Not all films originate from books or other source material, but from the fertile imagination of inspired storytellers and brought to life through the unwavering passion of visionary storymakers.
Original filmmaking showcases stories that are deeply personal, arouse specific emotions, express a specific view of life, and embrace universal qualities.
By the time audiences sit down to watch a film they’ve absorbed tens of thousands of hours of television, film, prose, radio and theatre. What Original (and mostly independent) filmmaking brings to the world is the unique, individual and ‘original’ voices of storytellers that will excite audiences on the six continents and live in revival for decades.
Click on Film Title For Feature Article / Films listed alphabetically
2.22 US based Australian director and producer Paul Currie’s first encounter with the bewitching riddle of 2:22 came in the form of a bold, visionary script written by Todd Stein.“Todd Stein had this wonderful karmic view of life”, recalls Currie. “When he first conceived of the story Todd had some medical issues, which put him into a really interesting frame of mind to write such a story. As soon as I read his script I thought: ‘This is something that’s in my DNA as a director’. Todd’s script was dark, but I felt that inside the thriller was an idea, a conceit around time and love through time, that was expansive.”
A CURE FOR WELLNESS A chilling and mind-bending psychological thriller that explores the true meaning of wellness and the trappings of avarice and power, while asking what fulfillment really means.In the tradition of Verbinski’s indelible 2002 classic, The Ring, the Academy Award winning filmmaker brings his inimitable style and vision to A Cure For Wellness, from a screenplay by Justin Haythe, based on the story written by Haythe and Verbinski.
A GHOST STORY A passionate young couple, unexpectedly separated by a shocking loss, discover an eternal connection and a love that is infinite. Written and directed by David Lowery
ABRAHAM is undoubtedly one of the best South African films ever made, a profound and consummate masterwork from industry legend, Jans Rautenbach that marks his first film in 30 years. It tells an unforgettable tale that will break your heart, a story that connects with who we are as South Africans and how we fit into the bigger scheme of things.
THE ACCOUNTANT “It’s always compelling when people have secrets—when you think someone is one thing and then discover they’re something else entirely,” says director Gavin O’Connor.That is certainly the case with the title character of his new film, The Accountant, from a screenplay by Bill Dubuque (The Judge).
ALMOST CHRISTMAS In the past decade, writer/director David E. Talbert has created beloved comedy films including First Sunday and Baggage Claim, but the 24-time NAACP Theatre Award nominee and Best Playwright winner admits that his first love has long been holiday movies.
AYANDA Directed by Sara Blecher (Dis ek, Anna) and with Fulu Moguvhani in the title role, the recipient of the coveted Special Jury Prize at the Los Angeles Film Festival held in June this year, was described as “… entertaining, ambitious and poignant…” with the director “… deftly using animation and reportage to move through a very human and socially significant story’. Ayanda was also selected as the opening night film at the 36th Durban International Film Festival held in July this year.
THE EDGE OF SEVENTEEN Fremon Craig’s spec script about a girl and her best friend in high school came to the attention of legendary Oscar and EmmyAward-winning producer James L. Brooks at Gracie Films.
BABY DRIVER With its mixture of mph and music, the newest explosion of genre-crossing excitement from writer-director Edgar Wright, this is an action thriller unlike any other. Wright had been thinking about how to cast Baby Driver for years before it went into production.
BASTILLE DAY A blistering action thriller set in the French capital, Paris, Bastille Day is a story of an unlikely pair – a reckless CIA agent and a brilliant pickpocket – who must work together to uncover and take down a conspiracy. Directed by James Watkins (The Woman In Black, Eden Lake), from a screenplay by Andrew Baldwin (Jason Bourne) and James Watkins.
BEFORE I WAKE Fear is real in the tense and terrifying Before I Wake, which exists in a world with supernatural elements while maintaining a strong foothold in reality.“The horror of Before I Wake is born of the souls of its characters,” says Director/Co-writer/Editor Mike Flanagan. “This is really a bedtime story for grownups complete with its own boogie man.”
BOO! A MADEA HALLOWEEN Tyler Perry’s Boo! A Madea Halloween heralds a fresh turn in the Tyler Perry/Madea franchise: a movie that blends Perry’s distinctive humor with elements of horror. Before committing to the concept, Perry knew he had to create a story that worked for him as a filmmaker, and for Madea as a character. ”So I came up with an idea I thought would be hysterical and wouldn’t take Madea too far out of her lane,” he says. “This is not your typical Halloween movie — there are so many pee-your-pants moments. Anyone who sees this movie should bring Depends.”
THE BOSS was written by McCarthy, director Ben Falcone and screenwriter Steve Mallory, who met almost 15 years ago at The Groundlings, the Los Angeles-based improv troupe whose notable alumni include comedy stalwarts, such as Will Ferrell, Paul “Pee-wee Herman” Reubens, Jack Black, Kristen Wiig and Jennifer Coolidge, among a multitude of others.
THE BOY In search of a fresh start away from a troubled past, a young American woman seeks refuge in an isolated English village, only to find herself trapped in a waking nightmare in The Boy, an unconventional horror thriller from director William Brent Bell (The Devil Inside) and screenwriter Stacey Menear.
