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 16th century Aragonese Castle set on a rock off the coast of the island of Ischia (where The Talented Mr Ripley was shot), 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

As the Senior VP of Talent Development for WarnerMedia Entertainment, Kelly Edwards oversees all emerging artist programs for HBO, HBOMax, and Turner.

Edwards brought an innovative new approach to developing the company’s writing and directing fellowships which have become an industry best practice. By marrying the two programs, material created by the writers is shot by the directors with a fully inclusive crew for air on WarnerMedia’s digital platforms. The content has garnered festival awards at SXSW, Tribeca, Seriesfest to name a few.

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 has spanned both television and film having produced the movie of the week A CHRISTMAS DETOURfor Hallmark, the one hour series SEX, LOVE, AND SECRETSfor UPN, serving as a network executive for UPN and Fox, and as a creative executive in features. As an executive she helped to develop series such as GIRLFRIENDS, THE PARKERS, MALCOLM IN THE MIDDLE, CLUELESS,and THE WILD THORNBERRYS.

In 2000, Edwards co-founded the non-profit organization Colour Entertainment, a networking group for diverse creative executives and assistants in TV, Film, and Digital, 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 holds an MFA in Writing for Film and Television from Emerson College. She currently serves on the Annenberg Inclusion Board and is a 2019 Sundance Episodic Lab fellow.

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 an accomplished professional screenwriter, writing instructor, story consultant, speaker, and author. Prior to becoming a screenwriter, Diane served as Vice President of Creative Affairs for Academy Award-winning director/producer 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 recently been remade in China featuring major Chinese stars.

Diane is a member of the Writer’s Guild of America and has been an instructor/speaker/panelist for the Austin Film Festival, UCLA Extension Writer’s Program, Scriptwriter’s Network, Story Development Group, University Club, and Writer’s Store. She has also served as a judge for the Austin Film Festival, UCLA Extension Contest, and The Humanitas Prize. She recently released her debut book, Get Your Story Straight: A Step-By-Step Guide To Screenwriting By A Million Dollar Screenwriter, (Reel Life Publishing, May 2016).

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