Join Austin Film Festival and ColdTowne Theater for a free, virtual evening of live readings featuring the first three pages of selected writers’ works-in-progress.
Each writer will have pages performed by a group of ColdTowne’s talented actors followed by a brief audience Q&A.
Connect with other writers and find the motivation you need to get back to your script!
Cheer on your favorite script on ColdTowne Theater’s Twitch stream.
Meet the writers!
Rikki Bleiweiss is an MFA screenwriter at the University of Texas. She grew up in Houston, Texas, and learned how to do basic coding at an extraordinarily young age. She built small websites and video games before she abandoned all of that to become a writer, naturally. Rikki loves to write dark comedies about women who are all types of screwed up.
SARAH JOY BYINGTON
Sarah Joy Byington is an award-winning actress, screenwriter, and aspiring director from Austin, TX. She started her career as an actor and began experimenting with other facets of production beginning in 2010. Since then, she has worked on dozens of various commercial and film productions, including everything from crafty to costuming on productions like AMC’s The Son. Over the last decade, Sarah has continued to put her storytelling skills to use, acting in more than 20 films. Notable credits include Age Out (AJ Edwards), Parkland (Peter Landesman), and The Night We Met (Jon Cring), for which she took home the Best Actress award at the Atlantic City Cinefest in 2017. Sarah has also produced over 20 commercials and short films including her entry “Payday” that took home semifinalist for Doritos Crash The Super Bowl in their final year.
In 2019, Sarah’s feature screenplay Let Me Do Right By You was selected as a Finalist at La Femme Intl Film Festival in Beverley Hills and
Austin Revolution Film Festival, a Semifinalist at Scriptapalooza Screenplay Competition and Rhode Island Intl Film Festival – an Academy qualifying film festival, and a Quarterfinalist for BlueCat Screenplay Competition. Last fall she directed a proof of concept for the feature after successfully raising over $11k on Seed&Spark. The dramatic film follows a single mother after the tragic death of her husband, battling grief, addiction, and depression while navigating motherhood alone. “LET ME DO RIGHT BY YOU is dark, raw, and in many instances bleak. A heart-rending story that reveals what motherhood can really look like, and less like a young mom mopping the floors, with a smile on her face and cookies in the oven. Though our hero’s journey ends on a more uplifting note, there is no a howdy-doody, fairytale ending, because how often do we get that in real life? We may always have that mother or dad, or some other relationship in our life that we come to accept may never change, no matter how much we change ourselves. If you are looking for a feel-good, Hollywood happy ending, then look elsewhere. LET ME DO RIGHT BY YOU is an honest look into family relationships and postpartum depression.”
Sarah is drawn to dark, raw stories, as well as absurd tales of eccentric characters, all the while unearthing her fears and weaving her own flaws into her stories. She wants to give the voiceless a vehicle, so that these voices have a chance to be heard.
Bret grew up in Rochester, NY; studied improv in Chicago, IL; became a movie theater manager in Reston, VA; and moved to Austin, TX with the dream of becoming a filmmaker. It is because he met his wonderful and supportive wife Sonia Santamaria that he is now living that dream. Yay mooveys!
Ian studied philosophy in college, then covered the pharmaceutical industry as a reporter in Washington, DC before spending several election cycles working on political campaigns. Today Ian works for a small venture capital company in Wisconsin.
Barbara McCormick-Thomas is a comedy writer based in Dallas, Texas. Her short films have been produced and screened at festivals in the US and the UK, and her plays have been produced locally and in Canada. One of those shorts, COPY THAT, has won several awards, including the 2014 Film of the Year at the British International Amateur Film Festival. She has written sketches for the nationally syndicated Kidd Kraddick in the Morning radio program and written, produced, and directed The Amehngers, a web series parody of the superhero genre.
Stephanie Thoreson is a comedian, actor, writer, and producer. The award-winning performer recently closed a run of her second solo sketch show Fishbowl, which walks the line between comedy and tragedy, aiming to advocate for mental health awareness within artists’ communities. She is one of the head writers behind Wind-Ups, a new workplace sitcom created by independent production company Baby Lion Studios. Stephanie is a weekly performer with the critically acclaimed all-women improv troupe Loverboy, named by Thrillist as one of the best comedy shows in Austin. She plays the lead in the feature Good Feels on Wheels which received multiple awards during its festival run, including three “Best Actress” wins for Stephanie’s portrayal of Opal in the film.
RSVP and we’ll send you a reminder on Tuesday so you don’t miss the show!