As we know it takes time, tenacity and talent to develop a career as a screenwriter.
Since the MA Screenwriting programme launched in 2005, many graduates are now working professionally across the industry in development, production and on their own projects with companies such as eg Matador, Scottfree, Lionsgate, Power to the Pixel, Apple TV+ Focus Features.
- Benjamin Cleary, writer/director for his first feature debut, Swan Song, premiering on Apple TV+ 17 December 2021. Previously Ben won the Oscar for this short Stutterer in 2016, won the Blue Cat screenplay award in Los Angeles with a commission from RTE, Ireland’s national broadcaster to write seven episodes of a children’s TV series.
- MAS alumna Tamara Vogl will take part in the 2021 Canneseries, the international series scriptwriting residency program.
- Another feature worked on by a team of LFS graduates is Demon, which had its World Premiere at Cinequest Film Festival 2021, co-written by Theo MacDonald (MAS alumni) and produced by the LFS alumni crew.
- Graduate Taiyo Yoshida and current MAS student Lyndon Henley Hanrahan were both named as winners of the 2021 Watersprite Film Festival Screenwriting Competition
- Screenwriting graduate and PhD student Gonzalo Maza (MAS 12) has been featured in Variety's list of "10 Latinx to Watch" for 2020. Gonzalo is a writer and producer, known for A Fantastic Woman (2017, Golden Globe Best Motion Picture nomination, Oscar winner of Best Foreign Film), Gloria (2013, story for Gloria Bell) and This Is Cristina (2019).
- Kefi Chadwick (MAS 7), longlisted in the 2020 British Independent Film Awards Best Debut Screenwriter category for her work on Looted, which has picked up strong reviews all around, including 4 stars from The Guardian
- MAS alumna Tamara Vogl (MAS 0918) was named the Best Feature Film Screenplay Winner at the Evolution Film Festival Mallorca for her script Tau Emerald.
- Jessica Romagnoli (MAS 10) and Patrick William Ireland (MAF 183) have reached the semi-finals of the 2021 ScreenCraft TV Pilot Competition with their script Lady Charon.
- MAS alumnus Rajat Agrawal produced Chippa, a feature film released on Netflix India in 2020.
- MAS alumni Jessica Romagnoli and Elaine Gracie, along with MAF alumnus Patrick Ireland, have had projects selected for the inaugural UK Online Pitchbox in 2020, launched by Filmarket Hub with support from Film London. Jessica and Patrick will present their script Lady Charon, and Elaine brings the project Wedding Season.
- MA Screenwriting alumna Eva Trobisch (MAS 10) was a member of the jury for the Encounters competition at the 2020 Berlinale. Theo's work was also screened at the Kinoscope Top Five Shorts of 2019.
- The BFI Flare programme in 2020 featured the work of 4 alumni including Theo Krekis (MAS 10).
- MAS graduate Hilary Burgoon (MAS 13) has had her screenplay, Duck, advance to the quarterfinals of the Atlanta Film Festival Screenplay Competition in 2019.
- Underwire Festival screened work by Jaclyn Bethany (MAS 11) Sunday Tide in 2019
- Antonio Sequeira's (MAF 192) film A Son Like Others, written by MA Screenwriting graduate Rodrigo Garcia (MAS 13), took home the Young Jury Award from the ONE Country ONE Film Festival in 2019.
- On the festival circuit in 2019, screenwriting alumnus Murat Çetinkaya's (MAS 8) short Ad Infinitum will screen at this year's Sci-Fi London Film Festival after success at the Malatya International Film Festival, and screenings in Trieste, Ithaca, and Dublin.
