HamptonsFilm, home of Hamptons International Film Festival, announced today the selected fellows, screenplays and mentors for the 21st edition of their annual Screenwriters Lab, which will take place April 9-11, 2021. The Lab pairs rising screenwriters with established screenwriters, directors, and creative-producers for a weekend of one-on-one mentoring sessions. Given the current COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s lab will take place virtually.
“We are committed to celebrating 21 years of the HamptonsFilm Screenwriters Lab by continuing this early spring tradition virtually. We so very much appreciate that our mentors James, Jesse, and Sara have agreed to dedicate their time to this program and to working with these screenwriters. It’s a fitting announcement in Women’s History Month that all three selected screenwriters are female for the second time in three years.” said Anne Chaisson, Executive Director.
The three selected screenplays for 2021 are “Back Seat” by Lana Wilson, “Bear Lake” by Zoë Maltby, and “Samir, the Accidental Spy” by Charlotte Rabate. Full bios of participants are included below.
“Since the Lab’s inception just over two decades ago, over fifty screenplays have been developed at our lab, with many being produced, premiering, and winning awards at Festivals such as Sundance, Cannes, SXSW and more, in addition to screening theatrically around the world,” said David Nugent, Artistic Director of HamptonsFilm. “This year’s selected artists bring diverse, unique, and personal stories about people from all different walks of life. We are so excited to go on their journey with them.”
This year’s mentors include Independent Spirit Award winner James Ponsoldt, screenwriter of THE END OF THE TOUR, THE SPECTACULAR NOW, and SMASHED; Jesse Andrews, an award-winning screenwriter and New York Times best-selling novelist whose work includes ME, EARL AND THE DYING GIRL as well as Pixar’s upcoming LUCA; and Sara Colangelo, whose three feature films have world-premiered at Sundance and been released worldwide, including LITTLE ACCIDENTS and WORTH, as well as THE KINDERGARTEN TEACHER, which served as the Opening Night Film of the 2018 Hamptons International Film Festival. Both Colangelo (2013) and Ponsoldt (2008) are alumni of the HamptonsFilm Screenwriters Lab.
This year’s Lab is funded with support from the Melissa Mathison Fund. Previous recipients of support from the fund include Cathy Yan (DEAD PIGS, 2018 Sundance Film Festival), and Annabelle Attanasio (MICKEY AND THE BEAR, 2019 SXSW Film Festival). The fund was established in 2016 and named for the late, beloved Oscar®-nominated screenwriter, and strives to foster the continued development of female writers in the industry.
Highlights over the past two decades have included Michael Tyburski and Ben Nabors’ THE SOUND OF SILENCE, starring Peter Sarsgaard and Rashida Jones, which premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival; Ísold Uggadóttir’s AND BREATHE NORMALLY and Christina Choe’s NANCY, which both premiered at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival and received awards for directing and screenwriting, respectively; Destin Daniel Cretton’s SHORT TERM 12, starring Academy Award®-winning actors Brie Larson and Rami Malek, which won the Grand Jury and Audience Award at SXSW in 2013; Justin Schwartz’s THE DISCOVERERS, starring Griffin Dunne, which made its world premiere at HIFF 2012; Sara Colangelo’s LITTLE ACCIDENTS, which premiered at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, starring Elizabeth Banks and Chloe Sevigny; and Claudia Myers’s FORT BLISS, starring Michelle Monaghan and Ron Livingston, which was released in 2014.
Photos of this year’s mentors and participants are available here. For more information on this program, please visit the HamptonsFilm website. The 29th annual Hamptons International Film Festival will take place from October 7 – 13, 2021.
“Back Seat” by Lana Wilson
Logline: When a single split-second decision leads to a woman’s life turning upside down, she fights to prove that she’s a worthy mother—to the courts, her children, and herself.
Bio: Lana Wilson is an Emmy-winning director and writer. Her latest film, the Taylor Swift documentary MISS AMERICANA, premiered on the opening night of the 2020 Sundance Film Festival, was a New York Times and IndieWire Critic’s Pick, and is a Netflix Original. It was named one of the Five Best Documentaries of the Year by the National Board of Review. Previous work includes THE DEPARTURE (2017 Tribeca Film Festival, Independent Spirit Award nominee for Best Documentary), A CURE FOR FEAR (IDA Award Nominee for Best Short-Form Series), and AFTER TILLER, which premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award, and won an Emmy Award for Best Documentary.
