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SCREENPLAYS

DEVELOPMENT | COVERAGE

JHO LOW (SCRIPT)

"Upon gaining access to a sovereign fund containing billions of dollars, an awkward social-climber has to siphon as much money as he can, using brilliant and complicated financial structures, before the authorities close in."

Genre: Drama

1st place Table Read My Screenplay Genre Competition 2021

Network ISA Pitch finalist

Quarterfinalist CineStory Feature Fellowship

Breakthrough Reading Series

Jho Low's greatest strengths lie in its structure, character and dialogue. The innovative use of real-time storytelling and breaking the story into three core scenes helps it stand out within a crowded genre. The characters all really fly off the page. They’re complex and they’re reacting emotionally to each other as the writing voice is nothing short of strong from start to finish. The dialogue is also a highlight, making the financial vocabulary accessible to a mainstream audience. There's a strong use of set-ups and pay-offs between the three time periods shown throughout the script. The writer is adept at juggling tone: the drama and comedy bounce off each other nicely, and unexpected emotion pops up in these moments. The reader is always able to clearly track how the writing evokes a consistent emotional response - the mark of a writer who understands how to pull the reader's heartstrings. Jho Low checks many of the boxes that executives and producers will be looking for in a project of this nature. The writer does a great job of adding something new to the conversation within genre rather than overly relying upon themes that have previously been explored in past projects. With the right team in place and strong execution throughout the production process, look for the film to land on the international film festival circuit before being discovered by a more widespread audience via the likes of a streaming service like Amazon or HBO Max." The Black List

"An interesting premise to have the three acts set up at the initiation, height and downfall. It’s a clear way to show the full arc of JHO LOW’s story while inviting the promise of three striking and distinct settings with opportunity for elaborate visuals. The real-time pacing is similarly a strong stylistic choice, pulling us into JHO LOW’s violently whip smart cadence, and showing us just how easy it is to fall into his web of schemes. His relationship with MIN is the heart of the story, the only one person who perhaps truly cares for JHO LOW, and the betrayal she endures in the final act is predictable, but still heartbreaking. The repeated beats of RORO’s incompetence and JHO LOW’s fascination with Basquiat paintings worked well to highlight JHO LOW’s obsession with perfection and status no matter the consequences or even the outcomes. The Crystal chandelier centerpiece and the big screening of NAJIB’s election work well for the first two parties to show the turning of the tides for JHO LOW in a striking visual way. ELVA works effectively as a literal embodiment of what JHO LOW is always striving for: to be accepted, adored, and loved, and her small asides in all three parties are often a highlight, punctuating JHO LOW’s ego and manic energy." The Black List

"This script is grounded in a fascinating premise that's been ripped from the headlines. Jho is an ambitious, clever, and solipsistic figure. Through various machinations, he's gotten access to a sovereign wealth fund. He's using that access to steal untold sums of money and fund Hollywood movies and a lavish lifestyle and bribe everyone he can. It's a wild hook built on real-world events that begs to be explored. While the plot itself doesn't always deliver, there are some moments that really stick with the reader. It's oddly touching when Jho is unhappy about turning thirty despite his outward success. Later on, the Basquiat painting splashing in the pool is a strong image. The ending is also absolutely fabulous. After all that crime, Jho simply disappears into a crowd. It's perfectly fitting. The script can at times also be hilarious. At one point, Jho says he can't live on the yacht because the internet is pretty bad. Later on, Jho dresses Tim down, telling him his PhD is from diploma mill. The comedy adds a lot of personality to the script." The Black List

"JHO-LOW is a fast-paced and quirky dark comedy/dramedy satire that takes aim at the world of high finance and the upper elite by following the exploits of Jho Low, a mysterious, flamboyant and wealthy Malaysian businessman who pulls off a series of cons in order to fund The Wolf of Wall Street movie. The premise is fantastic - the fact that it's based on a true story makes this a story truly worth telling, and the way in which the story is set up makes it seem too wild to be true, which only adds to its appeal. The fact that Jho swindles the money and funds an Oscar-winning film about a swindler is thematic gold. The justifications provided by Jho for his behavior gives great insight into his mindset and the script also does well to provide a satirical look at the mindset of the players in the world of high finance. The way the story is devised as three parties following Jho Low in a walk and talk with no cutting is an interesting choice which keeps the pace quick and lends to the quirky appeal." The Black List

"This is a powerful and compelling premise for a crime/drama feature, and Jho Low has some major strengths as the protagonist. The opening party is a rock solid introduction to this premise, as we see Jho Low's continual superficial interests come to life. The running bit about him wanting the champagne to turn over exactly the way that he pictures it is hilarious, and it adds some suspense to the story (even outside of the building conversations about the fraud/plan). The way that artwork is used in this project is outstanding, and that beat when the Basquait gets wet is just one example of this. The relationship between Min and Jho Low is a standout strength in this project. Their dialogue together proves to be some of the best conversational work in this project. A key example: when they're having their final exchange after Jho Low starts to make moves to go on the run (and is fully exposed). The Eric Tan twist/reveal is a well executed detail in this world. There are strengths to the subplot that develops between Jho Low and Elva, and the proposal ends up being one of the most climactic and exciting sequences in the project. The reversal where she turns him down is a strong beat in the project. The news that Najib has been defeated is another very memorable and effective turning point in the premise/plot." The Black List

