LOGLINE: A charismatic rancher inspires fear and awe in those around him, tormenting them until he finds himself exposed to the possibility of love.
THE WRITERS: The Power of the Dog is based on the 1967 novel of the same name by THOMAS SAVAGE, who, like one of the characters, moved with his mother and stepfather to a Montana cattle ranch as a boy in the 1920s, where he felt like a misfit. He wrote thirteen novels, all Westerns set in or connected to Montana, in a career spanning 44 years. The Power of the Dog is said to have previously been optioned five times, including once by Paul Newman, but did not make it to the screen until acclaimed Kiwi filmmaker JANE CAMPION read her stepmother’s copy of the book in 2017. In 1993, Campion became the first woman to win the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival for her best-known film, The Piano, which also earned her an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. Some of her other work includes The Portrait of a Lady starring Nicole Kidman, Holy Smoke! starring Kate Winslet and Harvey Keitel, In the Cut with Meg Ryan, and Top of the Lake, the first TV series to screen at the Sundance Film Festival. The Power of the Dog is her first feature film in over a decade.
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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The Power of the Dog leads this year’s Academy Awards with 12 nominations including Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, and four acting nominations. Furthermore, Jane Campion is the first woman ever to receive a second Best Director nomination, 28 years after her nomination for The Piano. The Netflix original film premiered last September at the Venice film festival where Campion won the Silver Lion award for directing. After a healthy festival run and a limited theatrical run, it began streaming on Netflix last December. It stars Benedict Cumberbatch (Dr. Strange), Kirsten Dunst (Spider-Man), Jesse Plemons (Breaking Bad), Kodi Smit-McPhee (X-Men: Apocalypse), Thomasin McKenzie (Jojo Rabbit), and Frances Conroy (American Horror Story).
The film has already won three Golden Globes, including Best Picture – Drama and Best Director, as well as hundreds of other awards and nominations from SAG, DGA, USC, BAFTA, and many more.
If you have not yet seen the movie, it is highly recommended that you first read the screenplay so your initial impression is from the writing on the page. Afterward, for extra credit, you are encouraged to also watch the film (currently streaming on Netflix) and/or read the novel (available from Amazon or your local library), as our discussion may include choices made in the process of adapting the novel to the script to a finished film.
Rated R. 106 pages. 123 minutes. Drama. Romance. Western.
DIANA LESMEZ will provide in-depth analysis and lead our discussion. A produced feature-film screenwriter and an award-winning filmmaker, Diana is a Jane-of-all-trades with vast industry experience in production, development, acquisitions, distribution, physical production, film finance, business and legal affairs, as well as new media. She wrote the adapted screenplay for the feature film The Journey Ahead starring Michael Madsen, and produced the feature film Culture Class in AmeriCCA directed by Emilio Estevez. Previously, she served as President of Production at a mini-studio, Arenas Entertainment in partnership with Universal Pictures, and was the Head of Development for a production entity, Patriot Pictures, and the industry liaison for Banque Paribas, a film financing institution, and has taught at the New York Film Academy. Via her banner company, Bumptious Media Consulting, Diana offers screenwriting and producing one-on-one coaching, workshops, and master classes, with a specialty in pitching and mastering communication skills. Follow her on Twitter (@DianaLesmez).