Hollywood Heavyweights Robin Gurney and Robert Cort to Mentor Screen Buzz and Rotana Screenwriting Workshop for TV and Film in Riyadh
Screen Buzz and Rotana announce that veteran television Producer/Executive Robin Gurney, Senior Vice President of Original Programming for Showtime Network, and award-winning producer Robert W. Cort will be among the Hollywood mentors leading its upcoming workshop at the end of April 2019.
More mentors will be announced soon as well. The workshop will be held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, as a partnership between American Abroad Media (AAM) and Rotana, from April 29 to May 3, 2019. While the workshop will target burgeoning Saudi creative talents, anyone from the Arab World is eligible to apply. Gurney joins a long list of top Hollywood talent who have led Screen Buzz workshops across the region.
Powered by the non-profit AAM, Screen Buzz is an innovative series of creative workshops bringing top Hollywood writers, directors and producers to the Arab world to support local storytellers in the creation of original, purpose driven content for global audiences. Riyadh will be the newest location to host the unique workshop series which has previously taken place in cities throughout the region, including Amman, Jordan, Beirut, Lebanon and, most recently, Cairo, Egypt. Gurney and Cort join a long list of top Hollywood talent who have previously led Screen Buzz workshops across the region. While the workshop will target burgeoning Saudi creative talents, anyone from the Arab World is eligible to apply.
As Senior Vice President of Original Programming at Showtime Networks, Robin Gurney develops and oversees scripted drama, comedy, limited series, and selected documentaries. Among the recent projects she has shepherded at Showtime are: the Golden Globe-nominated series Kidding (starring Jim Carrey), the Emmy and Golden Globe-nominated limited series Patrick Melrose (starring Benedict Cumberbatch), the revival of David Lynch's cult classic Twin Peaks, and the critically acclaimed drama series The Chi, from Emmy-winning creator Lena Waithe. She is currently working on the highly-anticipated adaptation of the world-renowned video game Halo and a new chapter in the mysterious world of Penny Dreadful, Penny Dreadful: City of Angels.
Prior to joining Showtime in 2012, Robin spent seven years as the Executive Vice President of Production and Development at Ron Howard and Brian Grazer's Imagine Television. While at Imagine, she worked on hit the series such as Friday Night Lights, Lie to Me and Parenthood, among others.
With over three decades of experience in the entertainment industry, Robert Cort has achieved a remarkable record of success as a film producer. Producing fifty-eight feature and television films that grossed $3.0 billion worldwide, Cort's resume includes hits, such as Terminator Genisys, Outrageous Fortune, Three Men and a Baby, The Hand That Rocks the Cradle, Cocktail, Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, The Cutting Edge, Jumanji, Runaway Bride, Mr. Holland's Opus and Save the Last Dance. His next movie, The Secret, starring Katie Holmes and Josh Lucas, based on the bestselling book by Rhonda Byrne, is currently in post-production and scheduled to be released later this year.
Cort shared his enthusiasm to help lead the upcoming Screen Buzz workshop, stating, "I am thrilled to be joining the Screen Buzz team in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. As a producer for thirty-plus years, I appreciate how the magic of making film begins with the writer and the stories they long to tell. Working with them - especially young writers early in their careers - is for me the most gratifying part of the process. On another note, I have always enjoyed my travels in the Middle East, and I look forward to learning more about another facet and nation of Arabic culture. My goddaughter lived in Saudi Arabia growing up; I have friends who have worked there; and my friend (and my wife's client) director Haifaa al-Mansour was the nation's first female feature filmmaker. All said, I'm in for a fascinating trip."
Launching in 2018, Screen Buzz is an innovative series of creative workshops bringing top Hollywood writers, directors and producers to the Arab world to support local storytellers in the creation of original, purpose driven content for global audiences. The workshops provide access to leading Hollywood experts to help develop the most promising Arab writers, directors and producers in the entertainment industry. The curriculum includes interactive sessions which encourage professional collaboration between the Hollywood mentors and local participants, critical thinking and the exchange of ideas. In addition, the workshop participants have the opportunity to attend one-on-one meetings with the mentors to pitch their scripts. Screen Buzz workshops are powered by America Abroad Media (AAM), a non-profit organization that champions global storytelling through the power of entertainment.
Previous Screen Buzz mentors include, among others, director Jack Bender (Game of Thrones |The Sopranos); executive producer Lindsay Goffman (The Good Doctor); and writer and producer Mark Goffman (The Umbrella Academy | The West Wing). ; and writer and producer Daniel Knauf (Carnivāle| The Black List). The most recent workshop in Cairo, Egypt, was led by Mark Goffman; screenwriter Samuel Baum (HBO''s The Wizard of Lies | Lie to Me); and writer and producer Jessica Mecklenburg (Netflix's Stranger Things | Gypsy) as part of the 40th Cairo International Film Festival.
Screen Buzz workshops are held under the supervision of a Middle East Advisory Council, which includes the most prominent Arab figures in the film and TV industry: H.E. Noura Al Kaabi, UAE Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development (UAE); HRH Princess Rym Ali, Founder of the Jordan Media Institute and Board Member of the Royal Film Commission (Jordan); actress and director Nadine Labaki (Lebanon); actress and producer Saba Mubarak (Jordan); actress Yousra (Egypt); actress Hend Sabry (Tunisia); and actress Nelly Karim (Egypt). Screen Buzz partners with the Arab Cinema Center and MAD Solutions handles its distribution in the region.
Rotana is one of the oldest and largest media companies in the Arab world. The Rotana group comprises several specialized and general TV channels and owns the biggest film and television archive in the Arab world. The company has several online platforms, including rotana.net.
AAM champions global storytelling through the power of entertainment. Our vision is to bring together the best of Hollywood with the creative community in the Middle East to empower a new generation of storytellers in the region to produce original content that promotes positive change and shared universal values.