Debut screenplay wins award

OLDHAM’S Lee James Cluskey has won his first award as a screenwriter.

The 39-year-old’s debut screenplay ‘Stepping Off The Carpathia’ triumphed at the Tagore International Film Festival in India.

Lee, who writes under the name L J Cluskey, landed his award in the category ‘Feature Script Outstanding Achievement’.

The screenplay follows on from the novel of the same name written by Lee who lives in South Chadderton but has Saddleworth connections.

And there could be further recognition as ‘Stepping Off The Carpathia’ has also been shortlisted at Italy’s Rome Prisma Independent Film Awards in the best screenplay category.

As a result of the success at Tagore, Lee’s screenplay has qualified for India’s Sun Of The East Awards in December.

Furthermore, it was recently awarded a score of 78 in the United States by Coverfly, the industry’s largest talent-discovery platform which connects emerging screenwriters with literary managers, agents, producers and development executives.

That is the next challenge for Lee who already has had discussions with production companies.

Lee, who has a masters degree in creative writing, said: “There are so many out there that I am convinced that if it does not become a film it will be taken by a television production company.

“It is very exciting after putting in so much effort into it over the last two-and-a-half years.

“It just needs that breakthrough, one person who can visualise it as a production.”

The screenplay is about the aftermath of the Titanic disaster, the story of survivors being rescued by the Carpathia and following them in the run up to the First World War and through to New York’s roaring twenties.

Lee admitted it is time consuming as to write a novel and subsequent screenplay takes between two and four years.

But he already has the blueprint for a second novel and screenplay Anno Domini about a timeship travelling 1,000 years into the future.

Lee, who works freelance editing and proof reading, is known to Independent readers through being a musician as he fronts The Miners Band which has recorded at Wharf Mill, Dobcross, and Shure 5 Studios, Royton.

The band has been mothballed because of Covid-19 but they are working on their debut album ‘Strengthened Virtues’. They have a gig rescheduled for April at the 100 Club in London. It ought to have been held in June.

The Miners Band and LeeJCluskey, who is also an acoustic soloist, have a joint tour of universities in England, Scotland and Wales, pencilled in for September and October 2021. It will be called ‘The Strengthened Virtues UK Tour – Part I’.

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