Completing a 103-page screenplay is a satisfying experience. You’ve imagined the characters, and the plot you let them loose in, and now, after the sixth draft, all has coalesced into a coherent and moving story. You coerce some mates into reading it and the few who get past page 10 tell you it’s not bad. A sister may say it’s compelling.


By this stage, you’ve invested countless hours of words and craft and not been paid a thing. Writers hate this. As an unknown screenwriter, your only option now is to get the damn thing out there by submitting it to International Screenplay Competitions. Pay a bit extra and you get feedback from a professional ‘reader’.


One’s dedication to getting the thing ‘out there’ waxes and wanes, as does belief in its worth.


Then, almost out of the blue, this arrives in my inbox.

In following years, the script becomes a finalist in two other Comps. That is, it makes the top ten out of 2,000 plus scripts submitted. Surely this must get me agency representation. Nope. Agents have a professional disregard for a one-off script from an ingénue. In this biz, perhaps more than any other, it’s who you know. And that’s it.


A Holy Man runs as two parallel stories, one set in a village it the rural New Territories in 1943, during the Japanese occupation, and in 1953. This is the village as I first came across it 15 years ago. I simply wondered ‘what happened here?’ Then made things up, based on research. This clip is a ‘teaser’ not a ‘trailer’.