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MovieMaker Presents: Austin Film Festival’s 25 Screenwriters to Watch, 2016

MovieMaker Presents: Austin Film Festival’s 25 Screenwriters to Watch, 2016


Maya Perez

Who: Producer on television series On Story: Presented by Austin Film Festival; currently writing feature Bring Back Our Girls and pilot The Bohemians

Thao Nguyen/ FREELANCE 09/7/11 Austin Film Festival staff headshots and group photo in Austin, Texas on September 7, 2011.

What would be your advice to aspiring screenwriters?

You cannot ingest too much art—screenplays and films, in particular, but all forms—or take too many walks. Whatever you start writing, finish. No matter how disenchanted you become with the story midway through, it is more demoralizing to have a bunch of unfinished projects than to have several mediocre finished drafts. Limit social media and avoid internet wormholes. This is the advice I give myself; I don’t always listen.

What was a major turning point in your career?

Receiving a Michener fellowship. It gave me validation as a writer and provided me with time and resources to write and learn more about writing.

What are you working on right now?

A pilot and a feature script. The feature, Bring Back Our Girls, takes place in northern Nigeria and is a fictionalized account of one of the 276 schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram. I wanted to write a war story from a girl’s perspective and explore how she becomes her strongest self under the most horrific of circumstances.

The Bohemians is a hour-long drama series inspired by my mother and her friends who lived in Kenya in the late ’60s, arguably the most turbulent years in modern history.

Do you have a favorite or memorable experience at Austin Film Festival?

Watching Larry Kasdan enjoy Alec Berg’s panel. I love seeing established filmmakers and screenwriters sitting in the audience, getting as much out of the panels as the newer writers. I attended a panel with Sydney Pollack, David Milch and Shane Black at the Paramount, which was pretty incredible.


1. Annie Silverstein 2. Jared Frieder 3. Mike Covino and Sam Kretchmar 4.Troy Anthony Miller 5. Kieran Fitzgerald 6. Ya’ke Smith 7. Brian Klugman 8. Nina Ljeti 9. Kevin Hamedani 10. Eric Haywood 11. Andrew Lanham 12. Julie Howe 13. Tess Morris 14. Matt Cook 15. Monica Zanetti 16. VJ Boyd 17. Edward Ricourt 18. David Broyles 19. Sasha Gordon 20. Eric Hueber 21. Faraday Okoro 22. Arturo Ruiz Serrano 23. Maya Perez 24. Max Taxe 25. Negin Farsad

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