Academy Award®-Winning Screenwriter, Stephen Gaghan, to Select Winning Script for Sun Valley Screenwriter’s Lab

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The Sun Valley Film Festival, presented by Zions Bank, is pleased to announce that Academy Award®-winning screenwriter Stephen Gaghan will select the winner of the festival’s inaugural Screenwriter’s Lab competition on Thursday, March 14.

The Sun Valley Film Festival, presented by Zions Bank, is pleased to announce that Academy Award®-winning screenwriter Stephen Gaghan will select the winner of the festival’s inaugural Screenwriter’s Lab competition on Thursday, March 14.

The Sun Valley Screenwriter’s Lab received more than 100 original screenplays and television pilots from aspiring screenwriters and the top three finalists announced today are:

Taffy by Hank Isaac of Everett, WA
Life of the World to Come by Cody Tucker of St. Louis, MO
Life Could Be a Dream by Mike Viseltear of Los Angeles, CA

These three Screenwriter’s Lab finalists have been invited to Sun Valley and will be awarded lodging, passes to the SVFF and admission to the SVSLab. The Lab will be hosted by writer, actor and Independent Spirit Award Nominee Will McCormack, who will share his latest work in a live table read with professional actors, field questions on the trade, and discuss how he took matters upon himself to finally produce the break-out smash hit, Celeste and Jesse Forever.

The Lab will have a Wyoming Whiskey intermission and returns with the announcement of the winning script selected by Steve Gaghan. The winner will witness their work come to life during a live table read and it will be scored by renowned film score composer Pete Snell.

“We created the Screenwriter’s Lab to add another interactive educational element to the festival and were overwhelmed with the number of submissions we received,” said Festival Executive Director Teddy Grennan. “Having the major industry talents of Will McCormack, Stephen Gaghan and Pete Snell involved will certainly make this an entertaining and engaging learning experience for everyone who attends,”he added.

The Lab will run from 1-4pm on March 14 in the NexStage Theatre, with a spirited Wyoming Whiskey reception. A free public screening of Celeste and Jesse Forever will show in advance of the Lab from 11:00-12:30. Tickets to attend are $25 and can be purchased online or at the Festival HQ in downtown Ketchum.

About Stephen Gaghan
Stephen Gaghan is a writer and director whose feature scripts include Traffic for which he won the Academy Award, Golden Globe, Writers Guild of America Award and British Academy Award. He wrote and directed the film, Syriana, which received an Academy Award nomination for original screenplay, won The National Board of Review best script of the year, and garnered the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for George Clooney. Gaghan has many producing/directing projects in development, including City of Snow at Warner Brothers, Lightkeeper at Working Title Films, and Snakehead with Flashlight Films. His next feature is The Candy Store, also with Flashlight Films, Good Universe, and Lionsgate, which begins shooting in August, 2013. His TV production company, Unsupervised, is based at 20th Century Fox and currently is producing the miniseries, They Marched Into Sunlight for FX, as well as many other development projects. In addition, Gaghan has contributed production work to many other films, from Black Hawk Down in 2001 to After Earth, starring Will Smith, coming in summer of 2013.

About Will McCormack
Celeste and Jesse Forever marks Will McCormack’s first produced screenplay. He and his writing partner Rashida Jones are currently writing Frenemy of the State and a pilot for Showtime called We Are Puppets. As an actor, Will spent years on the New York Stage working at The Vineyard, The Manhattan Theatre Club, and Playwrights Horizons. In 2004, he was awarded the Lucille Lortel Award for Best Actor in Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Paula Vogel’s The Long Christmas Ride Home. Feature films include Syriana, Boiler Room, American Outlaws, Prime and Abandon. Television credits include The Sopranos, The Shield, In Plain Sight and Brothers and Sisters.

About Pete Snell
Pete has a long history of composing music for film, television and advertising. His film score credits include Jack Taylor of Beverly Hills, Mackin’ Ain’t Easy, Freak Talks About Sex (Blowin’ Smoke), and Ski School 2. Pete has created music for films like Sherlock Holmes 2, Elf, Wedding Crashers, The 40 Year Old Virgin, Because I Said So, Fall Time, Final Destination 2, American History X, and Town & Country. He toured with Lyle Lovett and His Large Band for six years and has performed and recorded with many other artists, including Annie Lennox, Christina Aguilera, Bonnie Raitt, T Bone Burnett, Kristin Chenoweth and Macy Gray.

For festival details and tickets: Get Festival updates on Facebook and Twitter.    

The Sun Valley Film Festival is presented by Zions Bank. Major sponsors include Alaska Airlines, Nat Geo WILD, Sun Valley Resort, Tito's Handmade Vodka, SVPN, and InkTip.

Media Contact:
Carol Waller, CW Communications, 208-720-3965, carol(at)cw-communications(dot)com

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Laurie McConnell