CineStory winners, alumni, and mentors have an impressive track record of both box office and creative success. They have worked in every entertainment market, from feature screenwriting–dramatic and animated, blockbusters and indie films–to every form of TV writing–network, streaming, premium channels–to webseries writing.
Listed below are just a few of their success stories.
ALUMNI & MENTORS
Patrick, the 2013 CineStory Fellow, had his winning script CAKE produced in the Spring of 2014 and it premiered at the 2014 Toronto Film Festival. The script also won Best Screenplay at the Shanghai Film Festival.
Mark Fergus & Hawk Ostby
Mark & Hawk, 1999 CineStory winners, received a 2006 Academy Award nomination for CHILDREN OF MEN. They have since worked on films such asIRON MAN (2008) and COWBOYS AND ALIENS (2011). Their CineStory winning script, FIRST SNOW, was released in 2007. Fergus directed the film, which starred Guy Pearce.
Read about Mark’s CineStory experience.
In 1996 CSA, Daniel the grand prize with his script PHOEBE IN WONDERLAND, which he went on to direct in 2008. The cast included Bill Pullman, Felicity Huffman and Elle Fanning. Most recently Daniel directed BEASTLY (2011).
Read about Daniel’s CineStory experience.
Greg Marcks directed his CineStory winning script, 11:14, which was distributed by Lions Gate and New Line, and starred Hilary Swank and Patrick Swayze.
Frederick Mensch had his script NIGHTINGALE premiere at Los Angeles Film Festival in May 2014 and it premiered on HBO in the summer of 2015.
Gaston Biraben directed CAUTIVA (CAPTIVE — CineStory semifinalist, 2000), the acclaimed Argentinean film which has won major film festival awards the world over.
2004 CSA fellow Lance Hammer directed his winning script, BALLAST, which premiered at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival where it won awards for cinematography and directing.
Michael Cahill, 2002 CSA winner, directed his winning script, THE KING OF CALIFORNIA, starring Michael Douglas and Evan Rachel Wood. It debuted at the Toronto Film Festival in 2006.
Billy Shebar, 1997 CSA winner, won the 2007 Sundance Film Festival Alfred P. Sloan Award as the writer of DARK MATTER, which starred Meryl Streep and Aidan Quinn.
A Finalist in the 2009 contest, Mark pitched his script BAD RAP to a group of producers during a Retreat “informal room.” During the discussion one of the producers said, “I think I can set that up,” and Mark soon found himself with an option deal with Storefront Pictures. His finalist script LOVE & HAPPINESS (aka CLEANING HOUSE) is also currently slated for production with Goldcrest Pictures.
J. Bryan Dick
2011 Third Place Winner J. Bryan Dick, after attending the retreat, was hired by mentor Sharon Bordas from MarVista Enterainment to write two projects GONE MISSING and BETRAYED, while also rewriting PATIENT KILLER.
2006-7 Fellow, Kevin Caruso, signed with the Hudson Agency and has had three works optioned and a produced credit, I TRIED, featuring Bone Thugs-N-Harmony. His winning screenplay, THE RUT, is currently being packaged by ICM Entertainment with Karyn Kusama (GIRLFIGHT, JENNIFER’S BODY) attached to direct and Chloe Moretz (Hit Girl from KICK ASS) to star.
Lisanne Sartor, retreat alumnus from 2000 and 2002, rewrote her finalist CineStory script, CLEAVERVILLE, based on mentor feedback. It was produced for Lifetime in 2007. An alumna of AFI’s prestigious Directing Workshop for Women, Lisanne has written and directed numerous award-winning short films, including SIX LETTER WORD, which has screened at over fifty film festivals worldwide, including the Telluride Film Festival, and continues to screen today. Lisanne is also CineStory’s Board President.
