Thu, 1 March 2018
Today we’ll year from Academy Award® nominated writer Virgil Williams. Williams’ co-wrote Netflix’s Mudbound, which is nominated for four Oscars® at the 2018 Academy Awards®. The film, based on the novel by Hillary Jordan, tells the story of two World War II veterans who return home to rural Mississippi and are forced to deal with racism as they adjust to life after war.
Writers Dee Rees and Virgil Williams are both nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay®for their work co-writing the film. Williams has an extensive resume in television, having served as writer and producer on such acclaimed shows as ER and 24. Most recently, Williams wrote and Executive Produced the long running hit CBS show, Criminal Minds. Author Jardine Libaire spoke with Virgil Williams and star Rob Morgan at the Historic Paramount Theater here in Austin, after the regional premiere of the film at the 24th Annual Austin Film Festival.
Thu, 1 March 2018
On this week’s On Story, we’ll hear from four filmmakers nominated for the 2018 Academy Awards®. Filmmakers Greta Gerwig, Frank Stiefel, Max Porter, and Ru Kuwahata will share their journey from initial idea to Oscar® nomination.
Frank Stiefel’s Heaven is a Traffic Jam on the 405 is a short documentary that follows an artist living with acute anxiety, mental disorder and devastating depression. The film is nominated for Best Documentary Short Subject at the 2018 Academy Awards®. I recently caught up with Stiefel to discuss the films long journey.
Clips from Heaven is a Traffic Jam on the 405 courtesy of: Frank Stiefel
Greta Gerwig’s directorial debut, Lady Bird, follows an outspoken seventeen-year-old as she navigates a loving but turbulent relationship with her strong-wiled mother. The film has been nominated for five Academy Awards®, including recognition for Gerwig in the Best Director and Best Original Screenplay categories. I spoke with Gerwig before the Opening Night screening of her film at the 24th Austin Film Festival.
Clips from Lady Bird courtesy of InterActiveCorp Films, LLC and A24.
Max Porter and Ru Kuwahata are a filmmaking duo based in Baltimore, Maryland. Their film Negative Space is nominated for Best Animated Short at the 2018 Academy Awards. Negative Space follows a man reflecting on the relationship he shared with his father as he meticulous packs a suitcase in the manner he taught him. I spoke with Porter and Kuwahata over the phone to discuss where their ideas come from and how the subject of their stories determines their films visual styles.
Clips from Negative Space courtesy of Seve Films, Ikki Films
Wed, 28 February 2018
Today we’ll hear from Academy Award® nominated screenwriter Scott Frank. Frank co-wrote Logan, which is nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay at the 2018 Academy Awards®.
Frank’s other screenplay credits include The Lookout, Little Man Tate, Dead Again, Get Shorty, Out of Sight, Minority Report, The Interpreter, The Wolverine, and the Netflix Original series Godless.
I spoke with Frank about Logan directly after it’s release in 2017.
Clips of Logan courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation.
Wed, 21 February 2018
This week on On Story, we’ll hear from podcast pioneers on breaking into a new medium and adapting audio stories for television. And later, we’ll hear from rising television talent, Misha Green, on her work co-creating the critically acclaimed, genre-bending drama Underground.
Narrative fiction podcasts have updated the radio drama with a modern, streamable twist. This new medium has attracted storytellers who, until recently, never considered telling strictly audio stories. Writers Lauren Shippen and Jenny Turner Hall discussed their transition into podcasting and the new opportunities that their shows have provided them at the 2017 Austin Film Festival.
Next up we’ll hear from television writer and showrunner Misha Green. Green began her career as a staff writer on FX’s hit drama Sons of Anarchy and NBC’s cult sci fi series, Heroes. Green later went on to co-create Undergound, which chronicled a group of Georgia slaves who escaped bondage to find freedom via the Underground Railroad. The series broke ratings records for the WGN network and was nominated for several awards. Misha Green spoke with filmmaker Ya’ke Smith at the 2017 Austin Film Festival.
Clips of Underground courtesy of: Safehouse Pictures, Get Lifted Film Company Sony Pictures Television, Safehouse Picture
Thu, 15 February 2018
On this week's episode, we’ll hear from legendary jack-of-all-trades Robert Townsend and Keenen Ivory Wayans. In 1987 the two co-wrote the groundbreaking comedy Hollywood Shuffle based on their experience dealing with racial stereotypes of African Americans in the film and television industry. Robert Rodriguez, writer/director of The El Mariachi trilogy, Sin City, and the Spy Kids franchise introduced Townsend and Wayans at the 24th annual Austin Film Festival.
Multi-talented entertainer, Robert Townsend, is often referred to as one of the ‘Godfathers of the Independent Film World’. For the past 30 years Townsend has worked in nearly every role in front of and behind the camera earning the writer, director, and actor over 30 NAACP Image Award nominations. Townsend is best known for creating the films Meteor Man, The Five Heartbeats, and Hollywood Shuffle, which he co-wrote with Keenen Ivory Wayans. Comedian Dave Buckman spoke with Townsend at the 24th Austin Film Festival.
