Private Project


‘Out of horror, belief.’

A horrific animal experiment carried out by the military at a solar energy plant in the southern deserts of North America sets off a series of strange, ominous events.

A mysterious ‘other’ sun appears in rearview mirrors of plant employees’ cars as they drive away.

A new star appears in the night sky, next to the Evening Star, and inexplicable data are recorded on energy plant monitors, alongside baffling seizures in machinery.

A Native American chief (and Catholic priest), César, sees visions of a malevolence that will walk the Earth, and is unable to prevent the ‘accidental’ death of his daughter, Solecita.

In the forest, Iris (wife of energy plant manager, Ramón) meets a ghostly Red Indian lover who appears to her through ethereal light.

At the family’s extensive, light filled, forest home, an enigmatic guest, Isaac (whose actions are watched closely by a haunted clock), attempts to seduce Ramón’s and Iris’ daughter, María, in whose innocence the clock and the Red Indian ghost also seem interested.

Those involved in the animal experiment are visited upon in horrific, sun-themed ways as vivid events unfold, both at the family home and at the solar energy plant.

The clock stops time, the mirrors in the house define their own world and the forest fills with silky light.

A spectacular act of self-sacrifice (or veiled Christian miracle) will result in the salvation of one, and precipitate the physical arrival, fleetingly, of a restored and unvanquished Native god.

Sacred Sun is a symbolic narrative on the subject of America and the rift that sits at the base of her psyche, impasse between Christian belief and Native vision-dream.

  • Michael Louis Gould
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    United Kingdom
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  • Capital Fund Screenplay Competition 2022 (HOT 100 LIST)
    Hollywood, LA
    July 2, 2022
    HOT 100 LIST -
  • Berlin International Art Film Festival (14th Edition) 2023

    January 28, 2023
  • Los Angeles Cinema Festival of Hollywood (Spring Season) 2023
    Hollywood, LA
    March 20, 2023
  • New York Screenwriting Awards (Winter Edition) 2023

    March 20, 2023
    WINNER (Horror) -
  • Toronto Independent Film Festival 2022

    September 22, 2022
  • Los Angeles Film and Script Festival (Fall Season) 2022

    October 31, 2022
  • Philip K. Dick Film Festival 2022
    New York
    December 15, 2022
  • Paris Screenplay Awards (Saison 15) 2022

    December 27, 2022
    WINNER - PLATINUM SCRIPT AWARD (i.e. best screenplay outright) -
  • International Independent Film Awards (Winter Season) 2023
    December 27, 2022
    WINNER - DIAMOND AWARD (highest seasonal award, Fall Season) -
  • Vegas Movie Awards (June Season) 2022
    Las Vegas
    June 6, 2022
  • MELECH Tel-Aviv International Film Festival 2022
    Tel-Aviv, Israel
    September 30, 2022
  • Toronto Film and Script Awards (17th Edition) 2022

    January 31, 2023
    FINALIST - BEST UNPRODUCED SCRIPT (final eight nominees, not listed on website)
  • Film and Screenplay Contest 2022
    Hollywood, LA
    November 15, 2022
    FINALIST - (results for finalists not listed on website)
  • London International Screenwriting Competition (January Edition) 2022 - a first 10 pages competition
    London, UK
    January 17, 2022
  • StoryPros International Screenplay Contest 2022
    December 2, 2022
  • Creative World Awards 2022
    August 2, 2022
  • Screenplay Festival 2022
    November 30, 2022
Writer Biography - Michael Louis Gould

Michael has written two feature film scripts, SACRED SUN (horror/fantasy) and VOODOO VALENTINOS (gutter-humoured, British comedy).

He is a former co-founder of London film business networking initiative FILM MEANS BUSINESS (no longer active) and a former trustee of WIMBLEDON FILM CLUB, for which he booked films, liaised with cinemas and distributors, introduced cinema screenings, wrote programme notes, interviewed guest speakers and organized ticket sales. He is currently a selector for WIMBLEDON INTERNATIONAL SHORT FILM FESTIVAL.

Michael lives in London, has a degree in economics from Liverpool University and is a former employee of NatWest International. He speaks reasonable Spanish, having worked in South America (continent of his birth) for two years, and, at 62, is married with two grown up children.

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Writer Statement

My wife came home from work one evening, many years ago, to a quiet house, fearing I had committed suicide. Of course, I hadn’t. I had drunk too much the night before (unusually) and had been sleeping it off upstairs. It disturbed me however that she could see me in such a light: aspiring, struggling children’s book writer who might inflict his own demise, cornered a little by life. She said that children’s books were not my calling and that I should try scriptwriting. I said okay.

Years earlier, I had read Sun, a short story by D. H. Lawrence, and I had not forgotten it, the way it rendered its woman character, bodily and in symbol, myth like, to her god lover, the sun; the dark sensuality of her sun intimacy, the reviving inside her of inner belief. I wanted to imbue a first screenplay with a similar meaning, and I took my imagination to the woods near my family home in England where I felt the sun, as deity on earth, might reside, or hide, among the leafy shadows.

The resulting horror-haunting, set in England, went on to be titled Muneca’s Wood, graduating me to the roster of a small literary agency in London. Mercifully, however, the script didn’t sell. It was a long way from what it would eventually become. The agency set aside Muneca's Wood and left me to write something new, which turned out to be my gutter-humoured comedy, Voodoo Valentinos.

I could not, however, discard Muneca’s Wood. Picking the script up again, having read more D. H. Lawrence (Studies in Classic American Literature, The Plumed Serpent, Mornings in Mexico, The Selected Letters of D. H. Lawrence), I reinvented its fantasy in North America, retitling it Sacred Sun and setting it in the deserts and forested mountains of southwest U.S.A., where, in California, at Hollywood Hills and at Big Bear Lake, I had spent much impressionable time as a very young child.

