All speakers and events are based on permitting schedules and subject to change and/or cancellation without notice.
Michelle is the creator and executive producer of Showtime’s new drama Masters of Sex She has written for the HBO miniseries John Adams and The Pacific. She recently adapted Undaunted Courage, the Stephen Ambrose account of the Lewis and Clark expedition, also for HBO. She is currently working on an adaptation of Operation Mincemeat, a non-fiction spy story set in WWII, in addition to adapting The Skies Belong to Us, another non-fiction story about the golden age of hijacking. She has written numerous pilots, both network and cable, and her other series credits include Boomtown, La Doctors, and New York News.
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 currently the consulting producer on the upcoming Fox show Backstrom.
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.
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.
Peter worked as a lawyer, management consultant and development executive before he started writing for TV. He has written for The Practice, House, Elementary and most recently, Hemlock Grove. Peter won the PEN/USA Teleplay award in 2010, and has been nominated for three Emmys for producing House, three Edgar Awards (winning once), two Humanitas Prizes, and one Writers Guild award. Peter and his House colleague, Russel Friend, wrote and directed “The Waindow” episode of the web series Wainy Days. He has also written screenplays for various studios.
Vera Blasi is from Sao Paulo, Brazil and works as a screenwriter in Los Angeles. While at the American Film Institute, she wrote the romantic comedy Woman On Top, which was produced by Fox Searchlight. She went on to co-write the American remake of Eat Drink Man Woman (Tortilla Soup) produced by Samuel Goldwyn Productions. Vera has written several historical dramas, including Galileo for Spitfire Pictures, and co-wrote the World War II movie Emperor, released by Roadside Attractions and Lionsgate. She recently sold the Biblical spec script Pontius Pilate to Warner Brothers, with Mark Johnson producing, and adapted the Wall Street novel Bond Girl for Gran Via Productions. She is currently adapting the young-adult novel An Ember In The Ashes for Paramount Pictures.
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.
Christine Boylan is a television writer/producer who has worked on Leverage (TNT), Off the Map, Castle, and Once Upon A Time (ABC). Christine is currently a co-executive producer on NBC’s Constantine. She also writes short stories (such as Hoss at Popcorn Fiction) and plays (“The Kid” a one-man show written with Joey McIntyre, premiered at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts in 2013), and has written comic books for DC, Marvel, Boom, Tokyopop and NBC, including two of the Heroes comics. Christine won the TV drama spec award at the Austin Film Festival in 2004 with a Six Feet Under spec called “The Strike.” She lives in Los Angles with her husband. Twitter: @kitmoxie.
Bill Broyles grew up in Baytown, Texas, attended Rice University and Oxford University, worked in the civil rights movement, and finished out the Sixties as a Marine infantry lieutenant in Vietnam. As a journalist he was the founding editor of Texas Monthly and from 1982 to 1984 was editor-in-chief of Newsweek.
He was the co-creator of the Emmy-Award -winning television series China Beach. He wrote the original screenplay for the movie Cast Away and the screenplay for Jarhead. He co-authored six other screenplays, including Apollo 13, Unfaithful, The Polar Express and Flags of Our Fathers. He was nominated for an Academy Award for his screenplay for Apollo 13, which won the Writers Guild award for best screenplay.
He has been involved with the Austin Film Festival from the beginning.
Wendy Calhoun has a BFA in Film and Television from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and was one of NYU’s first Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholars. She worked as an assistant and script reader in Hollywood before developing material as Director of Creative Affairs for Village Roadshow Pictures. After shifting her focus to television, Calhoun wrote, produced, and/or directed over 40 hours of non-fiction programs for PBS, Animal Planet, VH1, TLC,The Travel Channel, and The Discovery Channel including Co-Producing the second season of FOX’s Hell’s Kitchen. She began her scripted television career as a Staff Writer for NBC’s Raines starring Jeff Goldblum. Her prime time drama writing and producing credits include NBC’s Life starring Damian Lewis, FX’s Justified starring Timothy Olyphant, ABC’s prime time soap, Revenge starring Madeline Stowe, and ABC’s Nashville starring Connie Britton. Calhoun is currently a Co-Executive Producer/Writer for Fox’s new hip hop drama Empire staring Terence Howard from EPs Brian Grazer, Lee Daniels, and Danny Strong. EMPIRE is scheduled to premiere after American Idol in January, 2015. She also serves the Narrative Consultant for Electronic Arts’ new Battlefield Hardline video game slated for release in October, 2014. Calhoun received a Peabody Award and WGA Best New Series Nomination for Justified, which was named as one of the WGA’s Best 100 Written Series of all time. She received her second WGA Best New Series Nomination in 2012 for Nashville.
Kat Candler’s award winning short films Hellion and Black Metal have screened at Sundance, SXSW, Los Angeles Film Festival, San Francisco International Film Festival, Sarasota Film Festival, Maryland Film Festival and more. Her feature film, Hellion starring Aaron Paul and Juliette Lewis, premiered in the U.S. Dramatic Competition at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival and was released in theaters and on VOD through IFC and Sundance Selects. Hellion was a Sundance Creative Producing Lab participant and San Francisco Film Society/Kenneth Rainin Foundation Grant recipient. Candler was a recent recipient of the San Francisco Film Society/Kenneth Rainin Foundation Grant for her upcoming feature script, Black Metal. Candler is a film production Lecturer at the University of Texas.
Raised in four countries and fluent in two languages, Nkechi spent her formative years living in the Cote D’Ivoire and England, where she was a member of the Oxford Youth Theatre. Her short films have been featured in film festivals on multiple continents, including North America, Africa and Europe. Her short, Apartment A, aired nationally on ABC, NBC, FOX and CBS affiliates as part of Badami TV’s African American Short Films Showcase. With a Masters degree in International Economics from New YorkUniversity, Nkechi worked as a Senior Trader/Analyst at the prestigious Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Driven by her passion for writing, Nkechi embarked on bringing her experiences at the Federal Reserve to the small screen. Her original drama pilot, The Fed, was a 2011 Austin Film Festival teleplay finalist. Nkechi previously worked as a staff writer on The Finder, starring Geoff Stults and Michael Clarke Duncan. She is currently a writer/co-producer on Bones on Fox.
Stephen Clark is a partner in the West Hollywood, CA entertainment law firm, Lichter, Grossman, Nichols, Adler & Feldman, Inc. For over 13 years, he has represented writers, directors, actors and producers in film and television. His extensive experience includes a wide variety of individual rights and employment transactions as well as structuring independent film finance and distribution deals.
Before joining his current firm, he began his career as an entertainment litigator at Greenberg Glusker, and then transitioned to a position as a theatrical business affairs executive at MGM/UA. He is a graduate of Wake Forest University and the University of California Hastings College of the Law, and resides in Pacific Palisades, CA with his wife and three children.
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, and gives feedback on outlines, treatments, and screenplay drafts.
