Austin Film Festival presents: Inspiration in Isolation
Join Austin Film Festival and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Educational Initiatives on Saturday, May 16th from the comfort of your home for an afternoon full of seasoned advice from industry professionals– from discussions on the current state of the industry to steps you can take right now to further your craft and jump-start your career. Join friends, old and new, for a celebration of story and a last-minute dose of inspiration before AFF’s final screenplay deadline on June 1st!
NEW PANEL ANNOUNCED!
Welcome & Announcements
11:00 AM PST/ 1:00 PM CST/ 2:00 PM EST
Panel #1 | What to Write Right Now?
11:15 AM PST/ 1:15 PM CST/ 2:15 PM EST
Deniese Davis (Supervising Producer Insecure, Producer A Black Lady Sketch Show) | Adam Kolbrenner (Literary Manager, Lit Entertainment Group) | Roy Lee (Producer, Vertigo Entertainment)
Join industry insiders for a discussion on the current changes happening in the entertainment industry. Production has halted, yet content consumption is at an all-time high. And the good news is– writers can still write. Learn more about how managers and executives are moving forward with development and what steps writers can take now to improve their craft and further their careers.
Deniese Davis got her start in the industry by producing indie low-budget projects including music videos, short films and digital content. In the web-series realm she is best known for producing Issa Rae’s award-winning web series The Mis-Adventures of Awkward Black Girl. She is currently a Supervising Producer on the HBO comedy series INSECURE and Producer on Robin Thede’s HBO comedy series A BLACK LADY SKETCH SHOW. She also serves as COO of ColorCreative, which provides access and opportunities for diverse and emerging writers and filmmakers.
Originally from Las Vegas NV, Deniese is an alum of CUNY-Brooklyn College and the American Film Institute Conservatory.
Adam Kolbrenner is the founder of Lit Entertainment Group, a newly launched literary management and production company based in Century City, CA. Previously Kolbrenner co-founded Madhouse Entertainment.
Kolbrenner produced Oscar-nominated film, Prisoners, for Warner Bros/Alcon Entertainment, written by Lit client Aaron Guzikowski. Kolbrenner also executive produced Netflix’s recent holiday film, Christmas Chronicles starring Kurt Russell, written by Lit client Matt Lieberman based on an original idea by Designated Survivor creator David Guggenheim, another Lit client who also served as an executive producer on the film.
In film, Kolbrenner is next producing Fox’s Free Guy, along with Greg Berlanti and Sarah Schechter. The film, starring Ryan Reynolds and directed by Shawn Levy, is an original spec from Lit client Matt Lieberman that was sold in a competitive situation. Kolbrenner is also producing Skydance’s Ghost Draft, an original sci-fi tentpole film written by Lit client Zach Dean, with David Goyer also producing. Kolbrenner also will serve as executive producer on the recently ordered TNT/Scott Free sci-fi series, Raised by Wolves, with its first two episodes helmed by Ridley Scott. The original series hails from Lit client Aaron Guzikowski, who will serve as creator and showrunner.
Kolbrenner is a member of the PGA. As the top representative (manager or agent) of all Black List screenwriters cumulative in the history of the annual Black List, Kolbrenner has distinguished himself in discovering new voices.
On the Lit management side, Kolbrenner reps top creators and filmmakers in the industry, including Dave Andron (Snowfall); Josh Campbell & Matt Stuecken (10 Cloverfield Lane); Mikki Daughtry & Tobias Iaconis (the upcoming The Children from New Line, and CBS Films’ Five Feet Apart); Craig Doyle (Grown-ish); Liz Garcia (Disney’s Princess Diaries 3, writer/director of One Percent More Humid); Aaron Guzikowski (Prisoners, Raised by Wolves); David Guggenheim (Safe House, Designated Survivor); Matt Lieberman (the upcoming Addams Family and Playing with Fire); Justin Marks (Disney’s Jungle Book, Top Gun 2 and Starz’s Counterpart); Sascha Penn (Creed 2); Nicole Perlman (Guardians of the Galaxy, Captain Marvel and writer/director of The Slows); Justin Rhodes (the upcoming Terminator film from Tim Miller; and Robocop from Neil Blomkamp); Ed Ricourt (Now You See Me franchise); Greg Russo (Mortal Kombat); Hayley Schore & Dr. Roshan Sethi (The Resident); Kerem Sanga (First Girl I Loved, upcoming The Violent Heart); Jason Smilovic & Todd Katzberg (Condor, War Dogs); Gaia Violo (Absentia).