With the advent of Internet, I had also begun to take an interest in desert solar energy plants and Spanish-speaking Pueblo Indians (bearing in mind my desert, refinery camp upbringing in South America), mindful of Lawrence’s association with, and writing about, Pueblo Natives, and his broad assertion of an America that cannot be born as a people, or peoples, as opposed to a nation, or nations, without the sloughing away of her European consciousness (her old skin) and her coming to terms with the hostile spirit of place that emanates (even to this day, furtively) from her own mystical horizons and Native inhabitants; a view that led to Lawrence’s premonition of a new and as yet unknowable American consciousness (her new skin), one that would be Native spirit guided.

Ultimately, this is what Sacred Sun is about, winning several screenplay awards and placing highly in numerous screenplay competitions (please click 'Awards' tab for top placings). The interest shown in Sacred Sun has come as quite a surprise because the screenplay asks of its readers their open-mindedness to a new experience, and the suspension of mistrust that this can often involve.

"The world fears a new experience more than it fears anything," said Lawrence. "Because a new experience displaces so many old experiences, and it is like trying to use muscles that have never been used or that have been going stiff for ages. It hurts horribly. The world doesn't fear a new idea. It can pigeonhole any idea. But it can't pigeonhole a new experience. It can only dodge. The world is a great dodger and the Americans the greatest because they dodge their own very selves."

And this is what Sacred Sun, in art-symbol, addresses, the 'American dodge', which takes form manifestly in the long-drawn-out sloughing of her old European skin, holding back the new. The North pushing its business credo, life perfection ideals and religious principles onwardly, theme park like, prescription like, across a great continent, remote and mystical in origin, holding its spirit isolate. The South, so long a cauldron for socialism, fascism, populism (so many 'isms', European), ‘Maria religion' (gone cult), 'democracy', rampant opportunism, reducing to a decoction of fever. All to an askance, expectant and apprehensive world, investing its hope ultimately in the American odyssey, ill at ease though America remains, as much as the rest; more, for her sheer rootlessness.

The above, counter wise, mirrored in the Natives, their energies so taken up in defence of their culture, their chance to truly live and develop in it, eluding them, at least from the startingpoint of their former, integral, antecedent selves, from which long removed are the old tribal conditions and purposes, and from which there is no uncorrupted throughline to their modern being; nothing to make clear whom they might otherwise, in their separateness, have become, free from the interference of foreign colonizers, too many in number to resist. And there is no maintaining of traditional Native culture, in the midst of American life, can mend this distortion or bridge the impasse it causes. Cast out are the Natives, doubly displaced, as unreal to themselves as are their European occupiers, scattered from their ancestral homelands; tied sorrowfully to a forfeited past.

Yet it is the Native who is clue to the future, the time coming, sooner than later, when the ‘demon of America’ (her underlying, resistant spirit of place, brooding Native ghost) will, across all her lands, all the New World, in art-symbol, have to be atoned for, the wide tarpaulin of modern American life rendered permeable to what lies below (in spite of surface achievements and the innocence of today’s generations), before demon can be restored as god, and a new epoch begin.

And it is only in art-symbol that this can happen. Not in observant atoning, or in compassion or in sympathy; or in befriending or in 'giving' or in mutual tolerance; or in ministry or in principles or in prayer. Not in ideology or in advocating for Natives or in 'being at one' with them; or in apology or in contrition or in making amends. Not in positivity or in education or in intellect, or in reflection. Not in application or in resolution or in open-armed unification, or in 'the inclusion of all'. Not in anything that would be ‘got into the head’, consciously. And certainly not in the 'story hero’s journey,’ in any form, absolutely not that. Only in art, elusive art, that does not announce itself, but that permeates the universal mind, darkly; in this way only can substance be given to symbol, which, in itself, is cipher like, indeterminate, and shapeless. Humanness, however, is shaped by it.

There is a great symbol in the air above America, palpable, in and around her people, aside and in her interstices. It awaits substantiation in art. Not that a symbol in its own purity needs art, but a people does. A symbol is nothing more than an unseen life instruction, latent. Given shape in art (release and transmission in art, hence), it becomes infinitely more, it becomes the living life, which is belief. It demands an offering here, in screenplay. Upon others too, in their idiom, it visits its will.

So Sacred Sun, its natural path and ambiguity. Its poise, prism like, between coherence and dream. Its nucleus, an art mystery wherein distilled are spirit of place, atonement and original sacredness; the settling of nations into peoples, defined less by what they have done than by what they have since become, guarded and guided by the great spirit-indegene, which has stood still in time, and waited. “The Red Nation shall rise again, and it shall be a blessing for a sick world; a world filled with broken promises, selfishness and separations; a world longing for light again,” Crazy Horse.

I had not, all those years ago, contemplated suicide. However, the incident I mention at the beginning did result in the demise, artistically, of an earlier, creative self: children’s book fantasist who, after all, had only ever been an uneasy self-invention, foundationless, speculative and disconnected, born of hidden despair (perhaps like the New World). Finding a truer self would be defining, as would be, said Lawrence, the ultimate truth of America, bursting phoenix like to a new, greater day, a new humanity, in which Native and European Americans, in their deepest unconscious, would unite (without merging), in a great, unseen gesture, or symbol, of their own, separate creation, art-ignited, from which they would go on to unite the world. The destiny of a new people in a new continent, to draw the world, when most needy of it, into a new, living belief.