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Southampton Screenwriting Conference Features Hedges, Baldwin, And Baitz

Originally Posted: July 17, 2009

On Friday, July 31, Stony Brook Southampton and the Writers Guild of America East will salute novelist, playwright, screenwriter and director Peter Hedges. Images courtesy of Stony Brook Southampton

Southampton - As Stony Brook Southampton's acclaimed Summer Writers Conference winds down, its bookend, an engaging and hands-on Screenwriting Conference, will leave its audience wanting more.

Two special events mark the finale of the Conference with three of America's most notable names, who will share their wisdom about bringing great writing to the big screen.

On Friday, July 31, Stony Brook Southampton and the Writers Guild of America East will salute novelist, playwright, screenwriter and director Peter Hedges whose prodigious body of work includes "Pieces of April," "Dan in Real Life," "What's Eating Gilbert Grape" and "About A Boy," which received a Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar nomination.

Jon Robin Baitz to appear on Aug. 1.

Then on Saturday, Aug. 1, "A Conversation on Film Writing With Alec Baldwin and Jon Robin Baitz" will feature actor/director Baldwin and playwright/screenwriter/actor Baitz in a surprising, humorous and practical conversation about what makes great screenwriting as they screen examples of clips from some of their favorite films.

Both events are at 7:30 p.m. in the beautifully renovated Avram Theater on the Southampton campus. Weekday/Friday evening events are $25/$10 for seniors, students and Stony Brook University faculty and staff. Tickets to Saturday evening events are $35/$10. For box office information, call 631-632-5152 or visit www.stonybrook.edu/avram.

Alec Baldwin to appear with Baitz on Aug. 1.

Hedges is a novelist, playwright, screenwriter, and director. He made his feature film directorial debut with "Pieces of April" starring Katie Holmes, Patricia Clarkson, Oliver Platt, and Derek Luke. The acclaimed film garnered numerous awards including an Academy Award nomination for Clarkson. Following the film, Variety named Hedges one of 10 Directors to watch. In 2007, Hedges directed and co-wrote "Dan in Real Life" starring Steve Carell and Juliette Binoche. Hedges' novel "What's Eating Gilbert Grape" was the basis for the 1993 film, which he also wrote. It starred Johnny Depp and Leonardo DiCaprio, who was nominated for an Academy Award. Hedges' second novel, "An Ocean in Iowa," was published in 1998 by Hyperion Press. His novels have been published in 15 languages. In March of 2010, his novel, "The Heights," will be published by Dutton. Hedges' screenplay adaptations include Jane Hamilton's "A Map of the World" and Nick Hornby's "About a Boy," which received a Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar nomination.

Jon Robin Baitz is the author of a number of plays including "The Substance of Fire," "A Fair Country," Mizlansky/Zilinsky," "Three Hotels," and "The Paris Letter." He is a Pulitzer Prize finalist, Drama Desk winner, Guggenheim and NEA Fellow. He is the creator of the ABC TV drama "Brothers & Sisters," which he executive produced for the first few seasons, and has written for "West Wing" and "Alias" as well. He also adapted his play "The Substance of Fire" for the screen, as well as the screenplay for the Al Pacino movie, "People I Know." He is currently writing and producing a mini-series for HBO, entitled "Bush's War," about the selling of the Iraq Invasion by the Bush administration.

Alec Baldwin is a graduate of New York University (BFA-Tisch, '94). He last appeared on stage in the Roundabout Theatre Company's 2006 production of Joe Orton's "Entertaining Mr. Sloane," directed by Scott Ellis. Other stage credits include "Loot" (Broadway-1986; Theatre World Award), Caryl Churchill's "Serious Money" (Broadway-1988), "Prelude to a Kiss" (Circle Rep.-1990; Obie Award), "A Street Car Named Desire" (Broadway-1992; Tony nomination), "Macbeth" (NYSF-1998), and "The Twentieth Century" (Roundabout-2004). Baldwin has appeared in over 40 films, including "Beetle Juice," "Working Girl," "Miami Blues," "The Hunt for Red October," "Glengarry Glen Ross," "Malice," "The Juror," "The Edge," "Ghosts of Mississippi," "State and Main," "The Cat in the Hat," "The Cooler" (National Board of Review Award for Best Supporting Actor, Oscar nomination), "The Aviator" and "The Departed," among many others. On television, Baldwin currently stars with Tina Fey on NBC's "30 Rock," winner of the 2007 and 2008 Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series. Baldwin has received three SAG Awards, two Golden Globes, the Television Critics Award and the Emmy as best actor in a comedy series for his performance on the show.

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