Scituate native wins screenplay competition from across the pond

Scituate native wins screenplay competition from across the pond

PROVIDENCE - A 2002 Scituate High School grad, who now lives in London, is the grand prize winner of this year's Spotlight on Rhode Island Screenplay Competition through the FLICKERS: Rhode Island International Film Festival.

Rachel Smith, daughter of Rick and Diane Smith, won for her screenplay, "Fix You Up," which tells the story of Rory, a transplant surgeon obsessed with her work.

After she breaks her wrist and takes time off work, Rory meets spirited musician Grace, who makes her question her choices in life and in love.

"'Fix You Up' was an idea I developed while a student at London Film School in their (master's) screenwriting program," Smith told The Breeze. "I was interested in the idea of someone who was slowly but surely isolating themselves from everyone around them out of a fear of external and internal intimacy, and in desperate need of human warmth."

This was the second year for the competition that welcomes screenwriters to submit works that are set in Rhode Island.

Smith's grand prize win comes with five free pitches to Hollywood studios and producers on VirtualPitchfest.com and a copy of Final Draft 8 screenwriting software. She will also receive a 2013 all-access pass for the RIIFF, including the ScriptBiz Screenwriters Workshop.

She needs a director to work with, she said, in order to turn her story into a film.

Smith, who in 2008 also won the Local Prize at the RIIFF for her script, "My Own Private Myocardial Infarction," has already made two films.

"Life's a Beach" is an autobiographical documentary Smith wrote, directed, scored and edited in 2006 while studying at the University of Rhode Island, where she graduated from the Honors Program with a double major in creative writing and film studies.

Her latest film is "Like Spinning Plates," for which she was script editor and script supervisor while she was studying at the London Film School in 2011. It was shown at the school's best of term screening.

Smith has been interested in filmmaking from a young age.

"My passion for filmmaking began when I was 12," she said. "After seeing 'Annie Hall,' I began to watch films differently and think about the films I would like to make."

Some of her other favorite films are "The Philadelphia Story," "Tootsie," "When Harry met Sally SLps" and "S?* som i himmelen," which translated from Swedish is "As It Is in Heaven."

"I am inspired by filmmakers who gracefully tell compelling stories, where characters are witty and truthful and you can feel yourself resting in the storyteller's hands," Smith said.

Smith, who graduated from the London school in 2011, is living in London and planning an August wedding to fianc?©e Katrina. She said she has become almost as fond of the European city as she is of the Ocean State. She will make a trip back home to receive her award at the Opening Night Gala on Aug. 6.

"It's wonderful to receive recognition from your home," she said, "and I truly hope that the Spotlight on Rhode Island Screenplay Competition helps invigorate the film industry in Rhode Island not just this year, but for many years to come."

The RIIFF will run Aug. 6-11 at The Vets, 1 Avenue of the Arts. Visit www.rifilmfest.org or call 401-861-4445 for more information.