John P. McHale, Associate Professor in the School of Communication, won the Grand Prize in the category of Best Short Script from the Flickers: 2012 Rhode Island International Film Festival for his television show pilot script titled Last Exit to Normal. The show is about the lives of patients in a chemical rehab facility who are trying to overcome obstacles such as destroyed lives, the potential of relapse, and addictive denial. The hour long drama is a mix between E.R. meets Intervention and Grey’s Anatomy meets Celebrity Rehab. “This is a tremendous honor,” said McHale. “It personally validates a recent change in my professional focus: the commitment to writing compelling and inspiring drama.”
McHale competed against 364 other entries for the grand prize in the Best Short Script category. Submissions were closely analyzed and scored according to certain criteria that included character, dialogue, setting, plot and technique. The Flickers: Rhode Island International Film Festival is in its sixteenth year. The festival accepts submissions of any type of work, on any subject matter, and in any genre making it one of the few independent festivals in New England that has such a broad focus. According to their website, “the Festival’s goal is to recognize achievement and innovation in a variety of filmmaking and storytelling disciplines while providing an opportunity to secure wider distribution.”
McHale earned his bachelor’s degree in Political Science and his master’s degree in Communication from Southern Illinois University. He also earned a bachelor’s degree in History from Columbia College, a master’s in Political Science and a Ph. D. in Communication from the University of Missouri at Columbia. Additionally, he received the Profession Certification in Film Production from New York University. McHale has published a number of books, chapters, and journal articles including Telling a Good Story Well: Writing for Mass Media. McHale has also written, produced, and directed a number of films, including the awarding winning Picture This: The Fight to Save Joe, which was an important catalytic factor in Joe Amrine’s release from Missouri death row in 2005. McHale is also the recipient of the FYI Walter Cronkite Civic Engagement Leadership award which he received at the United Nations in New York in 2006.
McHale is the advisor for the ISU Documentary Project which will host the 5th annual ISU Documentary Project Socio-Political Film Festival on April 4 at 7 pm in Capen Auditorium as part of Communication Week Events.