AUSTIN FILM FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES UNIVERSAL CABLE PRODUCTIONS AS ANNUAL PITCH COMPETITION SPONSOR
Award-Winning Studio Behind ‘MR. ROBOT,’ ‘THE SINNER’ and ‘HOMECOMING’ To Present Pitch Competition and Host ‘My First Pitch’ Panel with Top Producers
AUSTIN, Texas — October 2, 2018 — Austin Film Festival (AFF), the premiere film festival recognizing writers’ and filmmakers’ contributions to film, television and new media, announced today that Universal Cable Production (UCP) will present the fest’s annual Pitch Competition. UCP, part of NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment — a division of NBCUniversal, is the studio behind such hits as USA Network’s Emmy® and Golden Globe® Award-winning drama MR. ROBOT and Golden Globe® nominated THE SINNER, as well as the upcoming Amazon series HOMECOMING and Netflix’s UMBRELLA ACADEMY.
The UCP Pitch Competition will commence on Thursday, October 25 and conclude with the festival’s annual Finale Party on Saturday, October 27 at 7:30pm at Speakeasy (412 Congress Ave D). This unique event allows contestants 90 seconds to pitch their best ideas to a panel of judges made up of agents, producers, managers and screenwriters in a constructive and friendly environment. UCP’s Senior Vice President of Development, Kate Fenske, who developed the #1 new cable series of 2017, USA’s THE SINNER, will join the Finale Party judging panel along with an impressive roster of writers and producers including:
- Wendy Calhoun – writer/producer, Warner Bros TV, “Station 19,” “Empire,” “Nashville,” “Justified.”
- Lindsay Doran – producer, “Stranger Than Fiction,” “Sense and Sensibility,” “Nanny McPhee,” “Dead Again;” executive producer “The Firm,” “Sabrina;” former President/COO of United Artists.
- Craig Mazin – co-host Scriptnotes; writer “Chernobyl,” “Identity Thief,” “The Hangover Parts II & ”
In addition to sponsoring the Pitch Competition, UCP will also host a pitch prep panel “My First Pitch” on Thursday, October 25 from 1:00pm to 2:15pm at St. David’s Episcopal Church. The panel will offer the audience tips on approaching their first pitch and how to present to a room full of executives. UCP’s Senior Vice President of Development, Elise Henderson, will be joined on the panel by some of the studio’s top producers with whom they have first-look or overall deals. Confirmed to share their experiences are:
- Patrick Macmanus – Macmanus, who has an overall deal with UCP to develop premium scripted programming for the studio, is currently the showrunner and executive producer of SYFY’s HAPPY! based on New York Times best-selling author Grant Morrison and Darick Robertson’s graphic novel of the same name. In addition, Macmanus is developing SLAUGHTERHOUSE-FIVE for Epix based on Kurt Vonnegut’s seminal classic.
- Liz Sarnoff – Emmy-nominated Sarnoff rose through the ranks on HBO’s “Deadwood” and ABC’s “Lost.” She went on to co-create Bad Robot’s Fox series “Alcatraz” and to executive produce “Marco Polo” for Netflix. Sarnoff is currently writing for the second season of HBO’s comedy series “Barry.” For her work on the first season of the breakout hit, Sarnoff received an Emmy nomination for writing the Loud, Fast, and Keep Going She has an overall deal with UCP.
- Andrew Miller – Miller created and executive produced CW’s “The Secret Circle” and was co-executive producer on the FOX series “Backstrom,” starring Rainn Wilson. Additionally Miller has developed and written pilots for NBC, ABC, Showtime, Amazon and SYFY. He has also written or co-written several feature films including the Miramax romantic comedy, “Boys and Girls” starring Freddie Prinze Jr. and Vincenzo Natali’s sci-fi comedy, “Nothing,” in which he also starred. Miller has inked an overall deal with UCP.
Macmanus, Sarnoff and Miller are joined on UCP’s overall deal roster along with Sam Esmail (MR. ROBOT and BRIARPATCH for USA Network and HOMECOMING for Amazon), Nick Antosca (THE ACT for Hulu and CHANNEL ZERO for SYFY), Gale Anne Hurd’s Valhalla Entertainment, Allison Miller (METROPOLIS), Steve Blackman (THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY for Netflix), Kyle Long (RUN, BAMBI, RUN), and Eli Horowitz and Micah Bloomberg (Amazon’s HOMECOMING). Meanwhile UCP’s first look deals include Charlize Theron’s Denver & Delilah; John Carpenter; Hypnotic (SUITS and the upcoming spinoff for USA Network, NIGHTFLYERS for SYFY, and IMPULSE for YouTube Red), and Dark Horse Entertainment (THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY for Netflix).
The winner of the UCP Pitch Competition will be announced at The Pitch Finale Party.
ABOUT UNIVERSAL CABLE PRODUCTIONS:
Universal Cable Productions (UCP) creates innovative and critically acclaimed original scripted content for all media platforms. Its robust slate of programming includes: the Emmy and Golden Globe Award-winning drama “Mr. Robot,” the Golden Globe nominated “The Sinner,” “Unsolved: The Murders of Tupac and The Notorious B.I.G,” “The Purge” and “Suits” for USA Network; “The Umbrella Academy” for Netflix; “Homecoming” for Amazon; “Dirty John” for Bravo; “Happy!,” “The Magicians” and “Channel Zero” for SYFY; “Impulse” for YouTube Premium; and “The Act” for Hulu. UCP’s content library features 787 hours of binge worthy content including the Emmy award-winning “Monk,” the Emmy and Peabody award-winning “Battlestar Galactica” and the Emmy nominated cult comedy “Psych.” UCP is a part of NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment, a division of NBCUniversal, one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies.
ABOUT AUSTIN FILM FESTIVAL:
Austin Film Festival (AFF) is a non-profit organization dedicated to furthering the art, craft and business of writers and filmmakers and recognizing their contributions to film, television and new media. AFF champions the work of aspiring and established writers and filmmakers by providing unique cultural events and services, enhancing public awareness and participation, and encouraging dynamic and long-lasting community partnerships. AFF is supported in part by the Cultural Arts Division of the City of Austin Economic Development Department and the Texas Commission on the Arts. All attendees and events are based on permitting schedules and are subject to change and/or cancellation without notice. To apply for press credentials, please complete this form. Badges and passes are available for purchase online at www.austinfilmfestival.com or by phone at 1-800-310-FEST.
Universal Cable Productions
Lauren Kelcher Stevenson
Austin Film Festival/Sunshine Sachs