Sunday ‘s first feature, warm-up event was a panel “The Future is the Word: Screenwriting for Films &TV, Fiction & Documentary” and the Aster’s new River Room was comfortably full.
Hafed Bouassida MCTC’s film program chair, served as moderator with Beth Pacunas, Michael Starrbury, Thomas Pope and Susan Marks. Each came to the table with a variety of experience and years in the film business. Starrbury, profiled in the Star Tribune in January for this participation in Sundance, spoke of the frustrations when a screeplay gets rejected because they wanted “more trailer moments.” He was almost ready to give up the business. (how that issue can go awry, see this article about the guy who sued for the missing explosion)
Generally, there was a consensus that there is pressure on screenwriters to create a new shorter format for films and that media generated materials will be increasingly part of screenwriting in the future. Pope contended that Star Wars and Jaws, the big blockbusters, brought around the “slow deathspiral’ of the quality screenplay. They had many other words of wisdom, personal, and otherwise, to impart about the business of becoming a screenwriter. The final question was, jokes about the weather aside, how they manage to work in Hollywood and live in Minnesota. (see the video.) The full panel discussion and Q&A will be posted online: http://www.mspfilmfest.org/MMXIII/
Al Milgom, by the way, is well and settled into a, I am sure, high quality rehab center in Germany after breaking some bones while attending the Berlinale (Film Festival). MSPIFF Staffers assure me he is in good spirits and trying to convince them to do some late additions to the festival schedule.