will never be over! It must never be over, lest we die as a democracy, republic and sovereign nation.

Did Carrie Fisher Play the First Truly Kickass Princess?


It might be a little too simple to credit Carrie Fisher with such a total sea change and view it more as a milestone in a continuum of progress. The reality was that women were changing across the cultural divide, and subsequently, so too, were attitudes about women and women’s roles in films. A whole slew of young filmmakers were emerging from Sixties and early Seventies influences and universities (Milius, Kasdan, Coppola, Scorsese, Lucas, Zemeckis, Spielberg, and, notably, James Cameron and Kathryn Bigelow ) and they were more interested in playing with archetypes than stereotypes – hence the anti-type casting of a deep-voiced no nonsense Leia.

Certainly, Ms. Fisher was no slouch. Her mother, Debbie Reynolds had pioneered and achieved a kind of balance between America’s kid sister and the tough talking Unsinkable Molly Brown. Likewise, so too, did, Natalie Wood, Jane Fonda and even Karen Allen in Raiders of the Lost Ark offer fuller and more syncretically complex male/female or feminist protagonists.

In a story meeting at Lightstorm Entertainment Larry Kasanoff told me outright he and James Cameron had no interest in doing stories with male protagonists. Compare that to former Warner Bros. production chief, Jeff Robinov and his “…no more female lead characters” edict in 2007.

Carrie Fisher played the first truly kickass princess http://ti.me/2huwq7p

How long before the white working class realizes Trump was just scamming them?

scam-artists-dtFor me, the bigger issue is the growing numbers of American fellaheen in the 21st century. Having recently spent four years in the Midwest I found these folks to be intellectually isolated and culturally balkanized from more current scholarship and information trends.

Oh yeah, they’re all up on the latest technology, model cars, music, movies, and TV shows, but when push comes to shove their entire worldview is a weirdly antiquated hybrid of Iron Age Manichaean constructs of fact v fantasy, science v religion, black v white, good v evil, theism v atheism, right v wrong and Liberal v Conservatives.

There is an average of at least 20 denominations of Christianity in these relatively small, mostly white, communities, and they all pretty much adhere to the same fairy tale construct of a 2,000 year-old Rabbi from Outer space who devised a means to come to earth, have himself brutally murdered so he could save the world from a 6,000 year old curse levied by himself, but disguised as his own son.

Now, statistics show that 140,000,000 of these fellaheen believe this self same ancient Space Rabbi will return within the next fifty years or so.

Oh, and FYI, 129,000,000 Americans voted in 2016.

I don’t know about you, but I’m kind of reminded of what David Hunnam once said about P.T. Barnum and a sucker being born every minute. Are these people truly likely to realize they’ve been conned? I’m not so sure.

How long before the white working class realizes Trump was just scamming them? http://wpo.st/I3kL2scam-artists-dt