Rocaberti Castle Writers' Retreat | Tell your story. On the page. On the screen.
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Rocaberti Castle

TELL YOUR STORY.

On the page. On the screen.

Learn More

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The Rocaberti Castle Writers Retreat

October 7th-12th, 2016
Rocaberti Castle, Figueres
(75 miles from Barcelona, Spain)

Making the impossible happen

Have you ever dreamed of writing a novel and seeing it come to life on the silver screen?

Or maybe you’ve already published your book and are wondering about how to turn it into a screenplay?

Seems impossible, right?

Well, the answer, is, NO! Nothing is impossible, and on this one-of-a-kind writer’s retreat at the enchanting 14th century Rocaberti Castle, halfway between Barcelona and the French border, we’ll show you just how your words, your vision—let’s face it, your baby—can make it all the way to the big screen!

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The first Rocaberti Retreat, held in March 2016, completely transcended all expectations: out of the eleven writers who attended, one had her script optioned before the end of the retreat (with the deal being brokered on the shuttle back to Barcelona!), two are currently in the midst of negotiations for their script or book to be optioned and deals are in the works for several others … the impossible did happen, and it happened at Rocaberti!

Attendees called the retreat, “A magical, miraculous event” and “Inspirational; transformative”.

Here’s what Georgia Clark, winner of the first Rocaberti Scholarship, said about her Rocaberti experience:

“I was honored to be awarded the scholarship for the inaugural Rocaberti Writers Retreat. My mentor was simply fabulous: experienced, generous, warm, funny and insightful. We made great headway on helping turn my new adult fiction THE REGULARS into a feature film. A once-in-a-lifetime experience, and all in Spain!

Click here for photos from the first retreat
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Your Rocaberti Castle Retreat mentors include Tim Highsted, the Senior Editor for Acquired Feature Films at Channel 4 in the UK; Debra Landwehr Engle, best-selling author with over 25 years’ experience helping writers secure agents and land publishing deals, and novelist and screenwriter Claire Elizabeth Terry, whose original screenplay, 4 Roses, is being filmed this year.

We’ve joined forces because we want to help show you how to bring your “literary twins”—your book and screenplay—to life! Not only how to finish writing them (an art in itself, as anyone who has an unfinished manuscript or screenplay lying around their home will tell you!) but also how to have them successfully published … and made into a movie!

You’ll be part of a small and exclusive group of a maximum of 16 writers at the retreat.
Through focused, practical presentations in the mornings, afternoon mentoring sessions, evening social events—and with a mentor/writer ratio of approximately 1:4—you’ll learn how to tell your story on the page and on the screen, and be one step closer to seeing your dream come to life!

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About

Write. Engage. Experience.

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Sound enticing? We’re inviting writers of fiction, non-fiction, and for the screen to come join us for what promises to be a memorable (and productive!) experience. Enrollment is limited to just 16 guests to ensure small class size and maximum access to our mentors.

Picture yourself staying at a 14th century castle (how’s that for inspiration?). Participating in stimulating workshops. Enjoying a glass of wine with a produced screenwriter, film producer or published author. Sharing your work with others for constructive feedback. Just taking the time to breathe—and to write, away from the demands of your daily routine. Imagine the conversations that might unfold daily around the breakfast table or on a walk into the village.

Whether you’ve written a book, are working on a screenplay—or are just thinking about it!—wherever you are in the process, we’re here to help you move forward and show you that dreams can become reality!

