July 12 – Stillwater

Stillwater Meet ONLINE from 7:00-10:00 PM Pacific Time on July 12th for an in-depth analysis and discussion of the screenplay STILLWATER.

LOGLINE: A father travels from Oklahoma to France to help his estranged daughter, who is in prison for a murder she claims she didn’t commit.

WRITERS: Two teams of screenwriters are credited in the Stillwater trailer. THOMAS BIDEGAIN & NOÉ DEBRÉ are from France. Bidegain has won two César Awards, one for Best Original Screenplay for the gritty prison crime thriller A Prophet, one for Best Adapted Screenplay for Rust And Bone, a romantic drama about a bouncer who falls in love with a woman who lost both her legs while training killer whales. TOM McCARTHY & MARCUS HINCHEY make up the second credited writing team for the film which was inspired by the real-life case of Amanda Knox. Hinchey, whose name is not on the 2/19/19 draft we will be reading and discussing, previously wrote All Good Things, a fictional account of accused murderer Robert Durst, starring Ryan Gosling, and Come Sunday, a Netflix movie about the real-life excommunication of Oklahoma minister Carlton Pearson. Stillwater is the first theatrical feature McCarthy has directed since 2015’s Spotlight won Academy Awards for Best Original Screenplay and Best Picture. His other films include The Station Agent, Win Win, and The Visitor, and he shared another Oscar nomination for his writing contributions to the Disney/Pixar animated hit Up.

(registration deadline: Friday, July 9)

Registration in advance is required to attend the discussion, and includes a copy of the script sent to you in advance.

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Stillwater is set to premiere at the Cannes Film Festival in July ahead of its July 30 release from Universal’s Focus Features. Academy Award winning screenwriter Matt Damon (the Bourne franchise, the Ocean’s trilogy) stars as the father. Academy Award nominee Abigail Breslin (Little Miss Sunshine, Zombieland) plays his Foxy Knoxy-like daughter. Damon’s character gets help overcoming language and cultural barriers from a lawyer played by Camille Cottin (Parisian Bitch, Princess Of Hearts).

Rated R. 122 pages. Drama.

JAMES N. FREY, author of How to Write a Damn Good Thriller, will lead our script analysis and discussion. James is one of America’s leading creative writing teachers. For over ten years, he conducted the popular Open Workshop at the Squaw Valley Community of Writers conference. He’s taught and lectured at dozens of other schools and conferences in America and Europe, including the Oregon Writers Colony, the Santa Barbara Writers Conference, and the California Writers Club conference. An award-winning playwright and author of nine novels including The Long Way to Die, which was nominated for an Edgar Award, and Winter of the Wolves, a Literary Guild selection, Frey is also the author of How to Write a Damn Good Novel, How to Write a Damn Good Novel II, How to Write Damn Good Fiction Using the Power of Myth, and How to Write a Damn Good Mystery.

January 11 – Spotlight

RegisterNow(registration deadline: Friday, January 8)

SpotlightMeet on the Fox Studios backlot for an in-depth analysis and discussion of the screenplay SPOTLIGHT.

The true story of how The Boston Globe‘s elite “Spotlight” team of investigative reporters uncovered the massive child molestation scandal and cover-up within the local Catholic Archdiocese.

DIRECTOR/CO-SCREENWRITER TOM McCARTHY – As an actor, McCarthy has appeared in such films as Meet the Parents and The Lovely Bones, and on the small screen in The Wire and Boston Public. His 2003 writing and directing debut, The Station Agent, starring Peter Dinklage, won the Waldo Salt screenwriting award at Sundance, Best First Screenplay at the Independent Spirit Awards, and a Best Screenplay BAFTA award. He received WGA nominations for that film as well as his next two, The Visitor and Win Win, and was nominated for an Oscar for co-writing Disney/Pixar’s Up.

CO-SCREENWRITER JOSH SINGER – Spotlight is Singer’s second feature film writing credit, following 2013’s The Fifth Estate, a fact-based thriller about WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.  Before writing for Fringe and The West Wing, for which he earned two WGA nominations, Singer interned at Disney, Nickelodeon, and Sesame Workshop, and graduated magna cum laude from Yale in mathematics and economics.

AWARDS – The film has already won the Independent Spirits’ Robert Altman Award for its ensemble cast, which includes Mark Ruffalo (Marvel’s The Avengers), Michael Keaton (Birdman), Rachel McAdams (Mean Girls), Liev Schreiber (X-Men Origins: Wolverine), John Slattery (Mad Men), Stanley Tucci (The Hunger Games franchise), and Billy Crudup (Almost Famous).

Spotlight is also nominated for a WGA award, four Spirit Awards for Best Feature, Director, Screenplay and Editing, three BAFTAs for Best Film, Supporting Actor (Mark Ruffalo), and Original Screenplay, and three Golden Globes for Best Motion Picture Drama, Director, and Screenplay, and has won Gotham Awards for Best Feature and Best Screenplay as well as the Hollywood Film Award for Screenwriter of the Year, with more accolades expected.

AWARDS UPDATE: The screenplay alone has won 15 more writing awards so far from: Boston Online Film Critics Association, Boston Society of Film Critics, Chicago Film Critics Association Awards, Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association, Detroit Film Critic Society, Florida Film Critics Circle, Indiana Film Journalists Association, Indiewire Critics’ Poll, Kansas City Film Critics Circle, Las Vegas Film Critics Society, Los Angeles Film Critics Association, Online Film Critics Society, Phoenix Critics Circle, Southeastern Film Critics Association, and St. Louis Film Critics Association.

It has also received an additional 14 screenplay nominations from: Alliance of Women Film Journalists, Austin Film Critics Association, Broadcast Film Critics Association, Houston Film Critics Society, London Critics Circle, North Carolina Film Critics Association, Phoenix Film Critics Society, San Diego Film Critics Society, San Francisco Fim Critics Circle, Satellite Awards, Toronto Film Critics Association, Utah Film Critics Assocation, Vancouver Film Critics Circle, and Washington DC Area Film Critics Association.

Producers and Production Companies: Steve Golin (The Revenant, HBO’s True Detective) and Michael Sugar (The Fifth Estate) for Anonymous Content, Nicole Rocklin and Blye Faust for Rocklin/Faust (The Queen Latifah Show), and Participant Media (Bridge of Spies, Beasts of No Nation).

Premiere: Venice Film Festival (September 3, 2015, out of competition). Also played at the Telluride and Toronto film festivals.

Release date: November 20 (Open Road Films). If you plan to go to the movie before our meeting, reading the script before watching the film is advised.

Rated R. 128 minutes. 131 pages. Drama.

Danny ManusDANNY MANUS,  founder of No BullScript Consulting, will provide in-depth analysis and lead our discussion. Author of No BS for Screenwriters: Advice from the Executive Perspective, Danny has taught workshops and seminars at prestigious events and venues including the Austin Film Festival, Great American Pitchfest, Screenwriting Expo, Sherwood Oaks, and more. As Director of Development for Clifford Werber Productions, he sold the family adventure project To Oz to United Artists and was instrumental in developing Sydney White (Amanda Bynes) and Just Add Water (Jonah Hill, Melissa McCarthy). He was also a Development Consultant for Eclectic Pictures and Director of Development for Sandstorm Films, and was named one of Screencraft’s “25 People Screenwriters Should Follow on Twitter (@DannyManus).”