Variety's top 10 screenwriters honoured 

Twilight saga's Melissa Rosenberg also attending as 'Billion Dollar Scriptwriter'

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A movie is nothing special without a good story, and the Whistler Film Festival (WFF) is hosting the best in cinematic storytelling at Variety magazine's 10 Screenwriters to Watch.

Variety's Steven Gaydos will moderate the event, which is presented with Amazon Studios. Honourees are Katie Dippold (The Heat); Patrick Aison (Wunderkind); Reid Carolin (Magic Mike); Scott Rothman and Rajiv Joseph (Draft Day); Ted Melfi (St. Vincent de Van Nuys); Derek Connolly (Safety Not Guaranteed); Bill Dubuque (The Judge); Chris Terrio (Argo); Kelly Marcel (50 Shades of Grey); and Ken Scott (Starbuck).

The "10 to Watch" series is published annually in Variety, Hollywood's bible for all things film industry related.

Six of the 10 screenwriters will be on hand at what will be one of the feature events of WFF, on Saturday, Dec. 1 at 4 p.m. at Millennium Place.

As well, Variety will be honouring the screenwriter of the monumentally successful Twilight saga series, Melissa Rosenberg, as a 'Billion Dollar Scriptwriter,' which refers to the billion-dollar box office made by the five-movie series.

As executive editor for Variety, Gaydos will be moderating the talk, in which Rosenberg and the other writers will talk about their work and experiences in the industry.

Gaydos said in an interview that Variety's top 10 lists have run for the last 16 years, and honours all film categories including actors, cinematographers, and directors. Discussions with the winners in different categories are presented at film festivals in North America and Europe.

"My goal is to establish a permanent home for the event in order to profile and showcase these amazing writing talents," Gaydos said. "I hope we can have good success with this in Whistler and I can look at it for next year, too."

WFF's executive director Shauna Hardy Mishaw described herself as "thrilled" to see the event coming to Whistler.

"It's very exciting," she said. "If you look at the screenwriters being honoured this year it's an amazing talent pool. Reid Carolin from Magic Mike to Kelly Marcel from 50 Shades of Grey to Ken Scott, who's the only Canadian, to Chris Terrio from Argo, which is possibly going to sweep the Oscars — an unbelievable amount of experience."

Variety became involved with WFF in 2011, working with Hardy Mishaw on other presentations, but this is the first time it has brought its annual top 10 list to the festival.

"This year really is the year of the screenwriter for the Whistler Film Festival. It was inspired in part by what we are doing through China Canada Gateway for Film," Hardy Mishaw said.

China Canada Gateway for Film, taking place on Nov. 29, will see 13 teams pitching scripts to three Chinese film production companies for the opportunity to have their ideas put on screen as co-productions. Three of the teams would share $15 million.

Variety's event simply continues that support for writers and storymakers, Hardy Mishaw added.

"We really wanted to host the screenwriters because in our opinion the screenwriters are really a large part of the talent pool in the film industry. They're the lynchpin," she said.

"And what a coup for us to get Melissa here. We're super psyched that she is coming here because she is such a heavy hitter."

Hardy Mishaw said this emphasizes the importance of the partnership with Variety.

"I think this event will set the tone of great things to come. This is the best in the business coming up to Whistler to be celebrated and honoured, and this is part of what we've been trying to do for years," she said.


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