“Bear Lake” by Zoë Maltby
Logline: “Bear Lake” follows the intertwined journeys of a queer Utah teenager and a Mormon pioneer woman, separated by a century but cosmically united through a mythical, brooding lake monster.
Bio: Zoë Maltby is a writer, director, and actor hailing from Sleepy Hollow, NY. She recently completed post-production on her first short film, THE 45TH ANNUAL MODEL UNITED NATIONS ALL-STAR ALL-SCHOOL CONFERENCE. Playwriting credits include my parents are here tonight (Access Theatre), Reunion (Off With Her Head Productions), and Oh Dracula, My Dracula (Hatchlings NYC). She holds a B.A. in Theatre from Northwestern University.
“Samir, the Accidental Spy” by Charlotte Rabate
Logline: Samir, 12, and his family escape to Lebanon after the 1966 Syrian coup d’état. Convinced that his father is a spy, he leads an investigation with his new girlfriend Christine. However, his father’s double life has nothing to do with diplomacy.
Bio: Charlotte Rabate is best known for her viral commercial for Durex, which won the AICP award and the Porsche Award, and was nominated for a Cannes Lions. Charlotte is a French-Syrian filmmaker based in New York. She holds a MFA in directing from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. STRAY DOLLS, a feature she produced and co-wrote, premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and received the Tribeca All Access Grant, Jerome Foundation Grant and IWC Schaffhausen award. A Berlinale talent fellow, Charlotte workshopped “Samir, the Accidental Spy” at the Rawi Screenwriters Lab and the Torino Film Lab Extended, her first feature as a writer-director.
Jesse Andrews is an award-winning screenwriter, New York Times-bestselling novelist, and former German youth hostel receptionist. His produced credits include ME AND EARL AND THE DYING GIRL, which he adapted from his own debut novel and which won the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival. He is also a co-writer of Pixar’s LUCA, currently scheduled to release in summer 2021.
Sara Colangelo is a New York-based writer and director, whose three feature films have world-premiered at Sundance and been released worldwide. Colangelo’s debut, LITTLE ACCIDENTS, starring Boyd Holbrook and Elizabeth Banks, premiered in 2014 and went on to be nominated for a 2015 Independent Spirit Award in the category of Best First Screenplay. Her second film, THE KINDERGARTEN TEACHER, starring Maggie Gyllenhaal and Gael Garcia Bernal, premiered in 2018 and won the U.S. Dramatic Directing Prize. WORTH is her latest feature film and stars Michael Keaton, Stanley Tucci and Amy Ryan. It follows D.C. lawyer Ken Feinberg’s quest to calculate incalculable human loss during the administration of the 9/11 Compensation Fund. The film will be released through Netflix and Barack and Michelle Obama’s production company Higher Ground in September 2021.
James Ponsoldt is from Athens, Georgia. His films include THE END OF THE TOUR, THE SPECTACULAR NOW, SMASHED, THE CIRCLE, and OFF THE BLACK (and have won awards at the Independent Spirit Awards and Sundance, and have been honored by the National Board of Review). He’s directed pilots for Fox and Amazon, and he directed the pilot and was an Executive Producer on Netflix’s hit series MASTER OF NONE. Most recently, Ponsoldt executive produced and directed the pilot and multiple episodes of SORRY FOR YOUR LOSS (starring Elizabeth Olsen). He is developing film and TV projects with Amazon, Anonymous Content, Paramount, and Sony. He’ll direct his next feature this summer.
Ken Fallin’s Broadway: Sondheim
Stephen Sondheim birthday was March 22nd and somehow I missed it. His masterpiece Sweeney Todd opened on Broadway originally March 1, 1979, at the Uris Theatre (now the Gershwin). His newest revival opened Sunday, March 26th at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre. So here’s to you Steve.
The Glorious Corner
HERE’S BEKKA — (from Rolling Stone) Bekka Bramlett grew up around John Lennon and George Harrison, but nothing could prepare her for joining Fleetwood Mac in 1994, during one of the rockiest periods in the band’s history.
The Bekka Bramlett incarnation of Fleetwood Mac released a single album, 1995’s Time, before dissolving the next year to make way for a lucrative Hells Freezes Over-style reunion album and tour by the classic Rumours lineup. This period of the band may seem like little more than a footnote to some rock fans, but it was a pivotal time for Bramlett, and she looks back on it without any regrets.
