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An Interview with Justin Samuels, Writer of Wine Tasting and Office Problems

by Mike Haberfelner

February 2016

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Your screenplay Wine Tasting - in a few words, what is it about?

 

It's about four men who seek to become master sommeliers, and how sacrificing everything for this process affects their lives.

 

Why make wine tasting the central focus of your movie, and is that something you have at all experiences with, personally?

 

I do like wine and years ago I worked wine at bars/restaurants. I also had friends who worked in various aspects of the hospitality business.

 

What were your sources of inspiration when writing Wine Tasting?

 

The experiences of myself and my friends who worked in various aspects of the industry. Just to get a job at a particular wine bar I had to know what grapes were used to make what wines, what regions they were from, among other details. But that's how the industry is. The sommeliers have this at an extremely high level.

 

With Wine Tasting tackling reality TV and the wine and food industry, is there a satirical edge to the proceedings, and your personal take on these subjects?

 

Totally there is satire. I do love reality TV and the wine and food industry. Clearly they intersect, as you have celebrity chefs and hotels, restaurants, bars, are all promoted via reality TV. You have to be very focused to successfully pull this off. From the angle I cover it, I make sure to show that it's not all fun and games.

 

Another screenplay of yours is Office Problems - what is that one about?

 

It's a political thriller that takes places at a pharmaceutical company that makes abortion pills

 

What were your inspirations for writing Office Problems then?

 

A situation that a friend of mine had at his job.

 

With Office Problems being a thriller of the whodunnit variety - do talk about your screenplay's approach to the genre for a bit!

 

Basically the company is targeted because of the controversial new contraceptives it makes. Murders are taking place, but it's not clear if it's an outside job or an inside job.

 

Your movie's set in a pharmaceutical lab - any particular reason for that?

 

I like the setting, and also some of the industry's products can be controversial. Vaccines for stds, abortion pills and other contraceptives, antivirals for HIV, can all come under political attack from some quarters.

 

You have placed both your scripts in prestigious film festivals - care to elaborate?

 

Office Problems placed as a finalist in Beverly Hills Screenplay Contest. Wine Tasting placed as a finalist in Evolution, Mallorca Film Festival, Beverly Hills Film Festival, and Sunscreen Film Festival West.

 

So any idea when either script might be turned into a movie yet, and how do you go about placing scripts with producers to begin with?

 

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I am in talks with a producer right now on selling Wine Tasting. As for how I placed scripts to producers, via my publicist Josh Miller, my own personal contacts, my alumnae networks from both undergraduate and grad school, from people I meet at industry events including film festivals, and from using websites like Virtual PitchFest.

 

Any future projects you'd like to share?

 

Nana is my animation script. It's a sword and sorcery flick. Young woman has to rescue her mother and slay the evil warlock who rules the land.

 

Your/your screenplays' website, Facebook, whatever else?

 

BlackList profile: https://blcklst.com/profile/Justin-Samuels

Twitter: @screenwriter32

 

Anything else you're dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?

 

We covered quite a bit.

 

Thanks for the interview!

 

© by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
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shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
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tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
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Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
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... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD