Peter Baxter, president and co-founder of Slamdance, with the runner-up in the Horror category, Raoul Dyssell, and his sister Roxsanne.
A local film-maker has come one step closer to his Hollywood dreams, after his script “PreZident” placed second in the horror category of the international 2017 Slamdance Screenplay Competition.

Slamdance is where Hollywood writers like Christopher Nolan and Lena Dunham got their start.

The award ceremony took place at the Writers Guild of America West in Los Angeles on Friday night.

Raoul Dyssell, 28, from Pinelands, and his co-writer, Allan Choi, beat thousands of submissions in the 2017 writing competition, with Slamdance receiving over 3000 submissions this year.

“I feel extremely honoured for the recognition PreZident received at Slamdance. I was the only foreign writer in attendance, so to come second in my category I think is a great achievement. I was really proud to represent South Africa,” Dyssell said.

PreZident is an action horror about an apocalyptic future, a world where South Africa survives, but has been overrun by a zombie-type epidemic. 

The president, Andile, finds out that he was unknowingly cured of the virus by a treatment that is being kept secret for profit. 

This causes him to make decisions that are not supported by his own staff, and he ends up conspiring with an underground rebel faction to bring the treatment to the people, whatever powers stand in his way.

Dyssell said the real reward was “the opportunity to meet so many other talented writers and hear about their trials and tribulations in screen writing and how they came up with their ideas, especially the two other guys in my category, one of whom took the grand prize, and deservedly so.”

Dyssell’s uncle, Baziel Barends, said he was very proud of his nephew. 

“He has been on this journey since he was a little boy, writing and directing school plays. His dream has always been to write stories and make a Hollywood blockbuster.

“I have never seen anyone so focused,” he said.