“I knew my job was to get Stevie back,” she tells Rolling Stone from her home in Nashville. “I wasn’t a moron. I also knew this was a dangerous job when I took it. I knew I was facing tomatoes. But I didn’t want to wear a top hat. I didn’t want to twirl around. I wanted to be me. I even dyed my hair brown just so people in the cheap seats would know that Stevie wasn’t going to be here. I didn’t want anyone to be discouraged or let down.”
Joining Fleetwood Mac at 26 would have been a shock to the system of most singers, but Bramlett had been living in close proximity to rock stars her entire life. When she was very young, her parents toured and recorded with George Harrison, Eric Clapton, and many other A-list rock stars, winning renown as Delaney & Bonnie and Friends. Those artists also spent a lot of time at her mansion in the Hollywood Hills.
Bramlett didn’t realize any of this was unusual until she boarded the school bus one morning gripping her Disney Princess lunchbox. “This other little girl had a Beatles lunchbox,” she says. “I said to her, ‘I know him. He’s on our couch right now.’ I pointed to George Harrison. ‘I know him too.’ I pointed to John. She started hitting me since she thought I was lying. I was petrified and confused. I thought they were just Daddy’s friends that had accents.”
When she was just four years old, her father recruited Bekka and her sister Suzanne to sing background vocals on his song “California Rain.” “My mom had to get some gaffer tape to keep the headphones on my head since I was so little,” she says. “I used to hate the way it sounds, and now I love it so much. It’s so endearing.”
Right around this time, her parents split up, and she went to live with her father and grandmother. “It was weird, since mostly the moms got the babies back then,” she says. “But my parents were alcoholics. My grandmother never even smoked cigarettes or said cuss words. She brought us to church every Sunday, Wednesday, and Monday. We were in safe hands with our grandmother. I think both of my parents trusted that.”
Delaney and Bonnie both struggled to find solo success in the Seventies, and they dealt with significant substance abuse issues, but Bekka inherited their talents, and she knew from a young age that she’d devote her life to music. “I briefly thought I’d be a lawyer, but I thought I’d be a singing lawyer,” she says. “Then I wanted to be a jockey since I love horses, but I thought I’d be a singing jockey. Music is just what I’m good at.”
As a teenager with a fake ID in the early Eighties, Bramlett spent many nights checking out bands on the Sunset Strip. “I remember standing on the side of the stage as Guns N’ Roses played,” she says. “Seeing it up close, I was like, ‘This is why you never try heroin.’ But then I’d go into the audience and be like, ‘This is why you join a rock & roll band!’”
SUCCESSION — (via Deadline) The Roys are back with a vengeance. The Season 4 premiere of Succession drew an audience of 2.3M on Sunday across HBO Max and linear telecasts, which is a series high for same-day viewers. Total viewing for Sunday night was up 62% compared to Season 3’s premiere viewership of 1.4M in October 2021. At the time, that marked the best premiere night performance of any HBO original series since HBO Max launched in May 2020. Sunday’s viewership is also up about 33% from the Season 3 finale’s 1.7M. Season 3 averaged about 7.2M viewers per episode, according to HBO.HBO also says that all previous seasons of succession saw a 4x increase in viewership in the week leading up to the Season 4 premiere, compared to the week prior.
The Roy family saga picks up as the sale of media conglomerate Waystar Royco to tech visionary Lukas Matsson (Alexander Skarsgård) looms. The prospect of the seismic sale provokes existential angst and familial division among the Roys: patriarch Logan Roy (Brian Cox) and his four grown children, Kendall (Jeremy Strong), Siobhan (Sarah Snook), Roman (Kieran Culkin) and Connor (Alan Ruck). A hopefully Roy-esque power struggle will ensue as the family weighs up a future where their cultural and political weight is threatened.
Succession has 13 Emmys including Best Drama Series wins for its Season 2 and Season 3, the latter of which premiered in 2021.
We had mentioned earlier that most of the advance reviews said the writing was the star of the premiere episode and I definitely agree. Creator Jesse Armstrong wrote it and delivered just a stellar job. The episode began with a grumpy-Brian Cox at his birthday and took a few moments to develop into the powerhouse it has become, but it was very, very enjoyable.
