All speakers and events are based on permitting schedules and subject to change and/or cancellation without notice.
After graduating from the University of Texas at Austin, Diana Alvarez worked with playwright/actress Anna Deavere Smith on the film production of Twilight, the play House Arrest and at the Institute on the Arts and Civic Dialogue at Harvard University. Diana then moved to Los Angeles where she joined Gary Ross’ Larger Than Life Productions as a Creative Executive working on Seabiscuit, The Tale of Despereaux and most recently serving as Co-Producer on The Hunger Games. Diana also serves as a mentor to Creative Activists at the Creative Visions Foundation.
Lee Aronsohn has been making memorable television for over thirty years. Beginning in 1978 as a writer on The Love Boat – for which he created the character of the Captain’s bastard daughter, Vicki – he went on to contribute to such 80′s classics as Charles in Charge and Who’s the Boss.
In the 90′s, as writer and producer, Lee helped shape some of the decade’s most popular sitcoms such as Murphy Brown, Grace Under Fire and Cybill. In 2003 he co-created Two and a Half Men, which quickly became TV’s number one comedy and the anchor of CBS’s Monday night lineup.
In addition to writing and executive producing Men for 9 seasons (as well as directing several episodes), from 2007 to 2011 Lee also served as a writer and executive producer of The Big Bang Theory, another CBS hit.
Currently exhausted, Lee lives in Sherman Oaks, California with his wife and four year-old daughter.
Eli Attie is a screenwriter, TV producer, and former political operative. He served as Vice President Al Gore‘s chief White House and campaign speechwriter from 1997 until Gore’s concession of the 2000 election (which he co-wrote with Gore), and before that was a special assistant to President Bill Clinton.
Attie is currently a writer and co-executive producer on the upcoming ABC-TV drama “Mind Games.” Previously, he was a writer and co-executive producer on Fox-TV’s “House, MD” for its last five seasons. Before that, he was a writer and ultimately supervising producer on “The West Wing” for the last five of its seven-season run on NBC. He has been nominated for seven Emmy Awards, three Writers Guild awards, and two Humanitas Prizes (sharing one Emmy for a West Wing documentary special).
In addition to his work in episodic television, Attie’s feature screenplay “Smile Relax Attack” was included on the Hollywood “Black List,” an industry-selected list of the best still-unproduced screenplays from the preceding year.
Attie has written about popular music for The Washington Post and other publications, and won ASCAP’s Deems-Taylor Award for best pop music writing in 2003. He has written speeches for a wide range of politicians, including Ted Kennedy, John Edwards, Al Franken, and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.
Attie is a native of New York City and a graduate of Harvard College.
John August’s screenwriting credits include 2012′s Frankenweenie, along with Go, Corpse Bride, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Big Fish, and both Charlie’s Angels movies. His feature directing debut, The Nines, premiered at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival. For television, he created the short-lived series “D.C.” for The WB, along with pilots for Fox and ABC. He has developed two apps of interest to screenwriters: FDX Reader for iPhone/iPad, and Bronson Watermarker for Macintosh. John is a frequent advisor to the Sundance Screenwriters Lab. He also maintains two websites aimed at budding screenwriters, johnaugust.com and screenwriting.io.
Erik Baiers is a Senior Vice President of Production at Universal Pictures. While at Universal, he has overseen such movies as “Bridesmaids,” “Les Miserables,” “This is 40,” “Forgetting Sarah Marshall,” and “Contraband.” He is currently working on “Townies,” which is due in theaters in 2014. He is a graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts.
Emily Best founded SEED & SPARK, the world’s first crowd-funding and digital distribution platform made just for independent film, to make a contribution to the truly independent community in which she would like to make moving pictures. In 2011, she had the great fortune of producing her first feature with a remarkable group of women. The spirit, the community and the challenges of that project, LIKE THE WATER, inspired Seed&Spark. Before producing LIKE THE WATER, Emily produced theater, worked as a vision and values strategy consultant for Best Partners, ran restaurants, studied jazz singing at the Taller de Musics, tour guided and cooked in Barcelona, and before that, was a student of Cultural Anthropology and American Studies at Haverford College.
Richard Bever: Los Angeles-based producer and co-president of Chill Films. Richard is the former Head of Development and Production at Andrew Lauren Productions, which produced the Oscar-nominated film THE SQUID AND THE WHALE during his tenure. Among his producing credits are IN MEMORY OF MY FATHER, AUDREY, AGAINST THE CURRENT (Sundance 2009), and the award-winning documentary WISH ME AWAY (Grand Jury Prize winner LAFF 2011). Richard is currently packaging: the horror project ADVERSE REACTION to be directed by Dean Alioto; the crime drama OUR LADY OF JACKSON HEIGHTS to be directed by veteran actor Brian Cox and starring Kiefer Sutherland; the thriller REDPLOYED to be directed by David A. Armstrong; and the comedy SUCH GOOD PEOPLE to be directed by Stewart Wade. Richard will be in production this September with the teen comedy G.B.F. to be directed by Darren Stein (JAWBREAKER) and he is also currently filming the documentary REBELS OF THE THIRD AGE.
An agent in the Lit Department at Paradigm, David represents a myriad of important motion picture and television writers, directors and producers in the business.
David’s impressive client roster is only a testament to his ambition, commitment and sensibility. His notable client list includes David Guggenheim, writer of Universal’s SAFEHOUSE and upcoming SAFEHOUSE 2; Ken Marino, writer/producer of Universal’s WANDERLUST, writer of Universal’s ROLE MODELS, and writer/executive producer/star of Yahoo!’s hit online comedy series, BURNING LOVE; Maria Maggenti, writer of ABC’s upcoming PARK AND LEX; Carter Blanchard, writer of Dreamworks’ upcoming GLIMMER; and Ransom Riggs, writer/co-executive producer of the upcoming supernatural horror thriller BLACK RIVER, to be produced by Black Forest Film Group, and writer of #1 New York Times Best Seller MISS PEREGRINE’S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN, the supernatural fantasy adventure that sold to 20th Century Fox for seven figures; Tim Burton will direct and Peter Chernin will produce. David most recently closed a seven-figure deal with Universal Pictures for BLACK BOX, a script by client David Guggenheim that attracted several serious bids including DreamWorks and Warner Bros.
David began his career as an assistant at Jerry Bruckheimer Films. He then spent a year under the tutelage of producer Rob Fried, learning about development and production, after which he worked for William Morris Agency’s Senior VP Lee Rosenberg for two years. His next position was at Endeavor for partners Ari Greenburg & Rick Rosen. At the age of 26, David was listed as one of The Hollywood Reporter’s NEXT GENERATION TOP 35 UNDER 35 people in the business, one of the youngest ever to receive the honor. Always seeking new challenges, David moved on to be a Creative Executive at RKO Pictures, where he set up and produced the film SHADE. Boxerbaum then returned to the agency world where, for 4 years, he ran Metropolitan Talent Agency’s Television and Motion Picture Lit Department before moving to APA, where he became the only agent to represent not only feature writers and directors, but also show runners and television staff writers.
David is a graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts.
Bryan Brucks runs the literary department at Luber Roklin Entertainment, a management-production company that represents actors, writers, and directors. Its clients work in film and television, and range from up-and-comers to established stars. Luber Roklin also produces films, with credits such as BRIDE WARS, EVAN ALMIGHTY, UNTITLED, LOVE LIES BLEEDING, INTO THE BLUE, and the upcoming PAWN SHOP CHRONICLES.
Mr. Brucks was previously the owner of BRUCKS ENTERTAINMENT a diversified management and production company that he founded in 2005. As a producer, Mr. Brucks is in post on two films: NOT SAFE FOR WORK directed by Joe Johnston for Universal Films/Blumhouse and KILL FOR ME for Sony/Stage Six. As a producer,he has several films in development, including, HOMECOMING at Screen Gems with Will Packer producing; BOY SCOUTS VS. ZOMBIES at Paramount; THE RISING at Millenium; MAN AT ARMS at Echo Lake; and MISSING LINK at Walt Disney Pictures.
As a company, Luber Roklin represents such talent as Paul Walker, Cam Gigandet, Stephen Moyer, Sean Astin, Shane West and Naturi Naughton. They represent directors such as Walt Becker, Rupert Wainwright and several Emmy nominees on the TV side.
Before joining Luber Roklin, Mr. Brucks was an executive at Universal Studios based production company, Larger Than Life Entertainment (Gary Ross and Jane Sindell) where he worked on various films including SEABISCUIT. Mr. Brucks is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame.
Sarah Burns is the author of The Central Park Five: A Chronicle of a City Wilding (Knopf, 2011) and, along with David McMahon and Ken Burns, the producer, writer and director of the documentary THE CENTRAL PARK FIVE, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 2012. She is currently working on a film about the life and times of Jackie Robinson.
Sarah was born and raised in Walpole, New Hampshire. She graduated from Yale University in 2004 with a degree in American Studies, and now lives in Brooklyn, New York with her husband, David McMahon, and their daughter.
Christopher Cantwell, 2010 AFF Semifinalist, writer of upcoming projects OFF THE GRID, SHADOW RUNNERS, UNTITLED BAD ROBOT FEATURE, co-creator Halt & Catch Fire
Chris is a 2004 graduate of the USC School of Cinematic Arts, where he earned a BFA in Writing for the Screen & Television. His feature script PIANO TOES was a semifinalist at the 2010 Austin Film Festival. He has worked with his rugged and extremely competent writing partner Christopher Rogers since August of that year; their original one-hour pilot script was acquired by AMC, and their original feature script OFF THE GRID has been acquired by Indian Paintbrush. Cantwell & Rogers have also been hired to write SHADOW RUNNERS for Sony and a currently-untitled feature project for Bad Robot and Paramount.
The best and scariest thing that ever happened to Chris in LA was when he worked at Brentano’s Bookstore in Century City (now defunct) and patron Don Adams, late star of GET SMART, told him “all my friends are dead.” A Texas native, Chris lives in LA with his wife and dog and all of his friends aren’t dead yet.
Mary Coleman is the Senior Development Executive at Pixar Animation Studios. She joined Pixar in 1999 to create the Development department. Coleman was recruited from San Francisco’s Magic Theater because Pixar recognized that her work developing world premiers of new plays would translate well to their style of creating stories. Coleman works closely with Pixar’s directors from concept through final draft. She helps them articulate their vision, prepares them for pitches, matches them with writers, provides research to deepen the story world, and gives feedback on outlines, treatments, and screenplay drafts.
A native Texan, Matt Cook has written two top-10 Black List screenplays (best un-produced screenplays of the year), BY WAY OF HELENA and TRIPLE NINE, both in pre-production with Keiran Darcy-Smith and John Hillcoat directing respectively. He adapted the international best seller THREE SECONDS for New Regency, as well as a graphic novel, BUTTON MAN: THE KILLING GAME, for director Nicolas Winding Refn and Dreamworks. He is currently writing two scripts acquired by 20th Century Fox, an untitled heist film, and BREAKER, a grounded sci-fi film with Trevor Cawood directing. Cook is also adapting and will direct/produce the New York Times bestseller, Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War, by Karl Marlantes. In addition, Cook has developed television shows for Fox and FX. He has written several articles for Texas Monthly magazine about his experiences during two tours in Iraq as a member of the 101st Airborne and after embedding with his old unit during their final tour in Afghanistan. He has also written a script based on the 2001 Texas Monthly article “Hit Man” by Skip Hollandsworth. Cook is a 2001 graduate of the University of Texas, and currently resides in Austin with his wife Lauren Wolf.
PETER CRAIG is a screenwriter whose credits include THE TOWN (with Ben Affleck), as well as two other projects going into production this fall. He was originally a crime novelist, whose books included HOT PLASTIC, BLOOD FATHER, and THE MARTINI SHOT. He began working steadily as a screenwriter in 2007, after being selected three times on “The Black List,” a list started by fellow panelist Franklin Leonard. He’s been nominated for a WGA award and others, and has received a Henfield Foundation Award and a James Michener Fellowship for his work.
Currently, he’s working with director Morten Tyldum (“Headhunters”) on a project at Warner Bros.
He lives in Los Angeles.
Starting out as a writer and producer with Roger Corman in 1971, Jonathan Demme has directed and produced more than 30 movies. His films, which have been nominated for 20 Academy Awards, include PHILADELPHIA, RACHEL GETTING MARRIED, THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE, and SILENCE OF THE LAMBS, for which he won the Oscar for Best Director in 1991.
His feature films have starred Jason Robards, Mary Steenburgen, Paul Lemat, Chris Walken, Christine Lahti, David Byrne, Jeff Daniels, Michelle Pfeiffer, Dean Stockwell, Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, Oprah Winfrey, Thandie Newton, LisaGay Hamilton, Danny Glover, Robyn Hitchcock, Denzel Washington, Tom Hanks, Ron Vawter, Neil Young, Kimberly Elise, Charles Aznavour, Geoffrey Wright, Laura Dern, Jennifer Ehle, Luke Wilson, Patrick Wilson, Andre Gregory, Wallace Shawn, Julie Haggerty, Larry Pine and Lisa Joyce amongst many others.
Portrait subjects of documentaries directed and produced by Demme include Reverend Robert Castle, President Jimmy Carter, President Nelson Mandela, Beah Richards, Carolyn Parker, Herreast Harrison, Pastor Melvin Jones, Malik Rahim, Cherice Nelson, Donald Harrison, Jr and Neil Young, Demme has collaborated on many occasions with Tavis Smiley on projects for PBS.
I’M CAROLYN PARKER: THE GOOD, THE MAD AND THE BEAUTFUL, the first of Jonathan’s projected series of five New Orleans portrait documentaries, premiered last fall on PBS’s highly regarded documentary series, POV. Editing is now underway on HERREAST HARRISON: GUARDIAN OF THE FLAME, the latest portrait documentary shot in New Orleans from 2005 to the present, detailing the experiences of lives turned upside down in the wake of the catastrophic floods resulting from the national levee breaks that followed Hurricane Katrina. Demme’s musical portrait documentary, ENZO AVITABILE MUSIC LIFE, premiered at the Venice Film Festival in 2012 and will be released later this year.
FEAR OF FALLING, directed by Demme and based on Andre Gregory and Wallace Shawn’s adaptation of the play by Henrik Ibsen, The Master Builder, is now in post-production and will also be released later this year.
Demme was born in Long Island, New York, in 1944 and grew up near Miami, Florida. He presently resides in Rockland County, New York, with his artist wife Joanne Howard. He is the father of three children. He divides his career between feature films, documentaries, and music performance films.
Against everyone’s advice, Leslie Dixon left the clean air and charm of San Francisco to move to Los Angeles to become a screenwriter.
With grades too odd for a scholarship, and no family money, Leslie did not go to college, instead suffering a series of menial jobs and guitar playing boyfriends before finally discovering, to her surprise, that she was venally ambitious. She began writing at night. Her second script was made into the hit film OUTRAGIOUS FORTUNE, starring Bette Midler and Shelley Long, which jump-started her career.
Later credits include OVERBOARD, MRS. DOUBTFIRE, THE THOMAS CROWN AFFAIR, PAY IT FORWARD, FREAKY FRIDAY, HAIRSPRAY and LIMITLESS.
She is married to the screenwriter Tom Ropelewski, and they have one accidental, son. They have stopped using his first name and simply refer to him as “Satan.”
Lindsay Doran has worked in the movie business for more than 30 years as a studio executive and as a producer. She has served as the President and COO of United Artists Pictures and as the President of Sydney Pollack’s Mirage Productions. She currently divides her time between her producing duties and her work as “The Script Whisperer™” — anonymous consultation on high priority script development.
Lindsay’s first film credit was as Executive in Charge of Production on the mock-documentary THIS IS SPINAL TAP. She later became the Executive Producer on two films directed by Sydney Pollack, THE FIRM and SABRINA. As a Producer, her credits include DEAD AGAIN, SENSE AND SENSIBILITY, NANNY MCPHEE, STRANGER THAN FICTION, and NANNY MCPHEE RETURNS (aka NANNY MCPHEE AND THE BIG BANG).
As an executive, Lindsay worked on dozens of films including THE SURE THING, STAND BY ME, PRETTY IN PINK, FERRIS BUELLER’S DAY OFF, PLANES TRAINS AND AUTOMOBILES, FIELDS OF DREAMS, THE NAKED GUN, PET SEMATARY, GHOST, THE THOMAS CROWN AFFAIR, and two James Bond films – THIS WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH and TOMORROW NEVER DIES.
