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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


Geeta Malik

Who: Writer-director of Troublemaker, which premiered at Cinequest in 2011. Finalist for ABC/Disney Directing Fellowship in 2012, Academy Nicholl Fellow in Screenwriting and AFF Comedy Screenplay winner.

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

Gone are the days of waiting for that inspirational moment to strike. I have kids, and time management is vital. Writing is work, and it’s a job, and it’s the best job in the world.

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

A scene, between two characters, that was drawn from my own life.  It was hard to be honest in that scene, both with myself and for my characters, because it was a painful memory. I’d either get overly emotional, or I’d try to joke my way out of it. I started and stopped many, many times, and finally just let myself over-write it in order to get to the core of what the scene was really about. I was able to edit it down from there. It ended up being a very cathartic experience!

What was a major turning point in your career?

Winning the Austin Film Festival Comedy Screenplay Award and the Nicholl Fellowship last year for my feature script, Dinner With Friends! Those two things really helped get me out into the industry.


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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