Charlotte Colbert had an outstanding few years since graduating. Represented by Casarotto Ramsay she has written an array of feature scripts, including a commission by Pippa Cross focusing on the issue of underage asylum seekers in the UK, which was directed by BAFTA-winning director Bruce Goodison and stars Toby Jones. It played in this year’s BFI London Film Festival. Her grad screenplay meanwhile, mentored by Laurence Coriat, a fictionalised biopic around the character of Lou Andreas Salome has now been picked up by Dorje Films and Les Films du Poisson to be made as a French/German co-production next year. Other work includes Project Eve a collaborative feature script with eight female writers led by actress Ruth Wilson, as well as a teen-adventure adaptation with Tony Grisoni. She was also part of Skillset’s SOS scheme for which she wrote an original feature script Cab Ride Home, a mumblecore film set in 1960s LA, currently optioned by The Bureau. In the course of last year, she teamed up with Parkville Pictures and Charlie Fink (frontman of band Noah & The Whale) to write a 30-minute futuristic fiction, which was financed by Universal and is currently touring with the band. Recently she has been commissioned by Vito Films in Paris to write an original feature script for director Olivier Dahan (La Vie En Rose; Grace of Monaco) and is also working on a comedy with award-winning director Harry Wootliff, which is being produced by the BFI and Fly Films.
Robyn Pete’s collaboration with MAF graduate Jamie Chambers on his first feature Blackbird, premiered at EIFF and where it was also nominated for the MICHAEL POWELL AWARD and won BEST OF THE FEST, it was also nominated for the AUDIENCE AWARD at the Scottish BAFTA's. Chris Andrews has also benefitted from support from EIFF with his feature project Scuttler – mentored by Kate Leys and Ivan Mackinnon through the EIFF network currently seeking development finance.
Luke Foster’s first feature credit Betsy and Leonard was also a collaboration with a MAF directing graduate Bernhard Pucher and won Best Original Screenplay at the Madrid International Festival and Best Film at the Tenerife International Film Festival. Icelandic graduate Hrafnkell Stefánsson is in post on his third feature City State with an earlier screenplay picked up by James Mangold (Walk the Line, Girl Interrupted). Adam Dewar’s short thriller Hardwire was selected as part of the Collabor8te scheme run by the Bureau, Dazed and Rankin Film Productions. Directed by Rankin himself and starring Marc Warren, Toby Jones and Laura Haddock, it will be premiered on Sky Arts in the New Year. Adam is now developing a three-part political drama for Rankin Productions and an American Football set crime drama for the Bureau.
Kefi Chadwick, who is already a successful playwright, has just finished filming her short Girl Power - a collaboration with MAF graduate Benjamin Bee, starring Jason Flemying, Alice Lowe and Dakota Blue Richards. She also has commissions from New York-based production company Melenchuck Williams and a TV drama project in development with Noho Film and TV. Other collaborations with MA filmmaking graduates include James Rzicka’s work with Anu Menon on a feature screenplay Romesh and Jugal, a gay Indian Romeo and Juliet comedy, which they sold to Bhalaji Motion Pictures, while MAS graduate and writer/director Priyamvada Narayanan recently won Best Foreign Short at the Californian International Film Festival with her film The Breadfruit Tree and Rachel Smith took first place in the Rhode Island Screenplay competition with her grad script - a romantic comedy titled Fix You Up. Vidur Nauriyal from the same cohort has been collaborating with the young Indian filmmaker Ashim Ahluwalia, whose last film Miss Lovely was screened in the Un Certain Regard section at Cannes last year.
Screenwriting labs and workshops are increasingly a way for a writer to get their work read and developed as well as to meet with producers but they are often fiercely competitive. Kaveh Mohebbi was selected on the basis of his LFS grad script for a scholarship place at the Canadian Film Centre – a six-month workshop with five places out of three thousand applicants. Participants are guaranteed writing jobs in the industry at the end of the programme. From the same year, Despina Ladi was one of twelve writers selected for AdaptLab, Torino FilmLab's advanced training course on adaptation, consisting of three residential workshops and two online sessions. In the final workshop during the TorinoFilmLab Meeting Event in November in Turin, she presented her project to international producers, sales agents and other industry professionals from all over the world.
On the production side, Ines Braga is a key member of the development team at multi-platform company Power To the Pixel while MAS grad Lucia Lopez was appointed as Head of Development at Matador.
Projects include Vahid Hakimsadeh’s first feature as a writer-director Greater Things, shot on Super 16mm in the UK, Japan and Switzerland. The cinematographer was Camera d’Or nominated Ghasem Ebrahimian and the cast includes cult Japanese jazz musician Toshinori Kondo and actress-turned-director Kaori Momoi, a 5-time Japanese academy award winner, and veteran of Kurosawa and Imamura.