The Writers Guild of America West and the Writers Guild Foundation present Beyond Words, our annual celebration of Writers Guild Award nominees for adapted, original, and documentary screenplays.
BO BURNHAM – Eighth Grade
JOE ROBERT COLE - Black Panther (Written by Ryan Coogler & Joe Robert Cole. Based on the Marvel Comics by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.)
BRIAN CURRIE & PETER FARRELLY - Green Book (Written by Nick Vallelonga & Brian Currie & Peter Farrelly)
LAUREN GREENFIELD - Generation Wealth
NICOLE HOLOFCENER – Can You Ever Forgive Me? (Screenplay by Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty. Based on the book by Lee Israel.)
OZZY INGUANZO & DAVA WHISENANT - Bathtubs Over Broadway
GABE POLSKY - In Search of Greatness
ERIC ROTH - A Star is Born (Screenplay by Eric Roth and Bradley Cooper & Will Fetters. Based on the 1954 screenplay by Moss Hart and the 1976 screenplay by John Gregory Dunne & Joan Didion and Frank Pierson, Based on a story by William Wellman and Robert Carson.)
KEVIN WILLMOTT - BlacKkKlansman (Written by Charlie Wachtel & David Rabinowitz and Kevin Willmott & Spike Lee. Based on the book by Ron Stallworth.)
BRYAN WOODS & SCOTT BECK - A Quiet Place (Screenplay by Bryan Woods & Scott Beck and John Krasinski, Story by Bryan Woods & Scott Beck)
Moderated by SUSANNAH GRANT (Confirmation, Erin Brockovich)
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ABOUT THE PANELISTS
Scott Beck & Bryan Woods - A Quiet Place (Screenplay by Bryan Woods & Scott Beck and John Krasinski, Story by Bryan Woods & Scott Beck)
Filmmakers Scott Beck & Bryan Woods first met as sixth-graders in their hometown of Bettendorf, Iowa. After discovering a shared interest in cinema, the duo began collaborating on stop-motion movies with their Star Warsaction figures. This collaboration continued into high school, where they directed numerous shorts and their first feature films. In 2001, Beck & Woods formed their production company banner Bluebox Films, under which they would write, direct and produce films, commercials, and television content.
Beck & Woods’ most recent film on the big screen is Paramount Pictures’ A Quiet Place, based on their original screenplay. The critically acclaimed box-office smash was released on April 6, 2018 and stars Emily Blunt and John Krasinski, who also directed. The film earned over $340M at the worldwide box-office. Beck & Woods served as Executive Producers on the film and received a story by credit and shared screenplay credit with Krasinksi. They are nominated for a 2019 WGA Award for Original Screenplay for the film. In 2018, Beck & Woods were named to the 10 Screenwriters to Watch list by Variety.
The duo is in post-production on the thriller Haunt, which they wrote and directed for producer Eli Roth, Sierra/Affinity, Broken Road Productions, and Nickel City Pictures. They are writing The Boogeymanfor 20th Century Fox and 21 Laps, based on Stephen King's iconic short story of the same name.
Beck & Woods are DGA and WGA members.
Bo Burnham - Eighth Grade
Bo Burnham (director/writer) is a comedian from Boston, Massachusetts. He has made three hour-long live comedy specials — “Words Words Words,” “what.,” and “Make Happy”— and directed specials for Jerrod Carmichael and Chris Rock. Eighth Grade is his first film.
Joe Robert Cole - Black Panther (Written by Ryan Coogler & Joe Robert Cole, Based on the Marvel Comics by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby)
Joe Robert Cole is a writer committed to crafting smart, rich, character-driven journeys in addition to creating tent-pole, world-renowned projects. Along with Ryan Coogler, Cole co-wrote the critically acclaimed and box-office smash Black Panther. He most recently completed the Netflix feature All Day and a Night, an Oakland-based drama that centers on a young man who committed a homicide and is dealing with the consequences, starring Ashton Sanders (Moonlight) and Jeffrey Wright. In addition to writing the feature, this film will mark Cole’s directorial debut.
Next up, he will script Failsafe, a highly-anticipated series based on the Vault Comics title. The series will be produced by Michael B. Jordan, who will potentially star in it as well. Also for television, Cole is attached to create and Executive Produce a new series adaptation of In the Heat of the Nightfor MGM.
