The Sun Valley Film Festival and Town & Country Magazine welcome Melisa Wallack and Craig Borten, the Academy Award® nominated co-screenwriters of Dallas Buyers Club, to host the Sun Valley Screenwriters Lab on Thursday, March 13th.
Attendees of the Lab will hear Craig and Melisa discuss the craft, witness an unproduced script come alive during a table read of professional actors including Will McCormack, Alison Pill, Jess Wiexler, Michael Weaver, Peter Cambor and Joshua Leonard, have an opportunity to ask questions, and learn about the decade long battle to get their film made.
After an intermission hosted and poured by Wyoming Whiskey, Academy Award® nominated producer Jim Burke will announce the winner of the Lab’s screenplay competition, The High Scribe. Hundreds of scripts were submitted this year and the three finalists will have the opportunity to discuss their work with David Seidler, Academy Award® winning screenwriter of The King’s Speech. The Lab concludes with the actors reconvening to read a scene from High Scribe’s winning script.
Dallas Buyers Club is the first produced screenplay for Craig Borten. He has been writing scripts for over 20 years, both on spec and at major studios. The Philadelphia native holds a B.A. from Syracuse University. For his next film, he’ll be taking on another biographical tale for the monolithic story of John D. Rockefeller as hell be adapting Ron Chernow’s 1998 book, Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, which Relativity has recently optioned.
Named one of Variety’s “10 Screenwriters to Watch” in 2005, Melisa Wallack has written for both feature films and letevision. Ms. Wallack wrote the original screenplay for MEET BILL and directed the independent feature with Bernie Goldmann. The movie starred Aaron Logan Lerman, and Timothy Olyphant. She conceived the screen story for MIRROR MIRROR which became the hit fantasy comedy directed by Tarsem Singh and starring Julia Rovers, Lily Collins, and Armie Hammer.
Jim Burke is the producer of the Academy Award-winning Fox Searchlight film THE DESCENDENTS directed by Alexander Payne. He recently produced CEDAR RAPIDS and served as executive producer on Tamara Jenkins’ Academy Award-nominated film THE SAVAGES. Burke, along with Alexander Payne, and Jim Taylor formed a production company in 2004 entitled Ad Hominem Enterprises. Prior to Ad Hominem, Mr. Burke was a founding member of an independent film and television company Rysher Entertainment. At Rysher, Burke spearheaded the company’s foray into feature films and oversaw the development, production, and release of the company’s motion pictures. Rysher’s diverse slate included Sundance audience award winner BIG NIGHT, as well as PRIMAL FEAR, KISS THE GIRLS, PRIVATE PARTS, and THE SAINT. Burke also co-produced 2 DAYS IN THE VALLEY directed by John Herzfeld, KINGPIN directed by the Farrelly Brothers, and ELECTION directed by Alexander Payne. Prior to Rysher, Burke was Vice-President of Warner Bros. Television Domestic Distribution. Jim Burke hails from Minnesota and graduated from the University of Minnesota.
A Londoner by birth, David was sent to the USA as an infant during WWII which resulted in a childhood stammer. George VI, the stuttering reluctant King, became a boyhood hero, role model, and many years later the inspiration for his film THE KING’S SPEECH staring Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, Helena Bonham Carter, and Guy Pearce, which won the Best Picture Oscar for 2010 and for which David was awarded a gold statue for Best Original Screenplay, two BAFTA’s and numerous other gongs. His stage version has toured England, played the West End, and been produced in seven foreign languages, so far. Seidler’s career commenced with writing dubbing scripts for GODZILLA THE MONSTER movies. He has over twenty credits to his name including: TUCKER, THE MAN AND HIS DREAM starring Jeff Bridges, directed by Francis Coppola. Seidler has been nominated for Writing Achievement by the WGA three times (winning for ONASSIS, THE RICHEST MAN IN THE WORLD). Currently he divides his time between Santa Monica and Sun Valley.
Actors For Table Read
Peter is an actor best known for his portrayal of Dr. Nate Getz on the hit CBS drama series NCIS and NCIS:LOS ANGELES. Other television and film credits include “The Wedding Band,” “Notes From The Underbelly,” “Numb3rs,” “Pushing Daisies,” “Trust Me,” and ALICE JACOBS IS DEAD. Cambor is also actively involved in theater, having performed at The American Repertory Theater, The McCarter Theater, The Mark Taper Forum, The Los Angeles Shakespeare Festival, and Shakespeare on Boston Common. He attended Wesleyan University and has an M.F.A. from The American Repertory Theatre’s Institute for Advanced Theatre Training at Harvard University and the Moscow Art Theatre School. He lives in Los Angeles.