This retreat is for you if…

  • You’re working on a book/screenplay combination or have an idea for one.
  • You have a book and want to turn it into a screenplay or vice-versa—or sell it directly to Hollywood.
  • You’re unsure how to get your book/screenplay in front of agents and producers.
  • You’re serious about completing your project and making your dream come true!
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The retreat includes…

Expert Tuition

Each morning, after breakfast, you’ll meet with members of our faculty in sessions of three hours, going in-depth into the topics which matter most to you, including:

  • Story development
  • Honing your craft
  • The art of revision
  • How to turn an existing book into a screenplay
  • How to write/finish a book with your eye on the silver screen
  • Marketing your manuscript/screenplay
  • Learning the business side of writing (an often overlooked but vital step), from securing the best literary agent to selling your script and working with film directors and producers on rewrites
  • Small group mentoring sessions (maximum: 4 writers per group) with the mentor of your choice
  • Organized afternoon leisure activities (optional)
  • Evening social gatherings
  • And so much more..!
Small group mentoring sessions

You’ll meet daily with your mentor—the presenter of your choice*—in small groups of 3-4, to discuss your project. This is your chance to receive their undivided attention and ask questions about anything related to your writing—from the arc of your story to gaining traction in your writing career to crafting the perfect pitch for an agent or producer.

*Please note: in order to have the presenter of your choice as your mentor, it’s imperative to book early, as places in the mentoring groups will be allocated on a strictly first-come, first-served basis.

All meals and drinks (including alcoholic beverages and snacks)

From dinner Friday night to breakfast Wednesday morning, your meals will be prepared by a private chef using fresh, locally-sourced ingredients. We’ll be serving vegetarian and gluten-free options along with a variety of traditional Spanish cuisine.

Five nights' lodging

As befits a castle, all the bedrooms are unique and range greatly in size, furnishings and views, so to have the room of your choice, book early!

Round-trip transportation between Barcelona and Rocaberti Castle

To make your travel easy and stress-free, we’re providing a private driver to and from Barcelona Airport for all our guests. Once your place has been secured on the retreat, we’ll be in touch with details and recommendations with regards to your flight arrangements.

Exclusive access

Where else could you sit down to breakfast with a screenwriter who’s actually had a Hollywood movie produced? Or sip Rioja by the fireplace with a published author who’s been invited to a private audience with Mikhail Gorbachev to sign copies of her book? Or go for a leisurely stroll through the nearby village with a New York Times best-selling author who’s sold screenplays to Dreamworks and other major Hollywood studios? Sit next to a bona-fida film producer at dinner?

With a faculty/participant ratio of approximately 1:4, our faculty will be available to you for impromptu conversations throughout the retreat, sharing the lessons and tips they’ve learned—and the joys of the creative process—with you every step of the way.

So come along and enjoy the most exclusive (and fun!) literary vacation of the year. In a castle.

Reserve my place, and the mentor of my choice, now
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Program

The retreat commences the evening of Friday, October 7th, with welcome cocktails, dinner and then, with a glass of fine Rioja in hand, a group discussion about writing around the fireplace in the castle’s historical salon.

On Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday:

8am – 8.30am: Morning ‘Infinite Meditation’, led by renowned spiritual practitioner, Jason Chan, focused on opening our minds and calming our hearts, in order to get the creative juices flowing.

8.30am – 9.30am: A leisurely breakfast, followed by:

9.30am – 10.30am: Focused workshops and Q&A discussions with our mentors.

11am-1pm: After a short coffee break and in small groups of 3-4, you’ll meet with your mentor for two hours to discuss your project. This is your chance to receive their undivided attention and ask questions about anything related to your writing—from the arc of your story to gaining traction in your writing career to crafting the perfect pitch for an agent or producer.

1pm: A delicious lunch, al fresco, on the castle’s beautiful terrace, prepared with fresh, local ingredients by the retreat’s chef.

2pm-5pm: Uninterrupted free time in the afternoon to explore one of Spain’s most enchanting regions: go for a walk in the beautiful countryside nearby, take a refreshing dip in the castle’s plunge pool or simply write in the peace and stillness of your room (internet access is limited to the first floor, due to the castle’s 700-year-old stone walls so there are no distractions from social media or the internet).

In addition, the following afternoon activities are also on offer:

On Saturday afternoon, we offer a guided tour of the Dalí Museum in nearby Figueres.

On Sunday, Monday and Tuesday afternoons, Jason Chan will be leading interactive workshops on ‘Movement Into the Light’: the philosophy and practice of Infinite Tai Chi movement and Chi Kung (Energy Work), creating the perfect environment in which we can gently still our minds, expand our consciousness and experience the true creativity which arises when we do so.

