With a list of several short Movies, and his feature-length action film “The Pineville Heist,” filmmaker Lee Chambers is starting to get major attention for his work. Considered one of the best independent thrillers and action movies of 2017, “The Pineville Heist” has garnered major awards including the Grand Jury Award at the Honolulu Film Festival. But now the talented Canadian director and writer has his eyes set on his next big project, “The Sum of Random Chance." Co-written by Kris Ketonen, the story is a nod to adventurous movies from years gone by.

The Plot

The would-be film is about a rookie reporter, Cole Wilkes, who witnesses a woman, Sara Mackey, mysteriously foiling a robbery at a grocery store. It seems Sara is gifted supernaturally, and she has a positive influence on those she engages with in her life. Cole befriends Sara, and sets out to make his name as a reporter by exposing her and getting answers. Is Sara special or are the magical moments just coincidence?

Turning Scripts Into Movies

This reporter had the pleasure of reading the screenplay and talking with Lee Chambers and Kris Ketonen about their next step with their project. The script is an absolute page-turner that pulls you in right away.

The endearing story is mixture of mystery, whimsy, and drama that translates really well. Though it is very unique and stands on its own, in some ways it has an essence similar to fantasy-drama movies from yesteryear. This reporter asked Lee and Kris how they got connected together, and the next step for them turning their script into a movie. Their answers serve as good advice for writers and filmmakers alike.

Kris Ketonen: I was a journalist and we met because I interviewed Lee for a story. I have always loved movies. "Ghostbusters" is one of my favorite movies of all time, and I grew up watching movies like that. And I do think we need more movies like that. I realized in my late teen years and early 20s that writing and making movies is something I really wanted to do. So I took a script writing program and when I finished I started thinking about this story. Since I had previously met him, I reached out to Lee to see what he thought. One thing led to another and we started working on it together. We spent a good year working on it to make a reasonable draft. We got nominated in 2010 for that original draft.

Lee Chambers: It was the Northern Ontario Music And Film Awards and we were nominated for Best Screenplay. It’s been an interesting journey. I went to the Cannes Film Festival in 2008, and I had copies of it with me.The discouraging thing for me at the time is that all of them told me that since we have this drama-like screenplay we need actors to draw an audience. Where movies like action, horror, and thriller has a built-in audience.But since this wasn’t a genre-themed screenplay they told us we needed known names to sell it.

“Pineville Heist” came from that since they wanted action-thriller kind of movies. So “Sum” got pushed off and put on a shelf. So years later, I reached out to Kris to take a look at it again. The first thing I thought was that we needed a third party to read this to get honest feedback, because you won’t get honest feedback from your family and friends. So we paid to have it sent it to Tom Craig from Universal.

The great thing is, Tom came back and wanted to read the next draft without getting paid; he just liked the story and wanted to see what we did with it. He said that it was a 'really good commercial script with the big idea.' He asked us if we needed help or how he could support us, and he even mentioned being an executive producer. So that’s pretty cool that we have a guy with 20 years of studio experience with movies like “Rain Main,” “Shakespeare in Love,” and “Gremlins” offering to help us.

One Of The Next Big Movies

Keeping their original story from the screenplay intact, Lee published the book version of “Sum of Random Chance.” Available at Amazon and other major platforms, the novel has had impressive sales and has a good fan base.

The screenplay continues to gain momentum and it’s doing very well at the Stockholm Independent Film Festival and at the Cayman Film Festival. The festival director of the Cayman Film Festival, Tony Mark, provided this reporter with an official quote about the screenplay.

“We had so many screenplays submitted this year to the Paul Schrader CayFilm Screenplay Award, and “The Sum of Random Chance” really rose to the top.

The judges gave it a high score and we are happy that it was nominated in the Top 6 screenplays.”

Kris and Lee are great examples that hard work and dedication pays off. They continue to chase their dreams and work to take their script to the next level. With a high-quality script, major names in the industry like Tom Craig taking notice, and its ongoing success at film festivals, “Sum of Random Chance” could be one of the next big movies featuring fantasy and drama.

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