Austin Film Festival’s 25 Screenwriters to Watch in 2017, Presented by MovieMaker

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Minhal Baig

Who: Writer-director of short film “Hala,” her feature script for which landed on The Black List; her debut feature One Night debuted in 2017.

What was a major turning point in your career?

Hala made The Black List last year. A lot of executives who I’d met over the years reached out and were excited for me. I’m getting to pitch on projects now, but the most important work is what I’ve always been doing: writing my own scripts.

What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever had to write?

There’s a scene in Hala that’s written in such a way that your sympathies are with someone who is taking an otherwise morally reprehensible action. I really wanted to keep that discomfort no matter what, so I wrote the version that made me feel that way and resisted all notes I received to change it or make it palatable.

What are some of the biggest lessons you’ve learned?

Do not ever wait for a job to be handed to you. Be a self-generator. Fight like hell for the stories you love.

Directory

1. Jono Matt and Glen Powell 2. Ryan Piers Williams 3. Etta Devine and Gabriel Diani 4. Lena Khan 5. Trey Selman 6. Tracy Oliver 7. Justin Lader and Charlie McDowell 8. Clint Bentley and Greg Kwedar 9. Damir Konjicija and Dario Konjicija 10. Juanjo Moscardó Rius 11. Ben Snyder and Ari Issler 12. Kyle Bugg 13. Jimmy Mosqueda 14. Michael Noonan 15. Geeta Malik 16. Josh Barkey 17. Nicholas Verso 18. Minhal Baig 19. Henry Jones 20. Kevin Arbouet 21. Megan Park 22. Wes Brown 23. Louisiana Kreutz 24. Kate Nowlin 25. Elizabeth Guest

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3 Comments

  1. James Mayfield

    June 21, 2017 at 2:15 pm

    Very inspiring stuff. Loved to learn how these guys and gals got their big breaks, especially those who had little to no contact in LA. Sort of inspiring, and it kind of makes you forget, if only for a moment, that many screenwriters work less than minimum wage. There’s hope!

  2. Tommy G Warren

    May 30, 2017 at 7:33 am

    Congratulations to all these writers! Knowing Ben Synder, who has worked with me on a scripts, I want to particularly congratulate him and Ari Lssler for achieving this endeavor in the ‘Storyworld’ of Cinema!

    Spiderwood Productions / Tommy G Warren, Writer, Producer.

  3. Bruce Spencer

    April 24, 2017 at 3:29 pm

    Conspicuous by their absence are such stellar screenplay writers as Buck Henry (“The Graduate”), Robert Downey, Sr. (“Putney Swope”), Penny Lane (Nuts”)and Ben and Dan Barnz.

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