Early March 2024
March 8th-13th, 2024
Have you dreamed of writing a screenplay and seeing it come to life on the silver screen?
Or maybe you’ve published a book and are wondering about how to turn it into a film script?
Seems impossible, right?
Well, the answer, is, NO! Nothing is impossible, and on this one-of-a-kind writers’ retreat, at the beautiful 14th century Marouatte Castle, in the heart of the Dordogne, France, owned by music industry legend Miles Copeland, former manager of Sting and The Police, 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!
Kelly Edwards recently transitioned from inside the network ranks into a writing and producing deal with HBO under her Edwardian Pictures banner.
In her former executive role, she oversaw all of the emerging artists programs for HBO, HBOMax, and Turner. The pilots she produced through the HBOAccess Writing and Directing fellowships have screened at major film festivals including Tribeca and SXSW, and garnered multiple awards.
Prior to HBO, Edwards was a key corporate diversity executive at Comcast/NBCUniversal for over five years where she oversaw over 20 divisions, launched employee resource groups, and introduced diverse creative talent to NBC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and Telemundo.
Edwards’ career spans both television and film. Early in her career, she worked as a creative executive in features at both Disney and Sony under such talents as Garry Marshall and Laura Ziskin. After moving to television, she served as a senior executive at FOX where she developed LIVING SINGLE, CLUELESS, and THE WILD THORNBERRYS. While heading up UPN’s Comedy division as the SVP of Comedy Development, she developed GIRLFRIENDS, THE PARKERS, and MALCOLM IN THE MIDDLE.
Edwards also produced the movie of the week A CHRISTMAS DETOUR for Hallmark and the one-hour drama series SEX, LOVE, AND SECRETS. In 2000, Edwards co-founded the non-profit organization Colour Entertainment, a networking group for diverse creative executives in TV, Film, Digital, as well as assistants, all designed to connect current and future industry executives with one another.
Edwards graduated from Vassar College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theater and an MFA in Writing for Film and TV at Emerson College. She served on the Annenberg Inclusion Board and is a 2019 Sundance Episodic Lab fellow. Her book, The Executive Chair: A Writer’s Guide to TV Development, debuted as an instant Amazon Best Seller. She currently writes for the FOX drama OUR KIND OF PEOPLE and splits her time between Los Angeles and Missoula, Montana.
Joan Lane is a British film and theatre producer, primarily known for having developed the Academy Award-winning THE KING’S SPEECH, directed by Tom Hooper, starring Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, and Helena Bonham Carter, and adapted from the stage play by its author David Seidler.
Her company, Wild Thyme Productions, has toured six innovative productions of Shakespeare’s plays in the UK and Germany (including the first all-female production of ‘Hamlet’) mounted world premiere showcase performances of new plays and musicals in London, and has a double bill in development for late 2023-2024.
Primarily engaged as a Consultant by the BBC, Joan's skills were used for the recording, filming, and Royal Opera House performance of ‘The Little Prince’. She was a director for BBC Radio Two and BBC Television’s New Talent UK-wide search for the ‘Voice of Musical Theatre’, involved with background music for the film ‘The Actors’, coordinated the participation of singing Angels for Stephen Fry’s directorial film debut ‘Bright Young Things’ and casting director and coordinator on a BBC’s Promenade Concert/Opera ‘The Water Diviner’s Tale’. As well as touring with her own company, she has worked on plays at the Royal National Theatre and toured with ATG, PW Productions, and Pleasance Theatre. For the last few years, she has been the resident judge on the Kenneth Branagh Award for New Drama Writing.
Joan recently edited two books, alongside which she and the writers developed TV series which are about to go to market. Brought in to edit the screenplay of ‘Gateway to the West’, she went on to completely rewrite it. The film is now in post-production and due out later this year (https://www.imdb.com/title/tt13542474/). Her first fully original screenplay, completed in 2018 and based on a true story, is expected to go into production in early 2024.
Niall Johnson has been a British-based film writer and director for 20+ years. His most recent work is as a writer on the visually-striking animated drama-documentary ANOTHER DAY OF LIFE, based on the memoir by Ryszard Kapuscinski about the Angolan civil war of the mid-1970s. Winner of the Best Animated Film at this year’s European Film Awards, it received its World Premiere at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival. Niall’s two most recent films as Writer-Director were released within a year of each other: MUM’S LIST (2016) the critically-acclaimed true story weepie romance based on St John Greene’s best-selling memoir, starring Rafe Spall and Emilia Fox; and the Western-styled adventure story THE STOLEN (2017) set in New Zealand’s 1860s Gold Rush, starring Alice Eve, Jack Davenport, Graham McTavish and Richard O’Brien.
Niall came to Hollywood’s notice in 2003 with his spec supernatural script WHITE NOISE, starring Michael Keaton, which opened in January 2005 at #1 in the UK and #2 in the US, where it broke the record at the time for the biggest January opening for a non-sequel. In 2005 Niall wrote and directed black comedy KEEPING MUM, starring Rowan Atkinson, Maggie Smith, Kristin Scott Thomas, and Patrick Swayze. He adapted the script from an original by Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Richard Russo (Nobody’s Fool, Empire Falls). His other credits include wife-swapping comedy-drama THE BIG SWAP, and traditional haunted house TV-Movie THE GHOST OF GREVILLE LODGE starring Prunella Scales and George Cole.