BRAD’S STATUS During a career that now spans almost 20 years, writer, director, producer and actor Mike White, who is also known for twice competing in the Emmy-winning reality competition “The Amazing Race” with his father, Mel, has carved out a unique niche as a filmmaker with a surprising and very personal point of view. In a raft of successful feature screenplays including School of Rock, Nacho Libre, The Good Girl and the recent, timely satire, Beatriz at Dinner, as well as his work as a director on Year of the Dog and the acclaimed HBO series “Enlightened,” White creates stories filled with seemingly ordinary people whose lives take unexpected turns. His latest film, Brad’s Status, is an intelligent and poignant exploration of the human condition. It will intrigue, amuse and unnerve its audience with a sympathetic, warts-and-all portrait of a man who thinks he wants it all — if he can ever figure out what it is.
BURNT Director John Wells was attracted to Steven Knight’s screenplay for Burnt partly because of this ever growing foodie culture, and partly because it was a special look into the unique world restaurateurs.
CAFÉ SOCIETY Poignant, and often hilarious, Café Society, a film with a novel’s sweep, takes us on a journey from pastel-clad dealmakers in plush Hollywood mansions, to the quarrels and tribulations of a humble Bronx family, to the rough-and-tumble violence of New York gangsters, to the sparkling surfaces and secret scandals of Manhattan high life. With Café Society, Woody Allen conjures up a 1930s world that has passed to tell a deeply romantic tale of dreams that never die.
CAPTAIN FANTASTIC For Matt Ross, the writer and director of Captain Fantastic, the story is an exploration of the choices that parents make for their children. “I’m fascinated by all the issues that revolve around parenting,”
CATCH HELL Ryan Phillippe has been acting professionally for over twenty years, and he can now add writer and director to his impressive resume with the thrilling Catch Hell
CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE Pairing Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart as unlikely former high school friends, and even unlikelier spy-busting, world-saving, accidental partners on the run, writer-director Rawson Marshall Thurber’s Central Intelligence offers a fun and fast-paced mash-up of comedy and explosive action.
COLLATERAL BEAUTY For screenwriter Allan Loeb (Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, 21), Collateral Beauty began as the germ of a concept that grew to capture his imagination until it could not be denied. “It was a little story in my head that kept nagging at me, about a man who writes letters to abstractions like time, love and death, and why would he do that?”
CRIMINAL questions what happens when the CIA’s only hope to stop a terrorist threat to the nuclear arsenal lies in the dark, unpredictable recesses of a criminal’s damaged mind? The futuristic, yet science-based, concepts that lie behind Criminal emerged from the minds of the screenwriting team of Douglas Cook and David Weisberg, who previously wrote the hit prison escape thriller The Rock, among others.
CRIMSON PEAK “This movie is my attempt to harken back to a classic, old-fashioned, grand Hollywood production in the Gothic romance genre,” says master of terror Guillermo del Toro who brings to the screen a dark and imaginative Gothic romance with his masterful Crimson Peak,
DADDY’S HOME It’s Step-Dad vs. Dad – and Will Ferrell vs. Mark Wahlberg – in the family comedy Daddy’s Home, about a mild-mannered radio executive who must take on the ultimate “dad-versary” when his wife’s motorcycle-riding, freewheeling, secret operative ex breezes back into town.The film is directed by Sean Anders from a story by Brian Burns and a screenplay by Brian Burns and Sean Anders & John Morris.
DEMOLITION The mind-blowing story of a man whose life unravels and starts to rebuild it, beginning with the demolition of the life he once knew. The film is directed by Jean-Marc Vallée (Dallas Buyers Club, Wild), from an original screenplay written by Bryan Sipe, who dropped out of college just a few credits shy of graduation when he decided that the best education as a filmmaker was to dive in headfirst.
DESIERTO Mexican Screenwriter Jonas Cuarón, who made his major feature film writing debut in 2013 with the Academy Award-winning Gravity, now makes his feature film directorial debut with Desierto, the terrifying story of a group of people trying to cross the border from Mexico into the United States who encounter a man who has taken border patrol duties into his own racist hands.
DIRTY GRANDPA For screenwriter John M. Phillips, the storyline for Dirty Grandpa came after an eye-opening night on the town with his father where he witnessed his dad’s surprisingly stellar skills with the ladies. “We began talking to some women and my dad was charming, funny and just crushed it, I couldn’t believe it. He made a passing joke that he would get back out there pretty quickly should my mother pass away and I was shocked to see that side of him. That experience mixed with some ideas I held on to from my Upright Citizens Brigade days spawned this story and some of the characters,” he explains.
DORA’S PEACE A Hillbrow prostitute shields a gifted young boy from the violent clutches of organized crime and discovers aspects of her own lost humanity. Director, producer and editor Kosta Kalarytis, who co-wrote the screenplay of Dora’s Peace with Andrew Herold, who began his career as a cartoonist and illustrator working for The Mail & Guardian and other numerous South African publications.
EYE IN THE SKY Drone warfare on the big screen was launched by The Good Kill last year and now gathers intensity with Eye In The Sky, a British thriller set in the shadowy world of remotely piloted drone warfare. It is helmed by South African director Gavin Hood from an original screenplay by Guy Hibbert.
THE EMOJI MOVIE A journey into smartphones, where Emojis live and allow people to communicate with people who are separated from us by language, borders, oceans…Story by Tony Leondis & Eric Siegel. Screenplay by Tony Leondis & Eric Siegel and Mike White.
ENDLESS RIVER writer-director Oliver Hermanus‘s third feature film The Endless River takes us to rural South Africa — where anger and sorrow still linger some twenty years after apartheid — and conducts an original and incisive examination of the complex relationship between perpetrator and victim.’