He lives in Encino, CA with his artist wife Loryn, their daughter Georgia and three dogs, Stella, Walter and Lucy.
Panel #2 | Creative Pursuits in a Pandemic
12:45 PM PST/ 2:45 PM CST/ 3:45 PM EST
Pamela Ribon (writer Moana, Ralph Breaks The Internet) | Nicholas Kazan (writer Reversal of Fortune, Fallen)
The pursuit of creativity is never easy – especially during a pandemic. Join us for a conversation with veteran screenwriters on finding inspiration, rolling with the punches, and balancing your writing time amongst daily conflicts like working from home, taking care of kids, or simply staring into space. No matter your schedule, it’s important to stay motivated.
Read more about the panelists:
Pamela Ribon is a screenwriter (Ralph Breaks the Internet, Moana), TV writer (Samantha Who?), comic book writer (SLAM!, Rick and Morty), and best-selling novelist. She was named one of Variety’s 10 Screenwriters to Watch and is a 2017 Film Independent Directing Lab Fellow. She is currently adapting her critically-acclaimed graphic novel “My Boyfriend is a Bear” as a live-action feature for Legendary Entertainment.
Nicholas Kazan’s first credited screenplay was as co-author of Frances, for which both Jessica Lange and Kim Stanley were nominated for Academy Awards. Other screenplays include At Close Range, the Roald Dahl children’s classic Matilda (written with his wife, Robin Swicord), Fallen and Bicentennial Man. Dream Lover, which he wrote and directed, was called a “smart, diabolical thriller” by Janet Maslin in the New York Times. Kazan’s screenplay for Reversal of Fortune won several Critics Awards (Boston, Los Angeles) and was nominated for an Academy Award. Jeremy Irons won an Oscar for his portrayal of Claus von Bulow in that film.
Panel #3 | A Conversation with Christopher McQuarrie
2:15 PM PST/ 4:15 PM CST/ 5:15 PM EST
Join Academy Award-winning screenwriter Christopher McQuarrie for a conversation on his career. McQuarrie wrote and directed Mission: Impossible – Fallout, Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, Jack Reacher, and The Way of the Gun. His writing credits include Edge of Tomorrow, Top Gun: Maverick, and The Usual Suspects. The Usual Suspects garnered McQuarrie an Academy Award and the BAFTA for Best Original Screenplay, as well as the Edgar Allan Poe and Independent Spirit Awards. It has since been named one of the 100 greatest screenplays of all time by The Writers Guild of America.
Christopher McQuarrie is a producer, director and Academy Award-winning screenwriter. His 1995 screenplay for The Usual Suspects garnered him the Academy Award and the BAFTA for Best Original Screenplay, as well as the Edgar Allan Poe and Independent Spirit Awards. The Writer’s Guild of America has since been named The Usual Suspects one of the 100 greatest screenplays of all time.
McQuarrie’s directorial debut came in 2000 with The Way of the Gun, starring Ryan Phillippe, Benicio Del Toro and James Caan. In 2008, he co-wrote and produced Valkyrie, starring Tom Cruise – a film which would lead to numerous McQuarrie/Cruise collaborations. Within hours of completing his sophomore directorial outing, 2012’s Jack Reacher, McQuarrie was at work with Cruise again, this time re-writing the script for Doug Liman’s Edge of Tomorrow. It was while working together on the sci-fi action film that Cruise suggested McQuarrie direct what would become Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation.
In 2017, McQuarrie and Cruise re-teamed again for Mission: Impossible – Fallout, the highest-grossing installment of the franchise to date. They have just complete Top Gun: Maverick, on which McQuarrie served as co-writer and producer. They are currently in pre-production on the 7th and 8th installments of Mission: Impossible. McQuarrie grew up in Princeton Junction, New Jersey. In lieu of college, he spent the first five years out of school traveling and working at a detective agency. He later moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in film. He currently resides in London.
This project is supported in part by the Cultural Arts Division of the City of Austin Economic Development Department. Special thanks also to the National Endowment for the Arts, The Texas Commission for the Arts and the Alice Kleberg Reynolds Foundation for their support.