She is the winner of numerous awards including the Golden Globe Best Picture award and the British Academy Award for Best Film, both for SENSE AND SENSIBILITY.
Lindsay tries to be guided by the Three Rules of Drama, found in an ancient text, as the basis for what motion picture entertainment ought to be:
#1 It must be arresting and amusing to the drunk.
#2 It must address the question, “How should we live?”
#3 It must address the question, “How does the universe work?”
Michael B. Druxman is a veteran Hollywood screenwriter whose credits include CHEYENNE WARRIOR with Kelly Preston; DILLINGER AND CAPONE starring Martin Sheen and F. Murray Abraham; and THE DOORWAY with Roy Scheider, which he also directed.
He is also a prolific playwright, his one-person play, Jolson, having had numerous productions around the country. Other produced stage credits include one-person plays about Clark Gable, Carole Lombard, Spencer Tracy and Orson Welles.
Additionally, Mr. Druxman is the author of thirteen other published books, including several nonfiction works about Hollywood, its movies, and the people who make them (e.g., Basil Rathbone: His Life and His Films, Make It Again, Sam: A Survey of Movie Remakes, One Good Film Deserves Another: A Survey of Movie Sequels, Merv [Griffin] and The Musical: From Broadway to Hollywood).
He has written two novels, “Nobody Drowns in Mineral Lake” and “Shadow Watcher”, plus the humorous revisionist history, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood: From the Secret Files of Harry Pennypacker”, and “Family Secret”, a non-fiction book co-authored with Warren Hull, which reveals the true facts behind the 1947 murder of mobster “Bugsy” Siegel in Beverly Hills.
An acknowledged Hollywood historian, he has also written television documentaries and has been interviewed for various retrospective featurettes that have accompanied DVD releases of classic films (e.g. THE MALTESE FALCON, etc.)
Mr. Druxman is a former Hollywood publicist of 35 years experience who has represented many film and television stars, as well as noted directors, producers and composers. One of his Academy Award campaigns is often mentioned in books dealing with Oscar’s history.
He has taught various dramatic writing and film appreciation courses in an adult university and is the author of How to Write a Story…Any Story: The Art of Storytelling, which has been used as a text in several colleges.
A native of Seattle who graduated from Garfield High School and the University of Washington, Mr. Druxman moved with his wife, Sandy, from Los Angeles to Austin, TX in 2009.
His memoir, “My Forty-Five Years in Hollywood and How I Escaped Alive”, is published by Bear Manor Media (bearmanormedia.com).
Dugdale also serves as one the judges and panelists for the sponsored award category of the Annual Austin Film Festival Screenplay Competition, the Enderby Entertainment Award. Dugdale is a proud member of the Producers Guild of America and the Directors Guild of Canada.
Jay Wade Edwards is a Television Producer and Editor, most notably for the Adult Swim animated series Aqua Teen Hunger Force, which recently celebrated its 100th episode. He served as Supervising Editor and Producer on AQUA TEEN HUNGER FORCE: FILM FOR THEATERS, as well as produced extra content for all eight ATHF DVD releases, along with other Adult Swim DVDs, including Squidbillies. Jay is the writer, director and editor of STOMP! SHOUT! SCREAM!, a 35 mm, rock n roll/monster/beach party film. It premiered at the 2006 Austin Film Festival and went on to screen at over thirty film festivals, winning Best-of Awards at The Toofy Film Festival (Colorado), The Magnolia Independent Film Festival (Mississippi) and The Sweet Onion Film Festival (Washington). A theatrical run by Monogram Releasing followed in 2009. In the same year, the film was re-packaged for release on DVD as MONSTER BEACH PARTY A GO GO by Indican Pictures.
Kirk Ellis won two Emmys (as writer and co-executive producer), a WGA Award, a Peabody and the Humanitas Prize for his work on the HBO miniseries “John Adams.” The miniseries won a record breaking 13 Emmys in total, as well as four Golden Globe awards. Previously, Ellis received an Emmy nomination and won the WGA Award and Humanitas Prize for the ABC miniseries “Anne Frank,” which he wrote and co-produced. Miniseries on which he has served as writer and producer have garnered more than 50 Emmy nominations.
Ellis’ collaboration with Steven Spielberg and DreamWorks on the miniseries “Into the West” brought him the Western Writers of America’s Golden Spur Award for Best Drama Script for the episode “Hell on Wheels.” He also received the Wrangler Award for Best Television Feature from the National Western Heritage Museum for his work on the miniseries, on which Ellis served as writer and supervising producer.
Currently, Ellis is writing and executive producing HBO’s “The Day the Laughter Stopped,” an account of the Fatty Arbuckle trials of the 1920s, set to star Eric Stonestreet and to be directed by Barry Levinson. Additional television projects include “Sons of Liberty,” a six-hour miniseries for The History Channel, and “Sneaker Wars,” a limited series for FX about the feuding family behind both the Adidas and Puma name brands. Upcoming feature projects include a biography of the Marquis de Lafayette for director Jean-Francois Richet (“Mesrine”) and Oscar-nominated Why Not Productions, and “The Argonaut,” based on the life of Mexican Revolutionary hero Francisco Madero. He is also writing a videogame for Sony, scheduled to debut at the end of 2014.
A graduate of the University of Southern California’s School of Cinema and Television, Ellis began his professional career as a film critic for The Hollywood Reporter, and at age 24 served as the magazine’s international editor. In 1992 he formed Shadow Catcher Productions, an independent production banner under which Ellis develops his own indie features and documentaries. Ellis made his feature film debut writing and co-producing “The Grass Harp,” based on the coming-of-age novel by Truman Capote. He has also collaborated on projects with such directors as Francis Ford Coppola, Roland Joffe and William Friedkin.
A co-governor of the writers’ branch of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, Ellis also serves as chairman of the Santa Fe, New Mexico Arts Commission. He is a former board member of the Western Writers of America, and sits on the advisory board of Richmond, Virginia-based James River Writers.
After graduating from UCLA, earning degrees in both literature and history, Steve went on to graduate from Law School. It was there that he realized he had made a terrible mistake. However, it was also there when he realized that there is no money in poetry and no poetry in money. Steve went on to become an American Screenwriter with his most notable work being the comedy hit WEDDING CRASHERS. His next film WE’RE THE MILLERS was also a recent success at the box office. He has worked on various televison projects including Married With Children. Steve has taken part in many panels and interviews on the DVD “Writers on Writing”. He also contributes to the Huffington Post with his acclaimed political blog entitled “Washingwood”. Currently, Steve is developing projects for both television and film.
Stephen Falk is the Creator/Showrunner of You’re The Worst, an FX comedy pilot shooting in November, and currently serves as Co-Executive Producer on Jenji Kohan’s original series for Netflix, Orange Is The New Black. In 2012 he created Next Caller, a half-hour single-camera comedy starring Jeffrey Tambor, Collette Wolfe, and Dane Cook which was picked up for NBC’s 2012-2013 midseason schedule… and subsequently cancelled before airing. Before that, he served as Co-Executive Producer on Showtime’s Weeds and is currently writing a pilot for Fox TV Studios with producer Donald De Line. Stephen graduated from NYU with a BFA in Acting and started out writing plays — later transitioning to writing feature films for such studios as Fox, Dimension, Universal, and writing both drama and comedy television pilots for Showtime, ABC, NBC, Fox, USA, and SyFy. Stephen received a 2012 Writers Guild Awards nomination for Episodic Comedy for writing an episode of Weeds called, “Object Impermanence.” His career got its start when he won the 2000 Austin Film Festival Award for Best Comedy Screenplay, thus he is doubly thrilled to be a speaker here. Stephen used to recap reality shows for the formerly-great Television Without Pity, is co-producer and sometimes host of a popular monthly storytelling series at M Bar in Hollywood called Public School, and does a weekly webshow about movies with his group The Film Pigs. (Twitter: @stephenfalk for dumb jokes.)
Scott Fellows’ first job in television was as a production assistant on America’s Most Wanted where he fetched coffee and baked goods for stoic FBI guys – it lasted one week. Since then, Fellows has become a kids television writer, director, producer and series creator. A prop job on Nickelodeon’s puppet-variety show Weinerville let to his first writing break where he eventually became head writer/voice actor/puppeteer on that show. Fellows then proceeded to write and produce many live-action and animated shows including Nickelodeon’s The Fairly OddParents, Doug, 101 Dalmatians and Kablam. He also served as show runner for Nickelodeon’s live-action comedy series 100 Deeds for Eddie McDowd and has written many of Nick’s Kids’ Choice Awards as well as the Teen Choice Awards, the Billboard Awards. The creative mind behind Nickelodeon’s Ned’s Declassified Survival Guide, Fellows also executive produced the hit live-action series. He is also the creator and executive producer for Cartoon Network’s animated sci-fi comedy Johnny Test, and most recently finished at 75 episode run of Nickelodeon’s hit music series Big Time Rush.
Dan French is comedy writer and former staffer for late night TV shows including Dennis Miller, The Late Late Show on CBS, and The Best Damn Sports Show Period. He now lives, writes, performs and tweets from Austin, TX, as HealthyComedian.com.
Michael Fry has been a cartoonist and writer for over 30 years. He has created or co-created four internationally syndicated comic strips including the current “Over the Hedge” (writer with T Lewis illustrating) for Universal Press Syndicate. “Over the Hedge”runs in over 130 newspapers worldwide.
Fry is also writes and illustrates the middle grade novel series “The Odd Squad” for Disney-Hyperion. “The Odd Squad: Bully Bait” was published in February 2013 with the “The Odd Squad: Zero Tolerance” following in September 2013. “The Odd Squad: King Karl” will come out Summer 2014.
“Over the Hedge” was released May 19, 2006 as a CGI animated feature produced by DreamWorks Animation with the lead voices of Bruce Willis, Garry Shandling and Steve Carell. Tim Johnson (Antz) and Karey Kirkpatrick (Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy) direct with Bonnie Arnold (Toy Story, Tarzan) producing and Jim Cox (Ferngully) co-executive, producing. Fry (with Lewis) was a creative consultant. The film grossed $336 million dollars in worldside box office.
The “Over the Hedge” feature was previously in development at Fox Family films where Fry (with Lewis) co-wrote the original screenplay.
Fry was also a co-founder of RingTales, a new media company that animated print comics for all digital media. RingTales produced short (15-30 second) ad-supported animations for the web, mobile and portable digital devices. Ringtalesanimated Dilbert, The New Yorker cartoons, Over the Hedge, Pearls Before Swine and many other popular properties. Since March ’07 RingTales produced over 1000 cartoons that have garnered over 260 million views.
Fry also executive produced the prime-time animated series “Committed” based on his previously syndicated strip of the same name. Catherine O’Hara, Eugene Levy and Andrea Martin provided lead voices. The show debuted in Canada in March 2001 on CTV. In the US, “Committed” debuted on the WE: Women’s Entertainment network in October 2002. “Committed” was nominated for Outstanding Series for All Audience at the 2001 Cartoons on the Bay Television Animation Awards.
Fry made his directorial debut with the live-action (with animation) short, “New Soul” staring comedian Larry Miller in December 2011. “New Soul” is presently in post-production and set to be completed later in 2013.
Fry lives on a small ranch near Austin, Texas with his wife, Kim, dog Jack and a dozen or so unnamed shrub-eating cows.
Vince Gilligan, series creator and executive producer of Breaking Bad, was born in Richmond, Virginia and raised in Farmville and Chesterfield County. He received the Virginia Governor’s Screenwriting Award in 1989 for his screenplay Home Fries, which was later turned into a film starring Drew Barrymore and Luke Wilson.
As a writer and executive producer on The X-Files, Vince shared Golden Globe Awards in 1996 and 1997 for Best Dramatic Series. His other credits include the Fox Television series The Lone Gunmen, which he co-created, and the features Hancock, starring Will Smith and Charlize Theron, and Wilder Napalm, starring Debra Winger and Dennis Quaid.
After writing and directing the Breaking Bad pilot, Vince received the 2008 Writers Guild Award for Episodic Drama and accepted a Peabody Award honoring the show’s first season. In 2012, the Writers Guild honored the show once more with both the Episodic Drama and Drama Series Awards. Breaking Bad earned Emmy® Award nominations in 2008 and 2010 for Outstanding Directing for a Drama and in 2009, 2010 and 2012 for Outstanding Drama, was named one of the best shows of 2008, 2010, 2011 and 2012 by the American Film Institute, and was hailed in 2009 as “the best of the 21st century” by Stephen King.
Vince currently lives in Los Angeles with his girlfriend, Holly.
For more information on our 2013 awardees, click here
DAVID GUGGENHEIM wrote the 2012 Denzel Washington hit SAFE HOUSE for Universal and the Nicolas Cage thriller “STOLEN” for Millennium. He has also penned the sci-fi adventure 364 with Ron Howard attached to direct; the action film NARCO SUB, that was to be Tony Scott’s next feature film; SANTIAGO for Fox with Simon Kinberg producing and PUZZLE PALACE, a contained thriller for director McG and Summit Entertainment. His television pilot Exit Strategy for Fox starred Ethan Hawke. He will next produce “BLOOD DRIVE” for Dimension and “12/24″ for Chris Columbus, both based on his original ideas. His most recent script, BLACK BOX, sold to Universal after an intense bidding war, with Madhouse and Bluegrass Films producing. His debut novel ‘WEAPONIZED’ was published by Mulholland Books and is currently in stores. GUGGENHEIM is repped Paradigm and Madhouse Entertainment. He lives in New York City with his wife and two children.
John Hamburg was born and raised in New York City and began making
short films while still in high school. After writing and directing the cult comedy SAFE MEN, which debuted at the Sundance Film Festival, he co-wrote the screenplays for MEET THE PARENTS,
MEET THE FOCKERS, LITTLE FOCKERS and ZOOLANDER. He wrote and directed the Ben Stiller/Jennifer Aniston romantic comedy ALONG CAME POLLY and co-wrote, produced and directed I LOVE YOU, MAN starring Paul Rudd and Jason Segel. Hamburg is currently producing THE DESTINATION WEDDING for Paramount Pictures, and, in addition to developing various projects for film and television, he is preparing to direct BROTHER FROM ANOTHER MOTHER, a comedy which he wrote and will also produce.
BRIAN HELGELAND has written and adapted many features during his career as a screenwriter, including the Academy Award winning film L.A. CONFIDENTIAL for which he received the Oscar for his work. Among his credits are his original screenplays for CONSPIRACY THEORY, GREEN ZONE and A KNIGHT’S TALE, along with his adaptations of PAYBACK, MAN ON FIRE, and MYSTIC RIVER. Helgeland recently wrote and directed the film 42.
Hardy Janson and Evan Miller are both native Texans and University of Texas alums who made their move to Los Angeles eight years ago. Their second screenplay, the sex comedy Black Card, has been recently purchased by ARC Entertainment and is currently in the last stages of development with Nick Goossen (Grandma’s Boy) attached to direct. This spring, the writing team also had their historical action epic spec script Atlantis optioned by Harbinger Pictures (The Help) and the producers are currently attaching talent to the project. Hardy and Evan are thrilled to be back home and a part of AFF this year.
As co-creator, lead writer and supervising producer of the miniseries BAND OF BROTHERS for HBO in 2001, Jendresen was one of the recipients of that year’s Golden Globe and Emmy Award for Outstanding Miniseries.
As a writer/producer for television his current projects include KILLING LINCOLN for NatGeo; a series based on the Francis Ford Coppola film, THE CONVERSATION (with Christopher McQuarrie); THE PONY EXPRESS (with Robert Duvall); an eight-hour adaptation of Gregory Maguire’s novel, WICKED (ABC); THE COMMAND – a series set in the world of the Joint Special Operations Command – (FIC); and ACT OF VALOR – a series set in the world of Air Force Pararescue (RelativityTelevision).
As a writer/producer for film, his current projects include MISSION: BLACKLIST (directed by Jesper Ganslandt and starring Robert Pattinson), SAINT-EX (directed by Christopher McQuarrie), SOLO (directed by Antonio Banderas) an adaptation of William Saroyan’s THE HUMAN COMEDY (directed by Meg Ryan) and an adaptation of Walter Tevis’s THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH (directed by David Slade).
