Off the Menu, written by Script Pipeline Screenwriting Competition finalist Jen Goldson, wrapped production in October 2016 and is set for a 2017 release. Industry partner Jay Silverman (Girl on the Edge), who directed the romcom, picked up the project in 2015. Silverman and producer Bethany Cerrona met Goldson at the annual Script Pipeline writer/industry event in Los Angeles.
“Off the Menu came about 100% due to Script Pipeline,” Goldson said. “I was a finalist in the 2015 Screenplay Competition and attended their writer/industry event. There were a lot of producers there, but I remember [Script Pipeline Director of Development] Matt Misetich steering me toward Jay Silverman and Bethany Cerrona, saying they would appreciate my work–and they did! We soon had a meeting where I pitched the script, and boom: Jay offered to option the script right then and there, promising to make it. A year later, Jay, my director, was very true to his word, and we wrapped what I hope is a warm and funny film.”
Starring Santino Fontana (Frozen, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend) and Dania Ramirez (Entourage, Devious Maids), the film centers on the heir to a Mexican fast-food franchise who goes “cuisine” hunting for the next culinary big thing, soon finding himself in a small New Mexican town where foodies come from all over to salivate over the treats of a local, authentic, and feisty female chef.
“I was inspired to tell the story of two very unlikely people whose appetite for each other is ignited by a quirky town, its eccentric residents, and a very special chilé pepper,” Silverman said.
Goldson has other features currently in various stages of development, including her competition finalist screenplay, Egbok.
From Misetich: “When we read Egbok during contest judging, it was clear that Jen had such a strong grasp on the complexities of creating grounded, relatable characters. It’s difficult (at best) to write a unique drama or romantic comedy, but her voice really shines through–and for that reason alone, I think she’ll have a bright career ahead of her. Always exciting to discover a screenplay and eventually see the film produced.”
Jen joins a host of other Script Pipeline contest finalists and winners whose scripts are getting produced in 2016 and 2017, some of which have taken years to come to fruition.
“Pretty rare for Hollywood that in just one year, a script went from option to completion,” Jen added. “Had a great time working with the Silverman team!”
The film was released in 2018 and will screen at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF).