News in 2009

Screenwriter John August kicks off Behind the Scenes
Palm Springs International Film Society


Screenwriter John August kicks off
BEHIND THE SCENES speaker series

Palm Springs, CA (April 6, 2009) - The Palm Springs International Film Society, in conjunction with the Friends of the Rancho Mirage Public Library, will launch the BEHIND THE SCENES filmmaker speaker series on Tuesday, April 14 at 7:00 pm with a special program featuring award-winning screenwriter John August.

This is the first program in a new, free monthly series at the Rancho Mirage Public Library. This ongoing line-up of programs aims to expand and enrich the filmgoing experience for movie lovers by highlighting the lesser known creative contributions of those working behind the scenes in moviemaking. Speaking guests of the series will participate in a moderated onstage conversation followed by an audience Q&A.

The first talent selected to launch the series, screenwriter John August, gained initial acclaim for his work in the multi-perspective indie film, Go, directed in 1998 by Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity). A frequent collaborator of director Tim Burton, August has provided the screenplays for Big Fish, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Corpse Bride. Big Fish earned nominations for Best Screenplay from BAFTA, the Broadcast Film Critics Association and the Phoenix Film Critics Society. He also wrote song lyrics for each of Burton's films, which were then coupled with Danny Elfman's music, earning a Grammy Award nomination for his lyrics for "Wonka's Welcome Song" from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. August also directed the short film, God and made his directing debut with 2007's The Nines, featuring Melissa McCarthy, Ryan Reynolds and Hope Davis.

August's future projects include two scripts in development with Burton: Dark Shadows, starring Johnnie Depp, and a stop-motion animated adaptation of Burton's 1984 short film, Frankenweenie. August is also adapting the cult graphic novel, Preacher, with Sam Mendes attached to direct. A frequent advisor to the Sundance Screenwriters Lab and's Ask a Filmmaker forum, August also runs a web site ( aimed at budding screenwriters.

Schedule of future BEHIND THE SCENES dates and topics:
May 19 – Producing
June 9 – Casting
July 14 - Production Design
August 11 - Stunt Work
September 8 – Cinematography
October 13 – Sound
November 10 - Visual Effects
December 8 – Editing
Speakers TBA.

The BEHIND THE SCENES filmmaker speaker series is free to the public and will take place each month at the Rancho Mirage Public Library, 71-100 Hwy. 111, Rancho Mirage, CA. For more information, call PSIFS Education Coordinator Deborah Dearth at 760-322-2930, ext. 222 or visit the web site.