He is also a playwright (THE KILLING OF MICHAEL MALLOY, EXCUSE MY DUST) and author of the books, THE FOUR WINDS and JOURNEY TO THE ISLAND OF THE SUN (HarperCollins), and the children’s books THE FIRST STORY EVER TOLD (Simon & Schuster), and HANUMAN (Tricycle).
He is an advisor at the Sundance Screenwriters Lab. Jendresen lives with his wife, Venus, on a 106-year-old riveted wrought iron vessel in Sausalito, California.
Mark Johnson won the Best Picture Academy® Award for Barry Levinson’s poignant 1988 drama RAIN MAN, starring Dustin Hoffman (Best Actor Oscar®) and Tom Cruise.
His recent slate of motion pictures includes THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA franchise as well as David Chase’s NOT FADE AWAY. In the past, he has produced Nick Cassavetes’ dramas MY SISTER’S KEEPER, starring Cameron Diaz, and THE NOTEBOOK, based on Nicholas Sparks’ best-selling novel; Lance Hammer’s Sundance award-winning film BALLAST; the Tim Allen and Sigourney Weaver sci-fi comedy GALAXY QUEST directed by Dean Parisot; THE ROOKIE directed by John Lee Hancock; Mike Newell’s gangster drama DONNIE BRASCO starring Johnny Depp and Al Pacino; and Clint Eastwood’s A PERFECT WORLD starring Kevin Costner.
Johnson produced all of the writer-director Barry Levinson’s films from 1982-1994. In addition to RAIN MAN, their diverse slate of acclaimed features includes GOOD MORNING VIETNAM, THE NATURAL, TIN MEN, AVALON, DINER (their 1982 debut project, for which Levinson earned an Oscar nomination for his screenplay), and BUGSY, nominated for ten Academy® Awards including Best Picture and Best Director. BUGSY also captured a Best Picture Golden Globe® Award.
On the television side, he is the executive producer of the Sundance Channel’s first scripted series Rectify, created by Ray McKinnon. He has been the executive producer of Vince Gilligan’s Breaking Bad since the series began.
BARRY JOSEPHSON, President of Josephson Entertainment, is a film and television producer whose recent film projects include, LIFE AS WE KNOW IT, released by Warner Brothers, and the international Walt Disney hit film, ENCHANTED. He has just completed principle photography of the film SOMEONE MARRY BARRY and is nearing production of DIRTY GRANDPA at Universal. Josephson is also at the helm of the popular FOX television drama Bones, currently in its eighth season, and currently developing new television shows for several networks including AMC, TNT & FOX.
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Deena Kalai earned her law degree at the University of Texas at Austin. She is licensed in Texas and New York, and has offices in both Austin and Manhattan.
Deena represents artists and businesses engaged in entertainment, intellectual property and technology, including film, music, television, fashion, literary publishing, and mobile/interactive media. Deena has a particular interest in fair use and assists many documentary filmmakers each year in assessing the applicability of this important copyright doctrine to their projects.
Always active in her community, she is affiliated with or donates time to many organizations including, the Texas Motion Picture Alliance, the Austin Film Society, Volunteer Legal Services, The College of the State Bar of Texas, and other professional associations in Texas and New York. Deena frequently provides pro bono services for low-income Texans, in addition to her pro bono activities for entertainment industry clients. She has been recognized by The Pro Bono College of the State Bar of Texas, and has been awarded the Judge Suzanne Covington Award in connection with her pro bono services. She has lectured at several legal workshops, at the University of Texas, and at various film conferences.
Deena has a master’s degree in English from the University of Texas at Austin, with a concentration on hip hop and feminist film theory. She completed her undergraduate education at the University of Miami, where she graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa.
Casper Kelly is co-creator, writer, and director of the number one rated Adult Swim show Your Pretty Face is Going to Hell. He has also written for Squidbillies, Stroker & Hoop, Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law, and Aqua Teen Hunger Force and is author of the book, “More Stories About Spaceships and Cancer”.
Callie Khouri galvanized women and sparked nationwide debate in 1991 with the hit movie Thelma and Louise, her screenwriting debut, which was nominated for six Academy Awards. She received the Oscar, the Golden Globe, the Writers Guild of America Award and a PEN Literary Award for Best Original Screenplay. Thelma and Louise took home the London Film Critics Circle Award for Film of the Year, and was nominated for Best Original Screenplay by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts. Her second picture, released in August 1995, was Something to Talk About, starring Julia Roberts, Dennis Quaid and Robert Duvall. Her directorial debut was Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, starring Sandra Bullock and Ashley Judd, which she also adapted for the screen. In 2006 Khouri collaborated with legendary television producer Steven Bochco and wrote and directed the television drama, Hollis and Rae. She has directed her second feature film, entitled Mad Money, starring Diane Keaton, Katie Holmes and Queen Latifah. Khouri is currently the creator and executive producer of the TV show Nashville starring Connie Britton and Hayden Panettiere.
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Kyle Killen began as a fiction writer, winning the John Steinbeck Award For The Short Story in 2005 and going on to have his work featured in numerous publications including Salon.com, McSweeney’s, and The Mid-American Review.
His script, THE BEAVER landed on top of “The Black List”, a compilation of the years best liked screenplays and went on to become a Jodie Foster/Mel Gibson feature film.
Previously, his series, Lone Star was named the best new series on television by the likes of USA Today, NPR, and Variety.
Robert Knott’s grandparents owned and operated a traveling tent show that followed the wheat harvest through Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas and Nebraska. They put on plays, danced, played music, performed magic acts– anything that would draw a crowd or sell a ticket. Knott’s mother, along with her brother and sisters, were part of the act, and eventually his father came along joining the troupe as a trumpet player. But movie theaters came to the small towns, and eventually put the troupe out of business. When the show closed Robert’s family made camp in Oklahoma, where he was born and raised.
Knott spent two years in art school at the University of Oklahoma before entering into the oil drilling business at the height of the oil boom. For 13 years he worked for a Tulsa based drilling company — rigging up rigs in Oklahoma, Texas, Alaska and eventually Kuwait. After his stint in the oil field Knott turned his attention to theater acting and play writing, and then eventually to film acting and screenplay writing.
Robert Knott has an extensive list of stage, television, and film credits, including the 2008 film Appaloosa, based on the Robert B. Parker novel, which he adapted and produced with Ed Harris–actor, director and fellow Oklahoman. Robert Knott now lives in Los Angeles.
JENJI KOHAN began her writing career on The Fresh Prince of Bell-Air after graduating from Columbia University. Her series writing credits include Mad About You, Tracy Takes On, Sex and The City, and Gilmore Girls. In 1999, she was honored with an Emmy® Award for ‘Outstanding Comedy Series’ for her work on Tracy Takes On. She has developed and produced multiple pilots and series, including Showtime’s Weeds, which ran for eight seasons and garnered her the Writers Guild Award for ‘Best Episodic Comedy’ for the pilot entitled ‘You Can’t Miss The Bear.’ Her latest project, Orange Is The New Black, is now streaming on Netflix. Kohan is the daughter of 13-time Emmy® Award-winning television writer Buz Kohan and accomplished novelist, Rhea Kohan. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, journalist/author Christopher Noxon and three children Charlie, Eliza and Oscar.
MADHOUSE began in 2006 and represents writers and writer/directors for feature film and television for network and cable. Madhouse clients come in all shapes and sizes from the co-Creator of LOST, Jeffrey Lieber, to the Creator of MTV’s hit series Awkward to the writer of SAFE HOUSE David Guggenheim. Madhouse’s TV creator clients have put nearly over a dozen TV series on the air in the past 5 years. Madhouse produced the thriller PRISONERS for Warner Bros and Alcon that will be released on September 20th, 2013 starring Hugh Jackman, Jake Gylenhaal, Terrence Howard, Paul Dano, Melissa Leo and Viola Davis and it is written by Madhouse client AARON GUZIKOWSKI who also wrote last years CONTRABAND that starred Mark Wahlberg. Madhouse is currently IN-production on the comedy MURDER OF A CAT that Sam Raimi is producing with Madhouse and stars Fran Kranz, Greg Kinnear, and Nikki Reed written by Madhouse client CHRISTIAN MAGALHAES & BOB SNOW. Madhouse is in PRE-production on Dreamworks time travel movie GLIMMER written by Madhouse client CARTER BLANCHARD.
Additional Madhouse clients include;
JACK PAGLEN who wrote TRANSENDENCE that is currently in production starring Johnny Depp and produced by Christopher Nolan.
JASON SMILOVIC who’s currently writing ‘Hangover’ director Todd Phillips next film for Warner Bros.
DAVE KAJGANICH who is currently adapting Stephen King’s novel THE STAND for Ben Affleck to star and direct and who also wrote TRUE STORY that is currently in production with Brad Pitt producing and starring James Franco and Jonah Hill.
JUSTIN MARKS who wrote THE RAVEN that is in production for Universal starring Sam Worthington and Gerard Butler.
SHANA FESTE who wrote and is directing the Universal remake of ENDLESS LOVE starring Alex Pettyfer and Gabriella Wilde that will be released Valentines Day 2014.
For additional info please visit www.madhouseent.net and follow via @madhouse_ent
Joanne Lammers is Director of the Writers Guild Foundation Archive, where she manages the daily operations of the Foundation’s special collections, which include the historical records of the Writers Guild of America, West and personal papers, scripts, production material, photographs and oral histories of prominent writers for film, television, radio and digital media. Prior to her work in archives, she was a story analyst and script consultant for 17 years at several major production companies, including Bedford Falls, Castle Rock Entertainment, Geffen Films, Jaffe-Lansing, Morgan Creek, Participant Media and Turner Network Television. She has served as a judge in the Samuel Goldwyn Writing Awards since 1996. She received a B.S. in Radio-TV Film, Critical Studies from University of Texas, Austin and an MLIS, Archival Studies from San Jose State University.
Franklin Leonard is the creator of the Black List and co-creator of Blcklst.com, a yearly publication highlighting Hollywood’s most popular unproduced screenplays and its ongoing home on the web. Over 200 Black List scripts have been produced as feature films earning more than 140 Academy Award nominations including two of the last four Best Pictures and five of the last ten screenwriting Oscars. Franklin has worked in development at Universal Pictures and the production companies of Will Smith, Sydney Pollack and Anthony Minghella, Leonardo DiCaprio, and John Goldwyn. Before Los Angeles and all things film related, Franklin was – at different times - a business analyst at McKinsey & Co., a weekly columnist for the Trinidad Guardian in Port-au-Spain, Trinidad, and the communications director for John Cranley’s 2000 campaign for the U.S. House of Representatives in Ohio’s first district. He’s a magna cum laude graduate of Harvard University. Since 2010, he has been named one of Hollywood Reporter’s 30 Under 30, Black Enterprise magazine’s “40 Emerging Leaders for Our Future,” AOL Black Voices “30 Black Hollywood Game Changers” and Fast Company’s “100 Most Creative People in Business.”
Born in Indiana, Jeremy Leven grew up in New York. He was educated at St. John’s College in Annapolis, Maryland (in Philosophy), Harvard University (in Education and Child Psychology), the University of Connecticut (in Neuroscience) and was a fellow in the Yale University Department of Psychiatry’s Child Study Center. Immediately after college, before entering medicine and the neurosciences, he was a television director/producer for the NBC in Boston. He has also been a public school teacher, a director of the Cambridge (Massachusetts) Model Cities Program, a member of the faculty of Harvard, a Professor of Psychopharmacology, Director of a Mental Health Center, and Director of Drug Treatment and Methadone Programs. He has written two critically acclaimed novels, published in twenty four languages and is currently completing the third novel of his trilogy, as well as two plays, one for New York and one for Paris on the life of François Premier. In his career as one of Hollywood’s most accomplished writers he has worked on numerous projects, with directors such as Robert Redford, Francis Coppola, Steven Spielberg, Roman Polanski, Jim Sheriden, Martin Campbell, Rob Reiner or Alfonso Cuaron and with actors such as Jack Nicholson, Denzel Washington, Dustin Hoffman, John Travolta, Antonio Banderas, Robin Wiliams, Renée Zellweger and Jennifer Aniston among many others.
Philip Levens grew up in Lubbock, Texas and attended UT Austin before moving to Los Angeles where he became a television writer/producer. He is currently developing the six episode limited series SOJOURN for SyFy and Lionsgate, Executive Producing along with Jason Blum (Paranormal Activity, Insidious, etc.). He recently wrote the pilot FINDERS/KEEPERS for USA Network and NBC/Universal. Prior to that he adapted the graphic novel “Rest” for NBC as a starring vehicle for Milo Ventimiglia.
Philip was writer/producer on the CW’s “Smallville”, CBS’s “Wolf Lake”, Fox’s “Night Visions” and NBC’s new “Knight Rider”. He was showrunner/Executive Producer, along with Jennifer Lopez, on Paramount/UPN’s “South Beach”. Philip has also written films and television pilots for Ice Cube, James Duff (creator of the Closer), Will and Jada Smith, Michael Jackson, Matthew Mcconaughey, producers like Imagine, Storyline, Marvel, ThunderRoad, Lorenzo DiBonaventura and studios Warner Bros, Universal, Fox, Paramount, Sony and Lionsgate. His adaptation of the Patricia Highsmith novel, “Found In The Street”, is being developed by John Malkovich. He also re-wrote the Wachowsk Bros. script “Vertical Run” at Warners and wrote a screenplay of “Wonder Woman” for Joel Silver.
Rachel Long and Brian Pittman are a prolific writing team with multiple produced credits and projects in development. Most recently, they sold a script to CBS Films in May/June. Their project DAWN PATROL, a drama/thriller set in a surfing world, shot this summer in Ventura, Calif. It was directed by Oscar-Nominee Dan Petrie, Jr., (BEVERLY HILLS COP, THE BIG EASY, two-time WGA president) with Scott Eastwood, Jeff Fahey and Rita Wilson starring. The script was a Latitude finalist at the Austin Film Festival, where it was discovered by Dan Petrie, Jr. and Rick Dugdale of Enderby Entertainment. Their script “1950,” a Korean War epic, is in development with Rob Cohen attached to direct. Their thriller/horror script A HAUNTING AT SILVER FALLS, co-written with Cam Cannon, recently shot in Oregon. Their script CODENAME: JOLANTA, based on the true story of Irena Sendler, who saved 2500 Jewish children in the Warsaw Ghetto during WWII, is in development with Jeff Most Films (THE CROW) producing. They are currently wrapping several specs. In addition, Rachel was a Paramount Chesterfield fellow.
Rachel has worked on a variety of films, starting with her work at the Leucadia Film Corp. Brian is a seasoned journalist who has interviewed luminaries, including Louis Farrakhan to Clarence Thomas, Bob Edwards, Margaret Thatcher, Seven R. Covey, Boutros-Boutros Ghali and many others. A longtime member of the Society of Professional Journalists and the Surfrider Foundation, he’s a published poet and grew up in Norway. The writing team is represented by Ramses IsHak and Michael Sheresky at UTA. They are managed by Scott G. Carr and represented legally by Ryan Pastorek at Morris Yorn Barnes Levine Krintzman Rubenstein & Kohner. Rachel lives with Brian and their parrot Lollipop in Silver Strand, California.
Chris Lowell makes his directorial debut with Beside Still Waters. He has had great success in his acting career, performing in Oscar nominated films (The Help, Up In The Air) and award winning TV shows (Private Practice, Veronica Mars). In addition, Chris has built a successful career as a fine art photographer. His work is included in the Elton John Collection and the Sovereign Collection. Chris will next be seen on Fox’s new comedy Enlisted and the upcoming Veronica Mars movie.
Maggie Malone is Director of Creative Development at Disney Animation Studios, where she has worked on such films as WRECK IT RALPH, TANGLED,THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG and the TINKER BELL films of the DisneyToons Studio division. As Director of Development for Gary Ross’s company at Universal, Maggie worked on THE TALE OF DESPEREAUX and conducted script research for SEABISCUIT. Maggie holds a BA from Yale and an MFA in screenwriting from UCLA’s school of Theater, Film and Television; she also has a background in television production and development, and has worked as a reader for William Morris, Showtime and ABC. She began her career in literary development in off-Broadway theater.