EVERYBODY WANTS SOME A “spiritual sequel” to Dazed and Confused set in the world of 1980 college life, writer-director and producer Richard Linklater’s comedy follows a group of friends as they navigate their way through the freedoms and responsibilities of unsupervised adulthood. Get ready for the best weekend ever.
EQUALS began its journey to the screen with a question that Drake Doremus posed to producer, Michael Pruss: “What will love look like in the future… do you think we could potentially evolve away from the thing that makes us most human?”While Pruss admitted to not knowing what the future held, he told Doremus he “knew a man who has lived in the future.” That man was Nathan Parker, who wrote the critically acclaimed film Moon, directed by Duncan Jones in 2009.
FIFTY SHADES OF BLACK Marlon Wayans wasn’t looking to make another parody after poking fun at rich white girls and horror movies in the hugely popular White Chicks and Haunted House comedies. But when the erotic fantasy Fifty Shades of Grey became a pop-culture sensation, the topic — and the title — proved irresistible. “When that book became so hot, we toyed around with the name and started laughing at the idea of ‘Fifty Shades of Black,’” says Wayans. The concept gelled quickly for Wayans and longtime collaborator Rick Alvarez. “We thought ‘How do we make this funny?’”
FINDERS KEEPERS was conceptualized by South African director Maynard Kraak back in 2012 when he set up West Five Films, but it was not until early 2014 that he brought his very good friend Strini Pillai, onboard to write the screenplay for the pilot film project of the Emerging Black Film Maker initiative, run by the NFVF and the IDC.
THE FOREST is a supernatural thriller that takes its inspiration from the real-life Aokigahara Forest. Known as jukai, or the “Sea of Trees,” it is situated at the northwest base of Japan’s Mount Fuji. The Aokigahara’s peaceful beauty belies its history of violence and its reputation for paranormal activity. Ben Ketai wrote the first screenplay draft, providing the underlying framework from which the script would evolve. When Ketai had to move on to other commitments, the producers engaged a first-time screenwriter, novelist Sarah Cornwell, to work on the script.
FREE STATE The Writing Studio’s proud graduate Sallas de Jager is winning the hearts of audiences worldwide with his sensational Free State, which he wrote-directed and produced, garnering the Best Director award and Special Jury award for scriptwriting at the Luxor African Film Festival in Egypt last month, as well as Best Cinematography at the Garden State Film Festival in New Jersey, New York.
FREE STATE OF JONES Based on Oscar-nominated writer/director Gary Ross’ original screenplay, the epic action-drama Free State of Jones tells the extraordinary story of a little known episode in American history during which Newt Knight, a fearless Mississippi farmer, led an unlikely band of poor white farmers and runaway slaves in an historic armed rebellion against the Confederacy during the height of the Civil War.
THE GALLOWS The Indie Horror The Gallows was written, directed and produced by Chris Lofing and Travis Cluff and shot entirely outside of the Hollywood system on a budget of $100 000, and found its way to the big screen in July 2015 thanks to the filmmakers’ use of a much smaller one—the computer—and their own ingenuity, now totaling $40 million at the box office internationally.
THE GIFT is a heart-stopping, thought-provoking psychological thriller from producers Jason Blum and Rebecca Yeldham and actor, writer, producer and first-time director Joel Edgerton (The Great Gatsby, Zero Dark Thirty, Warrior), that asks the question: What if someone you wronged long ago reemerged in your life through a chance encounter?
GIFTED During the past 25 years screenwriter Tom Flynn has been selling spec scripts to studios in Hollywood, only seeing Watch It made (which he also directed). Now, with the success of Gifted, a story inspired by his one-eyed cat Fred, and his sister, whom he describes as “the most unassuming ridiculously smart person you’ve ever met,’ Flynn is back to writing full time… this time getting his movies made.
GODS OF EGYPT The power of ancient myths and the imagination of today’ s most gifted storytellers have come together for the rousing action/fantasy/adventure Gods of Egypt, a grandly entertaining spectacle that transports audiences into a vivid universe of larger-than-life figures locked in epic battle. Writers Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless sought to give audiences a thrilling, elaborate adventure that is part homage, part invention and fully inhabitable as a transporting experience.
GOD’S OWN COUNTRY Francis Lee didn’t make the masterful God’s Own Country because he thought it would be a sure fire hit or stoke enough controversy to get him recognized as a director. The first time filmmaker wrote and directed the soaring queer love story, which revolves around the budding romance between Yorkshire sheep farmer Johnny (Josh O’Connor) and Romanian migrant worker Gheorghe (Alex Secareanu), because the story was burning inside of him and he needed to get it onto the page and onto the screen, regardless of who saw it.
THE GOOD DINOSAUR Pixar Animation Studios takes you on an epic journey into the world of dinosaurs with The Good Dinosaur where an Apatosaurus named Arlo makes an unlikely human friend named Spot. The Good Dinosaur is executive produced by Lasseter, Lee Unkrich and Andrew Stanton. With original concept and development by Bob Peterson, the film features a story by Sohn, Erik Benson, Meg LeFauve, Kelsey Mann and Peterson, and a screenplay by LeFauve. Music is by Academy Award-winning film composer Mychael Danna (Life of Pi) and Emmy-nominated composer Jeff Danna (Tyrant).