5-6pm: Small-group mentoring sessions with your mentor.

Then, we’ll meet for dinner prepared by our chef, Matt, and an evening event—a movie written by one of our mentors, a bonus lecture from a guest speaker or an opportunity to read your work and have it evaluated by the group. We’ll also be tasting some of the delicious local wines!

Tuesday evening will be our farewell dinner and after meditation and breakfast on Wednesday, the retreat’s private driver will take you to Barcelona for your departure home or on to your own vacation in this stunning region of Spain.

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Your accommodation

When you go on a retreat to focus on your writing, you want a place which both inspires you and strengthens your commitment to your craft. (And if it happens to make you feel like royalty, while doing so? All the better!)

Which is why we chose the spectacular Rocaberti Castle, just one hour from Barcelona, Spain.

Situated in a traditional Catalan village, this four-story medieval castle offers breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside and hills. Its spiral staircase, stone-carved archways, enclosed courtyard, antique writing desks and hidden window seats all conspire to transport you to a long-forgotten time of inspiration, simplicity and yes, fun!

Each bedroom in the castle is completely unique and we strongly urge you to reserve your place on the retreat early, so that you can book the room of your choice.

All rooms have ensuite bathrooms with either a tub and/or shower, except for two, where the bathroom, although private, is accessed through a separate entrance. When you reserve your spot on the retreat and indicate your preferred room, we’ll contact you to fill you in on the unique details of each room.

Please reserve my place now
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Your Rocaberti Retreat Mentors

Please note: our Mentors’ section is in the process of being updated: more mentors to be announced soon!

Tim Highsted Channel 4

Tim Highsted is currently the Senior Editor for Acquired Feature Films at Channel 4, purchasing and scheduling feature films for the channel’s portfolio of channels.

Previously he has been the Deputy Director of the London Film Festival and the Programmer of the London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival.

Tim also has worked at the San Francisco International Film Festival, in film distribution and as an art house film programmer, as well as script reading and production work.

A native Texan and proud daughter of cattle ranchers, Morgan Long got her start in television at Televisa USA in scripted development, where she also worked closely with Lionsgate under their joint venture on shows such as Devious Maids and Chasing Life.

She later moved to the representation side (the dark side) of things at The Gersh Agency, where she served as the Coordinator in the TV Literary Department, representing TV writers, directors, and non-writing producers.

Besides working in development and representation, Morgan has also worked with festivals such as South by Southwest and Austin Film Festival, as well as in production.

She is passionate about helping talented voices navigate their way through the business.

Morgan Long
Deb Engle Rocaberti Writers

Debra Landwehr Engle, our literary expert, has been successfully mentoring writers for the last 20 years and has helped both fiction and nonfiction authors complete their manuscripts, secure agents and land publishing deals.

She is the author of the best-selling The Only Little Prayer You Need: The Shortest Route to a Life of Joy, Abundance and Peace of Mind, which was published by Hampton Roads in October 2014. Thanks to the help of retreat founder and organizer, Claire Elizabeth Terry, her book features a foreword by the Dalai Lama and an endorsement by Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu.

She is also the author of Grace from the Garden: Changing the World One Garden at a Time and the upcoming Let Your Spirit Guides Speak, which will be released in September 2016 by Hampton Roads.

Debra has worked in publishing her entire career, beginning as a newspaper copywriter and Better Homes and Gardens book editor, then starting her own freelance business (much to her father’s chagrin!) just as she was going through a divorce.

Committed to making a living on her own, she went on to build a thriving business, writing hundreds of articles for such national publications as Better Homes and Gardens, Country Home, Country Gardens and other lifestyle magazines. She also has served as project manager on publications for Fortune 500 companies, sharpening her skills in crafting a story for any audience.