Sure some of the dialogue and plot harked back to earlier episodes, but it’s so good, you hardly noticed. And the ending with Shiv and Tom, alone at at home and contemplating their futures, was just splendid and reeked of the amazing emotion the show almost always conjures up. A class act all around.
Variety confirmed this week, that the locale of the next White Lotus, from Mike White, will be Thailand. Now, if we could only get Jennifer Coolidge back … Congrats to New York Independenteditor Keith F. Girard on his second novel –
just out: The Curse of Northam Bay …PR-pasha David Salidor was interviewed by Charles Rosenay for Monkee Mania Radio … Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer open July 21 and it is indeed 3 hours.
It stars Cillian Murphy and the trailer looks rather stupendous. Check it out here:
Broadway’s Parade, a Masterpiece and Master Class, Not to be Missed.
With a blast of bright white light, the Broadway revival of Parade marches itself forcibly onto the stage, surging from the sidelines once the love-making center stage comes to an end. It’s a compelling beginning, one that, as it turns out, doesn’t really add a whole lot to the proceedings. But the show finds its strong footing soon after. No doubt about it. I didn’t really understand the full need for the sexual interaction between the young soldier (Charlie Webb) and his pretty young companion (Ashlyn Maddox) that takes place in those first few moments, as well as the consistent reappearing of that same soldier, 50 years later, as an old man (Howard McGillin) throughout, other than to remind us that the old Confederate way of thinking still flies its flag strong and true. Even if the flags they are waving in this production of Parade make us feel uneasy and unsure.
Overall, the compounding effect is captivating and intense, as this musical, with a book by Alfred Uhry (Driving Miss Daisy), music and lyrics by Jason Robert Brown (Songs for a New World; The Last Five Years), and originally co-conceived by Harold Prince (West Side Story), stands strong, taking on race, antisemitism, and prejudice in “The Old Red Hills of Home” South. It dutifully dramatizes the disturbing but true story of a 1913 trial of a Jewish factory manager who was wrongly accused and convicted of raping and murdering a thirteen-year-old young girl and employee of the factory. The musical revival is as timely as can be, and as surefooted as one could hope for. And as directed carefully and artistically by Michael Arden (Broadway/Deaf West’s Spring Awakening), Parade delivers on all fronts.
After a well-received short run as part of New York City Center’s Encores! series, this tense and sharp musical finally has made its way back. I didn’t really know much about this musical, but I was surprised to hear that it first premiered on Broadway in December 1998 starring Brent Carver and Carolee Carmello in the two lead roles. It won Tony Awards for Best Book and Best Original Score (out of nine nominations), not surprisingly, and six Drama Desk Awards. And I’m guessing the accolades will come pouring in once again when the Tony Award nominations are announced.
Portraying that doomed factory manager, Leo Frank, Ben Platt (Broadway’s Dear Evan Hansen) once again finds power and passion in abundance, striding back onto the Broadway stage both sheepishly and strongly. He grabs hold of the part, demanding justice and the truth for the man who tried his imperfect best to live a dutiful life. Married to his loving wife, Lucille, played spectacularly by Micaela Diamond (Broadway’s The Cher Show), the pair seems well-matched, both in their characterizations and their vocal expertise. Their singing and emotionality soar, especially in Lucille’s “You Don’t Know This Man” and Leo’s captivating Statement, “It’s Hard to Speak my Heart“, as the piece gets darker and darker, breaking apart our collective hearts as it marches to the end. We all know this is not going to end well for this innocent man, but we are drawn in completely as the two begin, quite quietly, finding a simple and tender, yet complicated connection in their marriage.
We feel their bond as Leo gets ready and makes his way to the office on this odd day of celebration in Atlanta. He sidesteps the parade, which is oddly celebrating the confederacy and a war lost, leaving his wife to picnic alone. We collectively wish he’d stay home, giving in to the gentle pleas of his wife. Things might have turned out so differently if he had. But this is the tale that must be told, to be witness to, as we are simultaneously given a glimpse into the soon-to-be shortened life of Mary Phagan (Erin Rose Doyle), being flirted with by a young boy (Jake Pedersen) about “The Picture Show“, as she rides a trolley car on her way to the factory to collect her wages, at ten cents an hour. The white balloon floats above her head, just like her spirit, simple and buoyant, until it escapes her hand, and floats away from her into the heavens above.
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