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Artist Intensive Unveiled

AFS program fosters creative hookups

By Marjorie Baumgarten, Fri., June 6, 2014

Say you're a filmmaker who's already written the screenplay for a narrative feature, and your project has now reached the early stages of development or preproduction. What's next? For a fortunate few whose projects have been selected to partake in the Austin Film Society's second annual Artist Intensive next weekend, their scripts and ideas will get an extra spit shine through workshops with industry professionals. Each writer/director team selected by the programming committee of the AFS board of directors will be matched with a writer/director mentor and a producing mentor, who will all give notes and feedback on the project. Additionally, each script will be read in full and workshopped with a cast of professional actors. The Artist Intensive was founded in 2013 with a grant from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

The participants selected include Clay Liford (the director of Wuss and Earthling) and his film Slash, along with three other writing-and-directing partners and their projects. They are Karen Skloss (who directed Sunshine, and edited many award-winning works) and Jay Tonne Jr. for their project The Honor Farm; Stephen Belyeu (director of Dig) and Gregory Day (assistant director of Dig) for The Father, and Julia Halperin and Jason Cortlund (who previously made the much praised film Now, Forager) for La Barracuda.

The producing mentors are an esteemed bunch: Sarah Green is the producer of Terrence Malick's last several films, including the Palme d'Or-winning Tree of Life; Nicolas Gonda, a co-producer of Tree of Life, who also produced The Better Angels and is the co-founder and CEO of Tugg; and Ginger Sledge, the producer of Bernie and Miss Congeniality.

The three writer/director mentors are Bradley Rust Gray (Jack and Diane and The Exploding Girl); So Yong Kim (the award-winning director of In Between Days and Treeless Mountain); and Patrick Wang (In the Family). Austin's creative-content multitaskers, Arts + Labor, are on board as craft mentors for visual effects and post services; and Meredith Johns of Hawgfly Productions is also a craft mentor for special-effects makeup and custom props.

We look forward to seeing the fruits of these matchups on local screens in the near future.

A correction to this article has been added since publication.
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