Kelly Marcel’s first major screenwriting breakthrough came when her TV show Terra Nova was the subject of a bidding war, culminating in Steven Spielberg producing it as a £60m 13 episode series for Twentieth Century Fox. Kelly subsequently wrote the feature screenplay SAVING MR BANKS, a 2011 Black List entry, charting the extraordinary and true story of the twenty year struggle to bring Mary Poppins to the screen with Tom Hanks as Disney and Emma Thomson as PL Travers. The film will premiere worldwide this Christmas. Kelly is currently adapting E.L. James’ literary phenomenon, FIFTY SHADES OF GREY for Universal and Focus Features.
A native of Silver Spring, MD, Andrew W. Marlowe received his B.A. in English Literature from Columbia University and his MFA in screenwriting from USC’s School of Cinematic Arts. In 1992 he received the prestigious Nicholl Fellowship in Screenwriting from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences®.
Marlowe’s first produced screenplay was the action blockbuster “Air Force One”, starring Harrison Ford and directed by Wolfgang Petersen. Other credits include the Arnold Schwarzenegger millennial thriller “End of Days” and the sci-fi thriller “Hollow Man.”
A member of the Motion Picture Academy, Marlowe has served as chair of the Academy’s Academic and Institutional Grants Committee. He was the founding chair of the USC School of Cinematic Arts’ Alumni Development Council, and serves on the board of the Writers Guild Foundation.
Marlowe is the creator and Executive Producer of the TV series Castle, which is in its sixth season on ABC.
Justin Marks is a screenwriter known for his work in multiple genres. He has written on major studio projects, including HE-MAN, GREEN ARROW: ESCAPE FROM SUPERMAX, and SUICIDE SQUAD for Warner Brothers, VOLTRON for New Regency, 20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA for Disney, and ZORRO for 20th Century Fox. Produced films include the celebrated masterpiece, STREET FIGHTER: THE LEGEND OF CHUN-LI. He has also written on video games such as ARMY OF TWO: THE 40TH DAY (EA), and for television he shot REWIND, a pilot at SyFy. Currently he is writing THE JUNGLE BOOK for Disney, an untitled drama for Jerry Bruckheimer, and THE RAVEN for Universal Pictures, starring Gerard Butler.
Chris Mass co-wrote, produced, and starred in his first feature CHALK, which garnered numerous festival awards including AFF’s Jury and Audience Awards before going on to be nominated for an Independent Spirit Award. The feature brought Chris his first studio gig at Universal as well as a television deal with 20th Century Fox. Since then, Chris has written a variety of projects for the studios, including BOBBIE SUE (Warner Brothers), which landed on the coveted “The Black List” and the soon to be released animated feature, FREE BIRDS (Relativity/Reel FX). This past year he has also had a blast writing for a few reality TV shows! (Really!)
BLAKE MASTERS was raised in New York City and Mill River, Massachusetts. During college he landed his first job in the film industry, working as a grip for low-budget maestro Roger Corman on such genre fare as BODY CHEMISTRY 2 and LIAR’S CLUB. Later, Masters “borrowed” lighting equipment from Corman’s studio and shot a short film that opened the door for an internship at Sam Raimi’s production company, Renaissance Pictures. While working there he wrote a script that was optioned by Warner Brothers, which allowed him to become a full time writer.
Some years later, Masters pitched a nascent film idea to a producer who suggested that it might make a good television show instead. That idea became Brotherhood, a critically lauded drama about two brothers in Providence, Rhode Island: one a local politician, the other a local gangster. Brotherhood ran for three seasons on Showtime, and won the network their first ever Peabody Award for drama.
After Brotherhood, Masters wrote 2 Guns for Universal, served as Co-EP on Rubicon for AMC and was tapped by Dick Wolf to write the pilot for Law & Order: Los Angeles, which ran for one season on NBC.
Currently, Masters is production on Line of Sight, a pilot for AMC, and has multiple film and TV projects in active development including Insurrection v. 3.6 at Paramount and The Big Rich at Showtime.
Writer and producer Craig Mazin has made a name for himself as a comedy writer with a knack for appealing to broad audiences. His film, THE HANGOVER PART II, co-written with Todd Phillips and Scot Armstrong, shattered numerous box office records and is the biggest-grossing live action comedy in motion picture history. Craig also recently co-wrote the global hit film THE HANGOVER PART III as well as the box office smash IDENTITY THIEF, starring Melissa McCarthy and Jason Bateman. Together, his films have grossed well over one billion dollars worldwide. Currently, Craig is writing a genre-bending adventure for acclaimed director Marc Forster, and he continues as the host of the popular screenwriting podcast “ScriptNotes” along with fellow writer John August.
Brian McGreevy (at left) and Lee Shipman (below) are writing and executive producing Hemlock Grove, a 13 hour original series for Netflix directed by Eli Roth and adapted from McGreevy’s novel of the same name. They are also working with Roth on an adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula for Russell Crowe and Warner Bros. They are both graduates of the James Michener Center for Writers at UT Austin.
Dianne McGunigle began her career in New York City at the Creative Artists Agency as a trendspotter for The Intelligence Group division. She later transitioned into a talent and literaryÂ agent focused on comedic talent.
After seven years as a comedy agent based in New York City, Dianne moved to The Schiff Company in Los Angeles where she is now a manager and producer.
Ray McKinnon’s more traditional film career spans three decades and includes Bugsy, Apollo 13, Oh Brother Where Art Thou?, Needful Things, The Missing, Blindside, and Craig Brewer’s Footloose. McKinnon has appeared sporadically in television and is perhaps best known for portraying “Reverend H.W. Smith” in HBO’s Deadwood and “Lincoln Potter” in Sons of Anarchy.
Ray’s true passion has been independent film to which he and his beloved late wife, Lisa Blount, dedicated much of the last fifteen years pursuing. McKinnon wrote and directed the Lisa Blount and Walton Goggins-produced, 38 minute film, The Accountant, which went on to win an Academy Award for Best Live Action Short in 2002. McKinnon next wrote and directed the sad Ozark drama, Chrystal, starring Ms. Blount in the titular role and Billy Bob Thornton as her husband. Chrystal was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize in the Dramatic Competition at the Sundance Film Festival in 2004. Other homemade films include film festival favorite, Randy and the Mob, as well as the 200 dollar and 22 cents, 7 minute un-opus, Spanola Pepper Sauce Company, where McKinnon directed the Graham Gordy penned, absurdist journey into the well trod southern Vampyre genre. In 2009, McKinnon produced and co-starred with Hal Holbrook in the acclaimed Scott Teems’ indie drama, That Evening Sun, for which McKinnon was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award as Best Supporting Actor. McKinnon most recently appeared in the Jeff Nichols’ beautiful film, Mud, inhabiting the complex southern man, “Senior”.
At the eleventh hour, McKinnon created and wrote the critically acclaimed television drama, Rectify, which debuted this year on the Sundance Channel. Called “the best new television show of the year” by The Daily Beast and “game changing” by the Los Angeles Times, Rectify will begin its second season in the summer of 2014.
Brian Meece plays a mean ukulele and is the CEO of RocketHub, one of the world’s top crowdfunding platforms that has recently partnered with A&E Networks. He has lectured on crowdsourced funding at SXSW, TEDxBrooklyn, Columbia University, Makers Faire, White House roundtables, among other colleges, conferences and institutions. His goal? To teach creatives how to leverage the crowd for funding their endeavors.
Peter Mehlman started his career as a sportswriter for the Washington Post. He slid from print journalism to television when, from 1982 to 1984, he wrote for ”SportsBeat” with Howard Cosell. For the next five years he returned to writing full sentences for numerous national publications including the New York Times magazine, GQ, Esquire and dozens of women’s magazines due to his deep understanding of that gender. In 1989 he moved to Los Angeles where he bumped into Larry David, whom he’d met a few times in New York. David, was developing “a little show with Jerry Seinfeld”, and invited Mehlman to submit a sample script. Having never written a script, Mehlman sent a humor piece he had written for the New York Times Magazine. Off that, came the series’ first freelance episode, ”The Apartment.” Mehlman was hired for the first full season of Seinfeld and over the next six years, worked his way up to co-executive producer. Mehlman is most famous for his “Yada Yada” episode, and for coining such Seinfeld-isms as “spongeworthy” ”shrinkage” and “double-dipping.” In 1997, Mehlman joined DreamWorks and created “It’s like, you know…,” a scathing look at Los Angeles. In recent years, he returned to full sentences, writing humor pieces for Esquire, The New York Times and LA Times. A collection of his essays was recently published under the title “Mandela Was Late.” He also created the Webby nominated series “Peter Mehlman’s Narrow World of Sports” and the award winning short film “Blank.”
A native of the Northern Virginia/DC metro area, Ashley Edward Miller was a graduate of the prestigious Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology. He went on to study English and Government at the College of William & Mary, becoming first a middle school English and Creative Writing teacher in Fairfax County, VA and then an analyst working for the Chief of Naval Operations through Science Applications International Corporation. He met his writing partner Zack Stentz over the Internet, a consequence of their mutual love of all things Star Trek. Since then, Ashley and Zack have written and/or produced well over a hundred hours of television, from their start on GENE RODDENBERRY’S ANDROMEDA, THE TWILIGHT ZONE revival on UPN and most recently TERMINATOR: THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES and FRINGE.
Their first feature credit was 2003′s “Agent Cody Banks,” and most recently “Thor” and “X-Men: First Class.” Ashley and Zack are currently working on several projects in active development, including feature adaptations of the novel “Starship Troopers” and the 80’s TV series “The Fall Guy”. They have also written a Young Adult novel, “Colin Fischer” which will be published by Penguin Books in Fall 2012. Ashley is currently a resident of Los Angeles, CA where he lives with his comic books and action figures, at the mercy of his wife and young son. He does not know Kung Fu.
Terri Edda Miller is an award winning filmmaker of numerous shorts and documentaries, including Sundance favorite, DYSENCHANTED. She is a recipient of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences® Nicholl Fellowship in Screenwriting and has developed feature and television projects with Disney, Dreamworks and various Independent companies.
Terri is a currently a Consulting Producer on the ABC TV series Castle where she has written and produced numerous fan favorites including the celebrated 100th episode, The Lives of Others. She has been instrumental in the development of the Richard Castle novels, as well as spearheading initiatives in non-traditional outlets, including Facebook, Twitter and the web as a means of enhancing the show’s narrative outreach.
Miller serves on the Board of Directors of The Young Storytellers Foundation which develops literacy through the art of storytelling.
Emily Mollenkopf is a Creative Development Associate at Pixar Animation Studios. Emily joined Pixar in 2010 as a story coordinator, working on several Disney•Pixar shorts including, SMALL FRY, PARTYSAURUS REX, and most recently TOY STORY OF TERROR! which will have its broadcast debut on ABC in October 2013. She began her career at G4 Television producing videogame-centric content for X-Play and Attack of the Show. As Development Associate Emily helps match writers with Pixar’s directors and conducts research to help deepen the worlds of their stories. She holds a BA from Swarthmore College and an MFA in producing from USC’s Peter Stark Program.
Since selling his spec script K-9 in 1987, Scott has written nearly 30 projects for every major Hollywood studio and broadcast network. His film writing credits include K-9 starring Jim Belushi, Alaska starring Vincent Kartheisher, and Trojan War starring Jennifer Love Hewitt. In 2002, he began teaching screenwriting in his spare time. He won the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program Outstanding Instructor Award in 2005 and currently is a visiting lecturer in the Writing for Screen and Stage program at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. From 2002-2010, Scott was an executive producer at Trailblazer Studios, a television production company. He is host of GoIntoTheStory.com, the Official Screenwriting Blog of the Black List, and co-founder of Screenwriting Master Class, a unique online resource for writers. Scott is a member of the Writers’ Guild of America, west, and a graduate of the University of Virginia and Yale University Divinity School.
Screen-writing team Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber have proven themselves as Hollywood’s most versatile and sought-after writers with their witty, fresh and intelligent storytelling. The pair wrote the hit Fox Searchlight comedy/romance, (500) DAYS OF SUMMER, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel. The film was nominated for “Best Feature – Comedy” at the Golden Globe Award and earned them an Independent Spirit Award and a Golden Satellite Award for Best Screenplay of the Year. They were also nominated for a Writers Guild Award and won the Hollywood Breakthrough Screenwriter Award in 2009. Their most recent film THE SPECTACULAR NOW, directed by James Ponsoldt and starring Shailene Woodley & Miles Teller, premiered at Sundance to rave reviews and will be released in August.
They are currently working on several high profile film projects including an adaptation of THE FAULT IN OUR STARS, the bestselling novel by John Green and Time Magazine’s #1 fiction book of 2012 and the best-selling RULES OF CIVILITY by Amor Towles. Among their other projects are WHERE’D YOU GO, BERNADETTE, an adaptation of Maria Semple’s critically acclaimed novel for Annapurna Pictures; UNDERAGE, about a womanizer who goes home with the wrong girl, through Montecito Pictures; and ROSALINE, Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” as told through the perspective of Romeo’s Ex, which 21 Laps is producing. The pair has collaborated since 1999 when Scott hired Michael for an internship at New York’s Tribeca Productions. Their first script sold to 20th Century Fox in 2005. Since then, they have written for Sony, Universal, Warner Bros., Paramount, Fox and Disney. Neustadter hails from Margate, NJ and currently lives with his wife and child in Los Angeles. He loves sad British pop music and the movie THE GRADUATE. Weber was born in New York City and is a graduate of The Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. He currently lives in Manhattan while resisting the urge to move to Brooklyn.
Shotgun Stories premiered at the Berlin Film Festival in 2007, and was released theatrically in the United States in March 2008. It was nominated for a 2008 Independent Spirit Award, won the Grand Jury Prize for New American Cinema at the Seattle International Film Festival, won the Grand Jury Prize at the Austin Film Festival, and won the FIPRESCI International Jury Prize at the 2007 Viennale.
TAKE SHELTER premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2011 and was released theatrically in the United States in September 2011. It won the Critics Week Grand Prize and the SACD Award for Best Feature at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival. TAKE SHELTER was nominated for five 2012 Film Independent Spirit Awards including: Best Feature, Best Director, Best Male Lead (Michael Shannon) and Best Supporting Female (Jessica Chastain).
MUD, Nichols third and latest film, recently premiered in main competition at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival.
Born and raised in Little Rock, Arkansas, Nichols is a graduate of the North Carolina School of the Arts, School of Filmmaking, and is a current resident of Austin, Texas.
Ron Nyswaner is creating a four-hour drama, THE MAN WHO INVENTED ROCK HUDSON, for FX, based on Robert Hofler’s account of the lives of notorious super-agent Henry Willson and closeted superstar Rock Hudson. For ABC, he and David France are creating a multi-hour mini-series based on France’s Academy award-nominated documentary, HOW TO SURVIVE A PLAGUE. In the 2012-13 TV season, Nyswaner served as Writer and Co-Executive Producer on Showtime’s hit drama, RAY DONOVAN. His screenplays for AMERICAN WIFE and FREEHELD (with Ellen Page) are in pre-production. He wrote THE PAINTED VEIL (Spirit Award nomination, National Board of Review Best Adapted Screenplay), SOLDIER’S GIRL (Peabody award), PHILADELPHIA (nominations for Academy, BAFTA, Writers Guild, and Golden Globe awards), MRS. SOFFEL, and other films. He is the author of an acclaimed memoir, BLUE DAYS BLACK NIGHTS, and is directing a documentary feature about the actor’s craft, SHE’S THE BEST THING IN IT. He frequently serves as a mentor for the Sundance Institute and has received numerous awards for his HIV/AIDS activism. He helped create the Nyswaner- Salzman Collection, in Kingston, New York, the fourth largest LGBTQ film archive in the United States.
Roberto Orci is one of the leading filmmakers working in the industry today, having started his production company K/O Paper Products with partner Alex Kurtzman after a working partnership of over eighteen years.
In May, Paramount released the summer blockbuster STAR TREK: INTO DARKNESS, which Kurtzman and Orci co-wrote and produced. Additionally in May, Summit released the sleeper hit NOW YOU SEE ME, produced through their company K/O Paper Products. In November, the holiday film season is kicked off with ENDER’S GAME, released by Summit and produced through K/O Paper Products. Currently, they are in post-production on Sony’s THE AMAZING SPIDER MAN 2, which the duo co- wrote and will executive produce, to be released during the summer of 2014. Also, they are set to produce Universal’s THE MUMMY and VAN HELSING reboots through their overall deal with Universal Pictures. In TV, Kurtzman and Orci are currently working on a “Sleepy Hollow” series adaptation which will premiere this fall on FOX, with Len Wiseman directing the pilot and executive producing.
