Screenplay based on Ashland wins Netflix contest

A screenplay based on Ashland High School students and written by a 2000 graduate has won a national Netflix contest.

Max Doty and his friend Phil Flores, who helped adapt the screenplay from a novel Doty wrote, will receive a $350,000 funding package to make the full-length film.

Doty, 27, hopes to shoot the film in Ashland if the budget allows, he said Wednesday, hours after Netflix announced the winner of the contest.

"In my mind it's still very much an Ashland movie, but we just have to see where the budget's at and how the logistics unfold," he said.

The prize package includes $150,000 in cash and $200,000 worth of film equipment and other resources, Doty said.

"This sets you up with everything you need to make your movie," he said.

The film will be shown at the Los Angeles Film Festival in June and will be distributed through Netflix, an online movie rental company. After that, the filmmakers will be able to do what they please with the movie, and may decide to market it to other film festivals, including Ashland's, or to theaters, Doty said.

The film — a coming-of-age tale about two brothers — is tentatively titled "Touchback," a football term.

The screenplay was selected out of 2,000 scripts entered in the multi-round contest.

The judges included actor Josh Brolin, who starred in "No Country for Old Men;" director and screenwriter Dustin Lance Black, who wrote "Milk;" and writer and director John Sayles, who has worked on a number of independent films.

The trailer for the film can be viewed online at

It is recommended only for mature audiences, because it contains sexual references, Doty said.

The screenplay tells the story of two brothers, one a freshman at Jefferson High School — "parallel to Ashland High School" — and the other a senior, he said.

The older brother and his friends, all football players, design a contest to see who can have sex with the most freshman girls. The younger brother, who is friends with many of the girls, is appalled and begins to learn what it means to grow up — and to stand up for himself and others.

Flores, who studied filmmaking at the University of Southern California, will direct the movie. He and Doty hope to decide later this month where to shoot the film.

If they select Ashland, Doty will likely help scout potential locations, such as Ashland High School and Lithia Park, he said.

Meanwhile, Doty is hard at work making last-minute revisions to the script and revising his novel. He's also committed to his day job: head writer for Electronic Arts, a San Francisco company that creates computer games.

"For me there's no time to celebrate," he said. "I've got to go out and do some work."

Doty hasn't forgotten those who helped him along the way — the first person he called Wednesday morning, after the contest results were announced, was his mom, Jennifer Egan, who lives in Ashland and works as a child development specialist at Helman Elementary School.

"She was doing her own screaming and jumping up down," he said. "I'm incredibly thankful to all the people in Ashland who helped us get into a position to win."

Contact staff writer Hannah Guzik at 482-3456 ext. 226 or

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