Manchester based writer Simon Cookson won The Pitch 2012 with “The Light”. Entering the competition for the first time, he impressed the five top industry judges in the boardroom with his short drama film idea.
His story, based on the conversion of Saul on the road to Damascus is set in America in the 1950s during the Red Scare era. The 'Saul' character in the story suddenly rejects his former oppressive ways, but realises the biggest struggle will be to convince everyone else he’s truly a changed man. “The Light” is a story with, at its core, a conflicted, engaging protagonist with a simple desire - to be accepted.
Nick Park, one of the panels top industry judges, rated Simon’s idea by saying: “It was a clear story - a dramatic idea which had clarity to it. It was about someone caught in a conflict, with strong inner conflict and social conflict. Simon had a very clear vision about where it was set, what the story was about and the major beats of the story came across really clearly.”
Speaking about how he feels about winning, Simon says: “I’m still in a dream - it feels amazing! I have learnt an immeasurable amount of stuff throughout the process of this competition. Every step of the way has been very exciting! I absolutely adore this story, so in a couple of days time, once I’ve had chance to decompress and get back to reality I will be on with the job of developing it further. I’m just really, really happy but really, really tired!”
Luke Walton, the project’s director says: “I am very proud this year. All of our finalists were exceptional and the top three were outstanding.
Carolyn had a compelling human story and had produced one of the most outstanding pitches this year. Her account of Judas's betrayal in a contemporary setting was very strong indeed.
Aurora returned on Sunday (day two of The Pitch) with a dazzling reworking of her material - an exciting Victorian drama based on the story of the Lost Son. So it was a close thing this year with any one of the contestants poised to grab the prize.
Simon stood out to the judges because he had a particularly fresh original context. Going back to the McCarthy era in the States, I think was a clever way of replaying the story of Paul. He’s a talented young man and well placed for the challenges that lie ahead to realise his vision.”