In 2016, Cole produced the Emmy-Winning FX series American Crime Story: The People Vs. OJ Simpson, for which he also received an Emmy nomination for writing the episode “A Jury in Jail.” His past credits also include Revoc, a sci-fi action thriller with Lionsgate and Mandeville Films.
Brian Currie - Green Book (Written by Nick Vallelonga & Brian Currie & Peter Farrelly)
Brian Currie became interested in screenwriting at an early age, first while attending St. John’s Prep in Massachusetts and later at Middlebury College in Vermont. He’s had the good fortune of writing on major studio movies and independent films over the course of his career. Currie enjoyed acting while studying at Emerson College in Boston, and his credits include Con Air; McFarland, USA; Stuck on You; The Bold and the Beautiful; Invincible; Fever Pitch; and Armageddon. In addition to his co-writing and producing on Green Book, Currie also plays Maryland State Trooper Hayes in a memorable sequence in the film.
Peter Farrelly - Green Book (Written by Nick Vallelonga & Brian Currie & Peter Farrelly)
Peter Farrelly has garnered notable and global commercial success by writing, directing and producing numerous heartfelt and raucously funny film and television projects for a quarter of a century.
His latest film, Green Book, starring Mahershala Ali, Viggo Mortensen, and Linda Cardellini debuted in the fall of 2018 and quickly became a favorite amongst moviegoers and critics alike. This solo project was a departure for Farrelly, earning him two Golden Globe Awards including Best Picture and Best Screenplay, the Darryl F. Zanuck Producer’s Guild Award for Outstanding Producer of Theatrical Motion Pictures as well as the Best Picture Award from the National Board of Review. Written, directed and produced by Farrelly, Green Book was included in over 25 critics‘ top ten lists for 2018 and won the coveted Audience Award at the Toronto International Film Festival. Farrelly received two Academy Award nominations for Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay, in addition to receiving nominations from BAFTA, the Broadcast Film Critics Association, the Director’s Guild of America and the Writer’s Guild of America.
Peter and his younger brother Bobby made their directorial debut in 1994 with the modern-day classic film, Dumb and Dumber, grossing over $246 million worldwide. They continued to define comedy in 1998 with the Golden Globe nominated film, There’s Something About Mary starring Ben Stiller, Matt Dillon and Cameron Diaz. The duo has collaborated on nearly 20 film and television projects including: Kingpin, Me, Myself & Irene, Shallow Hall, Stuck on You, Fever Pitch, Osmosis Jones, Hall Pass, Dumb & Dumber To and the 2007 remake of The Heartbreak Kid.
Production will soon begin on the third season of Loudermilk, Peter’s critically acclaimed television show for the AT&T Audience Network. Written, directed and co-created with Bobby Mort, Loudermilk stars Ron Livingston and focuses on a recovering alcoholic and substance abuse counselor whose bad attitude is said to “put the SOB in sobriety.” Peter is also a published novelist, penning Outside Providence, The Comedy Writer, and the children’s book, Abigail the Happy Whale. His short story, The Saturday Night Before Easter Sunday, was nominated for an Edgar Award in 2016.
Born in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, Farrelly grew up in Rhode Island. He graduated from Providence College and received an MFA degree in creative writing from Columbia University.
Lauren Greenfield - Generation Wealth
Named by the New York Times as “America’s foremost visual chronicler of the plutocracy, Emmy-award-winning filmmaker/photographer Lauren Greenfield has produced groundbreaking work on consumerism, youth culture and gender for the last 25 years. Her documentary films Generation Wealth, The Queen of Versailles and Thin, and photography books Generation Wealth, Fast Forward and Girl Culture, have provoked international dialogue about some of the most important issues of our time. The Queen of Versailles was the opening night film of Sundance 2012 where it won the Best Documentary Director Award. Her record-breaking, Super Bowl ad #LikeAGirl (250+ million views) earned her 14 Cannes Lions and the Most Awarded Director by AdAge, the first woman in commercial history to ever top this list. Greenfield’s Generation Wealth film opened the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, screened at Berlinale, SXSW, and is being released by Amazon Studios. Generation Wealth also garnered her The Paris Photography Prize (PX3) and the Photographer of the Year from the Art Directors Club. The companion exhibition has travelled around the world and will open at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art (Copenhagen) in Fall 2019. In September 2018, Greenfield was given the LA Film Festival Spirit of Independence Award.
Gabe Polsky - In Search of Greatness
Gabe Polsky wrote, directed, and produced the feature documentary In Search of Greatness which was released to critical acclaim in 2018. The film is a cinematic journey into the secrets of genius as told through the greatest athletes of all time.
