Skip to main content


Prof. Jonathan Bruning’s screenplay was selected for Feature Film Screenwriting Workshop at the Sundance Institute

  • Jonathon Bruning
April 14, 2019

Professor Jonathan Bruning’s screenplay was selected for the competitive Feature Film Screenwriting Workshop at the Sundance Institute this spring. It was selected for participation from an international pool of applicants.

This workshop is part of the Sundance Collab, the newest educational program of the Sundance Film Festival. It will be taught by an Oscar-nominated screenwriter, includes filmmakers from around the world, and will include in-depth consultation with professional filmmakers and film industry insiders.

The screenplay chosen for inclusion in the workshop is for a movie Prof. Bruning has written called “Second Best,” a biopic about Manchester United legend George Best. It is the true story of Best coming to Los Angeles in 1976 to play for the fledgling Los Angeles Aztecs of the North American Soccer League. It is the story of one man’s struggle with the powerful forces of addiction and fame.

The screenplay was also workshopped through the Gotham Writers Workshop last fall. Both of these opportunities were made possible as the result of a Quality of Life professional development grant from Carthage.

About “Second Best”

George Best was a smiling footballer with model good looks known for his skills, but also his playboy lifestyle. The film is set in the mid-life crisis of his career. He quit Manchester United in 1972 at age 26, still in his prime. Four years later, the LA Aztecs, owned in part by Elton John, signed the legendary Best to create American interest in soccer and boost attendance. Best tries to make a fresh start in America, experiencing newfound anonymity while, ironically, surrounded by the famous.

While in Los Angeles, he falls in love with a woman, Angela McDonald Janes, a Brit in California working as Cher’s personal assistant. George gets in shape on and off the field; he finds a second wind, both personally and professionally. In the end, however, despite his athletic talent and considerable personal charm, it all falls apart. His love story and professional renaissance is doomed by his addiction. He spirals downward from drink. At the end, George Best has regressed — still charming, but washed up and pathetic. He died in 2005, aged 59.

“I spent a lot of money on booze, birds and fast cars. The rest I just squandered.” —George Best