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BAFTA and BFI Screenwriters' Lecture Series in 2012

2012 was the third in our series of BAFTA Screenwriter Lectures, cementing, still further, its reputation as the world’s leading forum for the art of screenwriting.

“Nobody can deny the primacy of the screenplay in filmmaking. This series continues to celebrate the greatest cinematic authors in the world, talking about what moves them, what inspires them and what drives them. In an industry still fixated on the role of directing, this series aims to remind audiences of where it all begins. Drawing on writers from around the world, BAFTA and the BFI are proud to announce another extraordinary line-up of artists." Jeremy Brock, Screenwriter and Founder of the Lecture Series.

In association with The JJ Charitable Trust

Screenwriters' Lectures in 2012

Julian Fellowes

Wednesday 26 September 2012

Few writers have a first feature screenplay directed by Robert Altman and collect an Oscar in the process, but Julian Fellowes deservedly beat out a quartet of mini-masterpieces with Gosford Park. Fellowes is a gifted writer with huge popular appeal. Two novels – Snobsand Past Imperfect – have been best-sellers. His screenplays for Vanity Fair, Young Victoria and the mini-series Titanic, have displayed a sharp eye for period detail and skill at creating nuanced, believable upper-class characters. He's also taken a turn in the director's chair with the vastly under-rated Separate Lies. Since 2002, he's become Lord Fellowes, won an Emmy Award, two BAFTA Television Award Nominations and seen his Downton Abbey become a staggering smash hit in over 100 countries around the world.

Listen to Julian Fellowes' Screenwriting Lecture Podcast >

Scott Frank

Monday 1 October 2012

Oscar-nominated Scott Frank is a writers' writer – hugely talented and devoted to the art of screenwriting. His pedigree with collaborators suggests he's a "directors' writer" too: Steven Soderbergh and Out of Sight; Spielberg and Minority Report; Barry Sonnenfeld andGet Shorty. As a writer of quality commercial film, he has an extraordinary hit rate, longevity and a versatility to move comfortably from adult political thriller The Interpreter to family comedy Marley & Me. Inevitably for someone so talented, he’s added directing to his bag of tricks with The Lookout starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and upcoming project A Walk Among Tombstones with Liam Neeson. On writing for the screen he says, "I really believe screenwriting is an art unto itself. A script can actually be a finished piece of art".

Listen to Scott Frank's Screenwriting Lecture Podcast >

Peter Straughan

Wednesday 24 October 2012

Peter Straughan is one of the UK’s most exciting newer voices in cinema, and his Oscar nomination for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy earlier in the year proves the rest of the world is listening too. Playwright-turned-screenwriter, Straughan's credits include Mrs Radcliffe's Revolution,How to Lose Friends and Alienate People based on Tony Young's memoirs of being a mouthy Brit in America, and an adaptation of Jon Ronson's book The Men Who Stare at Goats which starred George Clooney and Jeff Bridges. He also was one of the writers on the excellent crime thriller The Debt, directed by John Madden and starring Helen Mirren. Straughan won the Best Adapted Screenplay BAFTA earlier in 2012 with his late wife and co-writer Bridget O'Connor for their brilliant adaptation of John La Carré's Cold War spy thriller Tinker Tailor.

Listen to Peter Straughan's Screenwriting Lecture Podcast >

Brian Helgeland

Friday 26 October 2012

Brian Helgeland stands out as one of Hollywood's master screenwriters of intelligent crime film. After cutting his teeth in horror (Nightmare on Elm Street 4 was an early credit), he quickly jumped to A-list status with an Oscar win for the pitch perfect noir thriller LA Confidential and Oscar and BAFTA nominations forMystic River. As a writer, Helgeland is highly prized for smart, muscular thrillers like Green Zone directed by Paul Greengrass, and The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 andMan on Fire, both directed by Tony Scott, as well asPayback which he wrote and directed himself. On writing crime film, he says: "it strips people down to their basic elements. It gets to the hunting-gathering heart of the matter. I don’t want to write about the ennui rich people feel. I could care less. I want to write about what's in people’s heads, hearts and between their legs when they either are in prison, might go to prison, have a gun in their face or are pointing one".

Listen to Brian Helgeland's Screenwriting Lecture Podcast >

Abi Morgan

Monday 29 October 2012

Few UK writers can lead the marketing on a production, but Abi Morgan’s mini-series The Hour for the BBC in 2011 saw her do just that. Having steadily built a reputation in the last decade as one of the UK’s strongest writers, Abi Morgan literally burst into the mainstream in 2012 with 3 new works for television and film: an adaption of Sebastian Faulks’ novel Birdsong, the Steve McQueen-directed Shame and Thatcher biopic The Iron Lady. 2012 saw her receive a BAFTA TV nomination and 2 BAFTA Film Nominations for the three productions respectively, and she also received an Emmy nomination this year for The Hour. Early works represent her diverse voice and skill at depicting female lives too often under-represented on screen, from the terrific Leeds-set social realist pic about a single mother White Girl, to an adaptation of Monica Ali’s Brick Lane and Sex Traffic.

Listen to Abi Morgan's Screenwriting Lecture Podcast >