Entertainment

Pick the brains of Hollywood North

Free screenwriter series brings filmmakers to the Uptown

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Clement Martini is a happy man. As one of the organizers of the Markin-Flanagan Distinguished Writer Screenwriter series, the University of Calgary drama professor is brimming with anticipation about the event.

"I am totally excited and totally pleased," says Martini.

Well, who wouldn't be? With such acclaimed filmmakers as Gary Burns, Deepa Mehta, Anne Wheeler and Paul Quarington speaking about and screening their work, this event promises to be one of the hottest tickets in town.

Martini, who teaches screenwriting and playwriting, believes in the power of the written word. Martini is confident that the experience of these four speakers in TV, film and documentary work make them the perfect candidates to speak not only about writing, but how it relates to a visual medium. Local film director Gary Burns, who recently had success with his new film Waydowntown, is described by Martini as "a real mentor for people interested in screenwriting and filmmaking." However, this is not to say the series is only for future auteurs. Martini believes it will be of interest to anyone who enjoys movies, stories and most importantly, anyone who wants a glimpse of what goes on behind the scenes. Those who attend the series will have access not only to the work and wisdom of these four writers, but an opportunity for question and answer sessions.

The overlapping of this event and the First Annual Calgary International Film Festival reflects the growing local movie scene.

"Calgary is on the verge of becoming an exciting, cosmopolitan city that stands a chance of taking off, becoming a major film centre," says Martini. "We have the talent, people who take pride in the city, who don't just want to learn the skills and go elsewhere."

When asked about what he hopes people will take away from the event, Martini redirects his attention to the importance of writing.

"Sometimes people separate writing and film," he says. "But be it a novel, a poem, a screenplay, it's the written word. It starts with someone behind a desk."

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