A feature film screenplay by Wiek Lenssen
Accolades – so far ‘THE HERD’ was placed in five quarter finals of script competitions in America’s top ten of the most prestiguous festivals!
THE HERD has entered the TOP 20 of Coverfly’s RED LIST : # 19 of the Adventure Feature Screenplays 2021 in the USA
The script’s accomplishments so far:
*** THE HERD was officially selected for one of USA’s most coveted and prestiguous screenplay writing workshops: the 2020 CINESTORY RETREAT in Idyllwild, California. A wonderful week with thirty finalists, intensive workshops and mentors, leading representatives of the American film industry. ***
*** THE HERD was again officially selected as quarter finalist in 2021 at the CINESTORY FEATURE SCREENPLAY CONTEST.***
*** It landed in the quarter finals of the 2021 PAGE INTERNATIONAL screenplay competition (total entries 9.500) ***
SO… WHAT’S IT ABOUT? – SYNOPSIS:
My screenplay THE HERD is an adventure drama about a young petroleum geologist who expects to die of cancer before he is thirty years old. He decides to put his life in the hands of nomadic herders living in a remote part of Siberia, where outsiders are not welcome.
The first thing you need to know is that it is a crazy, inexplicable fact that cancer does not exist among reindeer herdsmen living in the polar circle. This is true. My story is inspired by these tribes who remain cancer-free despite Soviet nuclear tests in their backyard .
Arnout travels into the restricted tribal territory. He discovers there is tar sands in the tundra. In fact it’s a giant oil field. The tribe’s Shaman fears Arnout will bring oil companies into the land and starts using all kind of shamanic tricks to chase the intruder away.
More than surviving the shaman’s hostility and the wilderness, Arnout is going to have to earn his trust if he ever hopes to find out what makes these men immune to the disease that is taking his life.
And for Arnout, time is running out.
- My personal motivation for writing this story: I’ve spent half my life making films at the world’s frontier: where native cultures collide with the modern world, mostly because of the resources in the ground. Now I see one paradox coming to us that concerns me deeply: with the melting of the arctic icecap countries dispute their rights to win the newly accessible oil and gas reserves. This is diametrically opposed to our need to move away from fossil fuels.
In The Herd this is an overlaying paradox that is played out.
So at heart, this is a story about climate change.
The Shaman sees oil as the cancer of our planet. He regards this oilfield as an ultimate choice for humanity. If the world can decide to leave these resources for what they are, there is a chance to prevent a collapse of the current advanced societies.
If not, the tribe believes that most of the human race will perish through global disasters and radioactive rains. Their tribal land and way of life will be the world’s sanctuary, the womb from where mankind starts anew.
And that is why this shaman is so worried about a geologist turning up.
125 p. English. An adaptation of the novel ‘Padjelanta’ by Anton Quintana.
After the retreat week the thirty finalists formed a Cinestory alumni writers community to exchange knowledge and experiences, and comment on each other’s works. Happy and proud to be a member of such a talented group of nice people, with great creative minds.