Early September 2023

French Castle

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Early September 2023

September 1st-6th, 2023
Marouatte Castle,
The Dordogne,
France

Kelly Edwards

Richard "RB" Botto

Diane Drake

Niall Johnson

Scotty Mullen

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!

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Mentors

Kelly Edwards

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.

Richard "RB" Botto

Richard “RB” Botto is the Founder and CEO of Stage 32, the official film education & networking platform of AFM and the Marche du Film at Cannes Film Festival. Stage32.com is the world’s largest online platform connecting and educating film, TV & digital creatives and executives worldwide. Since 2011, Stage 32 has emerged as an online community of over 500,000 creatives with over 1,000 hours of online education taught by over 500 industry executives.

RB is also a working actor, producer and screenwriter. As a producer, his films have played at dozens of festivals including the Sundance award winning feature, Another Happy Day, written & directed by Sam Levinson (starring Kate Bosworth, Demi Moore, Ellen Barkin), the documentary Crutch, the feature What Lies Ahead (starring Rumer Willis and Emma Dumon) releasing in 2019 and the upcoming Rain- Beau’s End (starring Ed Asner, Sean Young and Kate Arrington). As a writer, his latest screenplay, The End Game, is currently set up at Covert Media. As an actor, his latest film On the Corner of Ego and Desire premiered at the 2018 Raindance Film Festvial.

Botto is a best-selling author with his book Crowdsourcing For Filmmakers, published by Routledge Press under the American Film Market Presents banner. The book can be found at the Routledge Press booth by AFM badge registration and on Amazon, where it has over 50 5-star reviews.

A sought-after speaker and mentor, RB has been a keynote speaker and panelist at such festivals and conferences as Cannes, AFM, Tribeca, Sundance, Raindance, SXSW, Portugal FEST and Winston Baker. He has also taught at institutions such as Harvard and Columbia University on the subjects of filmmaking, producing, film finance, screenwriting, social media, crowdfunding, crowdsourcing, entrepreneurship and business.

Diane Drake

Diane Drake is a professional screenwriter, author, writing instructor, story consultant, and speaker. Prior to becoming a screenwriter, Diane served as Vice President of Creative Affairs for Academy Award-winning director Sydney Pollack. Her first produced original script, ONLY YOU, starring Robert Downey, Jr. and Marisa Tomei, sold for one million dollars, while her second produced script, WHAT WOMEN WANT, starring Mel Gibson and Helen Hunt, is the second highest grossing romantic comedy of all time. In addition, both films have been remade in China featuring major Chinese stars, and WWW was remade as WHAT MEN WANT, with Taraji P. Henson.

Diane is a member of the Writer’s Guild of America, teaches screenwriting for UCLA Extension, and has served as a judge for the Humanitas Prize, Writers Guild Awards, and Austin Film festival, among others. Her debut book on screenwriting, Get Your Story Straight, is available on Amazon.

Niall Johnson

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 APESSTAR TREKDOCTOR 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

Scotty Mullen

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.

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The Retreat includes...

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Sponsors