We’ve been hearing from independent filmmaker Robert Townsend. Townsend co-wrote Hollywood Shuffle with friend and fellow stand up comedian, Keenen Ivory Wayans. Wayans would later go on to create and host the Emmy award-winning, comedy series In Living Color. The irreverent Fox series went on to launch the careers of Wayans’ siblings Damon, Kim, Shawn and Marlon, as well as featured cast members Jennifer Lopez, Jim Carrey, and Jamie Foxx. Comedian John Merriman spoke with Keenen Ivory Wayans at the 24th annual Austin Film Festival.
Keenen Ivory Wayans created, launched and hosted the groundbreaking 1990’s sketch comedy series In Living Color. The often-controversial show helped introduce a number of African American comedians to super stardom. When we left off, Wayans was discussing the importance of writing what you know.
Clips from Hollywood Shuffle courtesy of the Samuel Goldwyn Company
Clips from Meteor Man courtesy of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc.
Clips from I’m Gonna Git You Sucka courtesy of United Artists Pictures, Inc.
Wed, 7 February 2018
On this week’s special On Story Valentine’s Day episode, the filmmakers behind Sense and Sensibility, The Jane Austen Book Club, The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, and What Jane Saw discuss how they adapted these beloved novels for various storytelling mediums, and why they think Jane Austen’s themes and stories remain so beloved and powerful today.
With six novels that produced over sixty adaptations for the screen, the talents of Jane Austen have lived on long past her time on earth. On this episode, the filmmakers behind Sense and Sensibility, The Jane Austen Book Club, and YouTube’s web series The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, as well as the academic behind the interactive website What Jane Saw dot org discuss how Jane Austen’s themes and stories remain so beloved and powerful today.
Producer and studio executive Lindsay Doran has worked in the movie business for more than 30 years as a studio executive and producer. Her numerous credits on film and television include The Firm, Stranger Than Fiction and the Sense and Sensibility which earned Emma Thompson an Academy Award® for Best Adapted Screenplay.
Screenwriter, director and producer Robin Swicord wrote the screenplays for such classics as Little Women, Memoirs of a Geisha and The Jane Austen Book Club which she also directed.
Janine Barchas is a Professor of English at the University of Texas at Austin and the author of Matters of Fact in Jane Austen: History, Location, and Celebrity. She’s also the creator behind the digital heritage project “What Jane Saw” (www dot whatjanesaw dot org) and most recently, she co-curated the exhibition “Will & Jane: Shakespeare, Austen, and the Cult of Celebrity,” at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington DC.
Bernie Su is the two-time Emmy Award-winning producer and creator behind YouTube’s web series The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, Emma Approved and Vanity.
Barbara Morgan spoke with this distinguished panel at the 23rd Austin Film Festival in 2016.
Clips in this episode courtesy of:
Sense and Sensibility: Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc.,
The Lizzie Bennet Diaries: Agreeable Entertainment, Pemberley Digital
Wed, 31 January 2018
This week’s On Story, actor Rob Huebel talks about his new hit show, Do You Want to See a Dead Body? followed by a conversation with the creator and executive producer of the Amazon show, The Tick. Later in our program writer/director, Ben Lewin talks about his latest film, Please Stand By.
Youtube Red’s original scripted series, Do You Want To See A Dead Body?, features alt-comedy veteran Rob Huebel as he entices his celebrity friends on mini-quests to find a dead body. Huebel is best known for co-creating and staring in MTVs sketch comedy series Human Giant with frequent collaborators Aziz Ansari and Paul Scheer; and his roles in Amazon’s Transparent and Alexander Payne’s The Descendants. Journalist Richard Whittaker spoke with star and creator Rob Huebel and producers Owen Burke and Jonathan Stern at the 24th Annual Austin Film Festival.
The Tick has taken on multiple iterations over the past 32 years. The super hero parody has appeared in comic books, cartoons, a video game, and two live action television series. Last year Amazon revived the character with a new origin story after a 14 year hiatus. Recently, I spoke with series creator Ben Edlund and executive producer Barry Josephson to discuss the characters long history and the second half of the first season which returns to Amazon on February 23rd.
Next up we bring you a discussion with Australian director Ben Lewin. Lewin’s films include The Sessions, Georgia, and his most recent film Please Stand By which stars Dakota Fanning as a young autistic woman who runs away from home in an attempt to submit her Star Trek manuscript to a Hollywood writing competition. Bart Weiss spoke with Ben Lewin at the Historic Paramount Theatre in Austin after the US premiere of Please Stand By during the 24th Annual Austin Film Festival.
Wed, 24 January 2018
This week, we hear from the teams behind Orange is the New Black, Casual, and Wet Hot American Summer as they discuss pushing boundaries through comedy and the new frontier of television distribution.
