Christmas Castaways by Ernest Farino | Script Revolution

Christmas Castaways

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Page Count: 
109pp

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Logline: 
Sailing to New Zealand to surprise her husband, a storm maroons a woman and her two children on a tropical island. A recluse on the island aids their survival and rescue in time for Christmas.
Synopsis/Details: 

A 27’ sailboat is buffeted violently by crashing waves and relentless rain in the Pacific Ocean. EVA COMBS, 30s, and her hired hand, ARTHUR, struggle with the tiller Eva’s children, CHRIS, 15, and MADDIE, 5, clutch each other in panic as the boat careens wildly.
The next day, storm over, Eva awakens on the beach of a tropical island to see the boat wrecked on a reef. Arthur is dead, but thankfully Chris and Maddie have survived with only minor bruises.

Meanwhile, in New Zealand, NIGEL COMBS, late 30s, Eva’s husband, frantically works with the Coast Guard in their rescue efforts. COMMANDER ROSELYN BLAKE, 30, a striking African-American woman, is in charge of the rescue effort and reassures Nigel.

The family treks overland and Chris discovers footprints in the sand— someone else is on the island! Keeping a watch for natives, they make their way to the top of the island, encountering exotic insects and a wild boar.

At the top they are surprised to find a man-made bamboo hut outfitted with modern conveniences. GEORGE WOOLY, 60s, a gruff, reclusive artist, has retreated to the island to get away from civilization. At first this seems to be their way out, but George’s supply boat only comes once a year.

Nigel monitors the rescue effort. His debilitating fear of the open water prevents him from participating in the search and only increases his anxiety.

The family marvels at George’s ingenuity at rigging up a rainwater filtration unit and solar panels for power. Maddie joins George in painting a watercolor of the family Christmas tree, while Eva secretly pilfers George’s white paint to spell out H-E-L-P on the beach with painted rocks. George is furious at her using up his supplies, and a raging argument ensues.

A communication satellite glides silently in low-Earth orbit. Commander Blake informs Nigel that the satellite will aid in triangulating a signal.

On a plateau atop the mountain, Eva and Maddie pick flowers. Suddenly— CA-CHUNK! Maddie stands on an unexploded land mine left over from a past war. The mine doesn’t explode, and George leaps into action— a military history buff, George realizes that it’s a pressure mine and that he can offset Maddie’s weight with a heavy rock. Chris retrieves one of Eva’s larger white-painted rocks.
In a tense sequence, George carefully lowers the rock on the exposed part of the mine and Maddie steps off. The family runs down to the beach and George detonates the mine with a blast from his shotgun.

That night Chris checks his cell phone and—Finally! A ping from the GPS! Everyone cheers.

The family awaits the rescuers in the pre-dawn darkness. Maddie points to a large tropical pine tree at the end of the beach: a light glows behind it, not unlike the Star atop the family Christmas tree. It’s the nose-light of the approaching helicopter!

The next morning they say goodbye to George. He takes one long last look at the family in the doorway of the helicopter as it lifts off.
A month later it’s Christmas morning and a package is delivered. It’s a painting by George of Eva, Chris and Maddie as he last saw them. Once cynical about life in general, George’s note simply says, “Thank you for inspiring me.”

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Ernest Farino's picture

The Writer: Ernest Farino

Ernest Farino (DGA) has directed 3 features, 7 hours of television, and extensive 2nd Unit. He most recently directed an episode of the SyFy/Netflix series Superstition co-created and starring Mario Van Peebles, and his episode of Monsters, from a story by Robert (Psycho) Bloch, was the top episode of the premiere season. His feature Steel and Lace starred Oscar nominee Bruce Davison, David Naughton (An American Werewolf in London) and Michael Cerveris (recent costar of The Good Wife) and was written by Emmy winner... Go to bio

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