David Lisnard, mayor of Cannes, Jean-Marc Gambaudo, president of the Université Côte D’Azur (UCA), Teri Schwartz, dean of the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television (UCLA TFT), Pierre Lescure, president of the Cannes International Film Festival, Frank Cadoret, director, Vivendi, and Maxime Saada, chief executive of the Canal+ Group, awarded diplomas and certificates of completion today to the graduate students of the inaugural Storytelling Institute in Cannes, France.

The 2018 class of the Institute includes four graduate screenwriting students from UCLA TFT: Bisi Ademulegun, Brenna Galvin, Eric Mallory Morgan and Daniel Tino; and four French graduate screenwriting students: Branca Cepelowicz, Sarah Lasry, Simon Perrin and Jordan Raux.

The six-week residency program, which began on April 9 and runs through May 19, 2018, is a partnership between UCLA TFT, UCA, the Mayor and City of Cannes, the president and director of the Cannes International Film Festival, and Vivendi/Canal+. The Institute was conceived to nurture and develop the next generation of outstanding screenwriters, from UCLA TFT and from France, whose works will not only delight and entertain, but enlighten, engage and inspire change for a better world.

Launched ahead of the Festival de Cannes, the program is framed by UCLA TFT’s unparalleled screenwriting curriculum and faculty, which includes Goya Award-winning screenwriter Neil Landau (Las Adventuras de Tadeo Jones) and Pat Verducci, as well as UCA faculty Yann Apperry, winner of the Prix Médicis and Prix Goncourt des lycéens.

The graduate screenwriting students are set to complete a fully realized, first draft of a feature film screenplay by the end of the program. Vivendi/Canal+ has a “first look” opportunity with screenplays written by the graduate students in the Institute. In the final two weeks, students have had the opportunity to experience master classes with distinguished filmmakers and screenwriters, and to engage in discussions, special screenings and other professionally oriented activities at the Festival de Cannes.

“After having our wonderful signing ceremony in Cannes last year, we are absolutely delighted to return to Cannes for the official launch of the 2018 Storytelling Institute,” says Schwartz. “This has been a magnificent team effort amongst all of the partners with whom we, at UCLA TFT, are very proud and honored to collaborate. We want to thank the Mayor and City of Cannes for their warm hospitality, and express our great appreciation to all of the partners for their exceptional commitment to the success of the Storytelling Institute. We are very proud of the outstanding work our students have done over these many weeks and remain excited about the great promise of their screenplays. The students' talent and unique storytelling voices are exceptional. To have this groundbreaking, ‘first look’ graduate screenwriting program with Vivendi/Canal+ in the beautiful and inspiring city of Cannes, and overlapping with our students’ experiences at the world-renown Cannes Film Festival, is nothing short of remarkable.”

“This program is the fruit of an exceptional collaboration between the university and the world of professional film makers. We have been working on this residency for well over a year, working side-by-side with the world leaders in the area including UCLA TFT, Vivendi/Canal+, and the Cannes Film Festival,” says Jean-Marc Gambaudo. “And all of this has been greatly facilitated by our partnership with the city of Cannes. The Institute is a key element in the development of the future Bastide Rouge campus in Cannes, which will be dedicated to cinema and to the creative industries.

"We have a brilliant group of students for this inaugural class of the Institute," he continues, "and their highly promising, original screenplays reflect the unique multicultural nature of the program, with its intersection between French and American perspectives."

Along with the Festival de Cannes, UCLA TFT hosted prominent alumni and industry leaders from the world of cinema to conduct special master classes where they spoke about their work and engaged in Q&A sessions, specifically for Storytelling Institute students. Leadership from Vivendi/Canal+ also hosted master classes focused on international production and distribution, and “What is a French movie?: A Spectator’s Experience à la française.”

“As leading companies of the entertainment industry, with content creation at the core of their activities, Vivendi and Canal+ are committed to supportive creative talents. In a fast-changing world, Vivendi and Canal+ particularly value the voice of the younger generations. We are very proud to be founding partners of the Storytelling Institute and very excited by the projects developed by the residents,” says Amandine Maudet, vice president, content development for Vivendi/Canal+.

UCLA TFT alumni films have had long association with the Festival de Cannes. Films that have received the prestigious Palme d’Or recognition include Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now, which won the Palme d’Or in 1979; Taxi Driver, written by alumnus Paul Schrader, earned the prize in 1976 for director and UCLA TFT executive board member Martin Scorsese; and Alexander Payne’s films Nebraska and About Schmidt were nominated in 2013 and 2002, respectively. This year, Scorsese received the Directors’ Fortnight Carrosse d’Or (Golden Coach) Award.

Posted: May 18, 2018