Script File

Z and V

Logline: A coming of age drama set in Kafka's Prague in which two children from broken homes investigate when a strange man moves in upstairs.

Synopsis: Z and V is a contemporary coming of age drama about friendship, redemption and the gulf between the stories we tell our children and the very painful truths we do not. The story centres on the friendship between Zanuk Pavloffski and Veronika Cragoria, two children brought together by tragedy who hang out together in the Czech city of Prague. When a strange man moves into the top floor of their apartment both children are forced to face a series of moral and ethical dilemmas that cut deep into the heart of their friendship.

The story begins as Zanuk’s life is thrown into turmoil after his father dies in a car crash he could have prevented. After being unable to stop his mum’s domestic abuse at the hands of her new boyfriend, Ivan Silo, he retreats into a world of frivolity with Veronika, a gypsy girl that lives downstairs with her eccentric grandmother. Upon seeing their new larger than life neighbour grow a plant seemingly out of thin air, the two children become obsessed with finding out everything they can about him.

Zanuk’s domestic situation deteriorates after his mum takes Ivan back. Seeking solace from the moral compromise she’s had to make to keep their flat, Zanuk befriends the man upstairs, a magician called Mr Thomasson, who teaches him magic as a form of escapism. Upset at having lost her friend, Veronika becomes fixated on finding out the skeletons that hide inside Mr Thomasson’s closet. With the help of a local librarian, V finds old newspaper cuttings in which a woman from a nearby town accused Mr Thomasson of war crimes during the Bosnian Serbian war. As Zanuk becomes more proficient in the art of magic and deception Veronika goes to see her aunty Anna in Hodonin intent on meeting the Bosnian war widow, Midova Notochkova.

Upon meeting Midova, Veronika and her aunty discover that Mr Thomasson is in fact an imposter that killed the original Mr Thomasson and Mrs Notochkovas entire family. We also discover that Midova has not given up on seeking vengeance for her loss. So begins a race against time to stop the people Veronika loves from being caught in the crossfire. Unfortunately, Veronika’s grandmother dies whilst trying to warn Zanuk of the impending threat. Covering up the mess Mr Thomasson tells Veronika the truth about his past.

Armed with the facts Veronika takes her evidence to the police and Mr Thomasson is killed evading capture. With Zanuk missing his former friend and mentor, he slumps into a cycle of depression and domestic abuse at the hands of Ivan. That is until Mr Thomasson returns and reveals he staged his own death with the help of Veronika so that Zanuk could escape his life forever.

Influences and Touchstones: Guillermo del Toro, Spielberg, Tim Burton, Majid Majidi, The House With Clocks On Its Walls (Book) Greed (The Play) The Painted Bird (2020) Jojo Rabbit (2019) I kill Giants (2017) A Monster Calls (2016) Coraline (2009) The Prestige (2006) The Fall (2006) Brick (2005) The Third Man (1949) Cinema Paradiso (1988) Star wars, A New Hope (1977) Children of Heaven (1997) Stand By Me (1986) Something Wicked This Way Comes (1983) Apt Pupil (1998) Come and See (1985)

  • Dean Straffon
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    United Kingdom
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Writer Biography - Dean Straffon

I've been writing in isolation since my BAFTA rocliffe new writers forum win many, many moons ago. I think it's about time I introduced myself.

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Writer Statement

Fingers crossed my writing does the talking. It's all in the script. If It isn't I've only got myself to blame. If you wanted to know what I was listening to while writing check out these tunes: