MPI Wraps Spring Screenwriting Workshops

May 11, 2020

Twelve filmmakers recently completed our nine-week virtual Screenwriting Workshops, which function as a story lab for our film slate of MPI Original shorts. 

Participants were chosen from over 70 applicants who answered our appeal for film ideas embodying the theme “standing up for what you believe in even when it’s unpopular.” The chosen applicants were split into three workshops—two for dramatic shorts and one for comedic shorts. 

MPI filmmaker Toby Fell-Holden led our Dramatic Shorts Screenwriting Workshops. Toby is a British writer-director who graduated from Columbia’s Film MFA. He has taught filmmaking and masterclasses at Columbia, NYU, The National Film and Television School, MetFilm, and is a visiting fellow at Arts University Bournemouth.

Toby got his start as an MPI intern in 2010 and received an MPI filmmaker grant to develop his thesis film Little Shadow, which was long-listed for a BAFTA award. He developed his short film Balcony in a 2015 MPI Screenwriting Workshop and produced it with the assistance of an MPI fellowship. Balcony won a Crystal Bear at the 66th Berlinale, and was long-listed for the Academy Awards, along with a nomination for Best British Short at the British Independent Film Awards. 

MPI filmmakers Austin and Meredith Bragg led our Comedic Shorts Screenwriting Workshop. The brothers are an award-winning writer/director team who became involved with MPI in 2015, writing and directing some of the first sketches for MPI’s comedy news channel We the Internet TV. They also participated in a number of MPI Workshops covering the business of film, directing, and cinematography.

In MPI’s 2019 Screenwriting Workshop the Braggs developed the upcoming MPI Original A Piece of Cake starring Rich Sommer (Mad Men). The film was recently nominated for Best Narrative Short at the Tribeca Film Festival and is an official selection at the Oscar-qualifying Cleveland International Film Festival.  

Under the guidance of these experienced screenwriters, workshop participants created concepts and developed them into compelling, pro-freedom scripts. Filmmakers were able to hone their storytelling craft through an intensive process of writing, revising, reading, and the giving and receiving of constructive criticism.

One participant writes, “I never cease to be amazed at how scripts evolve and transcend beyond their original form once put through the crucible of an MPI Screenwriting Workshop.” 

From these 12 filmmakers, eight have been chosen to take part in MPI’s Directing Workshop, which began this past Thursday and is taking place virtually this year due to COVID-19. This month-long workshop will prepare these promising writers/directors for the demands of production. At the completion of this workshop, MPI will acquire the very best to produce as MPI Original films. 

Click here to learn more about MPI’s filmmaker opportunities.

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