Carlos Coto is Executive Producer of the Austin-based cable series, From Dusk till Dawn. Previously, he was an executive producer of the internationally acclaimed spy series, Nikita. He has Also written and produced for 24, Heroes, Journeyman, The Dead Zone, and NCIS. He adapted the graphic novel Feeding Ground, a thriller about werewolves on the U.S.-Mexico border, for Ed Pressman Films. Coto was a consultant on the Emmy-winning HBO film, For Love or Country: The Arturo Sandoval Story. He has created several pilots and developed the series Mortal Kombat: Konquest. A former computer game designer, Coto worked on Spycraft: The Great Game, a CIA-based adventure that was named Macworld’s game of the year in 1995. Coto was a staff writer for The Miami Herald.
Jay is the writer/director of the beach party rock ‘n’ roll monster movie, Stomp! Shout! Scream! (2005), which premiered at the Austin Film Festival & Screenwriters Conference. The Austin Chronicle said, “Stomp! Shout! Scream! does it better than American International Pictures ever did… as much fun as an episode of Hullabaloo– snappy bouffants, earnest braniacs, hippy-hippy-shake and all.” The film has gone on to screen at over thirty film festivals. Awards include Best Feature at the Toofy Film Festival (Colorado), The Magnolia Independent Film Festival (Mississippi) and the Sweet Onion Film Festival (Washington). The film was also nominations for Best Cinematography and Best Set Design at the B-movie Film Festival (New York). In 2009, the film had a short theatrical run by Monogram Releasing and was re-packaged for release on DVD as Monster Beach Party A Go Go by Indican Pictures.
Jay is also well-known as Editor and Producer of the animated series Aqua Teen Hunger Force for Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim from 2000-2012. He also served as Supervising Editor and Producer on Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters (2007), which premiered on 950 screens in April 2007. Premiere Magazine called it, “the most successful full-on surrealist film since Bunnel and Dali’s 1930 L’Age d’Or.” A professional television and film editor since 1991, Jay’s credits also include documentaries for CNN and TBS, Cartoon Network’s Squidbillies, The Brak Show, Space Ghost Coast to Coast, and The Disney Channel’s Gravity Falls and Wander Over Yonder.
Jay Edward’s filmmaking career began when he wrote, directed, and edited three short science fiction films, known collectively as The Monster Trilogy (1998-2000). The Monster Trilogy has been shown in film festivals from Liverpool, England to Ontario, Canada to Austin, Texas, garnering enthusiastic reviews, including, “One of the funniest and most loving salutes to Z-grade films ever made… There is no blood or gore, just an audience in stitches. And rightly so!” (filethirteen.com).
Jay also co-directed and edited Y’all Come! The Hell Hole Swamp Festival (2002), a documentary profiling Jamestown, South Carolina, home of the annual Hell Hole Swamp Festival. The film screened in ten film festivals, including The Rural Route Film Festival in New York City, The Maryland Film Festival, and Detroit Docs, garnering two Best-of awards.
In 2011-12, Jay partnered with Dad’s Garage Theater to direct and edit several short films, including a music video for a sweet country love song entitled Rusty Trombone, which garnered the Best Music Video Award at the 2011 Los Angeles Comedy Festival.
Jay lives in Los Angeles, CA, currently works for Disney TV Animation, and is polishing-up several monster movie scripts.
Stephen Falk is the Creator/Showrunner of You’re The Worst, an FX comedy pilot, 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.)
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.
director True Detective, Jane Eyre, writer/director Sin Nombre
Greg Garrett has been a moderator and panelist at the conference for over a decade, interviewing luminaries from Lawrence Kasdan to Damon Lindelof. He is also the Festival’s scholarly liaison, consulting on grant making, the Young Filmmaker’s Program, and the On Story book. Himself the author of four acclaimed novels and a number of nonfiction works on film and culture, Greg is 2013 Centennial Professor at Baylor University, where his students have written for Hollywood and TV and published short stories and novels.
Award-winning filmmaker Mick Garris began writing fiction at the age of twelve. By the time he was in high school, he was writing music and film journalism for various local and national publications, and during college, edited and published his own pop culture magazine. He spent seven years as lead vocalist with the acclaimed tongue-in-cheek progressive art-rock band, Horsefeathers.
His first movie business job was as a receptionist for George Lucas’s Star Wars Corporation, where he worked his way up to running the remote-controlled R2-D2 robot at personal appearances, including that year’s Academy Awards ceremony. Garris hosted and produced “The Fantasy Film Festival” for nearly three years on Los Angeles television, and later began work in film publicity at Avco Embassy and Universal Pictures. It was there that he created “Making of…” documentaries for various feature films.
Steven Spielberg hired Garris as story editor on the Amazing Stories series for NBC, where he wrote or co-wrote 10 of the 44 episodes. Since then, he has written or co-authored several feature films (*Batteries Not Included, The Fly II, Hocus Pocus, Critters 2, Riding the Bullet) and teleplays (Amazing Stories, Quicksilver Highway, Virtual Obsession, The Others, Desperation, Nightmares & Dreamscapes, Masters of Horror), as well as directing and producing in many media: cable (Psycho IV: The Beginning, Tales of the Crypt, Masters of Horror), features (Critters 2, Sleepwalkers, Riding the Bullet), television films (Quicksilver Highways, Virtual Obsessions, Desperation), series pilots (The Others, Lost in Oz), and network miniseries (The Stand, The Shining, Steve Martini’s The Judge).
He created and Executive Produced the Masters of Horror series, an anthology series of one-hour horror films written and directed by the most famous names in the fear-film genre: John Carpenter, Tobe Hooper, George Romero, John Landis, Dario Argento, and several others. He also created the NBC spin-off, FEAR ITSELF.
He is currently in production on a 4-hour miniseries adaptation of Stephen King’s novel, Bag of Bones, which he is directing as well as executive producing for A&E.
A Life in the Cinema, his first book, is a collection of short stories and a screenplay based on one of the included stories, achieved widespread critical acclaim, and his short fiction has been published in numerous books and magazines. His second book, Development Hill, is his first novel. Two novellas, Snow Shadows and Tyler’s First Act are being published in 2012. Mick is also Creator and on-camera host for FEARnet’s interview series, Post Mortem with Mick Garris.
Mick is the Executive Producer on the upcoming adaptation of Laura Hillenbrand’s novel Unbroken, to be directed by Angelina Jolie and written by Joel & Ethan Coen and Richard LaGravenese.
Garris lives in Studio City, California, with his wife, Cynthia, an actress, musician, composer and muse.
Terry George is a native of Belfast, Northern Ireland. After moving to New York in 1981, he wrote the prison escape play, The Tunnel, which was the first of numerous collaborations with writer/director Jim Sheridan. In 1992 George co-wrote In the Name of the Father which was nominated for seven Academy Awards including Best Adapted Screenplay. 1996 saw George named as Young European Film Director of the Year for his directorial debut Some Mother’s Son. Since then he has written and directed numerous television shows and feature films including, A Bright Shining Lie, The District, Hart’s War, Reservation Road and Stand Off. In 2004 he wrote, directed and produced Hotel Rwanda which was nominated for three Academy Awards including Best Original Screenplay. In 2012 Terry and his daughter Oorlagh George won the Academy Award for Live Action Short Film for their Northern Ireland reconciliation story The Shore.