Peter Vanderwall, 2000 CineStory semifinalist and alumnus of retreats in 2000 and 2002, has several produced credits. HIDE AWAY, the independent drama starring Josh Lucas and James Cromwell, premiered at SXSW in 2011 and had a successful film festival run. REVERSE ANGLE, an action thriller starring Emmanuelle Vaugier, was broadcast on Lifetime and The Movie Network. SHADOWHEART, a Western starring Angus Macfadyen and William Sadler, aired frequently on Showtime.
According to Jeff Forester, participating in the 2004 CineStory Retreat and building a relationship with his mentor, screenwriter Joe Forte (FIREWALL), led directly to Forester and his writing partner signing with agent Jordan Bayer of Original Artists, and selling a pitch for “just shy of a million dollars.”
Maureen Brogan & Michael Salort
Through mentors they met at the CineStory Retreat, Maureen Brogan & Michael Salort were commissioned by Sanford-Pillsbury to adapt a novel. Brogen & Salort also completed the TV series IN MEN WE TRUST, for Women’s Entertainment Television. Salort’s CineStory winning script, HIDDEN CAMERA, was produced by Sony.
A recent participant in the American Film Institute Directing Workshop for Women; her short THE DEATH OF TOYS is currently on the festival circuit. The fantasy-drama has played nine festivals to date, including the Cleveland International Film Festival, Anchorage International Festival, Spokane International Film Festival and others. The film won Best Narrative Short at the Winnipeg Real to Reel Film Festival. Lisa has been selected as one of four Groundbreaking Filmmakers to be featured at the upcoming HATCH Festival.
2019 TV FELLOWSHIP WINNER
BETTER THINGS “Goy Vey”- Robert Axelrod
Robert is based in Los Angeles, originally hailing from Ann Arbor, Michigan. He worked as the legal assistant on sixteen films, including the Academy Award nominated Mudbound and Isle of Dogs, along with Bright, Okja, Detroit, Isle of Dogs, The Old Man and the Gun, and the Academy Award winning Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. He currently works at Felker Toczek Suddleson Abramson LLP as a legal assistant, covering clients such as Greg Berlanti, Pamela Adlon, Gabrielle Union, Mila Kunis, and Freddie Highmore. His work has placed in several writing contests and fellowships, most notably as a quarterfinalist in the Academy’s Nicholl Fellowship, as a finalist for the Sundance Screenwriters Lab, PAGE International Screenwriting Competition, Austin Film Festival Screenwriting Competition, and ScreenCraft Pilot Launch Contest. He also had a project chosen as an official selection for the Producer Guild of America’s diversity fellowship program. His work as a writer and producer has premiered at the Orlando and Huntington Beach International Film Festivals, screened at the London Comedy Film Festival, and been featured on Vimeo and Funny or Die.
2018 FEATURE FELLOWSHIP WINNER
THE POACHER – Travis Opgenorth
Originally from rural Wisconsin, Travis grew up surrounded by farms, dirt racetracks, and auto junkyards. Now, he lives in L.A. where he has built a career as a postproduction professional while also writing multiple award-winning scripts. His scripts have won or placed in twenty-five different contests, including first place in both the Creative World Awards and the Nashville Film Festival (Action/Thriller), finalist in the PAGE Awards, and semi-finalist in the Nichols Screenplay Fellowship.
2018 TV/DIGITAL FELLOWSHIP WINNER
RICE, FISH & LA CROIX – Naomi Iwamoto
Naomi Iwamoto is a Japanese American writer-director based in Los Angeles. She graduated from UCLA with a degree in Political Science and Asian American Studies. Prior to completing her MFA at the USC School of Cinematic Arts, she wrote for LA Weekly and Los Angeles Magazine. Her debut short film, LOST & FOUND, visited film festivals worldwide and was included in the inaugural Women Behind the Lens showcase at Paramount Studios. She completed Ryan Murphy’s Half Foundation Director Mentorship Program and was a 2017-2018 CBS Writers program fellow. She currently is a staff writer for HAPPY TOGETHER.