THE GOOD KILL War becomes a deadly video game in the powerful Good Kill, except that the targets are not pixels, but flesh and blood.This astounding film from New Zealand-born filmmaker Andrew Niccol, who made his debut in 1997 with Gattaca, and although he has established himself in the world of science fiction with his original ideas about what the future might look like, Good Kill,is far more grounded in the world as it is today than any of his previous work (The Truman Show, Simone, Lord of War, In Time, The Host)
THE GREAT WALL Directed by one of the most breathtaking visual stylists of our time, Zhang Yimou (Raise the Red Lantern, Hero, House of Flying Daggers), the action-fantasy The Great Wall marks his first English-language production and the largest film ever shot entirely in China.The thrilling adventure comes from an original screenplay by the writing duo Carlo Bernard & Doug Miro (Prince of Persia, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice) and Tony Gilroy (Michael Clayton, The Bourne Legacy). It is based on a story by Max Brooks (World War Z) and Edward Zwick & Marshall Herskovitz (The Last Samurai, Love & Other Drugs).
GRIMSBY When it comes to creating dynamic characters who delight, entertain and infuriate, Sacha Baron Cohen is the only one who knows how to bring his creations to glorious life in the films Borat, Bruno and Ali G, and now brings us a new character in Grimsby, Nobby Butcher, a terminally unemployed but fun-loving football fan who is forced to save the world. The screenplay for Grimsby is by Sacha Baron Cohen & Phil Johnston & Peter Baynham, from a story by Sacha Baron Cohen & Phil Johnston, and directed by Louis Leterrier, France’s highest grossing director who gave us The Transporter at the age of 26, and also directed Unleashed, The Incredible Hulk, Wrath of The Titans (and its sequel) and Now You See Me.
HAIL, CAESAR! Four-time Oscar-winning filmmakers Joel Coen & Ethan Coen (No Country for Old Men, True Grit, Fargo) write and direct Hail, Caesar!, an homage to Hollywood’s Golden Age, a valentine to the studio system laced with a lovingly acerbic edge.
HAPPINESS IS A FOUR LETTER WORD A heart-warming romance that explores the lives of three best friends – Nandi, Zaza and Princess – living the good life in the vibrant city of Johannesburg. The film is produced by Bongiwe Selane, Junaid Ahmed and Helena Spring and directed by Thabang Moleya. The screenplay was written by Busisiwe Ntintili and Nozizwe Cynthia Jele and filmed in and around Johannesburg during July 2015.
HATCHET HOUR Writer-director Judy Naidoo’s film Hatchet Hour marks her directorial debut and is most definitely a landmark on her 20-year journey as an independent filmmaker in South Africa.
THE HATEFUL EIGHT made its auspicious debut on April 19, 2014 as a staged reading benefiting Film Independent, a non-profit organization that champions the independent filmmaker. Downtown Los Angeles’s Ace Hotel Theatre, a former movie palace, swelled to its 1600-seat capacity as fans of Quentin Tarantino assembled for an unprecedented live performance of the writer-director’s latest work.Tarantino performed his screenplay’s action and description lines alongside an award-winning ensemble of Tarantino “regulars,” including Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Walton Goggins, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, Bruce Dern, James Parks, Dana Gourrier and Zoë Bell.
HELL OR HIGH WATER Once a successful character actor on shows such as Sons of Anarchy and Veronica Mars, Taylor Sheridan has now made the jump to screenwriter, last year penning the Oscar-nominated Sicario, and now Hell or High Water, the second in a proposed trilogy, once again explores the artificial borders humans construct and the ramifications when these borders begin to crumble away.
HIGH STRUNG You might think it crazy to combine classical ballet and violin with hip-hop music and dance, but wait until you see the sensational High Strung, a superb romance between a classical dancer and British violinist, where two radically talented people from opposite sides of the tracks need to find harmony to achieve their dreams in New York City. Writer/Director/Producer Michael Damian has enjoyed a prolific on-camera career and is most widely known for his 18-year run as Danny Romalotti on the number one-rated daytime television drama, The Young and the Restless.
THE HITMAN’S BODYGUARD Tom O’Connor’s spec screenplay for The Hitman’s Bodyguard took some of the most popular tropes of hit action thrillers – including the freewheeling hitman who can’t miss and the dreamy bodyguard whose protection never fails – and irreverently crashed them right into one another.Tom’s career in Hollywood began in 2011 with his spec script The Hitman’s Bodyguard. The script sold immediately and landed on that year’s Black List, and Tom has been a working writer for film and television ever since.
INSIDE OUT Loaded with Pixar’s signature charm, “Inside Out” features a mind full of memorable characters, poignant moments and humor. “Our goal, right off the top, was to make it fun,” says producer Jonas Rivera. “My kids have seen it and all they talk about is Anger. They think he’s really funny. And the journey that Joy and Sadness take is one big, cool adventure. Director Pete Docter co-wrote the screenplay with Meg LeFauve and Josh Cooley from an original story by Docter and Ronnie Del Carmen.
IRRATIONAL MAN “Since I was very young for whatever reason I’ve been drawn to what people always call the ‘big questions,’” says writer-director Woody Allen. “In my work they’ve become subjects I kid around with if it’s a comedy or deal with on a more confrontational way if it’s a drama.” Throughout his career Woody Allen has exhibited a fascination with philosophy. He’s lampooned it in comic essays like “My Philosophy,” plays like “Death Knocks,” and “God,” and movies like Love And Death, and explored philosophical issues more seriously in films like Crimes And Misdemeanors and Match Point.
THE JAKES ARE MISSING Bianca Isaac’s TV series Swartwater, which she produced with Quizzical Pictures, won 4 SAFTA Awards this year , including Best Drama Series. She is writing the third Season of Umlilo for ETV, and her film The Jakes Are Missing is released nationwide
JANE GOT A GUN When 27-year-old Brian Duffield started Jane Got a Gun as a spec script in 2011, he had a very clear idea of the type of story he wanted to write. “I wanted to write about a woman whose big victory was going to be in making a stand,” says Duffield. After experimenting with different genres, Duffield decided to write a western with a woman named Jane as the main character.
