Script-to-screen discussed at Edinburgh

Panel stresses collaboration of producers, writers

EDINBURGH, Scotland -- Collaboration is the key word for filmmakers, no matter the budget spectrum they're working with, a high-profile panel of filmmakers said Friday at the Edinburgh International Film Festival.

The Hollywood Reporter-hosted panel, titled "The Producer-Writer Relationship," discussed the dynamics between creative producers and their writers.

BAFTA-winning screenwriter Jeremy Brock told the audience that he has grown used to collaborating on his writing.

"There is only one point at which the screen is truly blank, and that is at the very start before a word is written," Brock said.

Brock is working on the script for Kevin Macdonald's "The Eagle of the Ninth," a sword-and-sandals Roman adventure. The screenplay is being produced by Oscar nominee Duncan Kenworthy.

Kenworthy, who also attended the event, said the script for "Eagle" will be shot in the spring with the backing of Focus Features. He said as a result of the involvement of Brock, Macdonald and himself, the film is now attracting interest from talent agents who want their clients involved.

Kenworthy said the relationship between the producer and writer is hugely important to the way he works. "The quality of the script is honed by people who sit and discuss it at various drafts. Such conversations are among the most enjoyable moments of my career to date," Kenworthy said.

Writer-director Duane Hopkins, whose feature debut "Better Things" is playing here, said his relationship with producer Samm Haillay is all about discussion and ongoing development on writing and directing.

Haillay told the gathered crowd that a big part of his role as producer is to present the writer and director to financiers "in a way they might not think to do so."