Head of TV Literary Talent Agent, ICM Partners
Peter Gould is co-creator and co-showrunner of the highly anticipated television series Better Call Saul, a spinoff from the Golden Globe, Peabody and Emmy award-winning Breaking Bad. Conceived and created in collaboration with Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan, Better Call Saul stars Bob Odenkirk as Saul Goodman; a character Peter originated in season two of Breaking Bad.
In 2013, Guinness World Records named Breaking Bad the highest-rated TV series of all time, citing its season 5 Metacritic score of 99 out of 100. Rising from staff writer to co-executive producer, Peter wrote for all five seasons of Breaking Bad. Peter and the rest of the writing staff won the Writers Guild Award for Outstanding Drama Series in 2012, 2013 and 2014 as well as an Emmy for Best Dramatic Series in 2013. In addition to writing and producing, Peter directed two episodes of the series, including the penultimate episode.
Peter began his filmmaking career at the USC Graduate Film Program where he won the Nissan Focus Award for his student film. He has since written screenplays and pilots for HBO, USA, Showtime, TNT, CBS and the FX network. Peter also wrote and directed the independent feature film MEETING DADDY, starring Lloyd Bridges and Josh Charles.
Peter won a 2012 Writers Guild Award for his screenplay Too Big to Fail. The HBO movie, based on the bestselling book by Andrew Ross Sorkin, was directed by Curtis Hanson and stars William Hurt, Paul Giamatti, Billy Crudup, Tony Shalhoub, Bill Pullman, Cynthia Nixon, James Woods, Ed Asner and Topher Grace. The film garnered eleven Emmy nominations, including one for Peter’s scripts.
A native New Yorker, Peter lives in Los Angeles with his wife and daughter.
Susannah Grant received Academy Award®, Writers Guild and BAFTA nominations for best original screenplay for Erin Brockovich. She also wrote or co-wrote the screenplays for Pocahontas (1995), Ever After, (1998), 28 Days (2000), In Her Shoes, (2005), Charlotte’s Web (2006) based on the book by E.B. White, and The Soloist (2009). In 2007, Grant wrote and directed Catch and Release.
From 1995-1998, Grant was a writer-producer-director on the Fox television series Party of Five, which received a Golden Globe Award for Best TV Drama. She created and was an executive producer on the CBS series A Gifted Man (2011 – 2012).
Upcoming projects include the feature The 5th Wave (Sony, 2015, currently filming), the TV series Members Only (ABC TV, 2015) and a dramatization of the Anita Hill/Clarence Thomas hearings for HBO.
Grant is a graduate of Amherst College (B.A, English), and the American Film Institute’s Center for Advanced Film and Television Studies (M.F.A, screenwriting). In 1992, she was a recipient of the Nicholl Fellowship in screenwriting given by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Creator and Executive Producer of NBC’s Kings and ABC’s The River, Green has also written and produced for other television shows including Heroes, Everwood, Jack & Bobby, Smallville, Cupid and Sex and The City.
Green’s feature work includes co-writing the Warner Bros./DC Comics adaptation of The Green Lantern.
Projects in development include Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner project, a sequel to Prometheus, a film adaptation of Agatha Christie’s Murder On The Orient Express, and a television adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods.
As a contributor to DC Comics, Green is the author of the graphic novel Batman: Lovers and Madmen, and co-author of Superman/ Batman: The Search for Kryptonite, Superman/ Batman: Finest Worlds, Supergirl: Last Daughter of Krypton, and Supergirl: Girl in the World.
Dan Guando is Executive Vice President of Acquisitions at The Weinstein Company, where he has worked for the last ten years. During his time at TWC, Dan has overseen the acquisition and release of dozens of films, including Fruitvale Station, Philomena, Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom, The Grandmaster, The Artist, Blue Valentine, Bully, and the upcoming The Railway Man, Begin Again, The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby, Keep On Keepin’ On and The Imitation Game.
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.
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.
James V. Hart was born in Shreveport, Louisiana and grew up in Ft. Worth Texas on Drive-In Movies and Saturday Matinees. Soon after graduating from SMU in Dallas, he began producing films in the 1970’s. His first feature film, Summer Run, opened the USA film festival at SMU in Dallas Texas.
Hart settled in New York City with his wife, son and daughter, and began his screenwriting career. His writing/producing credits include; Hook, directed by Steven Spielberg based on an idea by Hart’s then 6 year old Son, Jake, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, directed by Francis Ford Coppola, Muppet Treasure Island, directed by Brian Henson, and Contact, directed by Robert Zemeckis.
Other writing/producing credits include: Mary Shelley’s Frankentsein, Tuck Everlasting, Sahara, Jack And The Beanstalk: The Real Story, Lara Croft: Tombraider – The Cradle Of Life, and August Rush.
Hart is also the founder of the Peter Pan Children’s Fund, encouraging philanthropy by children, young adults, and adults in support of children’s hospitals/organizations worldwide and associated programs for children that focus on illness and injury prevention, family centered care, research and rehabilitation. Find out more about the Peter Pan Children’s Fund at www.peterpanchildrensfund.org.
Noah Hawley is an American film and television producer, screenwriter, composer, and author. He wrote and produced the television series Bones (2005-present) and also created The Unusuals (2009) and My Generation (2010). Hawley also wrote the screenplay for the film Lies and Alibis (2006) starring Steve Coogan and Rebecca Romijn. His most recent series, Fargo, premiered in April of this year on FX.
Noah is the author of four novels including A Conspiracy of Tall Men, Other People’s Weddings, The Punch and The Good Father.
Noah began writing as a release from his job at the Legal Aid Society back inNew Yorkwhere he worked with abused and neglected juveniles. He then moved to San Francisco and met critically acclaimed author Po Bronson who invited him to join “The San Francisco Writers’ Grotto,” an organization where writers, filmmakers and storytellers practice their craft.
Jason Headley’s short films have been featured on NBC’s TODAY Show, SundanceTV, the front pages of Funny or Die, Reddit, and Digg, chosen as a Finalist for the Comedy Central/NYTVF competition, and Vimeo Staff Picks. His short It’s Not About the Nail has over 12 million views and counting. Coming from a long line of yarn-spinners and bullshitters, Jason began his storytelling career in earnest with the publication of his novel, Small Town Odds.
Eric Heisserer is a writer/director whose last film, Hours, premiered in Austin at SXSW 2013. Prior to that, his produced work had been on studio horror franchises like Final Destination 5 and The Thing. Recently, his sci-fi feature adaptation of Ted Chiang’s Story Of Your Life earned a record-breaking distribution deal at Cannes, with Amy Adams attached to star and Denis Villenueve to direct. Eric is currently adapting another Ted Chiang sci-fi story for Fox, the comic book Harbinger for Sony, plus producing an original feature with Alcon, and writing a graphic novel for Dark Horse.
Amanda Silver was raised in New York City and earned a BA in History from Yale University. She was an executive assistant at Tri-Star and Paramount Pictures before enrolling at University of Southern California’s School of Cinema Television, where she received an MFA in Screenwriting.
The Hand That Rocks the Cradle was Silver’s thesis script at USC. It was followed by an Ace Award-winning episode of the Showtime series Fallen Angels, entitled “Murder Obliquely.”
Eye For An Eye was Silver’s second collaboration with husband and partner, Rick Jaffa. It was soon followed by The Relic.
