OK, so I'm taking my time getting around to writing up the Festival (as instructed by Danny the Stack). So, to keep you entertained while you wait, here is the official report, courtesy of Screen International....
First International Screenwriters Festival wins plaudits
Screen International staff in London
05 July 2006 04:00
The inaugural International Screenwriters Festival held last week in the UK town of Cheltenham has been hailed as a major success by industry figures and bodies.
The festival, in association with Film Four, and backed by Screen International attracted big names from around the world including Julian Fellowes, Nicolas Roeg and Alan Scott, William Nicholson, Olivia Hetreed, Tony Grisoni, Stephen Woolley, Debbie Isitt and Guillermo del Toro (Pan).
More than 500 delegates came to hear 110 speakers give keynote speeches, lead master-classes, and take part in panels, seminars and screenings.
"It was a fantastic festival in a fantastic setting, with a great, friendly and well organised team; making welcome opportunities for screenwriters to meet and discuss important issues with other writers and producers. We were deeply impressed," said David Thompson, Head of BBC Films.
Gladiator scriptwriter, Bill Nicholson was equally enthused: "I felt like a long-lost traveller who has been wandering starving in the wilderness, and stumbles upon a fertile oasis populated by people miraculously speaking his own language. We screenwriters need such nourishment."
Shirine Best, Head of Development at Brighton-based production outfit Spice Factory, believes the event will get bigger yet in coming years while Olivia Hetreed (Girl with a Pearl Earring) said: "There's a lot of talk about "development hell" but last week in Cheltenham was the opposite. The first Screenwriting Festival was a chance to listen to great practitioners sharing their secrets with their peers and most enjoyable of all for me - to spend time with other writers comparing notes, techniques, projects and horror stories. There was a great, laid-back, supportive, creative atmosphere. If there's a development heaven it might look like this.""It was a very open, positive and professional festival, and it was therefore possible to have a better quality of conversation with both speakers and attendees than is often achievable in London." Natalie Wreyford, Senior Development Executive, UK Film Council