Born and raised in Sutton Coldfield, near Birmingham, Niall’s passion for movies is a result of a childhood spent producing epic remakes of the likes of PLANET OF THE APES, STAR TREK, DOCTOR WHO and BATMAN with his brother, a friend, and a silent Kodak 8mm film camera—the most notable recurring feature of these being his mother’s laundry hanging on the washing line in the back-yard.
Scotty Mullen is an award-winning writer known for his work with Syfy, Lionsgate, and Lifetime. He is also an accomplished casting director.
After getting his feet wet writing on the pop-culture juggernaut “Sharknado” franchise, Scotty's storytelling skills have evolved into adapting true-life stories into feature films.
As of this date, Scotty has written 15 produced screenplays which have been filmed in 7 different countries. His productions feature a variety of stars, including Luke Wilson and Olivia Newton-John.
Scotty is known for being an enthusiastic collaborator with producers; almost all of his scripts have been written on assignment. Scotty is often hired for his script doctor skills and ability to save a production from the proverbial “developmental hell.”
Originally from small-town Kansas, Scotty went to college in Atlanta and now works from his home in Los Angeles.
Kala Guess is the industry liaison for Final Draft and the Contest Director for the Final Draft Big Break Screenwriting Contest.
As the Director of the Big Break Contest, Kala champions screenwriters to break into the industry and to date has had seven writers signed (two of whom sold pilots and a spec in the room!), one writer staffed as a showrunner's assistant and six option deals, amongst numerous other successes.
Kala has successfully evolved the contest alumni into one of the largest in the business and a real community where filmmakers mix with industry movers and shakers from top studios and streaming platforms, such as Berlanti Productions, CBS, Starz, HBO, Netflix, NBC and many more.
She is also the driving force behind Final Draft’s move towards representation and inclusivity in the entertainment industry, which includes partnerships with Sundance, The Black List, Women in Film, The Geena Davis Institute, Free the Work, CBS Diversity & Inclusion, NBC Talent and Inclusion, NALIP, NHMC, Bromont Program, Get Lit, Ghetto Film School and many more. Kala also championed Final Draft to create the Inclusivity Analysis Feature, a free tool for studios and writers to measure how inclusive a script is.
As Content Producer for Final Draft, Kala has built strong relationships with major PR companies, such as 42 West, Netflix, Strategy PR, Ginsberg Libby, Warner Brothers, and many more and is regularly invited to speak on panels about writing, development, producing and inclusion.
With ten years of experience in the entertainment industry, a passion for championing storytellers, a keen eye for talent, and a vast network of aspiring and award-winning creators, Kala continues to turn her ‘wild’ ideas into exciting success stories and is looking forward to mentoring at the retreat to work with each writer to help them get their scripts market-ready.
Simon Egan has been producing and directing films for over 20 years. In 2002 he co-founded Bedlam, an award-winning production company responsible for producing internationally-renowned feature films and documentaries.
Their first feature film, EXAM, won Spirit and Dinard Awards and saw the film’s director, Stuart Hazeldine, BAFTA-nominated for Best Debut.
In 2006 Simon Egan developed an unmade play that he later co-produced and turned into the multi award-winning $15m feature, THE KING’S SPEECH. The film would go on to be nominated for 198 international film awards and collect over 106 prizes including 4 Academy Awards (Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor & Best Original Screenplay) and 7 BAFTAs (Best Film, Best Screenplay, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Music & Best British Film).
THE KING’S SPEECH is still the most successful independent British film of all time, grossing $420m worldwide.
Bedlam’s other feature films include the critically acclaimed ZAYTOUN, the BAFTA -nominated KAJAKI and STEEL COUNTRY, starring BAFTA winner Andrew Scott.
The team are currently producing FEARLESS, written by Oscar-nominated writers Paul Tamasy and Eric Johnson (THE FIGHTER) and TARSILA, helmed by the Palme D’Or nominated writer/director Daniela Thomas.
Alongside his feature film work, Simon is known in the industry as an Royal Television Society award-winning director and producer, responsible for a series of groundbreaking documentaries including Channel 4’s LOOKING FOR RICKY and THE REAL BLAIR WITCH; BBC’s THE PAEDOPHILE HUNTERS, JFK – THE SMOKING GUNand the Emmy-nominated TITANIC'S FINAL MYSTERY.
Producers' Guild of America Award: THE KING’S SPEECH
Honorary Fellow Award: Ravensbourne University
Royal Television Society Award Winner: Best Journalist: ENDING VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN
Emmy-Nominated: TITANIC'S FINAL MYSTERY
Royal Television Society Nominated: Best Documentary
Royal Television Society Nominated: Best Documentary Series
Simon Egan is attending this retreat as a Roving Mentor.
The Retreat includes...