Eden Prairie man hoping for fast track to Hollywood

  • Article by: BILL WARD , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 26, 2011 - 3:35 PM

The screenwriter has nabbed a "test film" in a new Amazon deal.

Filmmaker John Carr.

Philosophically, if not physically, Eden Prairie is about as far removed from Hollywood as one can get. But that hasn't stopped one of its residents, John Carr, from not only writing a screenplay but also creating a classic studio pitch for it:

"It's similar to 'Rocky,' but for autistics," he said.

And Carr's work actually has started down the path to the big screen: It is the first "test film" being made in a program by online retailer Amazon to connect writers, directors and Warner Bros. studio.

Carr's "American Anthem," a short version of which is being filmed this month in Portland, Ore., tells the story of a brash speed skater training a high-functioning autistic teen struggling to get into a U.S. Olympic program.

The competitive sequences in the film use point-of-view camera work from a speed skater's perspective.

Carr's was the first of 2,200 submitted screenplays to get a test film in the project, similar to HBO's Project Greenlight program for aspiring filmmakers a few years back. It must get through more phases to become a feature film, but Carr is hopeful -- and thankful for this particular avenue.

"It's basically opening up a contest to see what's out there that the entertainment industry has been ignoring for so long," he said. "A lot of us don't have contacts in Hollywood.

"It's a challenge to the system. This is kind of the future."

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