“Blood Ties” by Wm. Hovey Smith was the Hemingway Screenplay Writing Award winner of the L.A. Live Festival in 2023. The citation for the prize commented “’Blood Ties’ is definitely a feature film that would attract large audiences at even larger venues. The Hemingway Award is our highest award for a feature length screenplay. We have many winners for category and genre for feature length screenplays, but only one yearly will win the ‘Hemingway Award’ our most coveted award for literary works of art in the form of a screenplay. ‘Blood Ties’ is one of those impactful screenplays that reminds us of the importance of storytelling.” ‘Blood Ties’ was also an award winner at the 2023 L.A. Neo Noir Script Festival. The author is continuously improving the screenplay, and it will appear in future national and international competitions.
Wm. Hovey Smith is the author of more than 20 books and the producer of over 1,000 YouTube videos that are on outdoor, business, and self-help topics. He is the author of two novels, “Util Death Do You Part: An American Family Meets Their Sicilian Cousins,” on which the screenplay “Blood Ties” is based and “The Goldfarb Trilogy: Moving With Baby, The Solitario, Brewster County Law.” He has also written screenplays having the same titles from the books in this trilogy. The screenplay “The Solitario” also was awarded a prize at the L.A. Live festival in the Western category. His works are noted in that the commonly incorporate his experiences as a Professional Exploration Geologist, former Combat Engineer Officer in the U.S. Army, and an outdoorsman.
“Blood Ties” opens with the simultaneous homecomings of Roger and Frank Calsase to join their parents, sister, and uncle in Baton Rouge. Roger, an unsuccessful artist who has just been thrown out of his girlfriend’s apartment in San Francisco, and Frank who has experienced traumatic episodes after combat in Iraq and is in the process of finalizing his divorce, return to their childhood home. Their father, Ronald, approaches the entire family with the idea that this would be the ideal time for the entire family to take a vacation to Sicily to reconnect with relatives that they have not seen for three generations. Frank has reservations about returning to “polite society” after what he has experienced, but with the urging of his younger brother agrees to go. His uncle will temporally close his hairdressing saloon where the brother’s sister also works. There is some discussion about what the family does in Sicily, but these are dismissed as they become excited about touring their historic homeland.
Conditions in Sicily have become unsettled. Young Davide, a handsome young man who was set to marry his childhood sweetheart, Cecilia, has been brutally killed in a centuries-old vendetta. A Mafia Don and his Segundo were betrayed and arrested. These events threatened to plunge the island into a second Mafia War with the potential of thousands of people being killed. Seizing the opportunity to get his niece, Cecilia and daughter Angelica out of danger, the temporary head of the family, Luigi, The Claw, decides they will be married to these two visiting American men and whisked out of the country when the family returns home after their visit. The two women reluctantly agree on condition that they can divorce their husbands much easier in America then Sicily, and they will continue to receive support for their education.
The next morning after the family arrive in Sicily the men in the family are taken to meet Luigi, who explains the situation. The plans for the wedding are already taking place and the ceremony will take place in the same church made famous by “The Godfather” movie. The tacit understanding is that this is an offer that the men cannot refuse, particularly as these are two of the most beautiful women on the island and they come with a dowery of 100.000 Euros a year. Fresh from their failures, the men assent. They are immediately taken to be measured for their wedding clothes.
These preparations have not gone unobserved by the F.B.I. and the Italian Anti-Mofia Association, as well as a rival Mafia Mob in Naples. It was the Naples mob who leaked the information that resulted in the arrest of the leaders of the Mafia family in Sicily. Apache, who plays bit parts in spaghetti Westerns and is the son of the leader of the Naples mob, is sent to disrupt the wedding in any way possible, including killing any that might be involved.
By a chance bounce of a pickled red onion at the first formal family dinner, Frank is linked to Cecilia and Roger to Angelica. Following this event, the tour of this island is started, and several attempts are made on the lives of different members of the group. Frank and Roger lust after the women but wonder if they will be running from mobsters for the rest of their lives. A plot us hatched between their uncle and an Irish priest for the two men to be seen in bed with two gay strippers by their prospective brides in hopes that the brides will call off the wedding.
“A contract is a contract,” Luigi declares, and the wedding is to proceed. By dawn on the wedding day the men find that they are bound by ties of love, lust, respect, blood, and honor to their new brides and will marry them for however long time allows. The Italian Anti-Mafia Association and the F.B.I. have concocted an escape plan for the couples for the day after the wedding. This plan includes a bombing of a vehicle on the road to the airport and cadavers being burned to represent the fleeing couples who are to be flown out on military aircraft and go into the Witness Protection Program in the U.S.
Luigi is stabbed in the church, but thanks to protective clothing survives. The wedding proceeds and the rival gang members are arrested. Everything seems to be going as planned, but the brides and grooms escaping in their cars are attacked on the way to the U.S. Air Force Base. They make it onto the base and are flown away to start their new lives.