2017 FEATURE FELLOWSHIP WINNER
EGGSHELLS – Angelina Karpovich
Angelina Karpovich grew up in Russia and learned English mainly by watching subtitled films. She spent 14 years as a college professor in the UK, teaching film history and visual communication. In 2017, Angelina was selected for the Channel 4 (UK) Screenwriting course, and was a finalist for the BBC Drama Writers’ Room. In January 2018, she will graduate from the National Film and Television School, UK,
with an MA in Screenwriting.
2017 TV/DIGITAL FELLOWSHIP WINNER
THE LOVING WRATH OF ELDON QUINT – Chase Pletts
Chase was born in a bathtub in New York City. Chase’s screenplays have been featured on The Black List and The Hit List. Chase’s debut novel, THE LOVING WRATH OF ELDON QUINT, was published by Inkshares in 2018 and is available at Barnes & Noble and Amazon.
2016 FEATURE FELLOWSHIP WINNER
CHOKORA – Amyn Kaderali
Amyn is an award-winning filmmaker who grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and received his MFA in Directing at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts Graduate Film Program, where he made his mark with LITTLE MAN, which garnered awards worldwide, including Best Short Film at the Slamdance Film Festival. He followed this up with TAKE THE A TRAIN starring Kerry Washington (SCANDAL), which won a Kodak Cinematic Images Award, and CALL CENTER, one of the first hit viral comedy short films on the web. Amyn strives to tell stories that matter. His first feature film, KISSING COUSINS, a provocative romantic comedy (featuring David Alan Grier and Jaleel White) won the Audience Choice Award at the Asian American Int’l Film Festival. His short film THE OTHER SIDE for PBS/ITVS’s Futurestates series delved into the controversial issue of illegal immigration. Amyn was honored to be selected into the Disney/ABC Directing Fellowship program and subsequently directed an episode of ABC’s PRIVATE PRACTICE. After completing the selective Warner Brothers Television Directors Workshop, he directed an episode of SUPERNATURAL in early 2017 and has returned to direct two more episodes this winter. In addition, Amyn continues to write television pilots and screenplays.
2016 TV/DIGITAL FELLOWSHIP WINNER
THE FEMINIST MYSTIQUE – L.M. Harter
L.M. Harter was born in the rural foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. She attended Ohio University studying Video Production as an undergraduate before moving on to the University of Texas at Austin for her MFA in Screenwriting. L.M. has had films screened all over the world and the states from Melbourne, Australia to London, England; Calgary, Canada to Los Angeles including festivals such as: Diabolique International Film Festival, Housecore Horror Film Festival, part of the Etheria World Tour 2014, Wizard World Comic Con, 60 Seconds to Die Anthology, World of Death Anthology, and many more. Her scripts have done well at Slamdance, Zoetrope, The Austin Film Festival, and The Screencraft Screenwriters’ Residency Program.
2015 FEATURE FELLOWSHIP WINNER
SCANDALOUS – Matthew Fantaci
Matthew Fantaci was raised on a strict diet of comic books, genre fiction and horror, gangster, and art house movies so that he would have an appreciation for the finer things when he came of age. From his humble beginnings foraging for berries and leaves in Brooklyn, NY, to his humble present day living in Los Angeles, CA, Matthew Fantaci has always dreamed of making movies.
2014 FEATURE FELLOWSHIP WINNER
PATIENT 36 – Hank Hoffman
After years writing and consuming material, Hank finally felt it time to find an established mentor and moved to Los Angeles where he skipped undergrad completely and pursued a MFA in Screenwriting from AFI’s prestigious fellowship. Currently, he is completing a Graphic Novel where he serves as creator and art director alongside a team of Marvel and DC artists, exploring the origin of black magic at the beginning of time. Recently Hank began penning the untold story of Santa Claus’s origin and hopes to find some time this year to write a personal story about Jewish Gangsters living in Poland shortly after the Holocaust.