Kurtzman and Orci are the writers behind some of the decade’s biggest films, including STAR TREK; TRANDFORMERS; EAGLE EYE; MISSION IMPOSSIBLE III and executive producers of romantic comedy hit THE PROPOSAL. The duo’s writing and producing credits have earned over $3 billion worldwide.
The duo co-wrote and produced PEOPLE LIKE US for Disney, directed by Kurtzman. They created and executive produced the hit TV show “Fringe”. Their current television slate includes CBS’ “Hawaii Five-O” and The Hub’s Transformers: Prime, an original computer-animated series.
Kurtzman and Orci began their careers writing for the popular TV series Hercules. They went on to write for “Xena: Warrior Princess”, as well as J.J. Abrams’s hit series “Alias”, where they eventually served as executive producers on the show.
Pelecanos is the author of nineteen novels set in and around Washington, D.C.: A Firing Offense, Nick’s Trip, Shoedog, Down By the River Where the Dead Men Go, The Big Blowdown, King Suckerman, The Sweet Forever, Shame the Devil, Right as Rain, Hell to Pay, Soul Circus, Hard Revolution, Drama City, The Night Gardener, The Turnaround, The Way Home, The Cut, What It Was, and The Double. He has been the recipient of the Raymond Chandler award in Italy, the Falcon award in Japan, and the Grand Prix Du Roman Noir in France. Hell to Pay and Soul Circus were awarded the 2003 and 2004 Los Angeles Times Book Prizes. The Turnaround won the Hammett Prize for literary excellence in the field of crime writing. His fiction has appeared in Playboy, Esquire, and the collections Unusual Suspects, Best American Mystery Stories of 1997, Measures of Poison, Best American Mystery Stories of 2002, Men From Boys, and Murder at the Foul Line. He served as editor on the collections D.C. Noir and D.C. Noir 2: The Classics, as well as The Best Mystery Stories of 2008. He is an award-winning essayist who has written for The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Washington Post, GQ, Sight and Sound, Uncut, Mojo, and numerous other publications. Esquire magazine called him “the poet laureate of the D.C. crime world.” In Entertainment Weekly, Stephen King wrote that Pelecanos is “perhaps the greatest living American crime writer.” Pelecanos would like to point out that Mr. King used the word “perhaps.”
Pelecanos was a producer, writer, and story editor for the acclaimed HBO dramatic series, The Wire, winner of the Peabody Award, the AFI Award, and the Edgar. He was nominated for an Emmy for his writing on that show. He was a writer and co-producer on the World War II miniseries The Pacific, produced by Steven Spielberg, and most recently worked as a writer and Executive Producer on the HBO series Treme.
Pelecanos lives in Silver Spring, Maryland. He is at work on his next novel.
Zak Penn’s career began as a screenwriter when he sold his first script, LAST ACTION HERO, at the age of twenty-three. Since then, Penn has become known for his work on numerous films based on Marvel comics, including X-MEN 2 and X-MEN: THE LAST STAND, ELEKTRA, THE INCREDIBLE HULK, and most recently, THE AVENGERS. He has also dabbled in other genres, writing scripts for disparate films such as P.C.U., BEHIND ENEMY LINES and SUSPECT ZERO.
Penn’s shift into independent cinema began when he collaborated with his idol, Werner Herzog, on the script for RESCUE DAWN. Penn directed and co-starred with Herzog in INCIDENT AT LOCH NESS, his award-winning “hoax” documentary about the legendary director’s attempts to make a film about the equally legendary monster. THE GRAND, Penn’s second completely improvised film, was his third film with Herzog, and featured an eclectic cast including Woody Harrelson, David Cross, Ray Romano, Cheryl Hines, Dennis Farina and Gabe Kaplan.
In addition, Penn co-wrote the original story for ANTZ and produced the animated film OSMOSIS JONES. He has also acted in a number of independent films, including STAR MAPS and CHUCK & BUCK. His first foray into television, the critically acclaimed original series ALPHAS starring David Strathairn, recently completed its second season on the SyFy Channel.
Screenwriter, producer and director Daniel Petrie, Jr. was nominated for an Academy Award for his first produced script, the box-office hit Beverly Hills Cop, starring Eddie Murphy. Next came Petrie’s original screenplay of the romantic thriller The Big Easy, starring Dennis Quaid and Ellen Barkin. Petrie then served as producer of the thriller Shoot to Kill, starring Sidney Poitier and Tom Berenger, and as executive producer of the comedy Turner & Hooch, starring Tom Hanks; Petrie co–‐wrote both films. Petrie also served as executive producer of The 6th Day, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. In 2011, Petrie was executive producer, showrunner and co-creator of Combat Hospital, simulcast on Canada’s Global TV and ABC in the U.S. The 13 episode TV series, a coproduction of Canada’s Sienna Films and the U.K.’s Artists Studios, featured an ensemble cast headed by Elias Koteas, Michelle Borth, Luke Mably, Deborah Kara Unger, Terry Chen and Arnold Pinnock.
Petrie’s directorial debut was the film Toy Soldiers, starring Sean Astin, Wil Wheaton, and Louis Gossett, Jr., which he also co–‐wrote. Petrie also directed the HBO film Dead Silence, starring James Garner and Marlee Matlin, and adapted and directed the TNT movie Framed, starring Rob Lowe and Sam Neill. Recently, Petrie wrapped principal photography on the indie feature Dawn Patrol starring Scott Eastwood, Jeff Fahey and Rita Wilson; the film, which Petrie directed and executive produced, is slated for a 2014 release.
In 2006, Petrie and producing partner Rick Dugdale founded Enderby Entertainment, an independent film, television and digital media company with an old–‐fashioned emphasis on storytelling, on the creative side, and transparency, on the financial side. In addition to financing and producing Dawn Patrol, the company arranged the financing and co–‐ produced writer/director Stephen Elliot’s film About Cherry, starring James Franco and Heather Graham, which premiered at the 2012 Berlin International Film Festival. Enderby’s thriller division, Tony–‐Seven Films, has also financed and produced five genre pictures: The Speak, Vile, 5 Souls, A Haunting at Silver Falls and No Tell Motel.
Petrie inherits a tradition of volunteer service to the motion picture and television industry from his parents: Petrie’s father was the late, Emmy‐winning Canadian director and long time Directors Guild of America board member Daniel Petrie, Sr.; Petrie’s mother is the Emmy-winning television producer and long time Producers Guild of America board member Dorothea Petrie. Daniel Petrie, Jr. has an extensive history of service to the Writers Guild of America West, Inc., serving two terms each as President (1997-99 and 2004-2005) and as Vice President (1995-97 and 1999‐2001). In 2013, Petrie was the recipient of the Writers Guild’s Morgan Cox Award, given to that “member whose vital ideas, continuing efforts, and personal sacrifice best exemplify the ideal of service to the Guild.”
Petrie also served as a Governor of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (1997-1999), as a Trustee of the American Film Institute (2004‐2011), and is a long time member of the Academy Foundation’s Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting Committee (1996‐2004, 2006-present).
Petrie currently serves as Vice President, Programs, of the Writers Guild Foundation. In that capacity, Petrie provides general support for all the programs of the Foundation, which include a High School Literacy Program and screenwriting workshops for veterans. Petrie created and moderates the Foundation’s annual “Notes on Craft” program, a series of six evenings discussing various aspects of the screenwriting craft for an audience of both WGA members and aspiring screenwriters.
Petrie has also long been an active volunteer for the Austin Film Festival and Screenwriting Conference, sitting on the Festival’s Board of Advisors. In 2012, the Austin Film Festival announced the addition of a new “Enderby Entertainment Award” to the festival’s screenwriting competition. The new award is open to feature screenplays in all genres with an original concept and distinctive voice that can be independently produced with a production budget under $5 million. Finalists and winners are selected by Petrie and Dugdale.
Petrie, who has dual U.S. and Canadian citizenship, lives in the Los Angeles area with his wife of over thirty years, Constance Petrie.
Nicole Yorkin and Dawn Prestwich have most recently been Executive Producers on the The Killing, on AMC. Before that, they were consulting producers on ABC’s FlashForward, coming off of a two season stint as writers and executive producers/showrunners of FX’s The Riches. In 2007, they served as consulting producers of FX’s Dirt. Prior to that, they were co-executive producers on Showtime’s Brotherhood, HBO’s Carnivale and CBS’ Judging Amy. In 2003, they won a Writers Guild Award for their drama pilot, “The Education of Max Bickford.” Yorkin and Prestwich have worked on various television shows over 15 plus years, including Picket Fences, The Practice, Ally McBeal, and shared an Emmy® nomination along with several producers of Chicago Hope for Outstanding Drama Series. Before going into television, Yorkin, a Berkeley graduate, was a reporter for the Los Angeles Herald Examiner, where she was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for a series of articles about a 12-year-old prostitute. Prestwich, a Texas native who escaped the heat to attend Stanford University, was a published short story writer before she and Yorkin met at the American Film Institute.
Issa Rae, the multitalented CEO and Owner of Issa Rae Productions, is a pioneer in the fight against the narrow, mainstream portrayal of people of color in the media. With a dedicated and passionate team, and supportive fan base, Issa Rae Productions lends a voice to a demographic that largely goes unheard. The wide-spread success of Issa Rae’s webseries, The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl, has unanimously placed Issa Rae at the forefront of the digital web revolution.
She received her B.A. from Stanford University, where she produced and directed four theatrical productions, including two stage adaptations of Spike Lee films. Because film was her true passion, she took time off from Stanford to attend the New York Film Academy where she honed her filmmaking skills. Upon graduating, Issa Rae continued to follow her passion, working on various music videos, shorts and a range of successful web series.
With her own unique flare and infectious sense of humor, Issa Rae has garnered over 20 million views between her various web series, and just short of 125,000 faithful subscribers on YouTube – with no plans of slowing down. Issa Rae Productions continues to be a growing, digital media phenomenon, catching the attention of major media outlets such as The New York Times, National Public Radio (NPR), The Washington Post, CNN, and naturally, widely across the digital blogosphere.
As a Forbes 30 Under 30 recipient, Root 100 Most Influential Person and winner of the 2012 Shorty Award for Best Web Show for ABG, Issa Rae has built up a following of eager and loyal fans that helped herKickstarter.com campaign become a huge success. In July 2011 Issa Rae and her production team nearly doubled their goal of $30,000 in just 30 days.
After only one season, in early 2012, Issa Rae and ABG caught the attention of renowned artist and tastemaker, Pharrell Williams. Pharrell, who immediately saw eye-to-eye with Issa’s distinctive vision, invited the highly anticipated ABG Season 2 to air on his new Google Channel, “i am OTHER” in Summer 2012. In Fall 2012, Rae had the opportunity to work with Shonda Rhimes and ABC Studios to develop a half-hour comedy series called, “I Hate L.A. Dudes.” Rae is currently working with Tracey Edmonds and AlrightTV to release a musical web series called, “The Choir.” She has several award winning web series on her YouTube channel, most notably Fly Guys present The ‘F’ Word, a vlog series entitled Ratchetpiece Theatre and a collaboration with Black&SexyTV called “Roomieloverfriends.” Rae will executive produce and write a slew of web series in 2013. Rae is signed with UTA and 3 Arts Entertainment and is currently slated to release a book of essays with Simon & Schuster in 2014.
Anne Rapp is a script supervisor in the movie industry and has worked on more than 50 feature films, beginning with “Tender Mercies” in 1981 through this past year with “Ender’s Game,” a Lionsgate movie to be released in 2013. She has worked with many acclaimed directors including Billy Bob Thornton, Judd Apatow, Harold Ramis, Ken Kwapis, Jake Kasdan, Gavin Hood, Lawrence Kasdan, Sydney Pollack, Robert Benton, Bruce Beresford, Steven Spielberg, Robert Zemekis, David
Mamet, Rob Reiner,Bill Forsythe and Tom Hanks. She began writing short stories in the mid 1990s which led to a job writing for Robert Altman who directed two of her original screenplays, “Cookie’s Fortune” and “Dr. T and the Women” and a television episode written for the ABC series “Gun” entitled “All the President’s Women.” The screenplay for “Cookie’s Forting a documentary about the life and legacy of Pulitzer Prize une” earned Anne an Independent Spirit Award nomination in 1999 as well as an Edgar Allen Poe nomination. In 2002 she wrote a television special for CMT, a live Texasmusic variety show called “Stars over Texas” hosted by Ray Benson of Asleep at the Wheel and featuring Dolly Parton and Vince Gill. In 2005 she teamed with Benson again and co-wrote the musical “A Ride With Bob” a stage performance about the life and legacy of the western swing great, Bob Wills. The musical is still being performed around the country and has dates booked into 2013. Anne is currently directing and producing a documentary about the life and legacy of Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Horton Foote, scheduled to air on the PBS television series American Masters in 2014. She has also published short stories and essays. She lives in Austin, Texas, where she has twice served as visiting professor of screenwriting at the Michener Center for Writers, the graduate writing program at University of Texas. Her favorite color is sushi.
Irwin M. Rappaport is a Los Angeles-based entertainment attorney specializing in motion picture and television transactions. His clients include award-winning as well as up-and-coming writers, directors, producers and production companies (e.g., Indian Paintbrush; Annapurna Productions; Demarest Films; Stephenie Meyer; Gulfstream Pictures; Herrick Entertainment; Alexandra Milchan; River Road Entertainment; Echo Lake Productions) working in the studio system and in the independent world. In addition, Irwin has served as production and/or distribution legal counsel for over 145 independent and studio films, including theatrical features such as THE BUTLER, AUSTENLAND, ZERO DARK THIRTY, MOONRISE KINGDOM, JEFF WHO LIVES AT HOME, 127 HOURS, COMPANY MEN, RED STATE, SKYLINE, THE RUNAWAYS, THE CRAZIES, THE JONESES, GENTLEMEN BRONCOS, CRAZY ON THE OUTSIDE, MY ONE & ONLY, HAMLET 2, WAITRESS, EL CANTANTE, I KNOW WHO KILLED ME, YELLOW HANDKERCHIEF, THE WOODSMAN, THIRTEEN, DALTRY CALHOUN, LAUREL CANYON, ELECTION, THE ORIGINAL KINGS OF COMEDY, SUPERSTAR, WELCOM TO COLLINWOOD, THE WOOD, CHERICH, and DIE MOMMIE DIE! and theatrical documentaries such as CORMAN’S WORLD, THE 11TH HOUR, RIZE, STOKED: THE RISE AND FALL OF GATOR, SCRATCH, THE COCKETTES, and I AM TRYING TO BREAK YOUR HEART. Irwin is a graduate of UCLA School of Law and the University of Virginia. He is a frequent guest speaker for film schools and filmmaker organizations such as USC Entertainment Law Institute, Film Independent/IFP-West, Los Angeles OutFest, UCLA Producers Program, and UCLA Extension. He is featured in the book, “I Wake Up Screening: What to Do Once You’ve Made That Movie” written by John Anderson and Laura Kim (2006). In June 2006, MovieMaker Magazine named him “One of the 25 Coolest People to Know in Indie Film.” Irwin is a member of the Campaign Board of the Victory Fund which endorses and trains gay and lesbian political candidates for federal, state and local elected offices.
FRANK REYNOLDS has been the editor on over twenty-five feature films. His credits include Miramax’s IN THE BEDROOM, which was a Best Picture nominee at the 2002 Academy Awards; the IFC comedy IN SEARCH OF A MIDNIGHT KISS, which won the John Cassavetes Award at the 2009 Independent Spirit Awards; THE ALPHABET KILLER, starring Eliza Dushku and Timothy Hutton, which played AFF in 2008; CAPE OF GOOD HOPE, which won both the Jury and Audience Awards at the 2004 AFF; WEAKNESS, which played AFF in 2010, and AFTER FALL, WINTER, which played AFF in 2011. The short films he’s edited include BRIGHT and A CONVERSATION ABOUT CHEATING WITH MY TIME-TRAVELING FUTURE SELF.