KAMPTERREIN Holiday mayhem is the order of the day in this contemporary South African family comedy. It is directed by Luhann Jansen whose previous projects include the acclaimed series Sterlopers 1 and 2 for Kyknet. It is produced by Marcus Muller and Morne Lane of Incense Productions, and the executive producers are Joost Smuts, Johan Mehmeyer and Lizelle Demos. Screenplay by Morne Lane
KEANU Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele, better known as Key and Peele, have been making television audiences laugh for years, including on their long-running eponymous Comedy Central series. Keanu marks the first time the enormously popular comedy pair has, together, brought their talents to the big screen as two decidedly un-street-wise guys who are forced to assume the personas of hardcore killers in order to blend into a street gang. Peele, who also co-wrote the screenplay with “Key and Peele” writer Alex Rubens, offers, “I wanted to do something crazy and over the top and dark, expanding on the kind of comedy we did in the ‘Key and Peele’ show.
THE KEEPING ROOM Amid the rising suspense of three Southern women defending their besieged home, director Daniel Barber finds both grit and a deeply moving grace in the actions the women must take to stay alive in the face of desolate circumstances. Based on Julia Hart’s revered 2012 Black List screenplay, and directed by Academy Award Nominated Daniel Barber (Harry Brown), The Keeping Room is a tense and uncompromising tale of survival that also shatters both gender and genre conventions.
KEEPING UP WITH THE JONESES Screenwriter Michael LeSieur found inspiration for his screenplay Keeping Up With The Joneses from some friends’ idyllic lives in a suburban cul-de-sac—a street closed at one end.
KEEPING UP WITH THE KANDASAMYS Produced by Junaid Ahmed and Helena Spring with screenplay by Jayan Moodley and Rory Booth, Keeping up with the Kandasamys, promises audiences some truly funny laughs about families, relationships and “neighbourhood-envy”.
KNIGHT OF CUPS With Knight of Cups, Terrence Malick is very much a storymaker in search of meaning, and through his journey of finding an answer to the essence of life, love and art, he allows us to reconnect with our own personal journey into ourselves and our place in this world.
KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS From animation studio LAIKA, makers of the Academy Award-nominated Coraline, comes Kubo and the Two Strings, an epic original action-adventure and a cinematic experience that sweeps audiences into a world of wonders. Marc Haimes developed the story with Shannon Tindle, and then wrote the screenplay with Chris Butler, who previously wrote and directed ParaNorman for LAIKA.
LA LA LAND began with a crazy dream. Writer-director Damien Chazelle (Whiplash) wanted to see if he could make a film that channels the magic and energy of the most poignantly romantic French and American musicals of film making’s Golden Age … into our more complicated and jaded age.
LIGHTS OUT From torches and candles to LEDs. Street lamps, headlights, neon, flares. Since the origin of our existence, humans have sought ways to escape the encroaching shadows and the frightful things they conceal and in the terrifying Lights Out, fear is real! Making his feature film debut with Lights Out, David S. Sandberg has written and directed a slate of short films with deliciously disturbing titles like Closet Space and Attic Panic, and earned a throng of internet devotees who expect him to scare the wits out of them. Lights Out is based on Sandberg’s recent horror short of the same name, and it was both the quality and the impact of that insomnia-inducing gem that brought the young Swedish filmmaker to the attention of Hollywood.
LOGAN LUCKY A turbocharged heist comedy by first-time screenwriter Rebecca Blunt
LOVE THE COOPERS The Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future rear their heads as four generations of the Cooper clan gathering under the same roof to celebrate an ultimate Christmas in the endearing Love The Coopers. And, when the Coopers come together on Christmas Eve, everything comes apart. Much of the movie really centers on “time,” says screenwriter Steven Rogers. “People spend a lot of time dwelling on the past or being upset about the past, whether it is something someone else did or something they did or worrying about the future, and they miss out on the present. It’s very generational. When you’re younger, you’re trying so hard to make something of yourself. As you get older, you realize what’s important is to be in the moment.”
MAGGIE As the world narrowly recovers from a near apocalyptic virus, an infected teenage girl with only a precious few weeks to live must find the strength and bravery to face her fleeting mortality as her father struggles helplessly to protect her from the frightened town and keep the family together. Maggie is a heartbreaking take on the zombie genre twists expectations and puts a human face on an inexplicable horror. Based on an original screenplay by first-time screenwriter John Scott 3, which made the industry’s 2011 Blacklist for best unproduced screenplays, Maggie marks the feature film directorial debut of renowned graphic designer, commercial and title sequence director, Henry Hobson, as well as the first time Schwarzenegger has starred in or produced a low-budget, independent film.
MANCHESTER BY THE SEA sneaked up on writer-director Kenneth Lonergan. The film was originally planned as a directing and starring vehicle, respectively, for its two producers, Matt Damon (who starred in Margaret) and John Krasinski. Damon, who costarred with Casey Affleck in the first cast of “This is Our Youth” on stage in London, offered the story to Lonergan to write.
‘N MAN SOOS MY PA Writer-director Sean Else has a unique gift as storyteller and storymaker: as a consummate storyteller he knows how to tell a story well, his vision as a filmmaker breathes life into his words, and his astute sensibility as director in making characters truthful is evident in the sincere and honest performances he draws from his talented cast in ‘n Man Soos my Pa.
