HIFF Announces Melissa Mathison Fund

Melissa Mathison.
Melissa Mathison.

The Hamptons International Film Festival (HIFF) announced last week the inaugural Melissa Mathison Fund for the 16th annual Screenwriters Lab, which will take place April 8-10, in East Hampton. The Lab, co-presented by this new fund, pairs up-and-coming screenwriters with established screenwriters, directors and producers for a weekend of one-on-one mentoring sessions.

A Hollywood native, Ms. Mathison first worked as assistant to Francis Ford Coppola on “The Godfather, Part II before going on to write the Oscar®-nominated “E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial” for Steven Spielberg. Ms. Mathison also adapted the classic novel “The Indian in the Cupboard” for Kennedy-Marshall Productions and would go on to write screenplays for “The Escape Artist,” a segment in “The Twilight Zone” movie, as well as Martin Scorsese’s “Kundun” before her death in 2015. The Melissa Mathison Fund will commemorate Melissa’s amazing body of work.

”By choosing emerging female screenwriters to participate through this fund in Melissa’s name, her legacy will endure for generations to come,” said Anne Chaisson, HIFF Executive Director. “We are so proud to be able to honor her dedication to the craft of screenwriting during our annual Screenwriters Lab.”

HIFF has also announced a screenwriting Master Class from last year’s mentor and Academy Award Screenplay winner for “Birdman: Or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance, Alexander Dinelaris. For the first time, this year’s Lab will feature a Master Class open to the public. Mr. Dinelaris will take participants through all the stages of a critically acclaimed project, from the original writing phase to how a film’s script changes and morphs through to the final edited picture. Mr. Dinelaris uses film clips to detail all that goes into writing an Oscar-winning script like “Birdman.” The class will take place at 5:30 p.m. April 9 in East Hampton. For more information email marissa@hamptonsfilmfest.org.

“Alex was one of the most exciting parts of last year’s Lab. His passion, insight, and tales of working on the most celebrated film of last year had us all enthralled. We at HIFF wanted our audiences to have the chance to hear from him as well, and our first Master Class will allow that to happen,” stated HIFF Artistic Director David Nugent.