2013 FEATURE FELLOWSHIP WINNER
CAKE – Patrick Tobin
Patrick Tobin had his winning script CAKE produced in the Spring of 2014 and it premiered at the 2014 Toronto Film Festival. The script also won Best Screenplay at the Shanghai Film Festival. Patrick’s short stories have appeared in many journals and anthologies, including Dave Eggers’ BEST AMERICAN NONREQUIRED READING and Ohio University Press’ NEW STORIES FROM THE SOUTHWEST. His essays have won international writing contests and one, REUNION, was a finalist for a Canadian National Magazine award. He also had an experimental nonfiction piece appear in the online version of GULF COAST, the University of Houston’s well-regarded literary journal. Patrick used to co-write a yoga blog with LA celebrity guru Andrea Marcum (even though he doesn’t do yoga himself)-the blog appeared on the website ELEPHANT JOURNAL.
2012 FEATURE FELLOWSHIP WINNER
LE MECANO – Lukas Hassel
Born and raised in Denmark, acting got on his radar when Lukas won the lead role in his high school play. Lukas eventually went on to graduate from the Samuel Beckett Theatre School at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland and then moved to New York City, where he was cast in the HBO short film MAN ABOUT TOWN, winner of the 1997 Sundance Film Festival Short Filmmaking Award. Lukas went on to star in TV series like THE BLACKLIST, BLUE BLOODS, and LAW & ORDER: CRIMINAL INTENT, and indie films like THE BLACKROOM with Natasha Henstridge and IN SICKNESS. Lukas’s work as a screenwriter/director has gotten his screenplays optioned like LE MECANO to be directed by Charlie Stratton. His work has also won him various accolades including the 2012 CineStory Fellowship, a placement in the Top 30 of the Nicholl Fellowship, a finalist in Script Pipeline Screenplay Competition, and winner of the Hollyshorts Best Screenplay for THE SON, THE FATHER, which is currently in pre-production at Evil Slave Productions, LLC.
2011 FEATURE FELLOWSHIP WINNER
SPOTNIK – Celeste Wolfe
Celeste holds an MA in Clinical Psychology from Antioch University and is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. In addition to her ELEMENTARY credit, she has two “Story By” credits on a syndicated TV show ANDROMEDA. Celeste is currently repped by manager Jeff Field. When not writing, Celeste serves as a sounding-board for her professional TV writer husband. Celeste has won numerous screenwriting competitions, including Best Action Adventure Script in the Los Angeles Film Festival, and her GREY’S ANATOMY spec BAD REPUTATION was a semi-finalist with NBC’s Writers on the Verge in 2009. Her spec pilot THE FOUR REASONS won her a place in the 2010 Producer’s Guild Diversity Program.
2010 FEATURE FELLOWSHIP WINNER
AMERICAN CHILD – April Rouveyrol, CA
April Rouveyrol made her film-directing debut with the short film SHY in 2008. SHY played the international festival circuit, including Palm Springs International Film Festival, Gold Lion Film Festival, Strasbourg Film Festival, Urbanworld Film Festival. It went on to win Best Short Film awards at several, including the Radar Springs International Film Festival. Born and raised in New York City, April comes from a background as a playwright and theater producer. She was a long-standing member of the heralded Los Angeles based theater company, The Wilton Project. During this time several of her plays were produced, including NUMB TO THE FLICKER, A KINK IN THE RELEASE and PERSONS UNKNOWN IN A ROOM ABOVE SUNSET. AMERICAN CHILD is her first feature screenplay and is based on her short film SHY.
2009 FEATURE FELLOWSHIP WINNER
UPGRADE – Louis Rosenberg
Louis has worked on a number of short films, several feature-length movies, and a television pilot. He has also won over 15 major screenwriting awards, including several international honors. Louis helped invent a 3D digitizer, which is essentially a photocopier for three dimensional objects. The device scans a physical object and creates a 3D model of it in a computer. DreamWorks artists used the 3D digitizer to create Shrek and Ice Age. Since then, numerous movies and commercials have used Louis’s invention to create their
projects. Known for LAB RATS (2010), THE MANUSCRIPT, and SHOOTING EARTH (2010).
