Ship of Fools

This is the true story of the first attempt to liberate Spanish America from colonial rule, with a ship that sailed from New York City in 1806. The assault was led by Francisco de Miranda, a creole from Venezuela who received the US government's support, and to a lesser extent, the British's. The crew of the expedition was composed almost exclusively of American sailors and unemployed young men, who were fooled by false promises into joining an expedition whose true motives their ignored. Two of the three ships were captured by Spanish forces, and a political scandal erupted when 10 US citizens were executed by Spain. This was one of the first failed foreign adventures the US government was involved in. Here we tell it's story.

  • Santiago Villa Chiappe
  • Project Type:
    Screenplay, Television Script
  • Number of Pages:
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Language:
  • First-time Screenwriter:
  • Student Project:
  • Simon Bolivar National Journalism Award
    November 2, 2011
    Best Investigation for Television
Writer Biography - Santiago Villa Chiappe

I was born in North Carolina, USA, from Colombian parents. I have lived most of my life in Colombia as a journalist, worked as an Africa correspondent for Latin American media in 2013, and since 2014 I have been a correspondent in China for Latin American media.
I have written journalism pieces extensively for Latin American, South African , and a few British and US news outlets, but this is the first time I write a fiction script.
I was awarded the 2011 Simon Bolivar Journalism Prize, Colombia's most prestigious journalism award.
In 2013 and 2014 I received the Fund for Investigative Journalism Grant (Washington) and the Taco Kuiper Investigation Grant (Johannesburg).
I did my B.A. on Literature and History in Colombia.

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Writer Statement

I know I'm not a professional scriptwriter, and my career has been focused on journalism. I wouldn't like to stop doing journalism and writing novels. I think non-fiction writing, novels, and scriptwriting compliment each other. Stories ask to be told in different ways. Some stories are better told visually. This one, for example, is a perfect story for the screen, because it is fast-paced, rich with visual scenarios and backgrounds.
I am extremely passionate about storytelling. It is my life. There are a lot of ideas I would like to develop as a scriptwriter. There are endless stories I have encountered as a journalist in Colombia, Africa and Asia which can be told visually.