The Hamptons International Film Festival has today announced the creation of their inaugural Melissa Mathison Fund for their 16th Annual Screenwriters Lab, taking place next month. This year’s Lab is co-presented by the new fund and will pair up-and-coming screenwriters with various established screenwriters, directors and producers for a weekend dedicated to one-on-one mentoring sessions and fostering growth. Over 50 screenplays have been part of the Lab since its creation, including produced projects like “Short Term 12,” “Little Accidents” and “Fort Bliss.” Mentors have included such luminaries as Nicole Perlman, Oren Moverman, Anne Boden and Ryan Fleck, Whit Stillman and Maggie Greenwald.
Mathison, the beloved screenwriter behind such classics as “E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial” and “The Indian in the Cupboard,” passed away last year and the Fund was created to honor and commemorate her career and passion.
“By choosing emerging female screenwriters to participate through this fund in Melissa’s name, her legacy will endure for generations to come,” said Anne Chaisson, HIFF Executive Director, of the announcement. “We are so proud to be able to honor her dedication to the craft of screenwriting during our annual Screenwriters Lab.”
This year’s will Lab will also feature a screenwriting Master Class from last year’s mentor and Academy Award Screenplay winner for “Birdman,” Alexander Dinelaris, which will be open to the public. “Alex was one of the most exciting parts of last year’s Lab. His passion, insight, and tales of working on the most celebrated film of last year had us all enthralled. We at HIFF wanted our audiences to have the chance to hear from him as well, and our first Master Class will allow that to happen,” said HIFF Artistic Director David Nugent of the pick.
Following the Lab, The Melissa Mathison Fund Screenwriter(s) will continue their connection to both important industry contacts and the public by showcasing selected scene readings from their screenplays by established actors at the Festival in October. Past actors that have performed in these readings include Academy Award winner Melissa Leo, Michael Stuhlbarg, Harris Yulin, Richard Kind and Steve Guttenberg.
The 16th Annual Screenwriters Lab will take place April 8-10 in East Hampton, New York. This year’s Hamptons International Film Festival will run from October 6-10.
Check out a chat with Dan Rather from last year’s Hamptons International Film Festival below.