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Gender and the Female Gaze: the international Screenwriting Research Network Conference

September 21 - September 23


Highlights of the 2023 International Screenwriting Research Network Conference
Stephens College
Columbia, Missouri
September 20-23, 2023

Keynote Speakers:

Phil Lazebnik
Born and raised in Columbia, Missouri has written screenplays for films including Pocahontas, Mulan (which won the 1998 Annie Award for best animation screenplay), The Prince of Egypt, The Road to El Dorado, and The Lost Treasure of the Knights Templar. He wrote the book for the musical “Fairy Tale” about Hans Christian Andersen with songs by Stephen Schwartz. For television he has scripted episodes for Wings, Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. LaZebnik has served on the board of directors of the Writers Guild of America West.

Meg LeFauve
Nominated for a Best Screenplay Oscar for the Pixar blockbuster INSIDE OUT, LeFauve won an Annie Award for that screenplay. She also wrote Pixar’s Golden Globe nominated THE GOOD DINOSAUR, and received “story by” credit on Marvel’s box office hit, CAPTAIN MARVEL. She also wrote the recent Netflix animated film MY FATHER’S DRAGON. She is currently writing Inside Out 2.
Along with her keynote speech, she will graciously appear for a Q&A after a public screening of Inside Out at the Ragtag Theatre on Saturday September 23 at 7pm (tickets on sale early August).

Lorien McKenna
Emmy-nominated and NAACP Image Award-winning Showrunner, Writer, Producer, and Playwright McKenna is a former Story Manager at Pixar Animation Studios. She worked on the films Ratatouille, Up, Brave, Inside Out, and The Good Dinosaur. She was the Associate Producer for Paramount Animation’s WONDER PARK and the Co-Executive Producer for CURIOUS GEORGE with NBC/ Universal. She’s written and developed for Disney, Comedy Central, Hulu, NBC, and Netflix.

Jeff Melvoin
This Emmy-winning writer-producer-showrunner (Northern Exposure, Killing Eve, Army Wives) will speak on “Television Showrunning: History, Disruption, Convergence” covering how showrunning developed as an American phenomenon, what it takes to become an effective showrunner, how the industry—and position—has changed in the last twenty years, how the American model compares to other television production models around the world, and how the two “sides” are converging in many cases in today’s bewildering landscape of tectonic shifts.”

Foundation of Screenwriting Research: Inaugural Lecture
Tom Stempel
Writer, historian and professor emeritus Tom Stempel (Framework: A History of Screenwriting in the American Film, Storytellers to the Nation: A History of American Television Writing, Screenwriter the Life and Times of Nunnally Johnsonn) will deliver a lecture on the art of researching the art of screenwriting.

Costume Museum Exhibition
The Fashion Program and the Costume Museum and Research Gallery are curating a Costume Exhibition highlighting the way Costume Designers work with a script to create clothing that helps actresses embody their characters, embodying the female gaze. A Star is Born: How Fashion Supported Screen Writers in Creating Iconic Female Characters show cases films from the 1930s through 2021. The exhibition will celebrate women in fashion and the arts as they influenced women worldwide to follow their “Hollywood” style. Some of the films show connections to Stephens College, to Columbia, and Missouri.

Live podcast recording of the The Screenwriting Life
LeFauve and McKenna are the co-hosts of the popular podcast The Screenwriting Life and they will record a life episode from the campus of Stephens College as part of the conference events.

Inside Out screening at Ragtag
On Saturday 23, 2023 at 7pm Ragtag will show the Pixar hit Inside Out and screenwriter Meg LeFauve will be on hand for a Q&A with the filmmaker. Separate tickets required – For more information Check

Panels and Presentations
The 3 day conference will bring an international collection of film professors and practitioners from Finland, France, New Zealand, Brazil, Italy, the UK and Germany (to name a few) to Columbia. They’ll make over 65 presentations on female screenwriters and films from all those countries PLUS a table read of scripts in progress performed by students of the Stephens Conservatory, the Keynote speeches, and Costume Exhibition.

Library Exhibit
The Stephens College Library is creating a Celebration of Stephens Alumni in the Entertainment World alongside another exhibit showcasing a visit made to the campus by archivist Margaret Herrick, whose name graces the Herrick Library of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Los Angeles.


September 21
September 23
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