In 2015, Polsky directed wrote and produced the award-winning documentary Red Army which was released by Sony Pictures Classics to universal acclaim. Executive Produced by Jerry Weintraub and Werner Herzog, the film premiered at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival and went on to win numerous awards.
Previously, Gabe Executive Produced Genius, the 10 time Emmy® nominated TV show on National Geographic about Albert Einstein. Polsky co-directed The Motel Life starring Emille Hirsch, Dakota Fanning, and Steven Dorff. The film won numerous international awards.
In 2016 Polsky was commissioned by The New Yorker to make a short documentary called “The Blimp-Maker”. Additional producing credits include: Werner Herzog’s Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans which was named in over 40 top-ten lists of 2009 and His Way, an Emmy® nominated documentary released by HBO in 2011.
Ozzy Inguanzo - Bathtubs Over Broadway (co-written with Dava Whisenant)
Ozzy Inguanzo is a Cuban-American writer and filmmaker. He recently completed Focus Features’ award-winning musical comedy documentary Bathtubs Over Broadway, executive produced by Blumhouse, Impact Partners, and David Letterman. As a research consultant and frequent collaborator with writer/director James Mangold, Ozzy contributed to the feature film Logan and its Academy Award nominated screenplay, and the upcoming Le Mans 66 starring Christian Bale. Past experience also includes the original Spider-Man trilogy where he worked with and trained under Sam Raimi and Alvin Sargent. Ozzy is the author of Zombies on Film: The Definitive Story of Undead Cinema (Rizzoli/Universe 2014) and Constructing Green Lantern: From Page to Screen (DC Comics/Universe, 2011).
Eric Roth - A Star is Born (Screenplay by Eric Roth and Bradley Cooper & Will Fetters)
Eric Roth is an Academy Award winner who attended the University of California at Santa Barbara, Columbia University and UCLA. He recently received Academy Award and Writers Guild of America nominations for Best Adapted Screenplay for his script for A Star Is Born, alongside Bradley Cooper and Will Fetters.
Among the movies Roth has written include The Drowning Pool with Paul Newman; Suspect with Cher and Dennis Quaid; Mr. Jones with Richard Gere and directed by Mike Figgis; and Rhapsody in August directed by the legendary Akira Kurosawa. He wrote the Academy Award-winning Best Picture Forrest Gump, for which he won the Oscar and the Writers Guild Award for Best Adapted Screenplay; The Horse Whisperer, directed by Robert Redford; and The Insider, for which Roth won the Humanitas Award and was nominated for an Academy Award, a Golden Globe Award, and a Writers Guild Award. He also wrote Ali, directed by Michael Mann and starring Will Smith. He co-wrote the 2005 Academy Award-nominated screenplay for Munich, directed by Steven Spielberg; and the screenplay for The Good Shepherd, with Matt Damon, Angelina Jolie and directed by Robert De Niro.
Roth received a Writers Guild Award nomination and his fourth Academy Award nomination for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. He also wrote Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, which earned him a Critics’ Choice Award nomination for Best Screenplay Adaptation.
Roth won the prestigious Laurel Award for Screen in 2012, the Writers Guild of America West’s lifetime achievement award.
Roth recently finished adapting the Frank Herbert novel Dune for Denis Villeneuve to direct. He also completed the screenplay for the Leonardo DiCaprio-starring vehicle Killers of the Flower Moon, to be helmed by Martin Scorsese.
In television, Mr. Roth is the executive producer of five-time Emmy Award-nominated Best Drama House of Cards for Netflix, Berlin Station for Epix, and 2018 Emmy Award-nominated Outstanding Limited Series The Alienist for TNT.
Roth lives in Los Angeles. He has seven children and six grandchildren.
Dava Whisenant - Bathtubs Over Broadway (co-written with Ozzy Inguanzo)
Dava Whisenant is a Los Angeles-based filmmaker and Sundance Fellow making her directorial debut with Focus Features’ Bathtubs Over Broadway. After the film's world premiere at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival, Dava won the Albert Maysles Award for Best New Documentary Director. She’s worked in both narrative & nonfiction film for over 20 years, with an emphasis on music and comedy. Dava’s other music docs include the Grammy®-nominated blues & civil rights film Two Trains Runnin’ which she produced and edited for director Sam Pollard, the 3D rave documentary Under the Electric Sky (Sundance 2014) and an American Masters film about Merle Haggard. Whether documentary or narrative, Dava’s style is defined primarily by a responsibility to serve the story, and it’s been said that she has a gift for finding “the relatable human imperfections” that connect characters with viewers. Her diverse experience includes serving as Supervising Producer for BBC Worldwide, an editing assistant to Steven Soderbergh, and several years as an editor at The Late Show with David Letterman.
