With the curtain falling at the Sacramento International Film Festival on Sunday, May 4 and winners of the event announced at a special gala that evening on the Sacramento Delta King in Old Sacramento, Oakdale Leader reporter Richard Paloma was announced as the winner of the Best California Screenplay for his script, The Beach Club.
“I’m very honored,” said Paloma. “I was taken aback when the announcement was made. This really motivates me to move on.”
According to Cheryl Fluty-Leff of the California Film Foundation’s Capital Region, there were over 100 screenplays submitted for consideration to this year’s festival, a weeklong event held in Sacramento.
“This year set a new record for the number of screenplays submitted,” said Fluty-Leff, when announcing the awards. “The judging panel went through each one of them.”
The judging panel consisted of four former film executives and current college professors in the film arts.
The Beach Club, by Paloma, is a story about a shift of officers in pursuit of a sexual predator in their city as they are endangered not only by the perils of the street, but by departmental politics and their choices of on and off-duty activities. There are strong action scenes surrounded by equally strong scenes of police humor and wit.
The shift gets its name the Beach Club from the police slang term “beach time” which equates to the disciplinary time off they’ve all experienced.
Prior to working as a reporter for The Leader, Paloma spent 26 years in law enforcement as a uniformed police officer, a detective, and police sergeant. Many of his experiences are used in his screenplay.
Paloma said he got the idea for the screenplay after he wrote the novel, The Beach Club, and many reviews stated it should be a movie.
“It took me about a year to adapt it to the screenplay, especially after learning the proper format,” Paloma said. “I also would watch some movies and follow along on the script to get an idea how they were done.”
His screenplay has been entered in other film festivals and was a finalist at the Beverly Hills Film Festival this year and a finalist at the Action of Film Festival in Los Angeles for Best Action Sequence last year. It also won a Silver Award at the Las Vegas Film Festival last July.
This is the first time it took a first place award.
The Sacramento Film Festival is considered Northern California’s premiere showcase for independent and world cinema and the centerpiece of local film art. As a “premiere” festival, the Sacramento Film Festival features only work that has not previously screened in this region.
Paloma said he’s going to be trying to get the screenplay picked up to be made into a movie and has also started writing his next work during his free time.