New York Stage and Film to Launch Inaugural Filmmakers' Workshop

New York Stage and Film has announced its inaugural Filmmakers' Workshop, which launches July 7th on Vassar's campus as part of New York Stage and Film & Vassar's 31st Powerhouse Season. Designed to support early-career screenwriters with creative development and mentorship, the Filmmakers' Workshop features a tailored, process-oriented approach akin to Powerhouse's celebrated development of plays and musicals. Mentors for this inaugural year include Oscar, Tony and Pulitzer Prize winner John Patrick Shanley, acclaimed screenwriter and actress Jennifer Westfeldt, award-winning feature director Michael Hoffman, producer Miranda de Pencier, and actor-director Ken Olin, among others.

The Filmmakers' Workshop is one of only a handful of programs of its kind nationwide, in this particular case a summer residency at Vassar College over an 8-day period during which participants will engage in one-on-one feedback sessions with professional mentors, as well as panel discussions, screenings, developmental screenplay readings, and production discussions all designed to bring each screenplay and project closer to completion. Additional development support will be provided by New York Stage and Film after the residency, culminating in a Fall Reception in New York City. The Workshop will take place alongside the Powerhouse Theater Season, an existing collaboration between NYSAF and Vassar College that features over 250 actors, directors, writers, designers, and producers who gather to develop new plays over a 7-week period. Participants in the Workshop will have the opportunity to engage in dialogue with, and expand, this existing community, which over the years has included many artists who work in both theater and film including John Patrick Shanley, Steve Martin, Zach Helm, Michael Hoffman, Jennifer Westfeldt, Bill Pullman, Tony Goldwyn, and Stanley Tucci.

Leslie Urdang, founder of New York Stage and Film and acclaimed film producer, said in a statement: "It's great to be bringing back the 'film' to New York Stage and Film, to partner young talented filmmakers with experienced film mentors, and to gather a large group of theater and film artists together into one creative community." Urdang is the producer of the Oscar-winning Beginners, Oscar-nominated Rabbit Hole, and the upcoming The Family Fang directed by Jason Bateman, written by David Lindsay-Abaire, and starring Bateman, Nicole Kidman and Christopher Walken.

The six emerging filmmakers selected for the inaugural program, and their respective projects, include: Maria Agui Carter, The Secret Life of Mariposa; Adam Curley, Alter; Mozhan Marno, Yalda; Tyler Nilson, Peanut Butter Falcon; Maya Perez, Bring Back Our Girls; and Shawn Wines, I Hope You're Happy.

The mentors for the first year of the Filmmakers' Workshop will include: Keith Bunin (HBO's "In Treatment"); Miranda dePencier (Beginners); Michael Hoffman (One Fine Day, Soapdish, The Last Station); Ken Olin ("Thirtysomething," "Alias"); WGA winner Frank Pugliese ("House of Cards," "Homicide: Life on the Street"); Oscar, Tony and Pulitzer Prize winner John Patrick Shanley (Doubt, Moonstruck); Bryan Unkeless (The Hunger Games); Jennifer Westfeldt (Kissing Jessica Stein, Friends with Kids), and Stuart Zicherman (A.C.O.D., "The Americans") - who will all be on hand throughout the Residency to work with the filmmakers one-on-one, providing them with a range of comprehensive responses to their material.

Many of these mentors are drawn from the Workshop's Advisory Board, which also includes Anthony Bregman, Tony Goldwyn, Richard LaGravenese, Michael Nozik, Marc Platt, Nancy Savoca, Nia Vardalos, and others. The Advisory Board will serve as mentors in future workshops.

In 2015 the focus will be in support of screenwriters. In subsequent years, the Filmmakers' Workshop aims to add directors and expand its focus to include pre-production support.

Leadership support for the Filmmakers' Workshop has been provided by the Ammon Foundation.

The 31st Annual Powerhouse Theatre Season began on June 26 and runs through August 2 at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, NY. Subscriptions and single tickets are on sale at: http://powerhouse.vassar.edu.

Now in its 31st year, Powerhouse Theater is a collaboration between New York Stage and Film and Vassar College dedicated to both emerging and established artists in the development and production of new works for theater and film. The Powerhouse program consists of an eight-week residency on the Vassar campus during which more than 250 professional artists and 50 apprentices in the Powerhouse Training Program live and work together to create new theater works. Recent highlights at Powerhouse include Lin-Manuel Miranda's Broadway-bound Hamilton; Bright Star, an original musical from Steve Martin and Edie Brickell; The Fortress of Solitude, Itamar Moses, Michael Friedman and Daniel Aukin's musical adaptation of the best-selling novel by Jonathan Lethem; and Richard Greenberg's The Babylon Line. Many additional shows from past seasons have found their way to Broadway, Off-Broadway, and theaters nationwide, including Stephen Karam's Sons of the Prophet and The Humans (Roundabout Theater); The Invisible Hand by Ayad Akhtar (NYTW), Found by Hunter Bell, Lee Overtree and Eli Bolin (Atlantic Theater Co), Michael Mayer and Peter Lerman's Brooklynite (Vineyard Theater), Julia Jordan and Juliana Nash's Murder Ballad (Manhattan Theater Club); and Pulitzer finalist Nathan Englander's The Twenty-Seventh Man (The Public Theater; Old Globe Theater);. Other projects developed at the Powerhouse include the Tony Award-winning Side Man and Tru; the multi-award-winning Doubt by John Patrick Shanley; the groundbreaking Broadway musical American Idiot, and A Steady Rain, produced on Broadway in 2009 with Hugh Jackman and Daniel Craig.

New York Stage and Film (Johanna Pfaelzer, Artistic Director; Thomas Pearson, Executive Director; Mark Linn-Baker, Max Mayer, Leslie Urdang, Producing Directors) is a not-for-profit company dedicated to both emerging and established artists in the development of new works for theater and film. Since 1985 New York Stage and Film has played a significant role in the development of new plays, provided a home for a diverse group of artists free from critical and commercial pressures, and established itself as a vital cultural institution for residents of the Hudson Valley and the New York metropolitan region www.newyorkstageandfilm.org.


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