"The first scene of this script, where the characters are trying to figure out if the champagne bottle contraption works, was one of the most interesting and unique opening scenes I've read in a while. It immediately sets up our characters, their social class, and what is important to them. It's also the sort of set-up that immediately would get a viewer, or in my case reader, interested. Great job on that! This work reminds me of Aaron Sorkin's work in The Social Network and Jobs, and the HBO Succession, so you're off to a great start!" Austin Harris (Lincoln Square)

"The pace is good, with an almost equal amount of script time devoted to each part of the 1MDB scandal’s lifecycle. The tone walks a compelling line between suspense and comedy, contrasting the amusing outrageousness of both Jho Low and his famous parties with a creeping dread that builds as the house of cards he’s built begins to topple." BlueCat Screenplay

SWEPT AWAY (OPTIONED)

"A jaded dive instructor and her optimistic student, both who have lost their loved ones in a tsunami, embark on the unthinkable: searching for the bodies of their loved ones in the vast sea. "


Genre: Drama

Top 10% Nicholl Fellowships

Quarterfinalist Scriptapalooza Screenplay

Quarterfinalist CineStory Feature Fellowship 

"Ky-Gan was easily one of the more intuitively original and commercial writers I've ever worked with, as he develops warm, inviting and fresh stories with authentic, striking characters that exist for audiences to connect with and love. It's a rare mix, as often raw and vulnerable portraits do not live in plots with a nice hook, but Kygan's conceits are naturally interesting and reach the audiences naturally and beautifully. He's completely professional in his response to feedback and writes quickly, incorporating the notes for maximum effect in the rewrite. I highly recommend this writer and stand by my assessment." Gordy Hoffman (Bluecat Screenplay)

The writer does not try to crowd please, which I found refreshing. Its reliance on symbolism and metaphor means the script has the potential for a sensual method of storytelling as is present in a lot of foreign films and notably the work of Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu." - Emerging Screenwriters

"a very interesting story" - LA Screenwriter

"Love the idea. Action tsunami is great. Great characters." - Drew Smith (Unique Pictures)

"...a darker and more specialized feel... " - Longitude Entertainment

" interesting small story about loss and survival" - Kristy Maurer (Endgame Entertainment)

"Fascinating concept that seems like it would pull at heart strings.  Strikes me very much as an awards type emotional character exploration." - David Harris 

"A very well thought out story. One that does pull at the heart strings and could be a personal story for many. The flashbacks are essential and they connect the story. The pacing seems to be good and the characters are unique in their own way as they go on this journey." - Tiffany Boyle (Ramo Law PC)

"The first decent idea I’ve seen today! There might be a beautifully understated way to pull this off" -  Charlie Reeves (HBO)

"The flashbacks are compelling... could work as an indie or prestige film." Brian Price (Original Film)

"Very touching and emotional story. The story is well written and explained through the flashbacks." - Fahad Siddiqi (MadRiver Pictures)

"This project has the ability to be an awards contender with enough areas for dramatic moments for actors to run with. The idea of two people mourning the loss of their loved ones after a tsunami is immediately captivating." - Ameet Shukla (MAS Production)

"I love this idea. It’s very beautiful and a poetic tribute to the love that stays with us. This story has the potential to be very moving," - Emma Wisdom (Art/Work Entertainment!)

"Definitely a very interesting story and unique point of view." - Stacey Stanley (And So It Begins)


"Solidly written... these are very compelling character journeys. " - Holly Brown 


“This is awesome.” - Jenna Sarkin (Management 360)

“This is a truly original and poetic story…  I did appreciate the flashback structure that adds a very dramatic dimension to the story and the imminent disaster.  The introspective nature of the exercise and the repetition of the divings in order to deal with the losses gradually erases the supposed-pointlessness of the disciplined effort… I would truly love to see it get made as it could be a true Award contender.” - J.D. Beaufils (VMI Worldwide)

“Really clever idea! I It feels like a very emotional tale!” - Daniel Vang from Good Fear Film + Management

“The pitch was clear in everything. There may be ways to work around the huge budget disaster movie usually require.” - Jeff Faehnle (Nasser Entertainment)

“It’s a touching and inspiring story”  - Agustine Calderon (RatPac Entertainment )

“a sweet emotional journey” - Good Universe

“the silence above water could be used as a great tool to impart emotion and would beautifully parallel the type of silence they experience underwater. I think this is a fantastic pitch, great story idea and could be a really beautiful movie both in emotion and visuals.” - Mackenzie Fargo (Gersh) 