Silver’s major writing influence is her grandfather, screenwriter Sidney Buchman, who wrote several classics including Here Comes Mr. Jordan and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.
Rick Jaffa, a native of DeSoto, Texas, earned his BA in History from Southern Methodist University and his MBA from the University of Southern California.
Jaffa began his entertainment career in the mailroom of the William Morris Agency. He advanced through the ranks to become executive assistant to legendary agent Stan Kamen, then head of the Motion Picture Department. Jaffa was subsequently promoted to agent, representing writers and directors. In that capacity, he helped package films as diverse as Robocop and The Trip to Bountiful.
After a short stint as a studio executive, Jaffa co-wrote his first screenplay, Hellbent and Back, which sold to Hollywood Pictures.
Jaffa’s first collaboration with his wife and partner, Amanda Silver, resulted in The Hand That Rocks The Cradle, which Silver scripted and Jaffa executive produced.
Eye for an Eye was Jaffa and Silver’s first screenwriting collaboration. It was followed by The Relic a few years later.
The couple wrote and produced Rise of the Planet of the Apes at 20th Century Fox and, most recently, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.
They reside in Pacific Palisades, California, with their son, Joe, and their daughter Franki.
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, and was the executive producer of Vince Gilligan’s Breaking Bad.
Barry Josephson is a 35-year veteran in the entertainment industry with a wealth of diverse experience in film, television and music. He has established mainstream success through numerous motion pictures, television series and specials across a variety of genres. As president of Josephson Entertainment, Josephson’s business acumen is derived from the various positions he has held, ranging from a successful talent manager, film & TV producer, and president of production at Columbia/SONY Pictures.
Josephson has numerous feature film and television projects in various stages of production. His producing credits include the international hit film, Enchanted, starring Patrick Dempsey, Amy Adams, James Marsden and Susan Sarandon; the 20th Century Fox family adventure film, Aliens in the Attic, written by Mark Burton; and the hit Warner Bros. comedy Life as We Know It, which starred Katherine Heigl and Josh Duhamel. He most recently produced the indie comedy Someone Marry Barry, written and directed by Academy Award nominee Rob Pearlstein. He is also in pre-production on a number of feature projects, including Dirty Grandpa at Universal, Apex, and The Dive for 20th Century Fox & Lightstorm Entertainment.
Mr. Josephson is the Executive Producer of the long running hit series Bones in its ninth season on the FOX Network. He is currently in production on the series Turn for the AMC Network, which will premiere in April 2014. The suspenseful epic drama tells the story of George Washington’s spies, ‘The Culper Ring’, and their activities during the Revolutionary War. Turn stars Jamie Bell, is written by Craig Silverstein (Nikita), and the pilot was directed by Rupert Wyatt (Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes); the series is based on the book “Washington’s Spies: The Story of America’s First Spy Ring” by Alexander Rose.
Other box office successes under his Josephson Entertainment producing shingle include Hide and Seek, starring Robert De Niro; Like Mike, from 20th Century Fox; The Ladykillers, written and directed by the Coen Brothers and starring Tom Hanks; and Wild Wild West, starring Will Smith.
Josephson’s past television credits include the FOX drama The Finder, the critically acclaimed Maximum Bob, The Tick, Fantasy Island, and the HBO/FOX series Tales from the Crypt. He executive-produced the syndicated show Pat Croce Moving In, as well as a number of cable comedy specials.
Before embarking on full-time producing duties, Josephson was president of worldwide production for Columbia/Sony Pictures, where he began his six-year stint with the studio as a senior vice president of production. During his tenure, Josephson was responsible for such hits as Men In Black, Air Force One, In The Line Of Fire, The Fifth Element, Anaconda, Bad Boys, The Professional and The Craft.
Prior to Columbia Pictures, Josephson held a similar post at Joel Silver’s Silver Pictures, overseeing films such as Die Hard 2 and Lethal Weapon 3. Josephson’s additional film producing credits include The Last Boy Scout and Ricochet.
Josephson was a founder of Sandollar Films, which produced the cult classic Buffy the Vampire Slayer along with several other feature films and telefilms. Josephson’s earlier endeavors included a post as VP of Lorimar Productions, where he oversaw the music division’s interest in feature film and television programming.
Working in the realm of personal management, Josephson shepherded the careers of performers such as Whoopi Goldberg, Patti Labelle, the Pointer Sisters and Paula Abdul.
Josephson is a founding member of Comic Relief. Hosted by Robin Williams, Billy Crystal and Whoopi Goldberg, the comedy concert series raised millions of dollars to aid the plight of the homeless. He is an active advocate of animal rights and sponsors The Millan Foundation for Rescued Pets. Josephson played a pivotal role in the HBO Aspen Comedy Festival, and currently does so in the following organizations: the Commitment to Life Benefit (Supporting AIDS Project Los Angeles); The NHL Entertainment Board; and as a founding member of the 20-year running Heart of Austin Film Festival for screenwriters where he is a current board member.
Josephson lives in Pacific Palisades, CA with his wife Brooke and daughter Shira.
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”.
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 was released last year starring Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Terrence Howard, Paul Dano, Melissa Leo and Viola Davis and it is written by Madhouse client Aaron Guzikowski. The National Board of Review named it Best Ensemble film of 2013 and it was nominated for an Oscar for best cinematography.
Madhouse and Sam Raimi produced the comedy Murder of a Cat which stars Fran Kranz, Greg Kinnear, and Nikki Reed and was written by Madhouse client Christian Magalhaes & Bob Snow. It premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival. Madhouse is in PRE-production on DreamWorks time travel movie Glimmer written by Madhouse client Carter Blanchard. Madhouse is producing Rome, Sweet Rome for Warner Brothers, Bermuda Triangle for Warner Brothers with Atlas Entertainment, Black Box for Universal with Scott Stuber, and 12/24 with Chris Columbus and David Guggenheim attached to produced.
Additional Madhouse clients include:
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 is currently writing The Jungle Book for Disney with Jon Favreau to direct. Shana Feste who wrote and directed the Universal remake of Endless Love starring Alex Pettyfer and Gabriella Wild. Nick Schenk who wrote Gran Torino for Warner Bros. and wrote the upcoming film The Judge for Warner Bros. starring Robert Downey Jr., Robert Duvall, Vera Farmiga with David Dobkin directing.
For additional info please visit www.madhouseent.net and follow via @madhouse_ent
Kristen Konvitz is the New York-based Manager of Film for global crowdfunding platform, Indiegogo. Her role includes bringing in film projects that are in varying stages and overseeing them through their crowdfunding campaigns. She is instrumental in building relationships between both established and up and coming talent and also performs community outreach for the New York filmmaking community. Prior to joining Indiegogo, she spent 7 years as the Director of Acquisitions and Production at Wild Bunch, one of the leading independent film sales, financing & distribution companies. She began working in acquisitions at The Weinstein Company and made the transition to Wild Bunch to assist in opening its first U.S. office. She has also produced numerous award winning short films and music videos. Kristen holds a B.S. in media studies from New York University and a M.F.A. in film from Columbia University.
writer Rounders, Ocean’s Thirteen, Runaway Jury; writer/director Solitary Man
Neil LaBute burst onto the filmmaking scene at the 1997 Sundance Film Festival with his feature debut, In the Company of Men. The film went on to win the Filmmaker Trophy at the festival, as well as the New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best First Feature. In addition to Sundance, it screened at the Cannes, Edinburgh, and Deauville Film Festivals and won two Independent Spirit Awards.