Jenji Kohan is a writer, producer and showrunner, whose writing credits include The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Mad About You, Sex in the City, and Gilmore Girls. She created the popular Showtime series Weeds, which garnered her a Writers Guild Award for ‘Best Episodic Comedy’. Kohan’s Netflix original series Orange is the New Black is based on Piper Kerman’s memoir by the same name, and follows Kerman’s 15-month sentence at a minimum-security federal prison. The following segment with Jenji Kohan was recorded in 2013 at the 20th Austin Film Festival. We also hear from Orange is the New Black staff writers Lauren Morelli and Stephen Falk as they take us deep inside the writer's room of the hugely popular series.
David Wain is the co-creator, executive producer, director and co-writer of the Netflix series Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp. He directed and co-wrote the feature films Wet Hot American Summer, The Ten, Role Models, Wanderlust and They Came Together. Wain is the executive producer, writer, director and occasional guest star in the Emmy award winning Children’s Hospital, as well as the ongoing web series Wainy Days. Journalist Joe Gross spoke with David Wain at the 22nd Austin Film Festival in 2015.
The Hulu original series Casual was created by Zander Lehmann and developed by writer director Jason Reitman, producer Helen Estabrook and screenwriter Liz Tigelaar. The shows fourth and final season is due for release on July 31, 2018. Producer and manager Linnea Toney spoke with the show's producers at the 22nd Austin Film Festival in 2015.
Wed, 17 January 2018
This week, American playwright and screenwriter Ted Tally discusses his film adaptations including the latest film, 12 Strong which stars Chris Hemsworth and Michael Shannon. Later in our program, Homeland and 24 TV showrunner, Howard Gordon joins Tally and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang writer Shane Black for a conversation on writing action and suspense.
Ted Tally is an American playwright and screenwriter who began his career in Off-Broadway and regional theatre. Among his many screenplays, Tally is best known for adapting, The Juror, All the Pretty Horses, and The Silence of the Lambs for which he won an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay®. His latest project is the upcoming American war drama film 12 Strong, which Tally co-wrote with Peter Craig. The film stars Chris Hemsworth and Michael Shannon as U.S Special Forces sent to Afghanistan following the September 11 attacks and is set for release this Friday. This month, I spoke with Tally on the phone about 12 Strong and how the project came to him.
Trailer and clips of 12 Strong courtesy of: Warner Brothers Pictures
Howard Gordon is an American television showrunner, writer and producer. He is known for his work on the Fox action franchise series 24 and the Showtime thriller, Homeland, which he co-developed with Alex Gansa and Gideon Raff. Gordon won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series for writing the “Pilot” of Homeland. The series seventh season is scheduled to premiere Feb. 11, 2018. Gordon also served as writer and supervising producer on The X-Files. He also helped produce the sci-fi thriller, Awake and co-developed the FX political drama, Tyrant.
The 1987 blockbuster Lethal Weapon is the first writing credit in Shane Black’s filmography. He went on to act in, write or write and direct over 30 films including The Long Kiss Goodnight, Iron Man 3, and The Nice Guys. Black’s latest film, will be a remake of his 1987 sci-fi film, entitled, The Predator is slated for release August of 2018.
Producer Barry Josephson spoke with Tally, Gordon and Shane Black at the 12th Annual Austin Film Festival in 2005.
Wed, 10 January 2018
This week, web series creator-turned cable TV sensation Issa Rae on her journey from YouTube to HBO, her desire for diversity on television and her hit series Insecure. We'll also hear from comedy impresario Larry Wilmore on his work developing Insecure with Issa Rae and his perspective on diverse new voices in comedy.
With her own unique flare and infectious sense of humor, Issa Rae’s content has garnered over 25 million views and more than 300,000 subscribers on YouTube. In addition to making the Forbes 30 Under 30 list twice and winning awards for her web series The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl, Issa Rae has worked on web content for Pharrell Williams, Tracey Edmonds and numerous others. She developed a TV series with Shonda Rhimes for ABC and developed the HBO hit series, Insecure with legendary comedian Larry Wilmore. The series has garnered Rae a Golden Globe® nomination for Best Performance by an Actress in Television Series-Musical or Comedy for the second year in a row. The series pilot was written by both Rae and Wilmore and is slated for a third season this year. Screenwriter Pamela Ribbon spoke with Issa Rae at the 22nd Austin Film Festival in 2015.
Clips of the Season 3 trailer courtesy of: 3 Arts Entertainment and Home Box Office (HBO)
Clips of The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl courtesy of: Issa Rae Productions, Inc.
Rae developed the pilot for Insecure with veteran writer and comedian Larry Wilmore. He started his career as an actor and stand-up comedian before writing and producing on the early nineties classic television shows In Living Color, The Fresh Prince of Bel Air and The Jamie Foxx Show . He co-created The PJ’s with Eddie Murphy, The Bernie Mac Show and was consulting producer and guest star on the American version of The Office. Most recently, Wilmore was the host of Comedy Central’s The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore. We caught up with Wilmore by phone to discuss his collaborations with Issa Rae and other new voices in comedy.