ME AND EARL AND THE DYING GIRL writer Jesse Andrews has had one of the rarer Hollywood trajectories. A first-time novelist, he was invited not only to adapt the book himself, but to do it under the guiding hand of producer Dan Fogelman, a seasoned screenwriter himself (Cars, Tangled, Crazy, Stupid, Love and Danny Collins).
Despite his inexperience, Andrews managed to retain the surprisingly assured, idiosyncratic, and funny voice of his 2012 debut, which follows two high schoolers who make awful movies together as they reluctantly embark on a new epic for a dying female friend, an effort that has consequences both comic and tragic.
MISS SLOANE Jonathan Perera’s screenplay for Miss Sloane took filmmaker John Madden by surprise with its richly detailed portrait of an industry that remains shrouded in mystery. “While having a sense of the job description, I didn’t know exactly what a lobbyist did, which I imagine is true of a lot of people,” says Madden, acclaimed director of such diverse films as Mrs. Brown, The Debt and Academy Award winner Shakespeare in Love.
MR. RIGHT Several years before writer Max Landis’ mastery of offbeat storytelling became evident in American Ultra, Victor Frankenstein and the $122 million-grossing superhero hit Chronicle, he dreamed up an outrageous contribution to the rom-com canon in Mr. Right. In the wacky and wild Mr.Right, Martha (Anna Kendrick) discovers that her new beau, Francis (Sam Rockwell), is a professional assassin… with a cause. He kills the people ordering the hits. As the bodies pile up, Martha must decide whether to flee or join her man in the mayhem.
MRS. RIGHT GUY is the latest film from Nigerian-born filmmaker Adze Ugah, who moved to South Africa to further his studies, where he earned an Honours degree at the South African School of Film and Drama, AFDA, with a major in script writing and directing. The screenplay was crafted by Pusetso Thibedi , a storyteller across the mediums of theatre, film and television.
MOANA Moana, a sweeping, CG-animated feature ﬁlm about an adventurous teenager who sails out on a daring mission to save her people, was directed by the renowned filmmaking team of Ron Clements and John Musker (The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, The Princess & the Frog), from a screenplay by Jared Bush, who was responsible for helping to develop and shape character personalities and overall story for Moana.
MONEY MONSTER In the real-time, high stakes thriller George Clooney and Julia Roberts star as financial TV host Lee Gates and his producer Patty, who are put in an extreme situation when an irate investor who has lost everything (Jack O’Connell) forcefully takes over their studio.“I love this movie because it has two things that sometimes people think are opposites,” says Jodie Foster, who directs the thriller from a screenplay by Jamie Linden and Alan DiFiore & Jim Kouf with a story by Alan DiFiore & Jim Kouf.
MORGAN A noted commercials director who has also worked in various capacities on his father Ridley’s epic and acclaimed films, Luke makes his feature directorial debut with Morgan.The story’s themes clearly resonate with the young filmmaker, whose short film, Loom, shot on 4K 3D, was a kind of precursor to MORGAN. Some of the ideas explored in Loom were expanded upon in screenwriter Seth Owen’s original script for MORGAN, which entered the prestigious film industry “Black List” in 2014—compiled annually from the suggestions of more than 250 film executives who contribute names of their favorite scripts written that year.
MOTHER! The relationship thriller Mother! began when Writer / Director Darren Aronofsky spent five fevered days at his keyboard alone in an empty house.
THE NICE GUYS is not the first time writer-director Shane Black has created an unlikely pairing and pitted them against a powerful adversary for which they would, on paper, seem outmatched. Exactly 30 years ago, he sold his first script to producer Joel Silver—an actioner about a by-the-book detective reluctantly partnered with an unhinged cop named Riggs. That movie was Lethal Weapon…and the rest, as they say, is history.
THE NIGHT BEFORE From Jonathan Levine, the acclaimed director of 50/50, comes the new comedy The Night Before, which he directed from a story he wrote, and screenplay he co-wrote with Kyle Hunter, Ariel Shaffir and Evan Goldberg. In the film, three great friends become three wise men after a night of debauchery and breaking all the rules. It takes place on Christmas Eve, when Ethan (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), Isaac (Seth Rogen) and Chris (Anthony Mackie) have made a pact to spend the evening together – a tradition they have replayed each of the last ten years.
NINE LIVES When a work-obsessed real-estate mogul suffers a magical accident that leaves him trapped inside the body of his 11-year-old daughter’s cat, he realizes he has to put his family first if he ever hopes to regain his human form. Directed by Barry Sonnenfeld, written by Gwyn Lurie, Matt R. Allen, Caleb Wilson, Dan Antoniazzi and Ben Shiffrin
NOCTURNAL ANIMALS Boldly exploring the psychological and emotional sea changes of men and women living – or trying to live –their own truths, the masterful Nocturnal Animals is the second film from extraordinary visionary, writer/director Tom Ford, following the acclaimed and award-winning A Single Man (2009).
NOEM MY SKOLLIE The riveting Noem My Skollie delivers on the themes of friendship, betrayal, forgiveness, acceptance, the desire for a better life, hope and love, and is set on the Cape Flats and in Pollsmoor prison, based on the life of John W. Fredericks, who also wrote the screenplay at the age of 60.
NOMA Challenging conventional filmmaking, Pablo Pinedo is very much an auteur when it comes to his well-researched and structured Noma, using his skills as producer, writer, director and cinematographer to create an impressionistic documentary that is different from traditional filmmaking.
