Miami Filmmaker Project

Entertainment Industry Incubator. From May through June 2009.

The Entertainment Industry Incubator (EII)’s recently launched Miami Filmmaker Project has selected five up and coming filmmakers for their first annual Screenwriters Lab, which takes place this May and June in South Florida. The projects range from the story of a Haitian-American sprinter coming to terms with his roots to a Cuban family’s struggle to escape the island and make a new life for themselves in the United States.

Participants submitted completed drafts of original feature screenplays in an open submissions process and were then chosen to represent the best of Miami’s diverse, creative talent. The Miami Filmmaker Project’s intensive, integrated hands-on programs for media artists based in South Florida, anchored by a series of professional Labs filmmaker mentors, has the goal of “…bringing to completion, and to a global audience, dramatic feature films, as well as shorts and documentaries, that are made by Miami-based artists or tell Miami stories, in a unique Miami voice,” says EII’s Executive Director Susan Schein. Subsequent programs will include Directors and Producers Labs, as well as feature film financing initiatives, and short film and documentary programs.

This year’s Screenwriters Lab is divided into two segments. The first, which takes place during May, is a workshop led by writer and Assistant Professor at the University of Miami School of Communication Ron Mangravite, during which time the selected projects are critiqued and rewritten. Mangravite received an MFA in film from the University of California Los Angeles, has written numerous award-winning shorts and the recent feature film All for Liberty, and is the co-author of The Complete Screenwriter’s Manual.  

The second segment is a three-day June intensive with Los Angeles filmmakers Devorah Cutler and Scott Rubenstein that will focus on polishing the scripts and preparing them for finding producing, directing and investment partners. Cutler and Rubinstein’s Noble House Entertainment develops both independent and commercial film projects, as well as assists screenwriters and filmmakers in developing their craft. Cutler’s past projects include Tattoo U, a pilot for FX Network, the feature film The Substitute, starring Tom Berenger, and the Showtime film Peacock Blues. Rubenstein was the story editor for StarTrek: The Next Generation and has written frequently for television, including episodes of MacGyver and Cagney & Lacey. Together they have taught at the University of Southern California and led seminars at many industry events.

The participants and feature projects selected for the 2009 Screenwriters Lab are:
All-American (writer Lolita Stewart-White) – An all-American competitive sprinter struggles to come to terms with his Haitian roots.

Born & Raised (writer Nicholas Loritsch) – A young man in the blue collar South finds his way with the help of his well-traveled outlaw of a grandfather and the multi-cultural community of family and friends that surround them.

Crossing Paths (writer David Nguah) – A woman survives the Holocaust and moves to Miami Beach where she experiences both love and racial bigotry.

Devil’s Opus (writer Rolando Vinas) – A teen musical prodigy discovers he is a clone of Beethoven and battles his contemporaries for the love of a girl.

Loss of Innocence (writer Eric Gaunaurd) – As a family makes the difficult decision to send their children alone from Cuba to the United States during the Communist revolution, they struggle to overcome insurmountable obstacles to escape the island and reunite with their children.

An Advisory Board consisting of international award-winning film industry leaders helps to guide the Miami Film Project in its work. The Advisory Board includes Patricia Boero, Executive Director of Latino Public Broadcasting and former Director of the Sundance Institute’s International Program; Howard Cohen, Co-President of the film distribution and production company Roadside Attractions; Robin Cowie, Florida-based producer of The Blair Witch Project and other films; Julie Davis, writer and director of feature films including Amy’s Orgasm; David Frankel, Miami-based director of The Devil Wears Prada and Marley & Me; John Hadity, former Executive Vice President Miramax; Brian Hecker, whose South-Florida set feature film Bart Got A Room recently opened to critical acclaim; Roy Meyeringh, Director of Multiplatform Content for Venevision International; Howard Rodman, Professor at USC’s film school and screenwriter of the recent Savage Grace, starring Julianne Moore;  Steve Rothenberg, President of Domestic Distribution for Lionsgate Films; Susan Seidelman, an independent filmmaker and director of the cultural milestone Desperately Seeking Susan; and Sean Wolfington, Miami-based producer of the feature film Bella.

Miami Filmmaker Project

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