2008 FEATURE FELLOWSHIP WINNER
THE THIRD REALM – Nino Del Pesco
Nino is a musician known for playing in various critically acclaimed and groundbreaking bands throughout his career including the Lonesome Strangers, Snake Farm, the Knights of the Living Dead, AntiProduct, and The Black Tongued Bells. In addition to being a musician, Nino is also an award winning screenwriter. In 2005, Nino took a break from music to focus on screenwriting and in 2008 his first script, THE THIRD REALM, won the CineStory Screenwriting Contest, the deadCENTER Screenwriting Award, and took First Place in the Omaha Film Festival’s Feature Length Screenplay category. THE THIRD REALM was also a Finalist in Scriptapalooza and the Sweet Auburn International Film Festival’s Screenplay Category, a Semi-Finalist in Final Draft’s Big Break Contest, the ReelHeART International Film Festival, Writemovies.com Screenwriting Contest #18 and made the Top 10 in the Bare Bones International Film & Music Festival’s Screenplay Competition.
2006 -2007 FEATURE FELLOWSHIP WINNER
THE RUT – Kevin Caruso
Kevin Caruso is a nine-time Nicholl Fellowship semi-finalist with four different scripts. THE RUT won the 2007 Cinestory Screenwriting Competition. Kevin cowrote the film I TRIED for CodeBlack Entertainment, featuring hip-hop luminaries BONE THUGS-N-HARMONY. The DVD went platinum, selling over 250 thousand units. His screenplay EXPOSURES OF WAR received the “rare and prestigious” perfect score and the highest monetary award ever from the New Jersey Council of the Arts. In 2015, his screenplay THE SHOOK ONES earned him another grant through New Jersey. In 2010 his SOUTHLAND spec was the first place winner in the Scriptapalooza TV Competition. Kevin is a graduate of William Paterson University in Wayne, NJ, and the former publicist for HIGH TIMES Magazine.
2005 FEATURE FELLOWSHIP WINNERS
THE POKER WARS – Lisa Gold
Lisa Gold has written award-winning screenplays; she has also written
and/or directed and produced six award-winning short films. Lisa just completed short THE DEATH OF TOYS as a Fellow in the AFI Directing Workshop for Women, a highly competitive program which each year gives selected women funds, training, support and resources to make a short film. Lisa’s passion for improv comedy can be seen in her other five short films, which were made for various 48 Hour film competitions. She directed the short AN INCONVENIENT AFFAIR; wrote, directed and produced REALITIES OF LOVE and THE BOARDWALK SPY; and wrote and produced THE POWER and
I HATE ALINA. Although written, shot and edited in only two days, these films have played in various mainstream film festivals in the US and internationally.
Zohar wrote Susanna (2004).
2004 FEATURE FELLOWSHIP WINNER
PAPAYA MOON- Laura Wachtel
2003 FEATURE FELLOWSHIP WINNER
TRAFFICKING – Siddharth Kara
Siddharth Kara is an author, screenwriter, activist, and leading expert on modern slavery. He is an adjunct lecturer at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, a senior fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health, and a lecturer at the University of California, Berkeley.
Kara is the author of numerous books and reports on modern slavery. His first book, SEX TRAFFICKING: INSIDE THE BUSINESS OF MODERN SLAVERY, was co-winner of the 2010 Frederick Douglass Award at Yale University for the best non-fiction book on slavery. Kara adapted this book into the feature film TRAFFICKED. Kara’s second book, BONDED LABOR: TACKLING THE SYSTEM OF SLAVERY IN SOUTH ASIA, was released in October, 2012, and Kara’s third book, MODERN SLAVERY: A GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE, was launched at the United Nations in October, 2017. Kara advises the United Nations, the U.S. Government, the International Labour Organisation, and several other governments on anti-trafficking policy and law. Kara has also appeared extensively in the media as an expert on human rights, including on CNN, the BBC, the Guardian, CNBC, National Geographic, and numerous documentary films.