Kevin Willmott - BlacKkKlansman (Written by Charlie Wachtel & David Rabinowitz and Kevin Willmott & Spike Lee)
Kevin Willmott (writer) co-wrote and is the Executive Producer of Director Spike Lee’s critically acclaimed film Chi-Raq. The film is on numerous best of 2015 lists including best film and best screenplay by The New Yorker Magazine.
Willmott’s feature film, Jayhawkers, tells the story of a group of unlikely allies who modernized college sports and changed Kansas University during the early stages of the Civil Rights movement. Jayhawkers stars Kip Niven (Magnum Force, Return to Lonesome Dove) as Coach Phog Allen, Jay Karnes (The Shield, Burn Notice, Gang Related) as Chancellor Franklin Murphy and Trai Byers (Empire, Selma) as jazz musician Nathan Davis.
Willmott, wrote, directed and acted in the award-winning film, Destination Planet Negro! available on Amazon Prime and iTunes, and he wrote and directed the critically acclaimed feature film C.S.A: Confederate States of America, about America had the South won the Civil War. C.S.A. premiered at the Sundance Film Festival was released theatrically in the U.S. by IFC Films. His other feature credits include 2009’s The Only Good Indian, 2008’s The Battle for Bunker Hill and Ninth Street, starring Martin Sheen and Isaac Hayes, which Willmott wrote, produced and co-directed. He is the executive producer of the critically acclaimed feature film, The Sublime and the Beautiful, directed by Blake Robbins. For television, Willmott co-wrote with Mitch Brian the mini-series “House of Getty” and “The 70's.”
As a screenwriter, Willmott co-wrote Shields Green and The Gospel of John Brown with Mitch Brian. The script was purchased by Chris Columbus' 1492 Productions for 20th Century Fox. He also co-wrote Civilized Tribes for producer Robert Lawrence and 20th Century Fox. Producer and director Oliver Stone hired him to co-write Little Brown Brothers, about the Philippine Insurrection, and to adapt the book Marching to Valhalla by Michael Blake.
Willmott adapted and directed a stage version of The Watsons Go to Birmingham in New York and at Kansas City’s Coterie Theater. The play T-Money and Wolf, written with Ric Averill, dealing with the holocaust and contemporary gang violence, was selected as part of the New Vision/New Voices series produced by the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. Willmott directed the premiere performances of Now Let Me Fly, a new play by Marcia Cebulska commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education decision to segregate public schools. He also directed two documentaries Fast Break: The story of Legendary Coach John McClendon and William Allen White: What’s the Matter with Kansas, about the famed Kansas journalist.
Willmott grew up in Junction City, Kansas and attended Marymount College receiving his BA in Drama. He graduated from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts with an M.F.A. in Dramatic Writing and is currently a Professor in the Media and Film Studies Department of Kansas University.
ABOUT THE MODERATOR
Stacey Wilson Hunt is an award-winning entertainment journalist and event host who most recently served as the Los Angeles-based Hollywood Editor for New York magazine and Vulture. Prior to that, she spent more than five years at The Hollywood Reporter as the Awards and Special Projects Editor, and was the host and producer of the Emmy-nominated SundanceTV series, Close Up with The Hollywood Reporter. She also served for six years as People magazine’s Northwest-based national correspondent.
A native of Portland, Oregon, Wilson Hunt started her editorial career at Microsoft and went on to earn a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University in New York. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, New York magazine, Entertainment Weekly, The Hollywood Reporter, Variety, People, TV Guide, Portland Monthly, magazine, The Oregonian, Willamette Week, among others.
Her writing, producing and hosting credits have earned her numerous commendations, including from the Society of Professional Journalists and the Los Angeles Press Club. She is also an in-demand event moderator for the SAG-AFTRA Foundation’s “Conversations” series, FYC awards-season events and the Paley Center for Media, to name a few.
Currently, Wilson Hunt writes about Hollywood for Fortune and lives down the hill from the Hollywood sign with her Texan-screenwriter husband Kris and a Shih-Tzu named Buddy.