The Chesterfield Writer's Film Project (WFP), the prestigious fellowship program which encourages new screenwriting talent, has announced an application deadline of June 14, 2003. The program is sponsored by Paramount Pictures and overseen at the studio by Paramount Motion Picture Group Vice Chairman John Goldwyn and Senior Vice President of Production Dede Gardner.
The WFP originated at Steven Spielberg's Amblin Entertainment and has launched numerous writing careers. WFP alumni include Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winner David Auburn ("Proof"), Karen Janszen ("A Walk to Remember"), and Matthew Carnahan (Fox's "Fastlane"). Last year's alumni are already starting their screenwriting careers -- Mark Poirier is adapting his novel "Goats" for Francis Ford Coppola's American Zoetrope and Jonathan Hludzinski is writing an original comedy for producer Kathleen Haase ("Detroit Rock City").
Academy Award-winning screenwriter Stephen Gaghan ("Traffic") commented on his experience with the program: "I've been extremely impressed by the writers I've met and worked with at the WFP. I'm thrilled to be involved with it." Adds screenwriter Bruce Joel Rubin ("Ghost"): "I really admire the WFP program. I'd recommend it to anyone looking to start a writing career in Hollywood."
The WFP is supported by an Industry Board which includes writers Robin Green and Mitchell Burgess (Executive Producers of HBO's "The Sopranos") and Ed Solomon ("Men In Black"), producers Steve Starkey ("Cast Away") and Gary Lucchesi ("Runaway Bride"), and directors Michael Lehmann ("40 Days and 40 Nights") and Jerry Zucker ("Rat Race").
This year, up to five writers will be chosen to participate. Each writer will receive a $20,000 stipend to cover living expenses during the year-long workshop. The WFP winners are chosen by international competition. Interested writers may submit writing samples in a variety of forms, including screenplays, plays, short stories and novels. Past fellowship winners have included critically-acclaimed novelists and short-story writers and award-winning playwrights, as well as first-time screenwriters.
During the WFP Fellowship year, participants meet with Paramount executives, selected film professionals and screenwriting mentors. This year's mentors and guest speakers include Stephen Gaghan ("Traffic"), Steven Zaillian ("Gangs of New York"), Daniel Pyne ("Sum of All Fears"), Scott Alexander and Larry Karazewski ("Agent Cody Banks"), Bruce Joel Rubin ("Ghost"), David Arata ("Spy Game") and Robin Swicord ("Little Women"). In addition to developing important industry relationships, WFP writers are introduced to literary agents at the end of the workshop.
Created as a bridge between the Hollywood film industry and talented fiction, theater and film writers interested in screenwriting careers, the WFP has an impressive track record. WFP alumni have written scripts for nearly every studio and major independent including Paramount Pictures, Disney, Universal Pictures, Warner Bros., DreamWorks, Sony Pictures, MGM, Imagine Entertainment and American Zoetrope. WFP writers are represented by the Creative Artists Agency, International Creative Management, the William Morris Agency, and the United Talent Agency among others.
"We offer aspiring screenwriters the chance to work with the industry's top writers and filmmakers as they learn their craft," says WFP Executive Director Ed Rugoff. "When you add the active involvement of Paramount Pictures and its executives, we feel we have the ideal environment for supporting new writing talent."
The deadline for applying to the Writer's Film Project is June 14, 2003. Interested writers can get more information by visiting the WFP Web site, www.chesterfield-co.com, or by sending a self-addressed stamped envelope to The Chesterfield Writer's Film Project, Box 544, 1158 26th St., Santa Monica, CA 90403. The phone number for information is (213) 683-3977.