Late July 2024

French Castle

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Late July 2024

July 19th-24th, 2024

Marouatte Castle,
The Dordogne,
France

Joan Lane

Fully booked

Diane Drake

Fully booked

Michael Davies

Fully booked

Chris Deckard

Fully booked

Michael Alden

Roving Mentor

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

Or written a TV show or play that you long to see produced?

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

Joan Lane

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.

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.

Michael Davies

Michael Davies is a UK-based director and writer, currently in pre-production on THE CAPTIVE HEART, a romantic adventure film, shooting this autumn on the Amalfi Coast.

Michael began his career making a wide range of critically acclaimed, award-winning documentaries and drama-documentaries for the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 - including seven films with legendary producer Beryl Vertue at Hartswood Films - as well as dramatised adventure films for Discovery Channel. Michael also directed fourteen episodes of the hit BBC children’s drama series TRACY BEAKER RETURNS, winning a BAFTA and two RTS (Royal Television Society) awards.
 
Michael has a long association with the RADA (the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts), working with writers and directing rehearsed readings and performances of new plays. Two of his feature scripts - THE CAPTIVE HEART and PSYCHOPOMP - have been developed with the Academy. Michael also teaches a regular screen acting masterclass in London, and passionately believes that the way to attract the best talent to your projects is to write characters actors will want to play.

Michael's short film WHAT’S VIRGIN MEAN? screened at over sixty international festivals, winning eight awards and attracting more than ten million hits on YouTube; unusually for a short, it also made a profit. Another of his films, LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT, starring John Hurt and Phyllida Law, won fifteen awards, including an RTS, Rushes and Raindance, and was shortlisted for an Oscar.

Chris Deckard

Prior to co-founding the management/production company Fictional Entity in January 2017, Chris Deckard spent over seven years working with and representing talent at major agencies such as ICM Partners and WME. He has worked closely with traditional and new media buyers to find and develop content for domestic and international audiences. In addition to helping cast and package numerous features and series, he has evaluated thousands of scripts for actors and directors. Chris graduated from Cornell University and earned his J.D. from Notre Dame Law School.

Fictional Entity’s clients have been named to The Black List, The Hit List, The Young & Hungry List, The Blood List and been lauded by the PAGE Awards, the International Emmys’ Peter Ustinov Award for exceptional international television writing and placed as finalists in The Heath Ledger Scholarship and the Academy Nicholl Fellowship The Academy Nicholl Screenwriting Awards, the AWG, ADG, SPA, and AACTA. Clients have written, directed, starred, and produced in numerous formats, including features, TV, virtual reality, and podcasts, independently and for companies like Netflix, NBCUniversal, Legendary, Marvel, Fremantle, SyFy, the CW, Warner Bros., Amazon, Blumhouse, Comedy Central, the ABC Australia, Foxtel, TruTV, Super Deluxe, Hallmark, CBS, Facebook, E!, and MSNBC.

Chris has advised clients through multiple successful series pilot and pitch sales. In 2019, Fictional Entity clients have: staffed on Netflix and Amazon series; directed features and high-budget shorts; entered option and shopping agreements with high-profile producers; and have premiered feature films and shorts at festivals around the world.

Michael Alden

A native of Southern California, Michael Alden began his career on stage and motion pictures at an early age. As a child actor, he appeared in numerous family shows during the late fifties and early sixties. In 1977 Mr. Alden stepped behind the scenes working in various aspects of production.

In 1984 Mr. Alden joined Cannon Films in their post-production department. Quickly moving up the ranks, in 1986 he was made supervisor of the department, overseeing the creative and technical post-production of over one hundred feature films.

Mr. Alden assumed Vice Presidency at Pathe Communications in 1989, where he headed their public post production facility, Pathe Services. He served as a corporate officer of the newly formed company taking them into profit in their first year. During his term, Mr. Alden was instrumental in locating, analyzing and supervising the rejuvenation of over 1,500 feature film elements that had been stored worldwide which comprised the company’s film library. These feature elements served as the equity foundation for Pathe’s purchase of MGM/UA where Mr. Alden went on to serve as their vice president of post-production.

As a producer, Mr. Alden has been represented in the West End with COME FROM AWAY, (Olivier Award for Best Musical) , David Seidler’s original play THE KING’S SPEECH and BAT BOY THE MUSICAL. On Broadway: COME FROM AWAY (2017 Tony Nomination & Olivier Winner for Best Musical), DISGRACED (Pulitzer Prize – Drama) GREY GARDENS and BRIDGE & TUNNEL (Special Tony Award).

His off Broadway and regional works include; THE KING'S SPEECH, NOT THAT JEWISH, BECOMING DR. RUTH, ADMIT ONE, the Brochu-Schalchlin musical THE LAST SESSION, SPALDING GRAY: STORIES LEFT TO TELL, the Los Angeles productions of Howard Crabtree’s WHEN PIGS FLY, and Theresa Rebeck’s BAD DATES.

Alden's film works include: FROM THE SHADOWS, STUDIO ONE FOREVER, ESTELLA SCROOGE: A CHRISTMAS CAROL WITH A TWIST, DEATH METAL, MY BEAUTIFUL STUTTER, JUST CAUSE with Sean Connery, the fashion forward documentary UNZIPPED for Miramax, Stephen Daldry’s THE HOURS, the multi-award winning feature comedy KISSING JESSICA STEIN and Ralph Ziman’s foreign feature film THE ZOOKEEPER starring Sam Neill.

His current 2023/24 film production works include Ian Holt's supernatural thriller, CURSED, Mike Kuciak's IN THE SHADOWS, WHEN REAGAN KILLED ROOSEVELT, a film chronicling the formative years of famed rap group Public Enemy, and THE GRIOTS OF HIP HOP (the never before told story of the rise of MTV Raps and their place in the hip hop revolution.)

Michael Alden is attending this retreat as a Roving Mentor.

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The Retreat includes...

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