These days, Debra combines her love of writing and publishing with her lifelong interest in spirituality. Twelve years ago, she co-founded Tending Your Inner Garden®, a women’s program of personal and spiritual growth, and began teaching classes in A Course in Miracles.

Debra and her husband Bob live in Madison County, Iowa, the location that inspired the literary and film phenomenon, The Bridges of Madison County.

Claire Elizabeth Terry is your Rocaberti Castle Retreat host and moderator and is a British screenwriter, travel writer and novelist.

After graduating, she worked for several years in British theatre, where she fought for, and won, the right to become the first female stage-hand at the Royal National Theatre, London.

Short-listed for the Shiva Naipaul Memorial Prize, Claire has also written for the Rough Guides travel series.

In 2008, Claire conceived, compiled and edited The Art of Living: a Practical Guide to Being Alive, published by Kairós Publishers in both English and Spanish, the profits from which are donated to Green Cross International, the environmental organization founded by Mikhail Gorbachev.

The book includes contributions from Michael Douglas, Desmond Tutu, Jean Shinoda Bolen, Mario Vargas Llosa, Richard Branson, Mikhail Gorbachev and several members of the United Nations’ Alliance of Civilizations.

Claire is also the founder and president of the website and not-for-profit of the same name, The Art of Living Guide. Federico Mayor Zaragoza, the former Director General of UNESCO, sits on the Honorary Board.

She is the screenwriter and co-producer of the upcoming film 4 ROSES, about four friends from all over the world, whose lives are transformed when a rose is secretly drawn for each of the women.

George Parra, the Executive Producer of Silver Linings Playbook, Nebraska, The Descendants and Sideways, is attached to direct.

Claire’s novel of the movie, I Draw Roses was published in 2013.

Claire Terry
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Special Guests

Jason Chan

Jason Chan is a spiritual master and healer whose energy and teachings have transformed and enlightened the lives of hundreds of his close students, as well as touching the lives of thousands more spiritual seekers who have attended his courses, retreats, workshops and demonstrations in the UK, Ireland, Europe, USA and Thailand.

He is also the author of The Radiant Warrior (Hay House 2009), Infinite Abundance (2012 and winner of the Next Generation Indie Book Awards 2013) and Infinite Awakening (2015).

Jason was voted Most Inspirational Individual in 2008 by readers of Kindred Spirit magazine. In their 21st Anniversary Awards, Kindred Spirit said: “Jason has quietly, with dignity and integrity, worked tirelessly to help others find inner peace and balance”. For over thirty years, Jason has dedicated his life to passing on the benefit of his “Infinite Arts” program, including vitality, natural health, inner strength and removing blockages to allow creativity to flow naturally.

As Jason says: “Looking at life from the highest possible view, we can see that there is a definite order in all that happens in nature and the universe. We form part of nature and it follows we’re affected by the same patterns, cycles, flow, change and movement of the natural laws. And it is from these ancient sources of wisdom, that creativity also flows naturally and abundantly.”

Jason will be leading morning meditation and offering optional afternoon workshops on Infinite Tai Chi and Chi Kung (energy work), creating the perfect environment in which we can gently still our minds and experience the true creativity which arises when we do so.

Álvaro de Marichalar y Sáenz de Tejada is an award-winning writer, documentary filmmaker and world-record holding adventurer.

He is the author of the best-selling Heading to the Blue Horizon and has also produced documentaries for the National Geographic Channel, amongst others.

Álvaro’s passion is sailing and, in addition to winning twelve World Records, he also raises humanitarian aid for various NGOs worldwide with his nautical adventures.

He will be our Special Guest on Monday evening at the retreat, inspiring us with his experiences about conquering fear and fighting against all odds in order to achieve a goal – fundamental armor for any aspiring writer or filmmaker!

Álvaro
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Please reserve my place, and the mentor of my choice, now

The retreat is from $4,995 / 4,395€ / £3,495 per person, including sales tax, 5 nights’ accommodation at Rocaberti Castle, all meals and drinks (including alcoholic beverages and snacks), all tuition and round-trip transportation between Barcelona airport and the castle.