May 2022

French Castle

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May 2022

May 6th-11th, 2022
Marouatte Castle,
The Dordogne,
France

Kelly Edwards

Judi Levine

Joan Lane

Stan Zimmerman

Niall Johnson

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.

Judi Levine

Judi Levine has had an extensive producing career in feature films and documentaries, and has been associated with award-winning film projects since her first short feature PLEAD GUILTY, GET A BOND won an AFI award for Best Screenplay in a Short Film.

Her work has led her to projects around the globe, including features in Australia, England, Scotland, the Czech Republic and the USA. Levine produced the feature film THE SESSIONS starring Oscar-winner Helen Hunt, who was nominated for an Academy Award for the film and Oscar-nominees John Hawkes and William H. Macy.

THE SESSIONS won numerous international awards including Audience Awards at the Sundance, San Sebastian and Mill Valley Film Festivals, a Sundance Special Jury Prize for Ensemble Cast, and acting nominations and awards at the 2012 Independent Spirit, Golden Globe and Academy Awards.

In 2017, Levine co-produced the WWII drama THE CATCHER WAS A SPY starring Paul Rudd, Paul Giamatti and Guy Pearce, which premiered at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival and opened internationally that same year.

In 2020, Levine completed the romantic comedy FALLING FOR FIGARO starring Joanna Lumley and Danielle Macdonald, which was released globally in 2021, followed by the feature film HOW TO PLEASE A WOMAN starring British comedienne Sally Phillips, due for release in 2022.

Most recently, she has partnered with Keshet International to produce the feature film SYLVIA AND THE PRESIDENT, about a young woman in the 1930s who led the first movement for the rights of people with disabilities at a time when President Roosevelt was concealing his own disability.

Levine’s documentary experience includes work on the six-hour television series THE MIGRANT EXPERIENCE and as producer on the feature documentaries HOLLYWOOD GOLD for the Discovery Channel, and two documentary projects currently in development including OUTSPOKEN! IDA LUPINO – HER LIFE IN PICTURES and an ABORIGINAL TEEN DOCUMENTARY about a group of teens who, over 20 years ago, saved up to go to Hollywood, and now talk about that experience and how it changed not only their lives but those of their whole community.

In addition to producing, Levine tours with the seminars JUMPSTART HOLLYWOOD, aimed at helping aspiring artists find an easier path to establishing themselves in the toughest filmmaking town in the world.

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 and mounted world premiere showcases and readings of new plays and musicals in London. She is a member of Musical Theatre Network UK, concerned with the writing of new musicals, and member of the British Shakespeare Association. 

Primarily engaged as a Consultant by the BBC, Joan 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 worked on the BBC’s Promenade Concert/Opera ‘The Water Diviner’s Tale’

As well as touring with her own company, Joan has worked on several plays at the Royal National Theatre and toured plays with ATG and Pleasance Theatre. She recommends scripts to Russian translator colleagues and two plays were produced in Russia recently.

Her own first original screenplay, completed in 2018 and based on the true story of a 1930s actress and singer, was recently taken up and is expected to go into production in 2020. 

Joan is currently working with new writers to develop two films and three new TV series. 

In addition, four TV series on which she has worked with first-time writers are under consideration.

Stan Zimmerman

Stan Zimmerman’s long career covers multiple mediums (TV, film and theatre) and he’s won many LA directing awards, including one from BroadwayWorld.com. In addition, he's been nominated for two WGA Awards for Best Comedy Episodic writing for his work on the classic TV series, THE GOLDEN GIRLS and ROSEANNE. 

Stan’s also written and produced on GILMORE GIRLS and co-created the Lifetime sitcom, RITA ROCKS. He was Director/Writer/EP/Creator on the Emmy-nominated web series, SECS & EXECS, on Tellofilms. In film, he wrote both BRADY BUNCH movies. 

He has been busy lately writing, directing and producing theatre in Los Angeles. Some of Stan's critically-acclaimed productions include: the LatinX The Diary of Anne FrankHeartbreak HelpPledgeWarm CheeseEntertaining Mr. SloaneBLINK & You Might Miss MeSpike HeelsA Tuna Christmas and Gemini. He also directed two of the plays he wrote with Christian McLaughlin: Yes Virginia, Knife to the Heart and Meet & Greet

Stan has appeared on Broadway with Nureyev & the Joffrey Ballet at the Mark Hellinger Theatre and was the Host/Showrunner on Sean Hayes’ Bravo reality show, SITUATION: COMEDY. Stan also teaches audition technique classes in LA and NYC. He has a BFA-Drama NYU/Circle-in-the-Square.

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.

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The Retreat includes...

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Sponsors