Meet Derek J. Pastuszek - Paulist Productions Scholarship Recipient

A huge congratulations to Derek J. Pastuszek and his script HERLAND on receiving the inaugural Paulist Productions Scholarship!

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A little about Derek:

Born in Philadelphia and educated in Boston, Derek J. Pastuszek holds both a BS in Film & Television and a BA in English from Boston University (2012); and now an MFA from the AFI Conservatory (2015). A lifelong hockey player, Pastuszek played in all four collegiate years at BU – serving as team captain as a junior and senior. In his post-graduate year, he worked for the Philadelphia Flyers’ Snider Hockey Foundation – sharing his love for hockey, along with off-ice tutorship & mentorship, to inner city Philadelphia’s at-risk youth. In 2013, Pastuszek moved to Los Angeles to begin his studies at the AFI Conservatory. Beyond his portfolio of award-winning scripts written while at AFI, Pastuszek also wrote & directed two short films -- SOLITARY and ISLANDER -- both of which are currently being finished and submitted to film festivals worldwide. 


We are proud to announce the first ever Paulist Productions Scholarship!

Paulist Productions, a company dedicated to developing stories at the intersection of faith and culture, will give a needs-based scholarship to one of our very talented semi-finalists to attend the Feature Retreat.

After 20 years of existence, this is a first for our organization and we couldn't be more excited to be involved with the wonderful people at Paulist Productions.

About Paulist Productions:

Paulist Productions was founded over 50 years ago to provide thought-provoking entertainment that explores the human condition, and has produced award-winning documentaries, feature films, television, and TV movies addressing pressing social issues and important moral questions. Paulist has created programming for Paramount, Warner Brothers, CBS, ABC, A&E, the History Channel, Hallmark Hall of Fame and UPtv, collaborating with industry greats such as Martin Sheen, William Shatner and Tom Fontana. In a time of rapid change and declining options for family viewing, Paulist is dedicated to developing positive programming with meaningful content. For updates, please visit our page on Facebook.



Julian spent his early years in Sierra Leone, on the west coast of Africa. As a teenager, he studied in the United Kingdom before attending Otterbein University in Ohio. Julian continued to develop his storytelling skills through the New York Film Academy and eventually furthered his education with a Masters of Fine Arts in Film Production at the City University of New York. Julian recently won the Beverly Hill screenplay competition. “Little Girl Found” is his twelfth screenplay.


Chance Muehleck is a writer, filmmaker, and theatre artist based in New York. He is co-founder of The Nerve Tank, an acclaimed independent company that produces original content for stage and screen. He’s the recipient of the John Golden Award for Excellence in Playwriting and was a finalist for the Actors Theatre of Louisville’s Heideman Award. He wrote and directed the award-winning short films Sponge and Advent, and his feature The Vultures has been optioned by a producer based in Canada. In 2014 he was a finalist for the Warner Brothers Television Writers Workshop in Los Angeles.



Lukas Hassel has always primarily been an actor. (“Blue Bloods” on CBS, “In Montauk”, “Borstal Boy”, “Dracula”, etc.) Studied acting at The Samuel Beckett Theatre School of Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland.  He is the beloved figure of Mr. Melk in Norway (youtube it - seriously, it’s fun).

However, over the last ten years or so, writing has become a major part of his life. Lukas won the CineStory Fellowship 2012, placing top 30 at Nicholl’s, with the drama “Le Mécano”, since optioned off. His post-apocalyptic script, “Galápagos”, is his latest.

Last year, Lukas wrote, directed and starred in a sci fi short film “Into the Dark” which has gone on to winning many awards, screening in over 55 film festivals world wide and counting.

Lukas is thrilled to once again visit Idyllwild.

Meet the 2015 Fellow!


Matthew Fantaci was raised on a strict diet of comic books, genre fiction and horror, gangster, and art house movies so that he would have an appreciation for the finer things when he came of age.  His parents still shake their heads somberly when reminded of the fact that they took him to see “Goodfellas” in theaters when he was only 11 years old. But Matthew Fantaci only smiles.  For he knows it was from that little acorn of a movie-going experience (and many others like it) that he became enthralled with the world of visual storytelling.

From his humble beginnings foraging for berries and leaves in Brooklyn, NY, to his humble present day living in Los Angeles, CA, Matthew Fantaci has always dreamed of making movies.  On the internet he heard tales told of a place called Idyllwild. A place where other people with the same dream all met and shared high hopes and lessons learned and the same love for moving pictures – and who wouldn’t want to go to such a magical place as this?  He is honored to be picked as CineStory’s Fellow for 2015.

And the 2015 CSF Winners Are...

From a wonderful field of finalists, the 2015 FELLOWSHIP RECIPIENT is:

SCANDALOUS - Matthew Fantaci, Los Angeles, CA


LITTLE GIRL FOUND - Julian Awooner Renner, New Rochelle, NY


GALAPAGOS by Lukas Hassel, New York, NY
HONEY RED by Chance Muehleck, New York, NY

Our deepest thanks to all ten finalists for sharing their work with us and to our panel of finals judges for all their efforts.


CAKE to be released in 2014!

A huge congratulations to CineStory fellows Daniel Barnz and Patrick Tobin on the announcement that their film CAKE will be released by Cinelou Releasing. Read more details about what Cinelou Releasing is planning for the release here:

CineStory Foundation - TV/New Media Retreat Announced!

While the details will be finalized in the coming months, we are excited to announce that early next year, the CineStory Foundation will start accepting submissions for the Inaugural TV/New Media Retreat which will be held in Idyllwild, CA in the Spring of 2016.

We plan on bringing the same positive energy and creating the same welcoming environment for the writers and mentors of this Retreat that the CineStory Foundation has been known for during its 20 years of existence.