This Year's Class of Screenwriters Announced for HIFF Lab

In a cozy side room at c/o the Maidstone in East Hampton, Michael Sladek, left, conferred with Jamal Joseph, who served as a HIFF mentor in 2014. David Nugent

The Hamptons International Film Festival will host three screenwriters and their mentors at its annual Screenwriters Lab over the weekend of April 7. Returning this year is a screenwriting master class led by Michael H. Weber that will be open to the public.

Mr. Weber’s credits include award-winning scripts for “(500) Days of Summer,” “The Spectacular Now,”  and “The Fault in Our Stars.” He will cover the scriptwriting process from idea to edited film, using film clips as illustration and personal anecdotes as examples.  

The screenplays that have been selected are Annabelle Attanasio’s "Mickey and the Bear,” Jess dela Merced’s "Chickenshit,” and Andrew Semans’s “Resurrection.”

Those serving as mentors for this year's selected writers include Robin Swicord, an Academy Award-nominated screenwriter for “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.” Her other writing credits include “Memoirs of a Geisha” and “Little Women.” She was the director of “Wakefield,” which was included in last year’s festival. 

David Siegel was the co-writer, producer, and director of “Uncertainty,” from the 2008 festival, and “The Deep End.” He also directed “Bee Season,” from the 2005 festival,  and “What Maisie Knew.”

Ted Griffin was a co-writer of “Ocean’s Eleven,” “Matchstick Men,” and “Tower Heist,” screenwriter of “Ravenous,” and producer of “The Wolf of Wall Street” and “Up in the Air,” both nominated for Academy Awards. He has also directed for television in shows such as “Terriers,” “Mad Dogs,” and “Patriot.”

The weekend program will consist of one-on-one sessions with each of the mentors so the screenwriters can tighten up and polish their scripts. The program is part of the festival’s educational mission. According to David Nugent, the artistic director of the festival, “In the last four years, four projects from our lab have gone on to be produced, all by female filmmakers, which is particularly exciting to us.”  

Several scripts mentored in the program have been produced, distributed, and screened at festivals around the world, such as Sundance, South by Southwest, Karlovy Vary, Locarno, and the Los Angeles Film Festival. The films include Destin Daniel Cretton’s “Short Term 12,” Justin Schwartz’s “The Discoverers,” Sara Colangelo’s “Little Accidents,” and Claudia Myers’s “Fort Bliss,” starring Michelle Monaghan and Ron Livingston.

The master class will take place at 6 p.m. on April 8 at the Ross School. Registration is available on the HIFF website.