DROWNING- Natasha V
KILLING WILLIE JOHNSON – William Garcia
An accomplished writer and director, William Garcia was awarded a full scholarship to the School of Visual Arts, received a grant from The New York State Council on the Arts, a fellowship from the New York Foundation for The Arts. William’s award-winning documentary, A DAY AT A TIME, about the parents of disabled children, was narrated by Kathleen Turner and has been broadcast in Canada, throughout Europe, Hong Kong, Ireland, Japan, and the Middle East. Among the awards it has received are The Heartland Film Festival’s Crystal Heart Award, the Chris Award from the Columbus International Film festival, and the Golden Apple Award from the National Educational Film and Video Festival. Emmy Award winning actor James Gandolfini (The Sopranos) stars in Mr. Garcia’s film A WHOLE NEW DAY, a dramatic short that has been invited to twenty-two film festivals and has won several awards including Best Short Film at both The Breckenridge Festival of Film and The Northampton Film Festival. It premièred on HBO’s Cinemax. Currently William is developing his original screenplay, KILLING WILLIE DAVIS, (CineStory winner), Nicoll fellow semi-finalist, to which Viola Davis is attached.
2002 FEATURE FELLOWSHIP WINNER
11:14- Greg Marcks
Greg Marcks has earned dozens of awards for his work as a filmmaker, most notably a student Academy Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Greg first wrote 11:14 (2003), a darkly comic thriller about a night-gone-wrong in small-town America. The tightly-crafted script was quickly passed around Hollywood, and Oscar-winner Hilary Swank signed on to produce and star in the picture. Greg then assembled an impressive ensemble cast for his debut, including Patrick Swayze, Ben Foster, and Rachael Leigh Cook. The well-reviewed film has become a cult favorite. Greg wrote several screenplays for major Hollywood studios before taking on his next directorial effort, ECHELON CONSPIRACY (2009). An action-thriller with filming locations in Sofia, Bangkok, Prague, and Moscow, the film tracks an international conspiracy and stars such notables as Ving Rhames, Jonathan Pryce, and Martin Sheen.
BROTHERS – Gary Miranda
Gary has published poems in numerous magazines, including The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, Poetry, The American Poetry Review, and elsewhere. His poetry is widely anthologized and he has published four book-length collections, one of which—LISTENERS AT THE BREATHING PLACE—won the Princeton Contemporary Poetry competition and was nominated by Princeton University Press for a Pulitzer Prize. He has also published a translation of Rainer Maria Rilke’s Duino Elegies. His awards for poetry include an NEA Fellowship, nine awards from the Poetry Society of America, and an invitation by The Atlantic Monthly to serve as poet-in-residence at the Robert Frost Place in Franconia, New Hampshire. Gary’s poems have been taped for inclusion in Harvard University’s Lamont Poetry Collection and in the Library of Congress Poetry Archive. Gary also has written seven screenplays, one of which—THE CHEROKEE WORD FOR WATER, a biopic about Wilma Mankiller, first female chief of the Cherokee Nation—has been produced and won several awards. His awards for screenwriting include first place in the 2001 Venice Arts screenplay competition and in the 2002 CineStory competition. He is represented by David Baird of Kinetic Management.
THE WEATHER SOMEWHERE ELSE – Laura Suau
Laura, a 2001 graduate of the film school at Ithaca College in New York, is a native of Puerto Rico. Described by one of the judges as a great visualist and storyteller, Laura moved to Los Angeles to pursue writing and filmmaking. The setting in THE WEATHER SOMEWHERE ELSE is a decaying industrial city, where two workers dream of escape and bond together to create small acts of rebellion that set in motion a wave that overturns the entire metropolis.
2001 FEATURE FELLOWSHIP WINNERS
INDIGO – Willie Hagen
Willie Hagan holds a doctorate in psychology from the University of Connecticut and a Master of Fine Arts from UCLA. He is an American educator and public university administrator. He was the 10th president of California State University, Dominguez Hills, a public university located in the city of Carson, California in the South Bay region of Los Angeles County. From 1973 to 1996, Hagan also served at the University of Connecticut, which culminated in his term as associate vice president for administration. During his 23-year tenure, he also lobbied both federal and state governments on behalf of the university, as well as the Connecticut Board of Governors for Higher Education. He also led the United States’ political delegations to London and Taiwan, as a member of the American Council of Young Political Leaders.
