CULTURE

Martin Sherman set to ‘create a mosaic of understanding’

«The future lies in collaboration,» announced actress, producer and translator Mimi Denisi, who was recently awarded the Legion of Honor by the French Embassy. The dearth of Greek offerings at foreign film festivals and small pool of local scripts prompted her, in collaboration with IEK-DOMI, to begin what they hope to be a series of seminars in screenwriting four times a year. «There is no film industry in Greece. I believe it is vital for us to begin interacting and collaborating with foreign writers. It is something we lack.» Their first guest is acclaimed playwright and screenwriter Martin Sherman. An American philhellene – «It’s my second home» – and close friend of Denisi, who has translated his work into Greek, the author of «Bent,» «Rose,» «Mrs Henderson Presents» and «Callas Forever» said he was «very happy Mimi instigated this. When you get older, it feels nice to share your knowledge.» Sherman has presided over seminars before, but in Athens he says he will attempt to do something new. «There are people who give classes in screenwriting, and they talk about rules and structures, and executives in studios really like these rules. But I know very few screenwriters who follow these rules,» Sherman said. «So, I’m not going to be teaching rules. I think it is more valuable to trace the life of a film from the moment of its genesis to its absolute completion.» To do this, he will take «Mrs Henderson Presents,» which stars Judi Dench and was directed by Stephen Frears, and break it down, scene by scene, explaining how it was written, rewritten during pre-production, and how it changed during filming. The evolution of «Bent,» which was a play before it became a film, will also be discussed. Screenwriting is «not intellectual theory – it’s practical,» Sherman concluded. Denisi agreed, adding that «too much theory turns into pretension.» The seminars will take place April 27 to 30. Aspiring young screenwriters who wish to gain practical knowledge of the film process from a veteran in the field should visit www.domian.gr for more information.