Following on the success of In the Company of Men, LaBute continued to push boundaries on screen and stage and has established himself as both a leading playwright and film writer/director. Among his films are Your Friends and Neighbors, Nurse Betty, The Shape of Things, Lakeview Terrace, Some Velvet Morning and the short films sexting and BFF. His most recent feature film is Dirty Weekend, starring Matthew Broderick and Alice Eve. It is currently in post-production and will premiere in early 2015.
LaBute’s plays have been Tony and Olivier Award nominated and staged throughout the world. They include bash: latter-day plays, The Shape of Things, The Mercy Seat, The Distance From Here, Autobahn, Fat Pig, Some Girl(s), This Is How It Goes, Wrecks, Filthy Talk for Troubled Times, In a Dark Dark House, reasons to be pretty (Tony Award nominated for Best Play), The Break of Noon, In A Forest, Dark And Deep, Reasons to Be Happy and the forthcoming MCC premiere The Money Shot. LaBute is also the author of Seconds of Pleasure, a collection of short fiction which was published by Grove Atlantic.
writer The One I Love
Film Independent, Artist Development Manager
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.”
Chris Lowell made his directorial debut with Beside Still Waters, which won both the Jury Prize and the Audience Award at Austin Film Festival. 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 in the new play Jacuzzi at Ars Nova this fall. Beside Still Waters will be released November 21st.
Currently working with a group of filmmakers residing in almost a dozen countries around the globe, Lowery is a regular on the festival circuit and works closely with both the major domestic studios as well as independent financiers to seek out the best solutions to consult APA clients at the highest level.
His clients have achieved success in almost every outlet for creative storytelling; including features, scripted television, reality, books, commercials, and web series.
Previous to moving to APA, Lowery worked at the William Morris Agency and United Talent Agency where he assisted closely a wide range of talent and literary clients ranging from Harrison Ford and Johnny Depp to the Coen Brothers and Wes Anderson.
As a writer, Lowery has sold two original feature ideas to studios.
A native of Jackson, Mississippi; Lowery is a graduate and former varsity football player at Vanderbilt where he was academic ALL-SEC in 2000.
Danny Manus is one of the most in-demand script consultants as CEO of No BullScript Consulting (www.nobullscript.net) and author of No B.S. for Screenwriters: Advice from the Executive Perspective. He was ranked one of the Top 15 “Cream of the Crop” script consultants in CS Magazine. He was previously the Director of Development for Clifford Werber Productions (Cinderella Story, Sydney White), where he sold To Oz to United Artists. He was also Development Consultant for Eclectic Pictures (Lovelace) and the DOD and Production Coordinator at Sandstorm Films (The Covenant, 8MM2), which had a first look deal at Screen Gems. Danny is also a producer, a columnist for ScriptMag, a judge four years running for the PAGE Awards, and teaches seminars and workshops across the country. You can follow him on Twitter @DannyManus.
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.
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 working on Glory Dogs for Jerry Bruckheimer and Disney, The Raven at Universal Pictures, starring Gerard Butler, and another super secret Disney adventure movie.
Kailey Marsh knew early on she wanted to work in film and television. A Florida native, she moved to LA to pursue her career. With a love of horror movies that extends back to her childhood, she knew she wanted to work in the dark genre space. After assisting Steven Schneider on Paranormal Activity, Kailey started working as an assistant at Circle of Confusion where she realized she wanted to become a manager. She is now an independent manager and producer representing screenwriters and directors in the feature, television and new media space.
Kailey also created The Blood List in 2009 (Bloodlist.com), which is the annual list highlighting the top 13 best unproduced, dark genre screenplays of the year. She partnered with Stage32.com & The Happy Writers in mid-2014 to start the ‘New Blood’ dark genre screenplay competition to help find / promote up and coming writers from around the world. The top 6 will be features on this year’s Blood List under the ‘New Blood’ section.
Cindy McCreery is an Assistant Professor of Screenwriting in the Department of Radio-TV-Film at The University of Texas at Austin. Previously she taught screenwriting at UC Santa Barbara and UCLA. She is a graduate of the Walt Disney/ABC Feature Writing Fellowship program and has sold feature projects to New Line Cinema, Walt Disney Studios, Paramount Pictures, Nickelodeon, Disney Channel, National Geographic Films, Warner Brothers and MGM. She has written two musicals for The Disney Channel, the most recent one, Unplugged is slated for a 2015 production. In the Spring of 2014 she wrote two episodes of the SyFy series, Haven based on Steven King’s short story, The Colorado Kid. She also has an original drama pilot in development with Robert Redford’s Sundance Productions and is writing a feature for Broken Road Productions.
For the past 15 years, Ilyse McKimmie has served as a key staff member of Sundance Institute’s Feature Film Program. As Labs Director, she leads the selection process for U.S.-based filmmakers for the Screenwriters and Directors Labs, performs ongoing outreach to new filmmakers, provides continuous support to alumni filmmakers, produces the Screenplay Reading Series, leads the program’s diversity initiatives, and plays a significant ongoing role in the Creative Producing Fellowship and the launch of the recently announced Episodic Story Lab. Films developed at the Labs during her tenure include Fruitvale Station, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Martha Marcy May Marlene, Pariah, Sin Nombre, Sleep Dealer, Half Nelson, Red Road, Me and You and Everyone We Know, Paradise Now, and Maria Full of Grace, among many others. Prior to joining Sundance Institute, she began her career in the film world with a position at International Creative Management, working in the talent, literary, and story departments. Soon after followed a stint at Sony-based Red Wagon Productions, during which time the company developed and produced such films as Gladiator, Girl, Interrupted, and Spy Game. Her roots lie in the theatre; her first job after graduating from UCLA’s School of Theatre, Film and Television was as a production stage manager in the Los Angeles theatre scene.
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.
Troy Anthony Miller is a writer, filmmaker, and improv comedian who lives in Austin, Texas. He teaches improvisational storytelling to businesses such as Whole Foods and Google, and his touring comedy troupe Confidence Men: Improvised David Mamet is a two-time winner of the B. Iden Payne Award for Improvisational Theatre (Austin’s version of the Tony’s). Severance, a feature film he wrote and directed, made its World Premiere at AFF in 2005, and his screenplay The Hitch (2013 AFF Horror Award Winner) is being developed by filmmaker Frank Darabont (The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile, The Walking Dead).
Mike Million is a screenwriter & director originally from Arlington, Virginia. He started his career as a journalist at The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer but turned to screenwriting after writing a script called Analog in 2005. That script landed on the very first Black List and began Mike’s career in Hollywood. He followed up with another Black List script – a dark comedy called Tenure – which he directed in 2010. The $5 million indie starred Luke Wilson, Gretchen Mol & David Koechner. Tenure played at the 2010 Austin Film Festival and was called “touching” and “warm as a cardigan sweater” by the Austin papers. Recently, Mike set up his spec comedy Holiday Hire with Mandate Pictures. He’s currently writing Staycation for Todd Phillips at Warner Brothers.