“a sweet and moving story” - Matthew Stein (MES Productions)

“ Flashbacks is a tough tool to master, but I think it works here. Concept is good.” - Matt Kniaz (Industry Entertainment)

“Great idea… the story is certainly compelling… the kick-off for the characters is great” - Topher Rhys-Lawrence (Atlas Entertainment)

“Very clear and well-written… It struck the right balance of detail and brevity, giving me a strong sense of the story while not getting bogged down in minutiae. The want/goal of the two men is strong, and connects to a deeper theme. I would have liked to know more about the relationship and bond that has formed between the two of them over this time of searching for their loved ones, and the to-and-fro that takes place between them, as their is surely more to their friendship/relationship than just meeting up to dive. I enjoyed the choice to have them never return for their 100th dive… Overall, this was very well pitched and I understand exactly the kind of movie you are looking to tell - I could easily see it being a Sundance/A24/Indie type movie” - Nick Watson (Artillery Creative)

THE SKY BELOW (SCRIPT)

"An unreliable husband swears to his wife that he will take the family to one last vacation before their divorce. But when she suddenly dies, he decides to fulfil her last wish by bringing her ashes in an urn in an unforgettable road trip."

Genre: Drama

"There is a lot going on behind the visuals in this script and the entire story is full of symbolism and metaphors which gives it a poetic feel that I really enjoyed. The script's exploration of profound thematic issues such as life after death, life fulfilment and self belief are undoubtedly where the screenplay is strongest. Not only is it thought provoking, but the action provides an intriguing way to demonstrate these key themes, making for a strong visual experience." - Emerging Screenwriters


"With its unorthodox structure this is not a script that is setting out to target mainstream audiences, but the writer knows this and effectively writes for its demographic. The writer does not try to crowd please either, which I found refreshing. Its reliance on symbolism and metaphor also means the script has the potential for a sensual method of storytelling as is present in a lot of foreign films and notably the work of Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu." - Emerging Screenwriters


"a touching story" - Bluecat Screenplay


"some really good conflict" - Bluecat Screenplay


"You've done a good job" - LA Screenwriter


"The concept of this heart-wrenching family drama is interesting and original. I believe this is an emotional story with complicated revelations. I think this script has a great message and can touch a lot of people." - Tessa Lopez-Scott (Abrams Artists Agency)


"I felt you did a very good job... small, quiet, character driven film" - Kate Sharp


"a clear set up of the world" - Joshua Cohen (Big Beach)

"simultaneously sad, disturbing, and funny" - Sarah J Cornelius(Whitewater Films)

"a cute idea, with a lot of heart" - Dan Scheinkman (Le Vision Pictures)

KIM JONG NAM (SCRIPT)

"Believing they were acting in a reality show, two women discover the entire show has been staged and they have been used by North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un to assassinate his own brother.  They now have to prove their innocence before they become scapegoats amidst a larger geopolitical conflict. Based on the astonishing real-life assassination of Kim Jong-nam."

Genre: Drama 

"The writing is clear and concise and interesting" - Liska Ostojic (Head Of Development, 120E Films)

IMPERIAL GUARDS (SCRIPT)

Five of the (former) world’s best Asian martial artists, now ageing grandmothers happily tending bonsais, are asked to once again band together to save the world from a pyrokinetic villain determined to destroy the world. 

Genre: Action-Comedy (Geri-Action)

FORBIDDEN CITY (TREATMENT)

"Two deranged Chinese hackers prepare to launch a massive cyberheist on financial systems to engineer a social upheaval, in order to avenge the Century Of Humiliation when the Eight-Nation Alliance plundered and divided China."

Genre: Drama

THE FOURTEENTH (TREATMENT)

After fleeing Tibet during an invasion from China, the Dalai Lama embarks on a one-man mission against the 2nd biggest superpower in the world, so he can bring his people home to an independent Tibet. Based on the life of Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama.

Genre: Drama

THE FOURTEENTH (TREATMENT)

After fleeing Tibet during an invasion from China, the Dalai Lama embarks on a one-man mission against the 2nd biggest superpower in the world, so he can bring his people home to an independent Tibet. Based on the life of Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama.

Genre: Drama

THE FOURTEENTH (TREATMENT)

After fleeing Tibet during an invasion from China, the Dalai Lama embarks on a one-man mission against the 2nd biggest superpower in the world, so he can bring his people home to an independent Tibet. Based on the life of Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama.

Genre: Drama

THE FOURTEENTH (TREATMENT)

After fleeing Tibet during an invasion from China, the Dalai Lama embarks on a one-man mission against the 2nd biggest superpower in the world, so he can bring his people home to an independent Tibet. Based on the life of Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama.

Genre: Drama

SUN YAT-SEN (TREATMENT)

To save China from self-destruction, a revolutionist launches a one-man war against the Qing dynasty, even if it means losing everything he has and everyone he loves. Based on the extraordinary life of Sun Yat-Sen. 

 

Genre: Drama