Pamela Ribon is a TV writer, screenwriter and best-selling novelist. She’s been in comedy rooms for both network and cable television, most notably the Emmy award-winning SAMANTHA WHO?. Pamela has adapted her popular novels for both film and television, and developed original series and features for ABC, ABC Family, Sony, Warner Bros., Disney Channel and 20th Century Fox Productions. She’s currently writing a feature in development at Walt Disney Animation Studios, developing a half-hour comedy with Warner Bros. and Ellen DeGeneres, and creating a graphic novel for Oni Press. Her comedic memoir NOTES TO BOYS (AND OTHER THINGS I SHOULDN’T SHARE IN PUBLIC) will be released this winter. She’s a past finalist and semi-finalist at AFF (for tv and film).
Pamela was an Oprah.com contributor, a flagship contributor to Television Without Pity, and a weekly columnist for the Austin American-Statesman. Her stage work has been showcased at the HBO US Comedy Arts Festival and she created the accidental international scandal known as Call Us Crazy: The Anne Heche Monologues. A former Austinite with a BFA in Acting from the University of Texas, Pamela has been entered into the Oxford English Dictionary under “muffin top.” That is not a joke. You can find her on pamie.com or follow her @pamelaribon, where she somehow writes even more.
Edward Ricourt’s films include: NOW YOU SEE ME, produced by Summit Entertainment. His script YEAR 12 was bought by Paramount Pictures. Joe Roth Producing. He was also hired to adapt the book 100 Percent Lunar Boy, produced by Timur Bekmambetov. Ricourt was also hired to write HOW TO DEFEAT YOUR OWN CLONE for Dimension Films. Ricourt worked in the Marvel Writers Program in 2009.
Edward’s plays have been produced at New York Stage and Film (Powerhouse Theater Program), Manhattan Theater Source, and New York University’s M.F.A. Marathon Festival of One-Act Plays. Edward has received his M.F.A. in Dramatic Writing from NYU Tisch School of the Arts in 2005. Edward Ricourt is represented by Matt Rosen at CAA and manager Peter McHugh at The Gotham Group.
ALVARO RODRIGUEZ began his writing career in the sixth grade with a short story that likely would have gotten him referred for counseling and intervention in a post-Columbine America. Luckily, it was written in 1982. He is the co-writer of Robert Rodriguez’s SHORTS (Warner Brothers, 2009) and MACHETE (Fox, 2010), and the writer of the vampire western FROM DUSK TILL DAWN: THE HANGMAN’S DAUGHTER (Dimension, 2000) for executive producer Quentin Tarantino. He is a University of Texas graduate, a past contributor to The Austin Chronicle, and a featured author in an upcoming anthology of Austin writers. He is represented by Magnet Management.
While a student at the University of Texas at Austin in 1991, Robert Rodriguez wrote the script to his first feature film while sequestered at a drug research facility as a paid subject in a clinical experiment. That paycheck covered the cost of shooting his film. He planned to make the money back by selling the film to the Mexican home video market.
The film, EL MARIACHI went on to win the coveted Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival, and became the lowest budget movie ever released by a major studio. Rodriguez wrote about these experiences in Rebel Without a Crew, a perennial guide for the independent filmmaker.
Rodriguez went on to write, produce, direct and edit a series of successful films including DESPERADO, FROM DUSK TILL DAWN, THE FACULTY, the SPY KIDS franchise, ONCE UPON A TIME IN MEXICO, FRANK MILLER’S SIN CITY, THE ADVENTURES OF SHARKBOY AND LAVAGIRL IN 3D and MACHETE.
In 2000, Rodriguez founded Troublemaker Studios, an Austin, Texas based production facility of which he is co-owner and president. The studio includes a world-renowned visual effects house, music and publishing arms and has played a primary role in making Austin a vibrant filmmaking hub.
In 2010, he launched Quick Draw Productions a development, production and financing company which gives Rodriguez “green light” capabilities to develop and produce his own media projects across film, television, gaming and interactive platforms while closely controlling the creative process.
Dan Rosen’s first screenplay was the critically acclaimed cult favorite, “The Last Supper” starring Cameron Diaz, Anabeth Gish, Ron Pearlman, and Bill Paxton. Debuting at the Toronto Film Festival, The Last Supper was a crowd favorite at The London Film Festival, South By Southwest, and Sundance before being released in the United States in 1996 by Sony Releasing. The Last Supper also won the Cognac Film Festival’s Thriller of the year.
Dan’s second screenplay and directorial debut “Dead Man’s Curve (aka The Curve)”, starring Matthew Lillard, Keri Russel, and Michael Vartan, debuted at the Sundance Film Festival in 1998. Described by Empire Magazine as “Sharp, witty, and breathlessly cool”, “The smartest, hippest, blackest comedy thriller of the year” by NME magazine, and “The darkest, most finely tuned comic thriller since Scream” by Maxim, The Curve was released internationally later that year and made top ten lists all over the world.
Since “Dead Man’s Curve”, Dan has rewritten “Wing Commander” for FOX, the Italian comedy smash, “The Monster”, for Spyglass Entertainment, developed and wrote rewrites for New Line’s “Planet Deb” and “Cindy Crawford Wants to Bone Me”, set up the pitch and wrote “Rat’s Tale” at Spyglass Entertainment and wrote the adaptation of the award winning novel “Sinatraland” by Sam Kashner for Britt Alcroft Productions. He also co-wrote the Australian comedy “The Extra.”
In 2011, Dan co-wrote and directed the indie comedy “Freeloaders” that was produced by Adam Duritz of The Counting Crows and Broken Lizard, which will be in theaters soon.
He also has two projects currently under option: “Roxie” with Wind Dancer Productions and “Darci’s Walk of Shame” with Millennium/Nu Image.
His stage version of The Last Supper has played to critical acclaim in Chicago, New York, Kent, Stockholm, Melbourne, Perth, Madison, and won the award for best new play at Mar Del Plata in Argentina in 2008 before heading for a long run in Buenos Aires.
Dan is currently writing on the family comedy television series, “The First Family” which is syndicated throughout the United States and seen on BET/CENTRIX.
Originally from Boston, Scott Rosenberg has written the screenplays THINGS TO IN DENVER WHEN YOU’RE DEAD, BEAUTIFUL GIRLS, CON AIR, DISTURBING BEHAVIOR, GONE IN 60 SECONDS, and HIGHWAY. He co-wrote HIGH FIDELITY and KANGAROO JACK. As well as created and produced the Showtime series, Going to California, and co-created the ABC series October Road, Life on Mars and Happy Town.
Rosenbergalso did uncredited rewrites on such films as ARMAGEDDON, THE GENERAL’S DAUGHTER, THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW, RUNAWAY JURY, SPIDER-MAN and the upcoming Michael Bay film, PAIN AND GAIN. Rosenberg’s script THE HAUNTREPRENEUR is set up at Paramount with Russell Brand starring and Rob Letterman directing.
Rosenberg recently sold a a feature pitch – DASHING THROUGH THE SNOW – to Disney for one million dollars. Yes, that’s right. One million dollars! Rosenberg divides his time between Boston, New York and Los Angeles.
Phil Rosenthal was born in Queens, raised in Rockland, N.Y., and attended Hofstra University on Long Island. Starting out as an actor in New York, Rosenthal also wrote and directed theater before relocating to Los Angeles.
Rosenthal’s early writing credits include the series Down the Shore and Coach.
He was the creator/executive producer of the hit CBS comedy, Everybody Loves Raymond, staying with the show for its entire nine season run, beginning in l996.Everybody Loves Raymond was nominated for over 70 Emmy awards, and won 15 times, including for Best Comedy Series in 2003 and 2005.
Rosenthal has the distinction of having directed President Bill Clinton in the White House Correspondents Dinner video, which was shown to wide acclaim at the April, 2000 event. He co-wrote America: A Tribute to Heroes, the 9/11 telethon which aired on all four networks, won a Peabody Award and an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Writing.Rosenthal won the 2002 Writers Guild Award for Excellence in Television Writing for his Everybody Loves Raymond script, “Italy.”
He returned to his roots as an actor in the James Brooks feature film SPANGLISH, in which he played Adam Sandler’s sous chef. He also appeared in Curb Your Enthusiasm, Jake Kasdan’s feature THE TV SET , and THE SIMPSONS MOVIE.
Rosenthal is the author of You’re Lucky You’re Funny: How Life Becomes a Sitcom.
His first feature for Sony Pictures: EXPORTING RAYMOND, which he wrote and directed, the true story about the attempt to turn Everybody Loves Raymond into a Russian sitcom, was released in April of 2011.
Rosenthal lives in Los Angeles, with his wife, actress Monica Horan (who played Amy on Everybody Loves Raymond), and their two children.
Terry Rossio is an Academy Award nominated and BAFTA winning screenwriter whose work spans animation and live action. Films to date include the four PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN films, ALADDIN, the Oscar-winning SHREK, DEJA VU, NATIONAL TREASURE 2: BOOK OF SECRETS, THE LONE RANGER, and THE MASK OF ZORRO, plus more than a dozen other studio releases. He is the co-founder of Wordplay (http://www.wordplayer.com), a web-based resource for both aspiring and established screenwriters.
Ryan Saul is currently a feature literary agent at APA (Agency for the Performing Arts), where he has been representing writers, directors and producers in both film and television for the past 3 ½ years. Prior to APA, Mr. Saul was an agent at Metropolitan Talent Agency, and the boutique Jim Preminger Agency, where he worked with the creators of Frasier, Wings and Becker. Mr. Saul specializes in the family film genre, where he has represented various writers on such films as BROTHER BEAR, CHICKEN LITTLE, OPEN SEASON, CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS, and the upcoming ME AND MY SHADOW. In addition to family films, Mr. Saul represents the writers of such independents as HOLY ROLLERS, and TUCKER & DALE VS. EVIL. Mr. Saul is also an adjunct professor at the Florida State University Film School, as well as Bradley University.
RICHARD DANE SCOTT owes the Austin Film Festival his next newborn child and a keg of beer. His 2010 screenplay competition finalist THE UNDERCARD is currently attached to two producers he met during the conference – DAWN WIERCINSKI and RICHARD BEVER – and is now going out to talent. During the 2012 conference, he made a deal in the Driskill Hotel lobby to pen two features for producer/director GREG CARTER, one of which begins production this year. And last but not least, a feature he co-wrote – MY DOG THE CHAMPION – was made an official selection of this year’s festival and is screening as a part of their ongoing family series – it stars Lance Henriksen, Dora Madison Burge, and Cody Linley.
David Shore has written for cult favorite Due South, NYPD Blue and EZ Streets, served as head writer and supervising producer on Traders, which he developed for Canadian television, and was part of the writing team of the Emmy Award-winning first season of The Practice. He was twice nominated for an Emmy as a producer on Law & Order and executive-produced both Family Law and Hack before creating House. House has won awards as varied as the People’s Choice and the Peabody. Shore won the Humanitas Prize and an Emmy for Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series for his House episode “Three Stories.” That’s all you really need to know about him.
Ed Solomon began his career in college as a joke writer for stand up comics. By his senior year, he was a staff writer on Laverne and Shirley, and was the youngest member of the Writers Guild of America. He went on to co-author the screenplays for BILL AND TED’S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE and its sequel, BILL AND TED’S BOGUS JOURNEY, and also wrote on It’s Garry Shandling’s Show for its first three seasons. He then penned the screenplay for MEN IN BLACK, and many others, including the first X-MEN (uncredited). Since then he’s worked on all sorts of films, including LEVITY, which he also directed. He recently co-wrote the Lion’s Gate film NOW YOU SEE ME, which stars Morgan Freeman, Mark Ruffalo, Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson and Michael Caine. Other current screenplays include HOW TO DISAPPEAR COMPLETELY for Sony Pictures and director Will Gluck (EASY A), an UNTITLED JJ ABRAMS science fiction project for Paramount Pictures, and COLOSSUS for Universal Studios and actor/producer WIll Smith. He lives in Santa Monica, CA, with his two kids. His goal is to one day be the oldest member of the Writers Guild of America.
Creator/Director of TV WRITERS STUDIO, an intensive two-year, 48 credit graduate program leading to a Master of Fine Arts degree in Writing & Producing in Television at Long Island University’s Brooklyn Campus. Cohort I of the program launched in September, 2010, graduated in May, 2012 at Cyclones Field in Brooklyn’s Coney Island.
1973 – Co-writer, BLAZING SADDLES with Mel Brooks & Andrew Bergman & Richard Pryor.
1974 -’75 Creator and Executive Producer (with Mel Brooks) of ABC-TV series, When Things Were Rotten for Paramount Pictures Television.
1979 – ’80 Creator/Executive Producer – Six O’clock Follies, a half hour comedy series set in Vietnam, starring Laurence Fishburne for NBC-TV.
1981- ’82 Writer – MY FAVORITE YEAR starring Peter O’Toole and directed by Richard Benjamin for MGM/UA.
1982 – Writer of the screenplay, “Yes, Giorgio” starring Luciano Pavarotti, directed by Franklin Schaffner for MGM/UA.
1983 -MR. MOM – Production rewrite of the screenplay starring Michael Keaton, directed by Stan Dragoti.
1984 – ’85 JOHNNY DANGEROUSLY – Head Writer – “Johnny Dangerously,” starring Michael Keaton and directed by Amy Heckerling for 20th Century Fox.
1985-’86 – WISE GUYS Production re-write of the film starring Danny DeVito and Joe Piscopo; directed by Brian DePalma for MGM.
1988-’91 – Doctor, Doctor – Creator/Showrunner/Executive Producer/Director of “Doctor, Doctor” a half hour comedy series starring Matt Frewer (Max Headroom) for CBS-TV.
1991 – Steel Magnolias – Executive Producer of an hour pilot version of the play/film, “Steel Magnolias,” starring Cindy Williams, Elaine Stritch and Polly Bergen for CBS-TV.
2001 – 2002 Raising Dad – Executive Producer/Showrunner of “Raising Dad” a half hour comedy series starring Bob Saget for the WB network
Lisa Stuardi is the Founder and Principal of Bright Spot Entertainment, a hands-on consultancy specialized in putting together early-stage ventures in the media and entertainment space. Since 2008, she has helped to craft deal structures on behalf of private equity investors in the film and television marketplaces including slate deals, incentive-based financings, credit facilities, equity funds and public-private partnerships. She also provides strategy, marketing and fundraising support to media and entertainment entrepreneurs seeking to define, scale and fund their young enterprises. Her clients span content creators, distributors, and technology and platform providers. Prior to Bright Spot, Ms. Stuardi served as the Director of Brand Strategy for Royal Philips Electronics, an $8Bn brand and a Global Fortune 500 company based in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. She also spent two years in Milan, Italy, where she worked with global design agency Design Continuum covering European consumer and health care accounts. From 2001-2 she served as Director of Government & Community Affairs for the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce, building alliances and working towards the economic development of the City of Cambridge, MA, particularly in the growth of the high tech and biotech sectors. She began her career as an Associate at Cambridge Incubator, a Draper Fisher Jurvetson-backed incubator for high tech entrepreneurs. She holds an MBA from MIT Sloan, an MFA from the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television, and a bachelor’s degree from LSU. She speaks fluent English and Italian with a bit of Spanish thrown in. In her spare time, she develops film and television projects with writers, produces indie pictures, and tries to imbue a love to all things story in her two young daughters.
John Swetnam’s original horror-thriller “Evidence,” which he wrote and produced, starring Stephen Moyer and Radha Mitchell, was recently released. His original spec “Black Sky” (Formerly known as Category 6) has been completed and will be released next year by Warner Brothers. His original spec script, “Spinback” is set up at Summit/Lionsgate, with a Spring start date. John also wrote the fifth installment of the Step Up franchise, a top secret franchise script for New Line Cinema, and is currently on assignment for Paramount and Bad Robot. He has numerous other projects set-up in film, TV, and New Media, and recently launched his production company Mad Horse Films, which is also developing multiple projects with writers, producers, and financiers. In his downtime, John likes to write and develop screenplays for film and television.
ROBIN SWICORD is primarily known for her work as a screenwriter for “Memoirs Of A Geisha” (Satellite Award for best screenplay); “Little Women,” (co-producer, Writers Guild award nomination); “Matilda” (co-written and co-produced with Nicholas Kazan); and the comedy “Shag,” (shared); “The Perez Family”; “Practical Magic” (shared). Her two plays were produced off-Broadway (“Last Days at the Dixie Girl Café,” “Criminal Minds”, both published by Samuel French). In 2009 she received an Oscar nomination for her contribution to “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”, a project Swicord originated and worked on for more than a decade.