I AIN’T NO DUMMY – Robert Nelson
Robert Lawrence Nelson’s play, BILLY, was part of the Living Room Series at the Blank Theatre (Los Angeles). His play, THE MAN, received a public reading at the Jewish Ensemble Theater (West Bloomfield, MI). As a screenwriter, Robert has had several screenplays optioned.
LUCKY OLD SUN – Michael North
2000 FEATURE FELLOWSHIP WINNERS
NO POSTAGE NECESSARY- Lynda Foote
Lynda Foote has been a costume supervisor on countless films since 1986. She was a Primetime Emmy nominee in 2017 for Outstanding Period/ Fantasy Costume for a Series, Limited Series, Or Movie.
STRAIGHT SHOT NORTH – Fred P. Mills
HIDDEN CAMERA – Michael Salort
Michael Salort is a writer and actor, known for IN MEN WE TRUST (2006), GREMLINS 2: THE NEW BATCH (1990) and HIDDEN CAMERA (2007).
1999 FEATURE FELLOWSHIP WINNERS
FIRST SNOW -Mark Fergus & Hawk Ostby
Mark Fergus and Hawk Otsby are screenwriters, known for their work on CHILDREN OF MEN (for which they were nominated for the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay), IRON MAN starring Robert Downey Jr. and COWBOYS & ALIENS starring Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig. They are the creators and executive producers of the TV series THE EXPANSE, which debuted on Syfy in December 2015.
FIRST SAFETY – Bill Robinson
Bill co-founded the production company Blue Relief with actress/director Diane Keaton. In their 13 years as partners, they produced award-winning film and television projects, including Gus Van Sant’s Palme d’Or-winning ELEPHANT. In 2012 Bill joined James Patterson Entertainment where he served as an executive producer on ZOO on the Network. He serves as executive producer on the upcoming Discovery ID series MURDER IS FOREVER. Recently, he produced the feature film MIDDLE SCHOOL: THE WORST YEARS OF MY LIFE, released by Lionsgate/CBS Films in 2016. On the publishing side of the business, Bill serves as Director of Brand Development at Little, Brown and Company, where he oversees the new line of James Patterson non-fiction titles.
BITTER LAKE -Devin Wallace
1998 FEATURE FELLOWSHIP WINNERS
Steve Bagatourian’s film AMERICAN GUN starring Donald Sutherland, Forrest Whittaker and Marcia Gay Harden opened nationwide (USA) in 2006. It is a story marking the effects of the proliferation of guns in schools throughout America. Steve lives in Southern California and was the first place winner of the Cinestory Screenwriting award. He is a vegan and his hobby is drawing comic books. American Gun was nominated for best film award in the 2006 Independent Spirit awards. It also gained two nominations for best actor, Forrest Whittaker and bestsupporting actress, Marsha Gay Harden. Steve also co-wrote ALL EYEZ ON ME, the 2017 American biographical drama about Tupak Shakur, with writers Jeremy Haft, Eddie Gonzalez.
Eli Despres & Kim Roberts
Eli Despres co-wrote and edited WEINER (winner of the 2016 Sundance Grand Jury Prize, BAFTA nominee & shortlisted for the Academy Awards), 97% Fresh at rottentomatoes.com). He co-wrote and edited BLACKFISH (BAFTA nominee & shortlisted for the Academy Awards, 98% Fresh at rottentomatoes.com), which was viewed by over 21 million people in the US alone, has catalyzed state and federal legislation. His other writing and editing credits include RED ARMY (Cannes 2014, Sony Pictures Classics 97% Fresh at rottentomatoes.com), THEY CALL US MONSTERS (PBS), the Emmy-winning investigative journalism series EXPOSÉ (PBS), feature documentary CITY LAX (ESPN), short documentary AT RISK (ACAP) and the fiction feature WILDERNESS FOR GIRLS (ContentFilm/Image Entertainment), which he also directed. The Hollywood Reporter described his work as “Shattering… Eli Despres edits with propulsive narrative drive.” Eli was nominated for the American Cinema Editors’ Documentary award in 2014 and 2017. In 2017 Eli was invited to join the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.
