Ian Masters and Jon Smith
Ian Masters and Jon Smith met while completing their Masters in Screenwriting at Bournemouth University. Over the past decade they have developed a wide-ranging slate of features, shorts and TV series, from thrillers to comedies, in places as local as Yeovil and Liverpool, and as far flung as Vietnam, Ghana, Kenya and Tunisia. This reflects their international lived experiences and their desire to collaborate with other writers and tell fresh stories from around the world.
Their feature script ENDGAMES, a true story set during the fall of Saigon, is set up for production in Australia in 2022. RADIX an international political thriller set in Tunisia, Libya and Italy, was optioned by Cristaldi Pics (Italy) and BlackBoxMM (UK) and presented at MIA in 2019. They have twice been finalists in the C21 Script Competition of Content London, firstly with a historical crime series set in the Chinese community during the Liverpool blitz (THEY WALKED ALONE) and secondly with SAFE HARBOUR a drama series set in the world of RNLI volunteers in Dorset. They were Rocliffe/BAFTA forum finalists for a historical comedy about Charlie Chaplin’s visit to IndoChina in the 1930s and his “lost” project of the Tramp in the East. This led to their commission for a true crime feature DEATH IN PEKING about the murder of a British schoolgirl in the dying days of the international settlement in 1936. This was presented at the “Bridging the Dragon” Sino-European co-producing platform. With the contacts they made, they are now developing an 18 part TV Historical Drama series for the Chinese market.
Their Ugandan feature story GRAVE INTENTIONS has been picked up for re-versioning in Thailand, and a commissioned comedy ALE MARY takes a comic peek at the competitive world of Trappist (and Trappistine) beer brewing in a Belgian convent. Their work has regularly placed in top script competitions, including Nicholls, Screencraft and PAGE (Bronze winners, historical, for YEAR ZERO, a two-hander thriller set during the Khmer Rouge evacuation of Phnom Penh in 1975.)
THE LAST REEL (Dir. Kulikar Sotho), Ian’s first independent feature film, was Cambodia’s official submission to the Academy Awards in 2016, and premiered at the Tokyo International Film Festival where it won the Spirit of Asia Award. Its festival release saw it pick up BEST SCREENPLAY at the Asia Pacific Film Festival Awards, the Black Dragon Award at Udine Far East Film Festival, and the audience award at Michael Moore’s Traverse City Film Festival. It has since had a theatrical release in Japan and Cambodia. Since 2003 Ian has run writers’ rooms for TV and radio drama series for BBC Media Action in Cambodia, Bangladesh, East Jerusalem and South Sudan. And while living in Kenya he was script mentor on two feature films, SUPA MODO which won the Crystal Bear at the Berlinale, and was Kenya’s submission to the Academy Awards, and LUSALA which premiered at IFFR. Prior to scriptwriting Ian worked in production in Ghana, as a location assistant on Mission Impossible III, location manager for a special episode of Holby City, and local production manager for the feature film Cargo with Daniel Bruhl. Jon has lived, worked and written in South Korea, the US, Egypt and, most recently, Spain before returning to Liverpool. Published internationally by McGraw-Hill and Hay House, he is the best-selling author of 14 books and the writer of four musicals which have been performed at the Belfast Waterfront, Birmingham Hippodrome and London’s Waterloo East, Courtyard and Park Theatres.
Ian and Jon regularly collaborate on short films with directors and writers across the world including IDI AMIN’S BOAT (Uganda), BEYOND THE BRIDGE (Cambodia), DRIFT (Kenya), TRANCE (Sri Lanka), SOUL RIVER (Cambodia). And they continue to develop new material, with spec pilots such as FINDERS KEEPERS (a heist show based around the return of looted African artefacts from western collections and museums), DEADLINE (a political thriller set during a hostile environment training in Kenya for war correspondents) and EMERGENCY EXIT a dark comedy set in South-West England.