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Dermont and Poirier to lead craft talk at FilmScene


Mark Jude Poirier and Amber Dermont first met at the Writers’ Workshop.  -- photo Courtesy of Amy Margolis
Mark Jude Poirier and Amber Dermont first met at the Writers’ Workshop. — photo by Amy Margolis, courtesy of Andrea Wilson

Filmmaker Spotlight: The Art (And Business) of the Script

FilmScene — Saturday, June 13 at 11 a.m.

The Iowa Writers’ House — a new, nonprofit literary organization in Iowa City — kicks off its summer lecture and workshop series tomorrow with a special event presented in collaboration with FilmScene and the Iowa Summer Writing Festival. Novelists Amber Dermont and Mark Jude Poirier (who is also a screenwriter) will co-lead a lecture titled “From Film Watcher to Screenwriter: The Art (And Business) of the Script.”

“We wanted to offer an industry perspective on the actual business of writing as well as craft,” says Andrea Wilson, the founder and executive director of the Iowa Writers’ House. “To my mind, that’s a way of making dreams more tangible.”

The making of more tangible dreams was also one impetus behind the IWH’s inception. “Iowa City has great literary programing through the University,” says Wilson, “but we’ve lacked community programming.” The solution? Partnering with University-sponsored and community-based arts programs: “This is about a partnership bringing opportunities to local writers who aren’t necessarily students or professors. Writing doesn’t happen in a vacuum; it requires community.”

Amber Dermont expressed remarkably similar sentiments In a recent interview with Little Village. “The most important thing I learned from Mark [Poirier] is that filmmaking is a collaborative process and a screenplay will always benefit from another revision,” said Dermont. “Writing is ultimately a lonely pursuit, but having a great screenwriting [partner] made me more motivated.”

Amber Dermont is the author of the short story collection Damage Control and the bestselling novel The Starboard Sea. Mark Jude Poirier’s books include Naked Pueblo, a short story collection, and the novels Modern Ranch Living and Goats. Piorer has also written several screenplays, including an adaptation of the Alice Munro story “Hateship Loveship.” Both he and Dermont are graduates of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and will lead workshops during this year’s Iowa Summer Writing Festival.

The IWH’s second summer event is a three-day travel writing workshop lead by memoirist Michele Morano, and is set to take place June 26 through June 28. The fee for that course is $150, but tomorrow’s talk (which is also part of FilmScene’s Filmmaker Spotlight series) is free to attendees on a first-come-first-serve basis. Weather permitting, participants will join Dermont and Poirier on FilmScene’s patio for cocktails after the event.


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