OFFICE CHRISTMAS PARTY directors Will Speck and Josh Gordon (Blades of Glory) were immediately drawn to the concept of a magical night where professional and social barriers were less defined.
PASSENGERS This exciting action-thriller about two strangers who are on a 120-year journey to another planet when their hibernation pods wake them 90 years too early was a story that has attracted Hollywood for many years; writer Jon Spaihts’ script has landed on the “Black List” of the industry’s best unproduced screenplays.
REGRESSION Spanish Writer-director Alejandro Amenábar returns to the big screen with the mind-bending Regression, which represents a return to suspense, the genre of The Others which marked his feature film debut in 1996. It offers different layers of meaning for different audiences, and most of all, a good show to entertain wide audiences who appreciate effective, unpredictable narrative.
ROCK THE KASBAH The story began with the screenwriter Mitch Glazer’s determination, more than six years ago, to write a classic Bill Murray.Glazer had worked with Murray on Scrooged, which he also wrote. The two had become close friends, and Glazer came up with the idea of Murray as the ultimate fish out of water: a washed-up rock manager who brings his last client to Kabul on a USO tour and immediately gets in over his head.
RULES DON’T APPLY It was written, directed, and produced by Warren Beatty, who also stars as Howard Hughes, the billionaire movie mogul, famed aviator and legendary eccentric – who was both a rule-maker for many young stars and a rule-breaker – challenging the industry’s social mores and restrictive moral code.
THE SAUSAGE PARTY Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg have been the masterminds behind some of the world’s most outrageous, inventive, and hilarious comedies – from Superbad to Pineapple Express to This Is the End to The Interview. Now, they go into the world of animation for Columbia Pictures and Annapurna Pictures’ Sausage Party, the world’s first R-rated CG animated comedy, about a group of supermarket products on a quest to discover the truth about their existence and what really happens when they become chosen to leave the grocery store.
THE SHAPE OF WATER From the inspired mindscape of master storyteller and visionary Guillermo del Toro – who gave us Pan’s Labyrinth, Cronos, and The Devil’s Backbone – comes another astounding and mind-blowing cinematic experience: The Shape Of Water. Del Toro casts an other-worldly spell with The Shape Of Water, merging the pathos and thrills of the classic monster movie tradition with shadowy film noir, then stirring in the heat of a love story like no other to explore the fantasies we all flirt with, the mysteries we can’t control and the monstrosities we must confront.
SHUT IN Writer Christina Hodson says the inspiration for Shut In came to her while she was living alone in a creaky New York City studio apartment. Imagining the possibilities behind the unexplained noises she heard late at night, the first-time screenwriter penned the script in just six weeks.
SING Illumination has captivated audiences all over the world with the beloved hits Despicable Me, Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax, Despicable Me 2 and Minions, now the second-highest-grossing animated movie in history. Following the release of this summer’s comedy blockbuster The Secret Life of Pets, Illumination brings Sing to the big screen. With its highly relatable characters, heart and humor, the first collaboration between writer/director Garth Jennings (Son of Rambow, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy) and Illumination founder and Ceo Chris Meledandri marks the sixth fully animated feature from the studio.
SING STREET “I wanted to do something that was personal. I didn’t want to just be doing a musical story for the sake of it,” says Irish writer-director John Carney, whose Sing Street tells of a Dublin teenager (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo) who forms a rock ‘n’ roll band to win the heart of an aspiring model (Lucy Boynton).
SISTERS The new comedy from Pitch Perfect director Jason Moore about two disconnected siblings summoned home to clean out their childhood bedroom before their parents sell the family house. Looking to recapture their glory days, they throw one final high-school-style party for their classmates, which turns into the cathartic rager that a bunch of ground-down adults really need.Paula Pell (Saturday Night Live, 30 Rock), one of television’s most prolific comedy writers, makes her long-anticipated feature-film screenwriting debut.
SLEIGHT Director J.D. Dillard and screenwriter Alex Theurer wrote an original screenplay exploring the seemingly-different worlds of magic and crime and developed an original premise which would weave the two together in a unique genre-bending film.
SNAAKS GENOEG, an original piece written and directed by David Moore, follows a down-and-out comedian (Casper de Vries) who drifts from one small town to another.
SOLACE More than 13 years ago, when producer Beau Flynn first read the supernatural thriller Solace, a spec screenplay written by the then-unknown writing team of Sean Bailey & Ted Griffin, he knew immediately he wanted to make it.
SOMER SON “There needs to be a balance between inspiration and awareness of your market. We tried to accommodate this while still telling a universal story, says writer-director Clinton Lubbe of his delightful Afrikaans film Somer Son, which he co-wrote with Luan Jacobs (a proud graduate of The Writing Studio) and Zandeli Meyer, based on a story by himself and Jan-Lourens van der Merwe.
SONG TO SONG Though renowned for visually arresting storytelling, filmmaker Terence Malick has always been drawn to that most classic subject of all: love – especially love that mirrors or cuts through life’s illusions, and with Song To Song, he continues a career that began with the dark romance between two 1950s Midwestern killers on the run in Badlands; explored the early days of America through Captain Smith and Pocahontas’ affair in The New World; and twined the overwhelming emotions of parental love with a story of creation in The Tree Of Life.
