March 27, 2023
Matthew Dressel

ST. PAUL, Minn. (March 21, 2017) — St. Paul – Independent Filmmaker Project Minnesota, a St. Paul-based media arts center, has announced the winner of the IFP Minnesota Screenwriting Residency, an annual competition for Minnesota screenwriters.

Matthew Dressel, of Duluth, Minn., has won the $10,000 residency out of a field of 56 applicants. His screenplay, THE OTHER MAN, is a taut thriller: a weekend in the country turns deadly when an inebriated hunter accidentally shoots a passing motorist and discovers a man bound-and-gagged in his trunk. The St. Paul-based residency is funded by the Knight Foundation’s Knight Arts Challenge with matching funds by IFP Minnesota, as an annual competition through 2018.

THE OTHER MAN was selected by a national panel consisting of key influencers in the film industry: Los Angeles-based script consultant and story editor, Ruth Atkinson, who is also a story analyst for the Sundance Institute’s Feature Film Screenwriting and Directing Labs; Film Independent Spirit Award Nominee Angela C. Lee (SONGS MY BROTHER TAUGHT ME), who is also the senior manager of artist development at Film Independent; and veteran film and TV writer Scott Myers (K9, ALASKA, TROJAN WAR), who also hosts Go Into the Story, the official screenwriting blog of the influential Black List.

“This is a great opportunity for all 10 finalists,” said Andrew Peterson, executive director, IFP MN. “As a result of the Residency competition, last year’s winner, Andy Froemke, secured industry representation and several finalists were championed by last year’s national panel for additional opportunities.” Peterson added, “This year’s panel was excited about THE OTHER MAN, feeling it would play well with both critics and audiences.”

In addition to Duluth resident Dressel, the other 2017 finalists are Tim Dahlseid of Minnetonka, Brianna Deihl of Minneapolis, Kyle Ensrude of Minneapolis, Patricia Fox of Minneapolis, Michael Gorrie of Eagan, Cristina Pippa of Minneapolis, Ann Prim of St. Paul, Nickolaus Swedlund of Minnetonka, and John Thavis and Julianne Restani of St. Paul and St. Joseph, respectively.

The IFP Minnesota Screenwriting Residency is a blind competition (all submitted screenplays had no identifying elements, author’s name, bio, awards, etc.). Three sets of panels-two local, and one national-participated in a process that selected 10 finalists and ultimately chose THE OTHER MAN as the winner. All 10 finalists will receive guided mentorships, services from The Black List, and free classes at IFP MN to refine and improve their work. Additionally, Dressel’s screenplay will receive a staged reading in St. Paul (date and location TBD).

Originally from West Michigan, Matthew Dressel moved to Duluth after spending six years out in Southern California working at a film advertising company.

Matthew has written and directed short films that have gone on to screen and win awards at festivals across the country. His first feature length screenplay, the dark comedy KILLING DANIEL, is in development with Toronto-based Darius Films. Matthew also has two screenplays optioned by producer Don Schmeichel.

Matthew lives in Duluth with his wife and young daughter where he runs The Duluth Film Collective: an ever-growing group of filmmakers and film lovers who watch and discuss films, workshop projects, and program the film series Midnight Movies at 7 at Zinema 2. Matthew also runs The Duluth Film Directory: a growing list of active filmmakers working in Duluth.

THE TEN FINALISTS (listed alphabetically by title)
ANATOMY OF A TOWN by Patricia Fox
The Chief of Police investigates the murder of a young woman while confronting the Sheriff, who blocks his every move for jurisdiction, in order to protect himself from the Chief finding out about his ties to the murder victim and the killer.

A transgendered cocktail waitress seeking to normalize her life takes a daytime job at a low-rent motel. She quickly learns that a maid’s life at the Aqua City Motel is anything but normal.

HOWEVER VAST THE DARKNESS by Kyle Ensrude When his mother joins a cult and children start to go missing, a young boy struggles with whether or not to trust the strange man he finds living inside his wall.

THE HUNT by Tim Dahlseid
A psychological thriller about an ex-con who finds a camera with pictures of kidnapped girls. He sets out to find the kidnapper and clear his name before a vindictive detective can pin it on him.

JUNK by Nickolaus Swedlund
Based on actual events in northern Minnesota, a resourceful teenage boy named Junk is forced to grow up when he helps his uncle defend their scrapyard from a hostile takeover by the local business magnate.

A 1920’s Jewish moonshiner runs from a murder charge and flees to Saint Paul where gangsters are protected by police and politicians, but his rise to power brings the attention of J. Edgar Hoover and unchecked power hungry gangsters.

THE OTHER MAN by Matthew Dressel (winner)
A weekend in the country turns deadly when an inebriated hunter accidentally shoots a passing motorist and discovers a man bound-and-gagged in his trunk.

QUESTICA by Cristina Pippa
A boy’s video game comes to life when a Princess convinces him to break into a theme park and rescue her from an evil sorcerer.

SISTERS IN ARMS by Brianna Deihl
The strength of a woman can stop an army.

WABASHA by John Thavis and Julianne Restani
A mother and daughter move to a small town to rob the local bank, but their plans – and their lives – are thrown off course by friendship, love and a crusade to save the Mississippi River wetlands.

For full panel bios, click here.

Ruth Atkinson Los Angeles-based script consultant and story editor.
Angela C. Lee Los Angeles-based feature film producer and Senior Manager of Artist Development at Film Independent.
Scott Myers, Chicago-based screenwriter, teacher, and influential blogger for the Black List.
Shelli Ainsworth writer/director
Hafed Bouassida screenwriter and teacher
Andy Froemke screenwriter, and last year’s winner of the IFP MN Screenwriting Residency
David Grant playwright, screenwriter, and teacher
Julie Hartley film producer
Megan Kelly festival and industry professional
Kyja Kristjansson-Nelson filmmaker and teacher
Kenneth Rance screenwriter
Bianca A. Rhodes production coordinator and associate producer
About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged.

About IFP Minnesota

IFP Minnesota’s mission is to advance a vibrant and diverse community of independent film and media artists through networking, education, funding, and opportunities for showcasing their work. IFP MN envisions a world where expression through images is encouraged and valued. It is the goal of IFP MN to lead the way in supporting the independent filmmaker by creating a healthy and viable filmmaking community in Minnesota

IFP Minnesota is located at 550 Vandalia Street, Suite 120, St. Paul, MN 55114. Visit

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