Mike graduated from the University of Virginia and was a screenwriting fellow at the American Film Institute. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife Laura and two young kids Chloe and Nathan. And yes, Million is his real last name (everyone asks).
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 was broadcasted 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.
Logan Mulvey is the CEO of Amplify, an all-rights film distributor with offices in Los Angeles and New York. Amplify releases films across all platforms, with an emphasis on matching quality films with the proper release strategy on a film-by-film basis. The company was formed from a merger between GoDigital and Variance Films; both labels continue to exist as individual brands under the Amplify umbrella, with Variance taking an independent and foreign focus, and GoDigital remaining a major player in the digital distribution space.
Mulvey oversees acquisitions, business development, sales, and overall strategy for Amplify. The company’s upcoming releases include: The Zero Theorem, directed by Terry Gilliam and starring Christoph Waltz and Matt Damon; The Better Angels, from writer/director AJ Edwards and executive producer Terrence Malick; and God Help The Girl, written and directed by Stuart Murdoch of the indie pop band Belle and Sebastian.
He is also on the board of directors of the Entrepreneurs Organization, as well as the board of advisors for the San Diego Film Festival. He is a mentor at SXSW and a frequent speaker at digital entertainment conferences, including Variety’s BRIC and Film Finance Summits, Digital Hollywood, and the New York Film Commission at the Sundance Film Festival. In 2012, Mulvey was named one of The Hollywood Reporter’s 35 under 35 in their annual Next Generation list.
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.
writer/producer Beside Still Waters
Jason Neulander is an internationally-acclaimed writer, director, and producer whose work fuses multiple artistic disciplines with technology to create unique and original theatrical experiences. In the 90s, Neulander founded the avant-garde company Salvage Vanguard Theater in Austin, Texas, and during his fifteen-year run as Artistic Director developed and directed more than 50 original experimental plays and music-theater productions. During his tenure he was named “Best Theatre Director” three times by the readers of the Austin Chronicle and won numerous awards for his work. In his final years at Salvage Vanguard Theater, he designed and oversaw the construction of the company’s current home, a venue with two small theaters and a gallery for visual art. Of his work, the Austin American-Statesman said: “Neulander aims to change the world… Unlike most of his artistic compatriots, he is winning.” His current project, the transmedia sci-fi trilogy The Intergalactic Nemesis takes the form of graphic novels, radio plays, and live stage shows. The Live-Action Graphic Novel iteration of Intergalactic, is touring the world, including runs on Broadway and sold-out performances at the Kennedy Center. Book One: Target Earth was named “Best of Austin” in 2011 and has been featured in “Arts In Context” on PBS, on NPR’s “All Things Considered” and TBS’s CONAN (with Conan O’Brien as a performer). Book Two: Robot Planet Rising premiered in June, 2012, at the Long Center for the Performing Arts to rave reviews (“Makes you want to high-five your neighbor in anticipation of the next installment.” –CultureMap Austin), and Book Three: Twin Infinity premieres in September 2014.
The pair wrote the hit Fox Searchlight comedy/romance, (500) Days of Summer, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel, which was nominated for “Best Feature – Comedy” at the Golden Globe Awards 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 follow-up, The Spectacular Now, directed by James Ponsoldt and starring Shailene Woodley & Miles Teller, premiered at Sundance to rave reviews and garnered Neustadter and Weber an Independent Spirit Award Nomination for Best Screenplay.
Most recently, Neustadter and Weber wrote the adaptation of John Green’s The Fault In Our Stars starring Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort, Nat Wolff, Laura Dern, and Willem Dafoe. The film was made for 12 million and has just crossed 250 million worldwide.
Also in the works are several high profile projects including an adaptation of the best-selling Me Before You by Jojo Moyes; John Green’s Paper Towns, Rules of Civility based on the acclaimed novel by Amor Towles for Lionsgate; Where’d You Go, Bernadette for Annapurna Pictures; the comedy/romance Royal Wedding at Sony; and Rosaline, a comedy version of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet starring Felicity Jones, set to shoot this summer for Universal.
The pair have 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. Neustadter hails from Margate, NJ and currently lives with his wife and child in Los Angeles.
Executive Producer and Creator of Girlfriend’s Guide to Divorce for Bravo, Noxon is also Executive Producer and Co-Creator of Unreal for Lifetime, which will debut on that network in 2015. Noxon has written and executive produced for many critically acclaimed shows including Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice, Brothers & Sisters, Point Pleasant, and Still Life. She has also acted as consulting producer for Mad Men, Prison Break, Angel, and Glee. Noxon’s film credits include I Am Number Four and Fright Night. Her directing debut, the self-penned To the Bone, will shoot in 2015. A graduate of UC Santa Cruz, Noxon currently lives in Hollywood with her two children and is co-owner of the recently launched Grist & Toll, an urban flour mill in Pasadena.
co-creator/executive producer Treme; writer/producer The Wire, Law & Order, Homicide: Life on the Street
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.
Pamela Ribon is a TV writer, screenwriter and best-selling novelist (Why Girls Are Weird, You Take It From Here). 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 at Walt Disney Animation Studios, and creating a graphic novel for Oni Press. Her comedic memoir Notes To Boys (And Other Things I Shouldn’t Share in Public), which NPR called “brain-breakingly funny,” is out now.
Pamela was an Oprah.com contributor, a flagship contributor to Television Without Pity, and a weekly columnist for the Austin American-Statesman. She’s known as a pioneer in the blogging world with her successful website pamie.com, which has been spotlighted for Lifetime Achievement from the Weblog Awards. 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. With the support of her loyal fan base, Pamela co-created DeweyDonationSystem.org, a charity that helps books find needy libraries. She once made Oprah laugh with a vagina joke. (At least that’s what Gayle told her.)
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 follow her @pamelaribon, where she somehow writes even more. Pamela is proud to be both a former AFF semi-finalist and quarter-finalist.
Alvaro Rodriguez is a screenwriter who has co-authored the films Shorts and Machete, both directed by Robert Rodriguez, as well as The Hangman’s Daughter, a prequel to From Dusk Until Dawn. A frequent panelist and presenter at the Austin Film Festival, he has also curated an “Epoca de Oro” Mexican film series at the Museum of South Texas History and has presented on the smuggled subtext(s) in Machete at South Texas College. His border influenced short fiction has appeared in multiple publications both physical and digital, including Along the River (edited by David Bowles, 2011) and After Death (edited by Eric J. Guignard, 2013). He is currently developing a television series for Robert Rodriquez’s nascent El Rey television network while juggling fatherhood and family in along the South Texas border.
Scott Rosenberg has written the screenplays Things To Do 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. He co-created the ABC series October Road, Life On Mars and Happy Town. Rosenberg, along with his partners in Midnight Radio, is currently working on a TV series of the XBox game, Halo, for Showtime, with Steven Spielberg producing; as well as the CBS 13-episode summer series, Zoo, based on the James Patterson novel. Rosenberg is writing the feature adaptation of the Andrew Smith Y/A novel, Grasshopper Jungle for Sony Pictures, which has Edgar Wright attached to direct. And, along with his brother, Phil, recently sold the feature pitch, Fiend, to Dreamworks.
