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The Story Works: new screenwriting training initiative at Edinburgh Festival

Edinburgh, Scotland, 15 October 2009, The Edinburgh International Film Festival today announced a new training initiative funded by Skillset, - The Story Works.

The Story Works is a high-level screenwriting initiative aimed at experienced screenwriters which will be delivered by the triumvirate partnership of story editor Kate Leys - as project director, producers Finola Dwyer and Amanda Posey as creative advisors and the Edinburgh International Film Festival.

The programme is supported by an advisory board which includes Ronan Bennett, Christian Colson, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Tony Grisoni, Christine Langan, Kevin Loader, Cameron McCracken, Hannah McGill, Allon Reich, Tessa Ross and Robyn Slovo

The programme is for ten experienced British screenwriters and will run for a year from March 2010; at the centre of the initiative is a residential week of masterclasses for participants with A-list screenwriters - and film practitioners (editor, DoP etc). The residential week will run immediately prior to the Edinburgh International Film Festival in June 2010 so that all participants can also attend the EIFF. Over the year, participants will have the chance to work with an experienced mentor on their chosen script or feature film idea and there will also be several further masterclass and group sessions held in London.

Submissions are now invited and participants will be confirmed early next year. Writers experienced in other media such as theatre will also be considered as long as they have feature screenplay ideas in development.

Neil Peplow, Skillset's Director of Film, said: "Storytelling is at the very heart of our industry. We need excellent scripts to continue creating the commercially and critically successful films that make the UK film industry a world leader. I am delighted that Skillset is able to fund "The Story Works". This is a fantastic partnership, working with Kate and building on our already successful relationship with the Edinburgh International Film Festival."

Kate Leys said “"Screenwriting is the bedrock of this industry and this project is all about
bringing talented screenwriters together to work on ideas and story. It's a great opportunity and I'm incredibly excited to be leading it."

The EIFF is committed to developing new British talent across all film sectors and has been working successfully with Skillset on Trailblazers for the last three years. The Story Works further demonstrates this engagement with the UK Film Industry.

About Kate Leys:
Kate Leys is a feature film script editor who works on projects at all stages of development from first outline to pre-production. As well as working directly with screenwriters and producers she also advises international financiers in both the commercial and public sectors on projects in development. She teaches story development and screenwriting at post graduate level and speaks regularly at a wide range of industry events including Edinburgh and London Film Festivals and the Cheltenham Screenwriters Festival. She was head of development at Film Four for 5 years where she was part of the small commissioning team responsible for films including 'Four Weddings and a Funeral', 'Orphans', 'East is East' and 'Girl with a Pearl Earring'. She has worked in all sectors of the film industry including production, distribution, exhibition, festival programming, press and sales agenting.

About Finola Dwyer and Amanda Posey:
Together, Finola and Amanda most recently produced An Education, written by best-selling author and screenwriter Nick Hornby and directed by Lone Scherfig. The cast includes Peter Sarsgaard, Alfred Molina, Dominic Cooper, Rosamund Pike, Olivia Williams, Emma Thompson and rising star Carey Mulligan. An Education opened in the US on 9th October to wide critical acclaim and opens in the UK on 30th October. Finola’s credits include Backbeat; Welcome to Woop Woop; The Lost Son; Me Without You; The Hamburg Cell; Tsunami: The Aftermath; executive produced Dean Spanley; and made her theatre producing debut with the West End hit ‘Elling’, with a Broadway production planned for early 2010. Finola is the Chair of the BAFTA Film Committee and a BATFA board member. Amanda’s credits include Fever Pitch, as well as the US remake, and 5 Seconds to Spare. Prior to producing, Amanda worked on The Crying Game and Interview With The Vampire, as well as heading up development for Scala Productions. Amanda and Finola are jointly developing several films, including projects with Nick Hornby.

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