Cactus Junction by Philip Sedgwick | Script Revolution

Cactus Junction



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When an African-American woman arrives in the Arizona west, she enlists the help of a local madam, inept lawmen and a preacher’s wife to take on mining interests to protect the town’s water supply.

Actually this script was written with CONDOLA RASHAD in mind for the lead, having been captivated by her performances in the Showtime series BILLIONS. After the script was written, I did contact her representation. Of course, they told me to contact them when funded or lined up with a production company. So, here I am.

The genesis of the script goes back to meeting STEVE COULTER and DAVID SILVERMANN at the Dam Short Film Festival last year. They told me over drinks they would love to be in a western together. When I got home I decided to take that as a challenge. I quickly realized that story ideas for westerns can be considered largely derivative. So, it occurred to me to take a modern day conflict and impose it upon the old west, add a female protagonist and have that lead woman be African-American. As the story developed, I became aware that astronomers named an object in the sky for a deity in the lore of the Juǀʼhoansi ( Kung) people of Namibia - G!kunll'homdima - a powerful female shapeshifter who punishes wrongdoers. All that was in the mix.

The result is a female-centric, diverse (racially, culturally and morally) feature screenplay that is ERIN BROKOVICH meets DEADWOOD.

When our heroine, PHOEBE CHARLES, arrives in the town of Cactus Junction, immediately she is the center of wild speculation... and fear. Fortunately on the stage ride into town she met CLARISSA MIDDLETON, a woman who would become the town's madam. They form an unlikely alliance, which becomes more unusual once they gain the favor of the wife of the town's preacher.

Phoebe's objective is to find a place she can live in peace, and apply her gift as a dowser to aid townsfolk, farmers and ranchers to have the water resources they require to thrive. On her first excursion into the desert, Phoebe witnesses a confrontation between two scouts for an industrialized mining conglomerate and a local prospector. In the argument, the prospector is killed.

Now Phoebe must juggle her sense of truth and justice while preserving water and managing to avoid getting run out of town. Her alliance with Clarissa wins over the local lawmen, and once Clarissa has her workers make ice cream for the town in the heat of summer, they are unstoppable... at least until the mining consortium makes its appearance more known.

In the spirit of ERIN BROKOVICH, Phoebe must prevail in makeshift courtrooms to bring wrongdoers to justice and prevent pollution by the mining company. In the spirit of DEADWOOD and other classic westerns, there's going to be a showdown before Phoebe can claim the day and settle into a community where she can drink the water... a showdown and shootout in the courtroom.

In today's climate, CACTUS JUNCTION could be the right fit for the viewing audience because of its diversity, female-centric nature and environmental concern.

Attached Talent: 

Steve Coulter
David Silvermann
Emily Goss
Sam Whitten
Ted Falagan
Brianna Robers

All Accolades & Coverage: 

Finalist, Southeast Regional Film Festival, 2020
Finalist, Pasadena Film Festival, 2020 (judging in progress)
Official Selection, Burbank International Film Festival, 2020 (judging in progress)
Official Selection, Gold Canyon Film Festival, 2020 (judging in progress)
Finalist, Shepparton Screenwriting Festival, 2019
Semi-Finalist, San Antonio Film Festival 2020
Semi-Finalist, Cordillera Film Festival, 2020
Semi-Finalist, Story Pros International Screenwriting Contest, 2019
Quarter-Finalist, Story Pros Screenwriting Competition, 2020
Quarter-Finalist, The Monthly Film Festival, July 2019

Submitted: August 1, 2020
Last Updated: September 28, 2020

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The Writer: Philip Sedgwick

Philip wrote his first script at the prompting of a writer friend. He entered his second script, Neon Cactus, into the Academy's Nicholl Fellowship, which placed as a Quarter-Finalist in the prestigious competition. Since that time, more than thirty of his screenplays & films have received acclaim from film festivals, fellowships and competitions. Philip served as a juror for the Prescott Film Festival for the past several years, where he also presents screenwriting workshops. His produced short films have screened and won at many film festivals. Go to bio

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