After many years writing for professional theater companies as well as scripting industrial films and children’s television, Danny Rubin began writing screenplays. His screen credits include Hear No Evil, S.F.W., and Groundhog Day, for which he received the British Academy Award for Best Screenplay and the Critics’ Circle Award for Screenwriter of the Year, as well as honors from the Writers Guild of America and the American Film Institute.
Rubin has taught screenwriting in Chicago at the University of Illinois, Columbia College, and the National High School Institute; at the Sundance Institute in Utah; the PAL Screenwriting Lab in England; the Chautauqua Institution in New York; at the College of Santa Fe in New Mexico; and at Harvard University as the Briggs-Copeland Lecturer on Screenwriting from 2008-2013.
Rubin holds a B.A. in Biology from Brown University and an M.A. in Radio, Television, and Film from Northwestern University.
He is married to librarian, web-designer, and architect Louise Rubin with whom he shares 2 children, 1 dog, and 2 inflatable fish.
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.
John Patrick Shanley is from The Bronx, New York. His plays include Outside Mullingar, Danny and the Deep Blue Sea, Savage in Limbo, Italian-American Reconciliation, Welcome to the Moon, Four Dogs and a Bone, The Dreamer Examines His Pillow, Dirty Story, Defiance, Beggars in the House of Plenty and Storefront Church. His theatrical work is performed extensively across the United States and around the world. For his play, Doubt, he received both the Tony Award and the Pulitzer Prize. In the arena of screenwriting, he has nine films to his credit, most recently Doubt, with Meryl Streep, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Amy Adams, which was nominated for five Academy Awards, including Best Adapted Screenplay. The film of Doubt was also directed by Mr. Shanley. Other films include Five Corners (Special Jury Prize, Barcelona Film Festival), Alive, Joe Versus the Volcano, which he also directed, and Live From Baghdad for HBO (Emmy nomination). For his script of Moonstruck he received both the Writers Guild of America Award and an Academy Award for best original screenplay. The Writers Guild of America awarded Mr. Shanley the 2009 Lifetime Achievement In Writing.
He followed this in 1990 with The Field which he also wrote and directed. In the same year he wrote the screenplay Into The West which was directed in 1992 by Mike Newell. In 1993 he wrote, produced and
directed In The Name of the Father and in 1995 he wrote and produced Some Mother’s Son, which was directed by Terry George. In 1997 he wrote, produced and directed The Boxer and in 1999 he produced Agnes Browne, directed by and starring Anjelica Huston. He was also executive producer of Borstal Boy, On The Edge and Bloody Sunday. In America, which he produced, directed and wrote was released in 2003. In 2005 he directed and produced Get Rich or Die Tryin’. Brothers was released in 2009 and Dream House in 2011.
Jim Sheridan’s films have achieved popular and critical acclaim throughout the world. His films have garnered sixteen Academy Award nominations and have won two Academy Awards as well as numerous prestigious international awards. Jim Sheridan lives in Dublin and is married with three children.
creator Turn, Terra Nova; writer/producer Nikita, Bones
Eric Warren Singer is a highly acclaimed screenwriter who has worked with and written movies for such noted directors as David Fincher, Gore Verbinski, Ron Howard, Ridley Scott, Ben Affleck, and Tom Tykwer. His first script, The Sky Is Falling, sold to Sony and made Mr. Singer an in-demand writer. This script was later named by both Premiere and Empire Magazine as one of the top ten of all-time unproduced screenplays. He then went on to write the script for The International in 2009, directed by Tom Tykwer and starring Clive Owen and Naomi Watts for Columbia Pictures.
Mr. Singer’s latest feature film to hit theaters is American Hustle, directed and co-written by David O. Russell and starring Bradley Cooper, Jeremy Renner, Jennifer Lawrence, Amy Adams, and Christian Bale. Among other recognitions, Mr. Singer and Mr. Russell won the prestigious New York Film Critics Circle and BAFTA awards for best Original Screenplay, and they were also nominated for Best Original Screenplay at the 2014 Academy Awards. Mr. Singer’s original script, formerly known as American Bullshit, came in at #8 on the annual Hollywood Black List in 2010.
Mr. Singer currently has a number of projects set up at various studios and has just completed a film for Doug Liman with Tom Hardy attached to star.
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.
Chris Sparling (@chrissparling) wrote the 2010 film Buried, for which he won “Best Original Screenplay” from the National Board of Review of Motion Pictures, as well as a Goya Award from the Spanish Academy of Cinematic Art and Sciences in the same category. His Black List script, ATM, was produced by Gold Circle Films and released by IFC in 2012. His most recent script, Sea of Trees, is slated to begin production in late 2014, starring Matthew McConaughey and directed by Gus Van Sant, and he is adapting the Jo Nesbo book Blood on Snow for Appian Way and Warner Brothers. Chris’s directorial debut, The Atticus Institute, produced by The Safran Company, which is expected to be released in 2014.
Sterling’s career began on the first season of Comedy Central’s South Park where he served as a staff writer, and wrote several episodes including “An Elephant [Makes Love To] A Pig.” Following South Park, he rose through the ranks as a writer and producer at FOX’s animated series, King of the Hill. After four seasons, he returned to Comedy Central, first as a writer and producer at The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, then as executive producer and show runner for The Sarah Silverman Program. Following Sarah, Dan began writing feature films, the first of which, Flarsky, made Hollywood’s 2011 “Black List” of Best Unproduced Screenplays. Sterling served as a writer and consulting producer on the first season of HBO’s Girls, for which he received a Writers’ Guild Award. In 2012, he joined the final season of NBC’s The Office as an executive producer. His first produced feature film, The Interview, starring Seth Rogen and James Franco, opens on October 10th.
writer/director Metropolitan, Barcelona, The Last Days of Disco, Damsels in Distress
Fred Strype is an award-winning screenwriter and filmmaker whose work has been screened and honored internationally. He is a tenured professor and the Director of the Filmmaking, Screenwriting & Media Arts Program at Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, NY. He served on the faculty of his alma mater, Columbia University in the Graduate Film Division where he earned his MFA. He heads up Raindance Pictures, an independent production company and is the former Executive Director of the Irving Texas Film Commission serving Dallas/Ft. Worth. He won the Grand Prize at the Nantucket Film Festival, The Showtime Tony Cox Award in Screenwriting and was also a 2008 member of the Nantucket Screenwriters Colony. He has been a screenwriting juror and conference moderator/panelist at the Austin Film Festival for five years, where he was a past award recipient for his screenwriting. His most recent work includes his award-winning short film, “Got Next” which just finished a three-year run on the festival circuit. He also just completed the 13-episode first season of the web series, “Socially Active” on which he is co-creator, executive producer and director with partner Douglas MacHugh.
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. Feature films include Hope Springs, Divergent, and her upcoming adaptation of The School for Good and Evil.
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.
Randall Wallace is the Oscar®-nominated creative force behind the epic storytelling of such critical and box-office hits as Braveheart, We Were Soldiers, Pearl Harbor, Secretariat, and Heaven is for Real.