SPECTRE When approaching the 24th James Bond movie, Spectre, from Albert R. Broccoli’s EON Productions, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios and Sony Pictures Entertainment, the filmmakers were keen to ensure that the film followed on closely from its predecessor, the $1.1 billion global smash Skyfall. Spectre was directed by Sam Mendes, produced by Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, and the screenplay was written by John Logan and Neal Purvis & Robert Wade and Jez Butterworth (Story by John Logan and Neal Purvis & Robert Wade)
SPLIT Writer/director/producer M. Night Shyamalan returns to the captivating grip of The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable and Signs with Split, an original film that delves into the mysterious recesses of one man’s fractured, gifted mind.
STORKS The action-packed, animated adventure takes audiences on a road trip like no other, as a super-focused stork with big ambitions, and a sunny 18-year-old orphaned girl with some wild ideas, rush to make one very special delivery.The film was directed by Stoller (Neighbors, Forgetting Sarah Marshall; writer on The Muppets) and Oscar nominee Doug Sweetland (the animated short Presto; supervising animator on Cars), from a screenplay written by Stoller.
SY KLINK SOOS LENTE Stiaan Smith is an award-winning actor and writer for both screen and stage who asks: What do you do when you meet the girl of your dreams and realise you’re not good enough for her?
SWISS ARMY MAN the brilliantly bizarre new movie from first-time feature directors Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert will break your heart and most definitely change your perceptions in the human condition.
THIS BEAUTIFUL FANTASTIC Renowned British filmmaker Simon Aboud’s This Beautiful Fantastic is a contemporary fairy tale revolving around the most unlikely of friendships between a reclusive, agoraphobic young woman with dreams of being a children’s book author and a curmudgeonly old widower, set against the backdrop of a beautiful garden in the heart of London.
UITVLUCHT It’s an unsquirming look at our own fallibilities and how a relentless love draws us out a pit of despair and guilt. It’s a story of second chances and the grace of God told with love and humour. Director Regardt van den Bergh co-wrote the screenplay with his wife Clara Joubert van den Bergh.
UNLOCKED 11-years ago first-time producer Georgina Townsley, who has a proven track record in documentaries, conceptualised Unlocked and approached screenwriter Peter O’Brien to help her craft an original London-set, female-driven espionage thriller.
TRIPLE 9 With a stellar cast, taut script and explosive action, Triple 9 delivers a startlingly fresh take on the classic heist thriller. Writer Matt Cook got the inspiration for his first feature film, Triple 9, while swapping stories with a buddy during a road trip through the desert.
TRUMBO recounts how Dalton (Bryan Cranston) used words and wit to win two Academy Awards and expose the absurdity and injustice under the blacklist, which entangled everyone from gossip columnist Hedda Hopper (Helen Mirren) to John Wayne, Kirk Douglas and Otto Preminger.The film is directed by Jay Roach, the winner of four Emmys, a Golden Globe and a Peabody Award, who is best known for directing such comedy classics as the Austin Powers trilogy, Meet the Parents, Meet the Fockers and The Campaign. The screenplay was written by John Mcnamara (Writer, Producer) is a writer, producer, showrunner and television creator.
VERSKIETENDE STER Screenwriter Stefan Enslin is also the producer of the new South African film Verskietende Ster, an inspirational tale about the power of compassion and forgiveness.
VICTOR FRANKENSTEIN John Landis was 30-years old when he wrote and directed the cult classic An American Werewolf in London. Now Landis’ 30-year-old son Max resurrects the greatest monster of all time with his bold, imaginative and shocking screenplay Victor Frankenstein that has been magnificently brought to life on the big screen by Scottish film director Paul Mcguigan, whose feature work includes the wild and wacky Lucky Number Slevin.
VIR ALTYD Darling superstars of the local film and TV industry, Ivan Botha and Donnalee Roberts, who charmed filmgoers in Pad Na You Hart, and sizzle in their latest charmer Vir Altyd (Forever) which they wrote and co-produced.
WHY HIM? From co-writer/director John Hamburg, the comic force behind beloved comedies including I Love You, Man, Meet the Parents, Meet the Fockers, Zoolander and Along Came Polly, Why Him? puts a hilariously fresh spin on the anxiety-inducing tradition of introducing one’s significant other to the family.Why Him? was an idea hatched in a basement in Atlanta when producers Shawn Levy, Dan Levine, Ben Stiller and Jonah Hill were in production on the 2012 alien invasion comedy The Watch. Working with co-screenwriter Ian Helfer (The Oranges), director John Hamburg crafted a hilarious, heart-felt script that perfectly captures the challenging transition parents face as they witness their kids creating lives and relationships of their own.
WONDER BOY FOR PRESIDENT Writer-director John Barker, a proud graduate of The Writing Studio, who is turning politics inside out and upside down with his biting independent mockumentary Wonder Boy For President
ZOOTROPOLIS In its 92-year history, Walt Disney Animation Studios has created a long and storied legacy of talking-animal films—from Mickey Mouse’s debut short Steamboat Willie to Bambi, Dumbo, The Jungle Book, Robin Hood and The Lion King, and returns to the wild with the feature film Zootropolis, which marks Disney Animation Studios’ 55th animated feature. Byron Howard (Director/Story by) directed Tangled. Rich Moore (Director/Story by) directed Wreck-It Ralph, numerous episodes of The Simpsons and was a sequence director on “The Simpsons Movie.Jared Bush (Co-Director/Story by/Screenplay by) is responsible for helping to develop and shape character personalities and overall story, as well as helping to define the world of “Zootropolis.” Phil Johnston (Story by/Screenplay by) is a feature film and television writer whose first Disney movie was Wreck-It Ralph and he also wrote Cedar Rapids and Grimsby
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