12 Hours 2 Steal by Justin Hayward | Script Revolution

12 Hours 2 Steal

A struggling artist must navigate a series of instructions to steal a valuable treasure for an unknown puppetmaster after she downloads an audio tour podcast for a specific painting in a gallery.



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The story is played out through a series of flashbacks between the present day, the lead-up and day of the burglary and The Hague in the 1940's.

1942 – In a house in The Hague, 50 year old MOZES gives a wrapped picture to a pre-teen HERSCHEL to deliver to sailors waiting in a boat.

Present day - A young woman is arrested as she exits a portrait gallery in London through an air duct with 'The Takeaway Rembrandt', the most stolen picture in the world.

Taken to the police station, VANESSA 'NESS' HENDERSON is questioned later in the morning by DC SANDRA LAWRENCE under caution. Ness's testimony is frankly unbelievable, and Sandra must work with her team to unravel it.

Ness walks DC Lawrence through a story about her downloading a podcast and it taking over her phone, locking its functionality. The AUDIO GUIDE narrator tells Ness she must steal the painting and deliver it to a certain location within 12 hours or her family will be killed.

Under a strict time limit, both from the narrator and the phone's battery, Ness is instructed to hide until closing, disable the security system, replace the Rembrandt on the wall with another suitable portrait, package the painting then make her escape to a location to be revealed closer to the time.

Ness navigates through a series of challenges, using tools from her bag (chewing gum wrappers, business cards) as well as a surprising find that have been slipped into her pocket by someone unknown as she enters the gallery. However, Ness doesn't complete the mission as her phone battery dies prior to the delivery location being revealed as she loses time by being disturbed by a security guard.

Lawrence with her team – DS DENNIS FLETCHER and DS TERRY GLAZIER – dissect Ness's story, identifying potential co-conspirators, but there's not enough evidence to pin on them. Ness's wild story is also corroborated by the state of her phone. Reluctantly, Lawrence lets Ness go under investigation, intending to follow up once more evidence becomes available.

Ness leaves the police station and immediately heads back to the gallery, tailed by a man on a motorcycle. She walks in, goes to the gift shop counter and picks up a package left behind the counter. Jumping on the back of the motorcycle, Ness and JAMES (the audio guide 'narrator') speed off to meet SPENCE (the 'guard' who disturbed her in the gallery). The package is 'Taste', the last of the series of portraits by Rembrandt called 'The Senses'; or it will be once the painting concealing it is removed.

Evading capture by Lawrence and Fletcher, the trio escape to The Hague where Ness delivers the painting back to HERSCHEL, the old man and her paternal grandfather. His grandfather disguised it and shipped it off to the gallery prior to the Nazi invasion in 1942.

All Accolades & Coverage: 

Grand Jury Prize, Best Unproduced Feature Screenplay – UK Motion Picture Festival 2021
Silver, Best Concept Feature Screenplay – First Quarter, Queen Palm 2021
Silver, Best Feature Screenplay – First Quarter, Queen Palm 2021
Finalist – Best Script Award 2021
Finalist – PIMFF 2021
Finalist – European Cinematography Awards (ECA) 2021
Finalist – AFIN Film Festival, Australia 2021
Quarter Finalist, Genre Screenplay – ISA Emerging Screenwriters 2021
Official Selection – Birmingham Film Festival 2021
Official Selection – Rome Independent Prisma Awards 2021
Official Selection – Amsterdam World International Film Festival 2021
Official Selection – Marina del Ray Film Festival 2021

Submitted: February 3, 2021
Last Updated: January 28, 2022

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This Script Is Loved By 4 Readers

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The Writer: Justin Hayward

Justin is an Equity-registered actor, WGGB screenplay writer and voice artist. He lives in the south of England. Originally a trained choral singer, he subsequently moved into stage musicals and then into film and television. Prior to returning to the creative industry, Justin worked for two decades in technology public relations, running promotional campaigns and speech writing. He holds a degree in English & Philosophy from the University of Leeds. * Next 100 - Nicholl Academy Fellowship 2021 * Second Rounder - Austin Film Festival Screenplay Competition 2021 * Winner - Best Horror Screenplay - Flickers' Rhode Island International Film Festival 2020 * Winner - Gold Grand Jury Prize -... Go to bio

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