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Splendid Isolation

A girl lost in the Alaskan wilderness meets her banished pet tiger — now fully grown. Together they survive many challenges — except, perhaps, one another.

A father is desperate to save his bruised baby daughter, Belle, from an abusive, possibly life-threatening environment where drugs and alcohol are consumed in excess by his ex-wife and her new partner.

The father takes Belle away from Australia and eventually arrives in an un-mapped Alaskan town called Forbesberry. The people there welcome them and assist the father in caring for his daughter.

However, when older, Belle has an underlying desire to see her mother, which the father puts off.

One day Belle is given a tiger cub as a pet by her father who found it apparently motherless. She calls it “Stripy”.

However, a problem arises when the growing cub clashes with sled-dogs, killing one. The father is forced by the town's council to take Stripy to a faraway wilderness and there release it to fend for itself.

A year-and-half on, on Belle's 10th birthday, a meteorite strikes, its shock-wave knocking Belle off a short cliff. She regains consciousness but suffers amnesia. Inadvertently, she wonders into the wilds where on separate occasions a grizzly bear and a pack of wolves threaten her life, but on both occasions she is saved by a fully-grown tiger.

However, Belle fears the tiger and believes it is holding her captive as future-food. There is tension and several attempts by her to escape.

Eventually Belle recovers from amnesia and recognises the tiger is Stripy. There is rejoicing. But she also remembers she has a father, who may have been injured – or worse – by the meteor impact.

Stripy doesn't wish to go back with Belle. Instead, it urges her to go in the opposite direction where they can live together in pristine wilderness, with plenty of prey for Stripy. They part company as both are determined to go their own way.

A problem arises when a smaller but savage tiger appears. Stripy no longer has a choice but to follow Belle to protect her. Eventually Belle kills the semi-wild tiger, only to realise it's Stripy's mother.

Belle attempts to find prey for her tiger, but fails. She realises the situation is dire when Stripy, starving, attacks her, but backs off.

Stripy defends Belle from another grizzly-bear attack but this time, weakened by malnutrition, suffers a mortal wound.

The final moment for Stripy comes atop a plateau. Try as she may, Belle cannot save the tiger.

The pack of wolves catches up with an emotionally riddled Belle, who has made a death pact with her tiger. Just in time, the father arrives and scares off the wolves.

Belle's trauma at the loss of Stripy doesn't lessen with time and the father is at a loss as to what to do. When he proposes to take her back to Sydney to meet with her now-reformed mother, Belle refuses, fearing her father's arrest for kidnapping.

Instead, Belle agrees to go to Texas, where her father works as a farm labourer. There seems joy in the air, but for both there is something amiss.

They return to Forbesberry where a fantastical happy ending awaits: a semi-transparent Stripy and a joyous Belle come together.

Script Excerpt
Written by:
Format:
Screenplay
Budget:
Low
Starring Roles For:
Actress aged 8-11
Actor aged c.35
Trained or animated tiger
In the Vein Of:
The Grey (2011)
Call of the Wild (novel)
White Fang (novel)
Posted:
04/14/2019
Updated:
08/01/2020
Author Bio:
Looking Back, Going Forward

Introduction

Thank you for taking the time to read my document. I started writing screenplays proper in 2007 and since have written 11 of them, two of which have been archived.

Writing screenplays is exhilarating because one is creating emotional worlds that one day may be realised as immersive cinematic experiences for others.

From 2012 on, I’ve written several drafts of a 600+ page novel.

I see the differences between novel-writing and screenwriting as the former being precise and the latter concise.

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