Swicord made her feature-directing debut with Sony Classic’s “The Jane Austen Book Club,” for which she also wrote the screenplay adaptation. Swicord has now adapted an E.L. Doctorow short story, “Wakefield”, for Swicord to direct as an indie feature in 2014. For HBO she is currently creating a series pilot, based on E.L. Doctorow’s short story “Assimilation”, about contemporary undocumented immigration in Queens and Brooklyn. Her original script for “Anatolia”, set in the Middle East during World War I, is creeping toward production; James Gray is attached to direct.
Robin Swicord currently serves as a Governor for the Writers Branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. She is a trustee and mentor for the Humanitas organization, currently run by Cathleen Young, with a focus on their New Voices program. Swicord participates in the Sundance Writers Lab as a mentor, and co-directed the Film Independent Writing Lab in Fall 2012. She helped found the WGA Foundation’s Veteran’s Writing Workshop, which is now takes place annually in April; she is a frequent mentor in that on-going program.
Swicord is married to writer-director Nicholas Kazan; they have two daughters, actor-writer Zoe Kazan and actor-producer Maya Kazan.
Jim is the long-time collaborator of writer/director Alexander Payne. Among the screenplays they have co-authored are ELECTION, ABOUT SCHMIDT and SIDEWAYS. For their work on these scripts they have been honored with two Golden Globes, two Writers Guild Awards and one Academy Award. In 2005 Jim partnered with Alexander Payne and producer Jim Burke to form Ad Hominem Enterprises. Some of the films produced by Ad Hominem include THE SAVAGES, CEDAR RAPIDS and THE DESCENDANTS.
Jim currently lives in Manhattan with his wife, the filmmaker Tamara Jenkins, and their daughter.
Vanessa Taylor is a television and film writer whose television credits include Cupid, Gideon’s Crossing, Alias, Everwood, Jack and Bobby, (which she co-created), Tell Me You Love Me, and, most recently, the HBO series Game of Thrones. Her first feature film, HOPE SPRINGS was released last year and her next, DIVERGENT, is due out in March of 2014.
Rob Thomas created and produced the television series VERONICA MARS which the American Film Institution named one of the top ten shows of 2004. He is also the co-creator and executive producer of the 2009 AFI top ten show, PARTY DOWN. Thomas has also created and executive produced two versions of the ABC television series CUPID, first in 1999 and, most recently, in 2009. His other television credits include DAWSON’S CREEK, BIG SHOTS, THE EDUCATION OF MAX BICKFORD and SPACE GHOST: COAST TO COAST. Additionally, Thomas developed the relaunch of 90210. He is currently creating the VERONICA MARS movie.
Thomas also penned the feature film DRIVE ME CRAZY for Twentieth Century Fox. In addition, he wrote the independent feature FORTUNE COOKIE which premiered at the Hollywood Film Festival.
Thomas is the author of four novels and a collection of short stories, all published by Simon & Schuster. His 1996 debut novel RATS SAW GOD was a unanimous ALA Best Book for Young Adults. In 1998, his short story collection, DOING TIME: NOTES FROM THE UNDERGRAD, also received the ALA Best Book for Young Adults.
Prior to the publication of his first novel, Thomas taught high school journalism in San Antonio and Austin, Texas, advised the University of Texas student magazine, “Utmost,” and worked for Channel One, a Los Angeles-based television news show aimed at teenagers nationwide. A Texas native, Thomas currently resides in Austin, TX.
DONALD TODD is currently an executive producer of the ABC drama Mind Games, but has managed to stay employed over the years in both drama and comedy – his most recent contribution in the latter category being Samantha Who?, the critically–‐ lauded Christina Applegate–‐starring ABC comedy which he created and executive–‐ produced, and which won an Emmy and People’s Choice and several other awards during its run of almost 36 episodes. Before that, Donald created, wrote, or produced comedies such as Dave’s World, as well as dramas like Life As We Know It and Ugly Betty, for which he won the Writers Guild Award. Combining his experience in both comedy and drama, Donald pioneered the hybrid form of “Comdramecady,” which has yet to catch on.
John T. Trigonis is a widely published writer, independent filmmaker, and author of Crowdfunding for Filmmakers: The Way to a Successful Film Campaign, published by Michael Wiese Productions.
Trigonis launched a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo for his short film Cerise, successfully raising $1,300 over his initial goal of $5,000 in only three months of active and innovative fundraising primarily through Facebook and Twitter. In fact, 70% of the funds he raised came from people he had never met before.
Cerise has since screened at over a dozen film festivals across the country, was nominated for four awards, won an “Award of Merit,” and participated in the Court Métrage at the 2011 Cannes International Film Festival.
He’s currently working with Indiegogo as the crowdfunding platform’s Manager for Film & Video while continuing to work on his own creative projects.
Barbara Twist is the conference manager for the Art House Convergence, an organization and annual conference for community-based, mission-driven art house theaters. She is also the executive assistant to Russ Collins, Executive Director, of The Michigan Theater. In her spare time, she is a producer/director based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She is currently producing an indie feature CONSIDERATION, which she plans to self-distribute. She has directed three short films, including SHARK TANK which screened at the 2012 Traverse City Film Festival. She graduated from the University of Michigan in Screen Arts and Cultures and British History.
JIM UHLS wrote FIGHT CLUB with Brad Pitt and Edward Norton, directed by David Fincher; JUMPER directed by Doug Limon; and the NBC television film, Semper Fi produced by Steven Spielberg. He is currently working with Shane Black on a new big screen adaptation of THE DESTROYER novel series for Chuck Roven and Steve Chasman, as well as an original screenplay, MANLY. With Gamecentric Media, Jim is developing an online social game, “Phantasm.” A playwright as well, Jim has had his play, “The Relative Importance of Jeri” produced in New York, as well as numbers plays produced in Los Angeles, including “Collections of a Long-Distance Garbageman.”
Oren Uziel’s first screenplay, SHIMMER LAKE, won the Latitude award at the 2008 Austin Film Festival Screenwriting Competition, and subsequently sold to Fox. Since then Oren has gotten a few specs on the Black List, sold a few pitches, and written for most of the major studios. Oren is currently working on two comedies at Sony, two sci-fi scripts for Paramount and an action comedy at Universal.
Meta Valentic began her career in as the youngest member of the DGA Assistant Director’s Training Program. As a Trainee, Meta worked on the television series Diagnosis Murder, Lois & Clark, ER, Melrose Place, and Mad About You and the feature films FATHER OF THE BRIDE II, NIXON, STEAL BIG, STEAL LITTLE, and KAZAAM. As a DGA assistant director, Meta has worked on films such as ONE NIGHT STAND, BRIDE AND PREJUDICE, MISS CONGENIALITY II and AVATAR and television shows such as Sliders, Felicity, ER, Bones, and Dark Blue. Meta traveled to Hawaii and was the Key 2nd AD on Lost during Season 3. She received 2 Directors Guild Award Nominations for her work on the show. Meta currently works on the ABC hit drama Castle.
In addition to AD work, Meta has produced 5 independent feature films, including the critically acclaimed URBANIA, which played the Sundance and Toronto film festivals and was released by Lionsgate. Meta was the UPM/Co-Producer of Lionsgate’s Ladron QUE ROBA A LADRON (To Rob a Thief), a Spanish-language feature film starring Mexico and Latin America’s top telenovela stars. LADRON made over $2 million on opening weekend, which was the biggest opening weekend for a Spanish language film in US history.
Recently Meta produced the web series comedy pilot “Trying”, starring Emmy nominated actor Jason Ritter (Parenthood) and written by 2012 AFF Original Teleplay winner Matthew Kellard.. Meta helped develop the teleplay, raise financing, produce the shoot, and is currently overseeing the pitch to make more episode. The pilot premiered at the 2012 Austin Film Festival, where Meta has judged the Screenplay Competition and spoken at the Screenwriters Conference for the last 6 years. She is also developing the 2007 AFF Screenplay Competition Winner “Slugger”, written by by Jimmy Miller.
Meta is active in the Producers Guild of America, specifically the Mentorship Committee and the Green Committee.
Chris and his writing partner, Will McRobb, created the iconic television series “The Adventures of Pete & Pete” for Nickelodeon. The celebrated series ran from 1991-1995. The Los Angeles Times proclaimed, “…it is as good as television has ever been and great in ways few shows ever attempt.”
Chris co-created “Kablam!” a groundbreaking alternative animation series for Nickelodeon that ran for five seasons. He also co-created and produced the television comedies “The War Next Door” for USA Television and “The Assistants” for Teen Nick. He served as a Consulting Producer and Writer for the USA Television series “Necessary Roughness”. He has also written episodic television for “Ed”, “Brutally Normal” and “The Naked Brothers”.
Chris is currently an Executive Producer of “Sanjay and Craig”, an animated series on Nickelodeon. He is also an Executive Producer of “Bravest Warriors”, a short-form animated web series from “Adventure Time” creator Pendleton Ward.
Viscardi and McRobb are also successful feature film writers. They wrote the films “Alvin and the Chipmunks”, “The Tale of Despereaux”, “Angus Thongs and Perfect Snogging” and “Snow Day”. They have written screenplays for Fox Animation/Blue Sky Studios, Dreamworks Animation, Universal Pictures, Miramax Films and Warner Brothers.
Ric Roman Waugh wrote and directed the critically acclaimed film, FELON for Sony. The prison-based drama starred Val Kilmer, Stephen Dorff, Sam Shepard, Harold Perrineau and Nate Parker. His latest effort is the dramatic-thriller SNITCH which he also co-wrote and directed, starring Dwayne Johnson, Susan Sarandon, Barry Pepper, Michael K. Williams, Benjamin Bratt, Jon Bernthal and Melina Kanakardes for Participant Media and Summit Entertainment.
Next up is CURRENCY, for producer Steve Golin, Participant Media and Summit. Other upcoming films include EVEL; a bio-pic on the life of Evel Knievel which Ric wrote and will also produce and direct for Exclusive Media, and the large-scale sci-fi, TIPPING POINT for Temple Hill and Relativity Media.
Herschel Weingrod is best known for 1983′s award-winning TRADING PLACES, starring Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy. He has had continued success with adapting to screen such comedies as BREWSTER’S MILLIONS and PURE LUCK. He was also responsible for 1988′s TWINS with Arnold Schwarzenegger and followed that with KINDERGARTEN COP. Weingrod’s producing credits include 1993′s FALLING DOWN, starring Michael Douglas.
Leigh Whannell has steadily gained recognition for his contributions to film through his writing and acting and can currently be seen in INSIDIOUS: CHAPTER 2, reprising his role of Specs alongside Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne and Barbara Hershey. The film, written by Whannell, took $40M at the box office in its opening weekend this past September.
Born in Melbourne, Australia, Whannell began his career as an actor appearing in acclaimed Australian series such as NEIGHBOURS and BLUE HEELERS. He was also the presenter on the cult hit TV series RECOVERY, which he later went on to host in its last two seasons. As a film critic on RECOVERY, Whannell interviewed such superstars as George Clooney, Jackie Chan and Tim Burton.
Whannell studied film at the prestigious Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, where he met filmmaker James Wan and where they started developing ideas together, including the 2004 Lionsgate release SAW, which Whannell wrote and starred in. In addition to his work on the screenplay for SAW II, Whannell wrote and starred in SAW III and is an Executive Producer on the SAW Franchise. He is also a creative consultant on the SAW video game. The franchise is now recognized as the Most Successful Horror Movie Series and named so by the Guinness World Records in 2010.
Whannell’s other produced writing credits include the Universal release DEAD SILENCE and the very successful INSIDIOUS which premiered at Toronto Film Festival’s Midnight Madness and was released by Sony/FilmDistrict.
Whannell’s other acting credits include the Warner Brothers release MATRIX RELOADED, the Fox release DEATH SENTENCE, the independent feature THE PARDON starring Jaime King, the Australian feature DYING BREED, which premiered at Tribeca, a character voice in Warner Brothers’ LEGEND OF THE GUARDIANS, and the thriller CRUSH for Intrepid Pictures.
Whannell also co-wrote, produced and stars in the Australian feature THE MULE, currently in post-production, just wrapped on the horror comedy COOTIES, which he co-wrote with Ian Brennan (GLEE) and stars in alongside Elijah Wood and Rainn Wilson, and has an animated family feature in development.
Whannell received the Greg Tepper Award in 2004, a prestigious award for outstanding achievement in Film.
Beau Willimon is a screenwriter, playwright, producer and most recently, an executive producer, showrunner and creator of Netflix’s original series House of Cards, a wicked one-hour drama, from Media Rights Capital, that slithers behind the curtain of power, sex, ambition, love, greed and corruption in modern Washington D.C.
His play “Farragut North,” became the basis for the motion picture screenplay IDES OF MARCH, which he co-wrote with George Clooney and Grant Heslov. IDES OF MARCH earned Willimon Academy Award®, Golden Globe and BAFTA nominations for Best Adapted Screenplay, and it won The Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Award for Best Screenplay.
Other plays include “Lower Ninth” (Flea Theater, 2008; UK premiere, Donmar Warehouse, 2010), and “Spirit Control” (Manhattan Theatre Club, 2010). Subsequent productions of his plays have been mounted across the U.S. and overseas. Willimon was a recipient of the Lila Acheson Wallace Juilliard Playwriting Fellowship, named 2008 Playwright-in-Residence at the Donmar Warehouse, and he is a two-time winner of the Lincoln Center Le Comte du Nouy Award. Current theater commissions include works for the National Theatre of Great Britain, South Coast Rep, and the Flea Theater.
His most recent play, “The Parisian Woman,” premieres at South Coast Repertory in the spring and will star Dana Delany, Steven Culp, Linda Gehringer and Rebecca Mozo. The play was inspired by Henri Becque’s “La Parisienne.”
Recently Willimon co-founded Westward Productions, a film and television production company, with co-founder Jordan Tappis. Among Westward Production’s current projects is the forthcoming WALLY AND ANDRE SHOOT IBSEN – a film adaption of Ibsen’s play “Master Builder” developed by Wallace Shawn and Andre Gregory, directed by Jonathan Demme. Willimon is an Executive Producer on the film. Other projects in development include a documentary about adventure traveler Karl Bushby’s quest to circumnavigate the globe on foot over the course of two decades, and a documentary about Westerly Windina, a transgender Australian woman formerly known as legendary pro-surfer Peter Drouyn.
In addition to his career as a writer and producer, Willimon served on a number of political campaigns, including Chuck Schumer’s 1998 senate race, Bill Bradley’s 2000 presidential race, Hillary Clinton’s 2000 senate race and Howard Dean’s 2004 presidential race.
Willimon graduated with a B.A. from Columbia University in 1999 and an M.F.A. in Playwriting from Columbia University’s School of the Arts in 2003. A St. Louis native, he now resides in Brooklyn, NY.
Born in Jackson, Mississippi, Raised in Houston Texas from age of 3, graduated from Baylor University, came to fame as an award-winning film producer whose credits include, the Academy Award nominated film, SHADOW OF THE VAMPIRE, also produced by Nicolas Cage. Orian then set his sights on producing the BAFTA and CANNES winning critically acclaimed film, CONTROL, directed by Anton Corbijn detailing the life and times of Joy Division front man, Ian Curtis. Along the way producing and releasing the comedy Tennis Anyone?, with his friend Donal Logue and the documentary ONE FAST MOVE OR I’M GONE: KEROUAC’S BIG SUR. Orian then decided the documentary on Kerouac’s BIG SUR should be made into a narrative feature film, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2013. Currently he is producing Jeff Buckley from his rise and fall during his New York and Memphis years. Also in development is THE SECOND COMING, based on a book by Walker Percy, to be directed by Wim Wenders, WONDERLAND AVENUE, based on a book by Danny Sugerman, and KIT based on the crazy story of Kit Lambert, famed manager of the band The Who, to be directed by Cary Elwes, the film’s composer will be Pete Townsend, also Amongst his many accolades, the versatile producer was chosen by Variety Magazine as one of 2007’s Top Ten Producers. Prior to his film career, he was a commercial producer and also dabbled in journalism, public relations, acting, and the music business. He currently resides in Los Angeles, CA.