Filmmaker/actor, Joshua Leonard first hit the scene in 1999 with the lo-fi sensation THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT. His directorial debut, THE YOUTH IN US premiered at Sundance in ’05. Art doc, BEAUTIFUL LOSERS followed, along with his narritive feature debut, THE LIE (Sundance ’11).
Leonard’s recent acting work includes HUMPDAY (Independent Spirit award winner ’09), HBO’s TRUE DETECTIVE, Vera Farmiga’s HIGHER GROUND, and MGM’s upcoming IF I STAY.
Leonard has also directed music videos for popular acts such as Fitz and the Tantrums, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, and Morcheeba, as well as teaching directing and acting at The New York Film Academy, UC Irvine, and Academia Internacional De Cinema in Sao Paolo, Brazil.
Alison Pill can currently be seen in the acclaimed Aaron Sorkin HBO series The Newsroom. She will next be seen on the screen in the Joon-ho Bong directed Snowpiercer opposite John Hurt and Tilda Swinton, and Cooties starring opposite Elijah Wood which premiered at Sundance. On stage, she recently starred in the Geffen Playhouse adaptation of Wait Until Dark directed by Matt Shakman. Her film credits include Woody Allen’s To Rome With Love and Midnight in Paris, Goon, Scott Pilgrim, Milk, Dan in Real Life, Dear Wendy, and Pieces of April. Pill’s television work includes the HBO drama In Treatment, The Book of Daniel and Life With Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows.
On stage, Pill starred opposite Ben Stiller in House of Blue Leaves and Edie Falco in This Wide Night and with Abigail Breslin in Broadway’s revival of The Miracle Worker. Her other theatre credits include Reasons to be Pretty, Mauritius and Blackbird, for which she received Lucille Lortel, Outer Critics Circle and The Drama League award nominations. She was nominated for a Tony Award for her Broadway debut in The Lieutenant of Inishmore and for a Lucille Lortel Award for On the Mountain. She won The Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Ensemble in the U.S. premiere of The Distance From Here.
Michael Weaver is a Canadian-American actor, writer, director, and musician who first came to prominence as Officer Smy in Broken Lizard’s comedy hit SUPER TROOPERS. A move from New York to Los Angeles prompted his debut in TV as the series lead on THE MULLETS alongside David Horsnby, John O’Hurley, and Loni Anderson. It was in Broken Lizard’s next film, CLUB DREAD, that Weaver caught the eye of Bill Paxton who was about to direct THE GREATEST GAME EVER PLAYED with Shia Labeouf. A keen golfer, Weaver easily assumed the role of 1912 US Open Champion John McDermott. Weaver continued to amass guest starring TV appearances, most notably on “CSI,” “Law & Order,” “Parenthood,” “NCIS,” “Franklin & Bash,” to name just a few. More series-regular roles came in the form of free wheeling bachelor Danny on ABC’s “Notes from the Underbelly” and inveterate A-hole Randy on “The Joe Schmo Show: The Full Bounty.” Along the way, Weaver has written/produced/directed/starred in his own YouTube series called “Heavy Petting” as well as written/directed/starred in his own single-camera pilot presentation titled “Middle Ages” with Rachael Harris, Julie Benz, Mary Birdsong & Bryan Callen. Currently, Weaver can be seen in Amazon’s “The Rebels” and Bravo’s upcoming “Girl’s Guide to Divorce.”
Jess Weixler plays the role of Summer in “Face of Love” as Annette Benings daughter which is currently screening at the Sun Valley Film Festival. Some of her other film credits include “Teeth” (Special Jury Prize at Sundance), “Somebody Up there Likes Me”(Special Jury Prize at Locarno) “The Lie”, “Peter and Vandy”, “Free Samples”, “Best Man Down” and “The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby – Her” which will release later this year. She also plays the role of Robyn on “The Good Wife” and is currently in post production on “Trouble Dolls” a film she co-wrote and directed. Jess is very excited to attend this years screenwriters lab at here in Sun Valley.