Wallace’s skill with uncommon yet true tales of loyalty, courage and commitment from throughout human history has set him apart in Hollywood. His films have earned more than $1 billion dollars at the box office, but he is most sought after for something even more rare: a visual storytelling style that can make the past feel completely alive and screen characters from any time period compellingly real. He turned a forgotten Scottish warrior into a contemporary film hero in the screenplay for Braveheart; adapted a classic Alexandre Dumas novel into an all-star adventure of palace intrigue with his directorial debut The Man in the Iron Mask; examined the sacrifices of American soldiers with one of the best-reviewed war movies of the last two decades, We Were Soldiers; and forged a blockbuster tale of friendship and romance against the backdrop of an America under attack in the script for Pearl Harbor.
Wallace’s career in Hollywood has been unconventional, to say the least. Born in Jackson, Tennessee, he grew up in a vanishing world of country stores and potbelly stoves, where he once constructed a writing desk for himself out of pig-feed sacks. He went on to attend Duke University, where he studied Russian, religion, and literature, which he says made him acutely aware of how the past can be shockingly relevant to the present and would later influence the vibrant, dynamic way in which he would bring to life epic stories from history. After Duke, he put himself through a graduate year of seminary in a typically unusual way, by teaching martial arts (he is a black belt in Karate.)
Wallace continued down an ever-shifting path, managing an animal show at Nashville’s Opryland, signing a contract as a songwriter and writing articles for Architectural Digest (while living in a tiny, garage apartment). But it was when he moved to California in 1980 that he found what he was looking for, unexpectedly, when he read his first screenplay. Along with screenplays, he began writing novels – and today he is the author of seven books, including four original novels and three novel versions of the screenplays of his films. From the moment he read his first screenplay, he knew this was the form that would change his life.
Wallace was taken under the wing of leading television producer Stephen J. Cannell and spent several years writing for television series in the late 80s and early 90s. He struck out into features with Braveheart, which was inspired by a trip to Scotland to better get to know his roots as a Scottish American. It was there he learned about the true legend of medieval Scottish patriot William Wallace — and instantly saw the sweeping cinematic potential in his story of betrayal and sacrifice.
Braveheart became Wallace’s first produced screenplay when it drew the interest of director and star Mel Gibson, and ended up as the film success story of 1995, sweeping the Academy Awards® for Best Picture and Best Director and garnering Oscar® and Golden Globe nominations as well as the Writers Guild Award for Best Screenplay for Wallace.
The success of Braveheart sparked Wallace’s desire to direct. Making his directorial debut with his own screenplay for The Man in the Iron Mask, he drew an extraordinary cast including Leonardo DiCaprio, John Malkovich, Gabriel Byrne, Jeremy Irons and Gerard Depardieu.
Shortly after, he wrote the screenplay for the Jerry Bruckheimer blockbuster, Pearl Harbor, directed by Michael Bay and starring Ben Affleck, Josh Hartnett and Kate Beckinsale.
This was followed by Wallace’s second film as director, We Were Soldiers. Once again, Wallace spearheaded the project, after discovering the book We Were Soldiers Once, and Young, in an airport bookshop. Moved by its starkly honest account of a singular battle in the Vietnam War, Wallace purchased the rights himself with money he had earned from Braveheart. He then re-teamed with Mel Gibson to star in a film that would be widely acclaimed for its humanity and authenticity. Wallace was so committed to understanding the motivation of his characters that he even trained with career soldiers at the notoriously grueling U.S. Army Ranger School.
Secretariat would take Wallace into a completely different world, but one also full of inspired determination and people triumphing against the odds. Authenticity remained key as Wallace hand-picked the cast and literally went off to the races, immersing himself in the history and know-how of horseracing so that he could put it on screen in a way audiences had never experienced before. He shot on location in Kentucky and Louisiana, with as many as 36 horses on the set at once.
The sense of pulsating life at the core of Secretariat made it more than just a sports adventure tale for Wallace. “I love to take a great story and look for the poetics of it, look for what gives it the power of myth,” he sums up. “There’s a connection there with all of my films.”
In addition to his work as a filmmaker, Wallace is the founder of Hollywood for Habitat for Humanity and the father of three sons. In 1999, he formed his own company, Wallace Entertainment, which is focused on creating entertainment for worldwide audiences based on the classic values of love, courage and honor.
Michael H. Weber is a screenwriter and producer of various studio and independent films. With Scott Neustadter he adapted The Fault In Our Stars, based on the bestselling novel by John Green and Time Magazine’s #1 fiction book of 2012. They co-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 Awards and earned him an Independent Spirit Award and a Golden Satellite Award for Best Screenplay of the Year. They also co-wrote and executive produced the critically acclaimed independent film, The Spectacular Now, an official selection of the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. Among their other projects include an adaptation of Me Before You, the bestselling novel by Jojo Moyes, and Where’d You Go, Bernadette, an adaptation of Maria Semple’s bestselling novel for Annapurna. Since selling their first script in 2005 they have written for Fox, Warner Bros., Universal, Sony, Paramount and Disney.
Matthew Weiner serves as creator, Executive Producer, writer and director on the critically acclaimed drama Mad Men. Since the series premiere in 2007, Mad Men has become one of television’s most honored shows joining an elite group in 2011 when it became only the fourth drama to be awarded four consecutive Emmy® Awards for Outstanding Drama Series. Additional honors for the series include: three Golden Globe® Awards for Best Television Drama Series; a Peabody Award; three Producers Guild Awards; four Writers Guild Awards; two BAFTA Awards; five Television Critics Association Awards, including Program of the Year; and being named six years running to AFI’s Top 10 Outstanding Television Programs.
Weiner has been nominated for a total of 11 Emmy’s for Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series. He won the award for the series pilot, as well as for the Second Season episode, “Meditations in an Emergency,” with Kater Gordon, and for the Third Season episode, “Shut the Door. Have a Seat.” with Erin Levy. Most recently, Weiner won the WGA award for Best Episodic for the Season Five episode, “The Other Woman,” with Semi Chellas.
Weiner has also received Directors Guild nominations for his efforts behind the camera on “Meditations in an Emergency” in Season Two and the Season Three finale, “Shut the Door. Have a Seat.” In 2012, Weiner was awarded the Brandon Tartikoff Legacy Award, which is given annually to television professionals who exhibit extraordinary passion, leadership, independence and vision in the process of creating television programming.
In addition to his television credits, Weiner wrote and directed the feature film, You Are Here, featuring complex performances from iconic comedic actors Owen Wilson, Zack Galifianakis and Amy Poehler. You Are Here is an unexpected story about family, friendship and the people who keep us afloat while facing the compromises of life.
Weiner’s additional credits include serving as an Executive Producer and writer on The Sopranos, and writer on various television comedy series including The Naked Truth, Becker, and Andy Richter Controls the Universe.
Born in Los Angeles, Weiner studied Philosophy, Literature, and History at Wesleyan University. He also earned his MFA from the University of Southern California School of Cinema and Television. Weiner currently lives in Los Angeles with his wife, architect Linda Brettler, and their four sons.