Ryan Piers Williams was born and raised in El Paso, TX. He attended the University of Texas at Austin and graduated from the School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California. Upon graduation, he worked for Steven Soderbergh and George Clooney on several productions including Ocean’s 12 and Ocean’s 13, Goodnight and Good Luck, and The Good German.
Williams wrote and directed the feature film, The Dry Land, which premiered at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival in the Dramatic Competition. The Dry Land was awarded the Grand Jury Prize at the Dallas International Film Festival and the Best International Feature Award at the 64th Edinburgh International Film Festival. The Dry Land was released theatrically in 2010. In 2012 Williams produced the feature film Kilimanjaro written and directed by Walter Strafford. Recently, Williams wrote and directed the feature film X/Y which will be released in 2014.
Kay S. Wolf is the WGAW’s Independent Film Executive. Kay conducts outreach to emerging writers and filmmakers, encouraging them to use WGA contracts and join in the community of Guild writers. Working with Guild members, she identifies and implements ways to increase independent narrative and documentary screenwriters’ status and influence within the film industry.
Prior to 2002, Kay worked at the WGAW for eight years in a variety of positions, most recently as an Industry Alliances Representative in the independent film, new media and animation areas. During that period she also worked a year at IFTA (Independent Film and Television Alliance) as the Director of Producer Services. Before her Guild work, Kay was at ABC Productions/The Hemisphere Group in Los Angeles developing and producing international co-productions and at Saban Entertainment in development. She received a B.A. in telecommunications/broadcast journalism from Indiana University.
As founder of NYCscreenwriter.org, Steven Arvanites heads the largest screenwriting organization in New York City that is free and open to all writers. The mission of this institution is to provide education, support and networking as well as workshops including the acclaimed Industry Chat Series.
A noted teacher, Mr. Arvanites has taught at the Writers Store, Unicorn Writers Conference, Northwest Screenwriters Guild in Seattle, Atlanta Writers club, San Francisco Film Society and a visiting professor at Hollins University teaching their M.F.A. screenwriting program.
Mr. Arvanites is an award winning screenwriter. He has won semi-finalist honors at Nicholl Fellowship Screenwriting Awards three-times, was a BlueCat winner, Atlanta Screenwriting Competition winner, a Sundance Screen Lab finalist, a Djerassi/SFFS Screenwriting Fellowship finalist, a Sundance/Sloan Commissioning Grant finalist and was invited to the Cinestory retreat co-sponsored by the Academy Awards. Additionally, he has placed in 27 other national and international screenwriting competitions. In 2006, he was awarded an Artward Bound residency from the Field, a grant given in recognition of his writing with the sole purpose of creating new material.
Mr. Arvanites, whose first narrative feature, I KILLED YOU ‘CAUSE I HAD TO, won Best Feature Horror/Thriller at the Dark River Film Festival and the Indie Film Gathering. Also, CADAVER, his Terror Film Festival winning script, was also a winner at the Eerie Horror Film Fest screenplay competition. HELIUM MAN, a short film co-written by Mr. Arvanites, is an official selection of D.C. Short Film Fest, the Beverly Hills Short Film Fest, Atlanta Film Festival & Fort Lauderdale International Film Fest- all 2010. In 2013 he was awarded a full Scholarship to the inaugural 20/20/20 digital film program at Stony Brook Southampton in association with Killer Films and Christine Vachon.
Additionally, Mr. Arvanites is a film panel moderator at Austin Film Festival, the co-host of Reel Talk for HBO’s Bryant Park Summer Film Festival and a speaker at the Screenwriters World Conference; additionally, he has also hosted at the IFP’s Script To Screen.
He graduated from Fordham University (B.A.) and trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London. A native New Yorker, Steven resides in Hell’s Kitchen. No pets, some roaches.
Ben Blacker is the producer and moderator of the Nerdist Writers Panel, an informal chat about writing, TV, and the process and business of writing TV. A professional television writer himself, with his writing partner, Blacker has written for CW’s Supernatural and Nickelodeon’s Supah Ninjas. They’ve also developed original pilots for Fox, USA (twice), Spike, Paramount, Nickelodeon, and other entities. They are the creators and writers of the Thrilling Adventure Hour, a staged show in the style of old-time radio which is also a podcast on the Nerdist network and a recently-released graphic novel hardcover anthology from Archaia, and will soon be a web-series (also from Nerdist) and a concert film.
Christopher Boone is a screenwriter and filmmaker living in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He contributes to the blog nofilmschool.com, where he shares lessons learned from professional screenwriters about the craft and business of screenwriting. After his 2008 Duke City Shootout short film PRESCHOOL’S A BITCH won the Audience Award and played a handful of festivals, Christopher joined the board of the Digital Filmmaking Institute (DFI) to help organize the tenth anniversary and final edition of the Duke City Shootout in 2010. Along with his producing partner Ella Sitkin, Christopher is currently putting together his first feature film as writer/director, CENTS, from his 2012 Academy Nicholl Fellowship semifinalist screenplay.
Henry William Brands was born in Oregon, went to college in California, sold cutlery across the American West and earned graduate degrees in mathematics and history in Oregon and Texas. He taught at Vanderbilt University and Texas A&M University before joining the faculty at the University of Texas at Austin, where he is the Dickson Allen Anderson Centennial Professor of History. He writes on American history and politics, with books including “The Man Who Saved the Union”, “Traitor to His Class”, “Andrew Jackson”, “The Age of Gold”, “The First American” and “TR”. Several of his books have been bestsellers; two, “Traitor to His Class” and “The First American”, were finalists for the Pulitzer Prize. He lectures frequently on historical and current events and can be seen and heard on national and international television and radio. His writings have been translated into Spanish, French, German, Russian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Ukrainian.
Gregory Curtis was the Editor of Texas Monthly from 1981-2000. During his editorship, the magazine won many prizes including five National Magazine Awards. In 2000, it was selected by the Columbia Journalism Review as one of the ten best magazine editors in the country. Curtis has been published in Texas Monthly, The New York Times, The New York Times Magazine, Rolling Stone, Fortune, and Time. He is the author of two books: Disarmed: The Story of the Venus de Milo and The Cave Painters: Probing the Mysteries of the World’s First Artists.
Matt attended the University of Texas at Austin and received a Bachelor of Science in Radio/TV/Film in 2005. During his time there, he served as the Co-Director for the University Filmmakers’ Alliance Film Conference and first worked for the Austin Film Festival as an intern for the Screenplay Competition Department. After his internship, Matt continued working for AFF by helping evaluate First Round scripts as a reader for the Screenplay Competition and eventually was hired as the organization’s Office Manager. After two years in that position, he assumed the role of Screenplay Competition Director, where he helped facilitate over 4400 screenplay entries in 2010. This is his second year as the Director of the Competition. Matt has also written several short and feature screenplays and a stage play that was performed at FronteraFest in Austin.
Evan E. Fitzmaurice practices corporate and entertainment law at Selman Munson & Lerner P.C. in Austin, Texas. Fitzmaurice served as the Director of the Texas Film Commission from December 16, 2010 to June 29, 2012. Prior to that appointment, Fitzmaurice practiced law in Los Angeles at the entertainment law firm of Jackoway Tyerman Wertheimer Austen Mandelbaum Morris and Klein P.C. While representing the firm’s writer, director, actor and producer clients, Fitzmaurice focused on film, television and digital production company financings and related transactions. In addition, he has practiced transactional law at the international firm of K&L Gates LLP in Los Angeles and Dallas, and in the Dallas office of Locke Lord LLP. He is a member of the State bars of Texas and California, and a past member of the Beverly Hills and Dallas Bar associations. Fitzmaurice co-produced the 2007 independent documentary, A LAWYER WALKS INTO A BAR, which premiered at the 2007 South by Southwest Film Conference and Festival, won the Grand Jury Prize at the 2007 AFI Dallas International Film Festival and appeared at several other film festivals. A Dallas native, Fitzmaurice received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at Austin in 1993 and a law degree from the University of Texas School of Law in 1999.
Bears Fonte joins the staff of AFF after 7 years as a reader for the screenplay competition. A writer/director, Bears returned to Austin to finish post-production on his first feature, iCRIME, which was released by Vicious Circle Films in 2011. His two self-produced web-series have been seen by a combined ten million viewers. Bears has won or been a finalist in numerous screenwriting competitions including Screenwriter’s Expo, Final Draft Big Break, Page International, and Story Pros. He received his MFA in Directing from Indiana University and has directed for a number of theaters in Austin including the Austin Shakespeare Festival, Teatro Humanidad, and the Texas premiere and award-nominated production of Corpus Christi at the Hideout. During graduate school, he founded and served as the artistic director for the late-night “Dark Alley” series at Bloomington Playwrights Project, creating the long running Sex/Death evening of shorts, now in its tenth year. Bears also writes musical theatre and has had his plays produced in Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, and Texas.
Chet Garner is the creator, host, executive producer and writer of The Daytripper, a 3-time Emmy-award-winning program airing on PBS. Born in Comanche, Texas and raised in Port Neches, Chet’s love for visual storytelling started at a young age as he toted around his grandfather’s VHS video camera and staged elaborate productions in his backyard often involving pints of fake blood and poor acting skills. Chet earned a degree in Radio-Television-Film from the University of Texas at Austin and went on to graduate first in his class from Baylor Law School. However, after practicing law for 3 years, he decided to follow his passions and to simultaneously inspire Texans to appreciate the beauty, history, and food of their home state. What followed was a crash course on travel, filmmaking, marketing, and doing whatever it takes to create a TV show. When not traveling Chet is at home in Georgetown, Texas with his wife and 3 children – although he’s usually got them on the road too. Learn more about The Daytripper at http://thedaytripper.com.
Greg Garrett is a critically-acclaimed novelist and nonfiction writer from Austin whose works include Free Bird (chosen by Publishers Weekly as one of 2002′s best first novels), and the new novel The Prodigal. A longtime fixture at the Festival, Greg has publicly interviewed Lawrence Kasdan, Damon Lindelof, and other major figures at the conference, moderated panels on film and TV writing for over a decade, and currently serves as scholarly advisor to the Festival. The Writers League of Texas often calls Greg “the best writing instructor in Texas,” and while he would never make that claim himself, Greg does admit to being an award-winning professor of screenwriting, fiction, and film at Baylor University whose students have written for film and television and published novels and short stories.
Kevin Hamedani began his filmmaking career with the feature ZMD: ZOMBIES OF MASS DESTRUCTION Produced by Academy Award nominee John Sinno (IRAQ IN FRAGMENTS) the film went on to receive critical acclaim showing in film festivals worldwide “ZMD” was acquired by LionsGate and premiered theatrically in January,2010. Available on DVD and Bluray.
Danny Manus is an in-demand script consultant and CEO of No BullScript Consulting (www.nobullscript.net), and was ranked in the Top 15 “Cream of the Crop” Script Consultants by Creative Screenwriting Magazine. He is the author of “No BS for Screenwriters: Advice from the Executive Perspective” and has taught seminars and workshops across the country at events and venues including Great American Pitchfest, Screenwriting Expo, ShowBiz Expo, Santa Fe Screenwriting Conference, Willamette Writers Conference in Portland, Las Vegas Writers Conference, The Writers Store, Writers League of Texas in Austin, Vancouver Pitchmart, Scriptwriters Network, Sherwood Oaks College, etc., and to groups in LA, NY, Chicago, Dallas, Idaho, Iowa, Florida, etc. He’s appeared on the Film Courage radio show, Triggerstreet’s Script Reporter podcast and the On the Page podcast.
Danny was the Director of Development for Clifford Werber Productions (A CINDERELLA STORY) where he sold the family adventure project “To Oz” to United Artists, and was instrumental in developing numerous projects including SYDNEY WHITE starring Amanda Bynes and the dark comedy JUST ADD WATER, starring Dylan Walsh, Jonah Hill, Justin Long, Melissa McCarthy and Danny DeVito. He continues to work with the company as a producer on several projects. Before launching No BullScript, Danny also worked as a script analyst for companies such as ScriptShark and Script Coach.
Previously, Daniel was a Development Consultant for Eclectic Pictures (deal with Millennium Films) and the Director of Development for Sandstorm Films, run by writer/director J.S. Cardone, which had a first look deal at Sony Screen Gems and a development deal with Top Cow Comics. He was instrumental in developing a number of films for the company including THE COVENANT, 8MM2, and SNIPER 3. Danny also interned at Columbia Tri-Star in the Television Development department and at 20th Century Fox in Feature Casting.
Danny has taken over 3000 pitches, written over 225 articles on screenwriting for numerous websites and publications including Business of Show Institute and Script Magazine, and has been a judge for the PAGE Awards three years running. He is currently working on his next book. Raised on Long Island, NY, in an amusingly dysfunctional household, Danny holds a B.S. degree in Television with a concentration in Screenwriting from Ithaca College. You can follow him on Twitter @Dannymanus.
Cindy McCreery is a graduate of the Walt Disney/ABC Feature Writing Fellowship program for the 2002-2003 year. Her script POWDER PUFFS got her into the program and was sold to Disney after she finished the fellowship. After the sale of POWDER PUFFS Cindy immediately wrote and sold her next feature spec script, SOCCER MOM to New Line Cinema. In the fall of 2005 Tollin Robbins and Josephson Entertainment approached Cindy with the true story of Maria Pepe, the first girl to play in the Little League. Cindy came up with a pitch with the producers and sold the pitch to Nickelodeon/Paramount. In 2006 National Geographic Films hired Cindy to rewrite ELEPHANT WILD and later in 2007 in partnership with Warner Brothers, they hired her again to develop and write FREE WILLY: ESCAPE FROM PIRATES COVE which was released in March of 2010. Also in 2007 Cindy sold a pitch of a revamped BABY BOOM for MGM. In 2009 Disney Channel hired her to adapt the book, RISING STAR into a Disney Channel Original movie. In 2010 Cindy optioned her original script, HOW TO DATE A PRINCE to Radar Pictures and HOLDING PATTERN to Unique Entertainment. She recently was hired with her friend and collaborator, Tara Miele to write the Disney Channel Original Movie, UNPLUGGED. She is currently writing and developing feature specs as well as original ideas for TV. Along with her writing, Cindy has been teaching Introduction to Screenwriting for the Film Studies department at UC Santa Barbara for the last six years and most recently the UCLA Professional Program in Screenwriting. In the fall of 2011 Cindy joined UT Austin’s Department of Radio TV and Film as an Assistant Professor of screenwriting.
Barbara Morgan co-founded Austin Film Festival in 1993 and has served as the sole Executive Director since 1999. As a filmmaker, Morgan developed and produced the film NATURAL SELECTION, which has been on Showtime and the Sci-fi channel, and was released internationally, and co-produced the feature documentary ANTONE’S: HOME OF THE BLUES, released internationally as well. Most recently, Morgan produced the documentary feature, PORTRAIT OF WALLY, and the narrative feature SPRING EDDY. She developed and produces the TV series “On Story: Presented by Austin Film Festival”, currently airing on Austin’s KLRU and other PBS stations across the country and online at onstory.tv. In 2010, Morgan produced a reading of Bud Shrake’s play “A Friend of Carlos Monson” with director Jeff Nichols. Morgan serves on the Board of Directors for a number of organizations, including International Film Festival Summit and The Wittliff Collections at Texas State University.
Kate trained as a dramaturg at the Yale School of Drama before turning to acting. She lives in Ireland where she is an award winning actress known for her work in theatre, television, radio and film. Her career began with John Huston’s adaptation of James Joyce’s The Dead, her most recent performance was in The Picture of Dorian Gray at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin. TV work includes The Tudors and Titanic: Blood & Steel. She is currently rehearsing a new play by author and screenwriter, Patrick McCabe. Kate also writes articles and arts reviews for the leading Irish newspapers and has been a regular panelist on RTE television’s weekly cultural review programme, The View. She is board chairwoman of Ireland’s largest film festival, the Galway Film Fleadh www.galwayfilmfleadh.com and is a board member on the Irish Film Board www.irishfilmboard.ie
Kell Cahoon has worked on a number of television shows, including The Larry Sanders Show, NewsRadio, Just Shoot Me, King Of The Hill, and Psych. He lives in Austin with his wife and two sons.