Kim Roberts, A.C.E., is an American filmmaker who has worked primarily on documentaries as a film editor and writer. Kim has a master’s degree in documentary film production from Stanford University (1996). Her first credit as an editor was for LONG NIGHT’S JOURNEY INTO DAY (2000), which was directed by Deborah Hoffmann and Frances Reid and that was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. She was credited as both an editor and writer for GREAT WALL ACROSS THE YANGTZE (2000), which was directed by Ellen Perry.
Billy Shebar is an Emmy-nominated filmmaker and co-founder of 110th Street Films with producer David Roberts. The team created Trump Bites, a series of short animated films based on actual Trump audio clips, hand-drawn by two-time Academy Award nominee Bill Plympton. The first three episodes premiered on the New York Times web site in June 2018 and went viral, garnering over 10 million views. Shebar helped develop DARK NET, the documentary series on Showtime, writing and producing two of the eight episodes in its first season; and produced GONE: THE FORGOTTEN WOMEN OF OHIO, an eight-hour documentary series on Spike, with Academy Award nominee Joe Berlinger. Other TV credits include NICKY AND WYNTON:THE MAKIN GOF A CONCERTO FOR THE BBC, AMERICA BY THE NUMBERS, and HISTORY DETECTIVES for PBS, KING TUT UNWRAPPED for Discovery, THE FIRST 48 for A&E, and BOSTON’S FINEST for TNT. Billy has also written several narrative features, including DARK MATTER (2007) starring Meryl Streep and Liu Ye. DARK MATTER won the Alfred P. Sloan Prize at Sundance, and was screened Lincoln Center’s Film Comment Selects series. The New York Times called it “a movie of ideas that does an exemplary job of translating scientific speculation into layman’s language,” and TV Guide called it a “hypnotic, culturally pertinent drama.” Billy collaborated with composer Meredith Monk on video projections for Magic Frequencies (1999), and with visionary architect Lebbeus Woods on TIMES SQUARE (1989), a series of videos broadcast on PBS. His short comedy GUTS (1995) starred Kristen Johnston and was broadcast on public television’s New York Independents.
Billy has created many films for nonprofits, including the Robin Hood Foundation, the Rainforest Alliance, the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation, Columbia University, and the New Press. In 2007, he travelled to Uganda as producer and mentor to four young filmmakers to create Shooting for Peace for the Jacob Burns Film Center.
1997 FEATURE FELLOWSHIP WINNERS
Daniel graduated from Yale University and the University of Southern California Film School. He made his directorial debut in the 2001 movie, THE CUTTING ROOM and directed the 2009 movie, PHOEBE IN WONDERLAND. He wrote and directed a movie adaption of the novel BEASTLY, a modern day take on BEAUTY AND THE BEAST. His film WONT BACK DOWN starring Maggie Gyllenhaal, Viola Davis and Holly Hunter, was released in 2012. In 2014 he directed the film CAKE starring Jennifer Aniston, who received Golden Globe and SAG Award nominations as Best Actress for her performance
A native of Chicago, Marcia has received two fellowships in screenwriting from the Illinois Arts Council among other awards. Her first screenplay, LEMON TEA, was a semifinalist in the prestigious Nicholl Screenwriting competition and received readings at Second City in Chicago, The Nuyorican Poet’s Café in New York City, Columbia College and Chicago State University. Her first film short, LOSING OLIVIA, starring Irma P. Hall and Harry Lennix was filmed and screened at Chatham I.C.E. Theaters in Chicago. Marcia is currently working with Ms. Christine Houston (creator of the 80’s sitcom “227”) on producing a stage play for LEMON T: THE EMANCIPATION OF LIBERTY.