Academy Award and Emmy nominated, Golden Globe award winning actress and producer Maggie Gyllenhaal has taken on a new role as Independent Film Advisor to the Autograph Collection’s Indie Film Project: a multi-faceted platform designed to support the art of storytelling by shining a light on today’s most-talented screenwriters, filmmakers and distributors working in independent film.
Throughout her career, Maggie Gyllenhaal has worked on many independent films, from her breakout role in the 2002 romantic comedy drama, Secretary to Crazy Heart, for which she received a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination in 2010. She currently stars in The Deuce (HBO). She produced and starred in The Kindergarten Teacher (Netflix), which received the Directing Award at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival and will make its Canadian debut at this year’s Toronto Film Festival.
In her role, Gyllenhaal has evolved the Indie Film Project’s Screenwriters in Residence program in which screenwriters, who share Autograph Collection Hotels’ ethos of individuality and an independent spirit, are selected to take residence at the brand’s hotels around the world. Gyllenhaal was personally inspired by Virginia Woolf’s famed feminist 1929 essay “A Room of One’s Own,” which argues the importance of literal and figurative space that women writers need within a literary tradition dominated by men, stating: “A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.” Its message of refuge evokes the same sentiment that the brand’s Screenwriters in Residence program aims to give emerging screenwriters.
“I think the words of Virginia Woolf – written almost 90 years ago – still ring true,” said Maggie Gyllenhaal. “We are at a moment, culturally, when people are hungry for stories that are emotionally true, rooted in diversity; and reflective of different voices. I am proud to support emerging female screenwriters in independent film, which has always been a place you can tell stories in an honest and authentic way.”
Gyllenhaal selected three powerful female screenwriters from Hollywood’s buzzed-about Black List – which curates the industry’s most liked yet unproduced screenplays – to spend a week at an Autograph Collection hotel of their choice, offering an inspiring space, time and unrivalled hospitality to polish an existing script or develop new material.
- Diversity and inclusion are themes of Sarah Jane Inwards’ script, Jellyfish Summer, which won a 2017 Nicholl Fellowship in Screenwriting from The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and earned a spot on the 2017 Black List.Originally from Minnesota and based in Los Angeles, Inwards also co-founded Applause for a Cause, a nonprofit production company in support of student feature filmmaking.
- Amanda Idokois a Los Angeles-based film and television writer, currently writing on Central Park, an animated musical for Apple. She has previously written for ABC TV’s Imaginary Mary, The Goldbergs, and The Mayor. Amanda was featured on the 2017 Young & Hungry List for Hollywood’s Top 100 New Writers and her script Breaking News In Yuba County was featured on the 2017 Black List. Amanda is a first-generation Nigerian American who grew up in the Bronx, and a graduate of Cornell University.
- USC graduate Chiara Towne has written screenplays for Tanya Seghatchian (an executive producer of The Crown) and director David Fincher. She directs documentaries as well as short content for nonprofit organizations, doing much of her work for Jesse Dylan’s Wondros and consulting at the United Nations. She is also associated with Somewhere Films, a production collective made up of women who specialize in directing, cinematography, editing, producing, writing and creative direction. Her most recent screenplay I.N.was featured on the 2017 Black List.
“Just as every great film begins with a great screenplay, each one of our hotels has been built with a story meant to inspire, engage and connect us,” said Jennifer Connell, Vice President, Autograph Collection Hotels. “With the Indie Film Project in its third year, we have become unexpected patrons of an important industry that shares our values, and we are honored to continue fostering its talented community of independent storytellers.”
Autograph Collection Hotels in partnership with the Black List continues to design these retreats to be exactly like nothing else and spark inspiration for creative storytelling, whether at Hotel am Steinplatz in Berlin or El Mangroove in Costa Rica. Last year, the two brands chose screenwriters including Liz Hannah, who wrote the Oscar-nominated film The Post; Minhal Baig, April Prosser, and Christopher Salmanpour for the inaugural program. Hannah, Baig, and Prosser have all previously graced the annual Black List; Baig and Salmanpour’s careers were both catalyzed after uploading their screenplays to the Black List website, which serves as a two-sided marketplace for scripted material available to actors, directors, producers, and film financiers.
At the Toronto Film Festival, Autograph Collection Hotels will continue its commitment to independent film, transforming the always-buzzed-about Mongrel House to shine a light on the brand’s distinctive portfolio of Canadian hotels, many located in film-friendly destinations. The weekend will include hosted events celebrating Canadian filmmakers, as well as cocktails and conversation with Maggie Gyllenhaal and Franklin Leonard to celebrate the ‘next class’ of female screenwriters.
In support of sharing the art of indie film with a wider audience, and for those not on the festival circuit, Autograph Collection Hotels has introduced a dedicated digital film channel: streaming a curated selection of indie films at its hotels across the U.S. and available by connecting to the hotel’s Wi-Fi and logging into http://indiefilmsatautographcollection.com via guests’ laptop, tablet, smartphone or other mobile device.