Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Countdown to the Screenwriters’ Festival 2009

This year’s Screenwriters’ Festival in Cheltenham will be getting underway next Monday 26th October and, at time of writing, there are still some tickets remaining.

Speakers will include screenwriting heavyweights Simon Beaufoy (Slumdog Millionaire), Catherine Johnson (Mamma Mia), James Schamus (Brokeback Mountain), Armando Iannucci (In the Loop), Mark Tonderai (Hush), Ashley Pharoah (Life on Mars), as well as a whole host of writers and producers from decades of Dr Who.

The festival will bring together the figures and organisations responsible for commissioning the vast majority of all original TV and film drama in the UK including Ben Stephenson (Controller of BBC Drama Commissioning), Christine Langan (Creative Director BBC Films), Kate Harwood (Controller of Series and Serials, BBCDrama) and Tessa Ross (Controller of Film and Drama at Film4/Channel 4).

Also in attendance will be key figures from leading independent production companies like Warner Brothers, Focus Features, Kudos, Company, DNA, Aardman, Optimum releasing, Slingshot, Warp X, Origin Pictures, Artists Studios, Mammoth Screen, FAME and Big Talk, providing an opportunity to find out why mainstream audiences get the shows and films they see on TV and at the cinema.

Festival director David Pearson says: “The Film and TV industry’s key decision makers will be joining the UK’s leading writers, producers and directors, and this year there will be more market-focused meetings and networking that will once again lead to new projects being progressed and made. With our extended public events like Armando Iannucci’s ‘Funny Bits’ and Catherine Johnson’s ‘Musical Magic’, we are giving an even wider audience the chance to hear from the world’s leading screen story tellers.”

Other highlights include:
  • Speed Dating – a unique event where selected writers get a chance to sit down opposite some of the UK’s most prolific producers and agents and pitch either themselves or their projects.
  • Son of a Pitch – ten finalists receive a pitching masterclass from agent Julian Friedmann in preparation for a live pitching competition where they will have the chance to present their ideas to industry experts in front of an audience.
  • Scriptbites – throughout the festival, speakers and various guests will be available to sit and chat with delegates in a relaxing and intimate environment.
  • Scriptmarket – 30 shortlisted writers will have private meetings about their scripts with key players in the industry.
  • Scriptlibrary – Delegates can upload their taglines, synopses and first 10 pages of a script into a virtual wonderland of screenwriting, which anyone at the Festival can browse, providing an unmissable opportunity to get new projects seen, heard and known.
  • BAFTA Rocliffe New Writing Forum – Three 7-8 minute script extracts are selected, cast by a casting director and performed by professional actors to an audience of producers, development execs, directors and literary agents, allowing writers to see their new work in action and receive invaluable feedback from the industry.
In addition, the Festival will see the launch of the Writers' Guild's new guidelines: Writing Film – A Good Practice Guide (more on this soon)

A full programme of events and speakers can be found at screenwritersfestival.com

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