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

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


Michael Noonan

Who: Australian writer-director of more than 20 film projects, including Accomplice (2017), Evil Mexican Child (2014) and Photo Booth (2012).

How did you break in or get your start in screenwriting?

I went to film school in Australia in 1997. I focused on writing and directing and made five short films while I was there. I wrote a couple of feature scripts, which were terrible, then kept writing and making films after film school was over. It took about 10 feature scripts to get to something decent, with a good handle of all the elements and a voice I felt was mine.

What are some of your favorite movies?

I love Robert Zemeckis movies: particularly Contact, Romancing The Stone, Castaway and Flight. They’re movies I can put on at any moment and get the same emotional rush every time. I think The Verdict by David Mamet, directed by Sidney Lumet, is probably near the top of my list of all-time favorites: It’s just an incredibly powerful, understated, moving film that I love as a both an engaging story and a brilliant technical piece of writing and filmmaking.

What’s been your favorite experience at Austin Film Festival?

I met a little posse of like-minded writers, one from Canada and two from L.A., and we all hit it off over a few seminars and drinks. By the final day, I was talking to my Canadian friend about how much I sucked at networking. He felt the same. But then, the more we talked about it, the more we realized we’d been networking all along—with each other.


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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  1. 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.

  2. 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. James Mayfield says:

    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!

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