“Pickle for Pickleball” Greenlit for JPCatholic’s Feature Film Program

April 17, 2024

George Simon, Chair of Communications Media, has announced which script has been selected for the third project in JPCatholic’s Feature Film Program. Pickle for Pickleball, written by screenwriting senior Anna Engel, was greenlit by JPCatholic’s film faculty and pre-production has begun this quarter.

Anna Engel

Anna Engel '24 is writer and co-director for Pickle for Pickleball

The comedy is about an unlikely group of elderly women who find themselves caught up in a high-stakes pickleball tournament.

Pickle for Pickleball was pitched by Engel at the Feature Film Pitch Night in November 2023. Over the winter quarter, scripts from the Pitch Night underwent further story development as part of the “Feature Film: Rewriting” course. Throughout this process, faculty assessed the scripts on factors such as producibility, casting, production design, the student experience, and the strength of the scripts, to arrive at one project to green light.

“When I had the first spark of the idea for this story during my freshman year at JPCatholic, I never seriously considered the possibility of the script being made into a feature. Now that the script is greenlit, there’s just this unbelievable feeling that these characters are actually going to come to life,” said Engel.

The other finalists considered for the program were:

The 2% by Avila Dauvin ‘24

Kicking the Bucket List by Ryan Carrell ‘24

In Lieu of Flowers by Joe Donelson ‘24 and Timothy Johnson ‘24

Over the June break this summer, students will produce a proof of concept video for the film that can be used to attract talent, distributors, and potentially additional investment. During this time, the script will continue to undergo revisions. Production on the full feature is scheduled to take place in June 2025.

The proof of concept this summer will be co-directed by Anna Engel and George Simon. Additional roles include Anthony Koonce ‘24 as Director of Photography, Catherine Koltuniuk ‘24 as Assistant Director, and Jennifer Valdez ‘25 as Producer.

“Every year since the Feature Film Program began, our students have demonstrated the ability and desire to take on greater roles and responsibilities,” said Simon. “This is the first opportunity for a current student to co-direct and I am so excited to collaborate with Anna and all the amazing students who make this program possible.

JPCatholic’s Feature Film Program was launched by Simon in 2021 to provide a unique hands-on opportunity where students collaborate with faculty to write, pitch, create, and distribute full-length movies. O, Brawling Love!, the first film produced in the program, was filmed in 2022 and will release on streaming platforms this summer. The second project No Reception is currently in post-production, and is expected to premiere at the Ritz Theater in Escondido during Graduation week this August. The proof of concept for Pickle for Pickleball is also expected to screen during Senior Project Screening that week.

Casting Call:

The Feature Film Program is looking for lead actors as well as extras who can play pickleball. If you're interested in being in this film, please Sign Up here.