By Ray Pride Pride@moviecitynews.com

‘Argo’ Navigates to USC Libraries Scripter Win

Journalist, memoirist, and screenwriter take the 25-anniversary honor.

USC President C.L. Max Nikias; USC Libraries Dean Catherine Quinlan; Scripter Award winner Joshuah Bearman, author of a Wired Magazine article on which “Argo” is based

LOS ANGELES, CA (February 9, 2013) – Authors Joshuah Bearman and Antonio J. Mendez and screenwriter Chris Terrio received the 25th-annual USC Libraries Scripter Award for their contributions to “Argo.” Selection committee co-chair Howard Rodman announced the winners at the black-tie event on Saturday, Feb. 9, at USC’s Doheny Memorial Library.In his acceptance speech, Bearman said “I think that with adaptation you hope another writer can come and take a look at your work and see a new perspective and add insight, which is certainly the case with Chris Terrio.”“Argo’s” Scripter win adds to the growing number of awards for the Warner Bros. film, including the American Film Institute’s Movie of the Year as well as best motion picture in the drama category and best director at last month’s Golden Globes. The film is nominated for seven Academy Awards.

Scripter, established by the Friends of the USC Libraries in 1988, honors the screenwriter or screenwriters of the year’s most accomplished cinematic adaptation as well as the author of the written work upon which the screenplay is based. Scripter is the only award of its kind that recognizes authors of the original work alongside the adapting screenwriters.

Terrio based his adaptation on Mendez’s autobiographical work “The Master of Disguise,” published by William Morrow in 2000, and Bearman’s article “The Great Escape,” which appeared in Wired Magazine in 2007.

USC Libraries Dean Catherine Quinlan welcomed the attendees gathered in Los Angeles Times Reference Room of USC’s historic Edward L. Doheny Memorial Library.

“In the context of the library, Scripter at 25 years old is a young tradition,” Quinlan said. “But it is a tradition that helps our libraries collect knowledge that is far older than 25 years and one that will support discoveries by our USC community far beyond the next quarter-century.”

Co-chaired by Golden Globe-winning screenwriter Naomi Foner and USC screenwriting professor and vice president of the Writers Guild of America, West, Howard Rodman, the Scripter selection committee chose “Argo” from a field of 84 eligible films. A tie in the first round of voting resulted in six finalist films this year, rather than the usual five.

The 41-member selection committee included film critics Leonard Maltin and Kenneth Turan; screenwriters Geoffrey Fletcher, Eric Roth, and Robin Swicord; authors Michael Chabon and Mona Simpson; and USC deans Catherine Quinlan of the USC Libraries, Elizabeth M. Daley of the School of Cinematic Arts and Madeline Puzo of the School of Dramatic Arts.

The USC Libraries also honored Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana with the Literary Achievement Award for their body of work to date. USC President C. L. Max Nikias presented the honor.

“With deep reserves of imagination and intellect, Mr. McMurtry and Ms. Ossana inspire USC’s entire creative-arts community,” Nikias said. “And for this, we warmly salute them.”

Over the course of their writing partnership McMurtry and Ossana have collaborated on dozens of novels and screenplays, including “Brokeback Mountain,”which won the 2005 Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay, as well as the award-winning miniseries “Streets of Laredo,” “Dead Man’s Walk,” and “Johnson County War.”They are currently collaborating on the screen adaptation of Paulette Jiles’s novel “The Color of Lightning.”

This year’s event featured a silent auction, the proceeds of which support the USC Libraries’ collections. Donors to the auction included Bennett Farms, the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, Hawaii Five-0 and Eye Productions, Hungry Cat Santa Monica, L.A. Saddlery, the Los Angeles Clippers, the Namale Resort & Spa in Fiji, Paperblanks, PGA Tour, Picca Peruvian Cantina, the NFL, Pizzeria Mozza, Pleasant Holidays, South Coast Winery, the Sundance Institute, Terranea Resort, Robbins Research International, Montage Beverly Hills, the Wine of the Month Club, and the USC Thornton School of Music.

In-kind sponsors this year included John and Dana Agamalian and Blue Ice Vodka; Esquire Bar & Lounge of Pasadena, Calif.; Farrar, Straus and Giroux; Paperblanks; Penguin Books; and the Wine of the Month Club.

For more information about Scripter—including additional images from the ceremony—visitscripter.usc.edu.

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“When Bay keeps these absurd plot-gears spinning, he’s displaying his skill as a slick, professional entertainer. But then there are the images of motion—I hesitate to say, of things in motion, because it’s not clear how many things there are in the movie, instead of mere digital simulations of things. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that there’s a car chase through London, seen from the level of tires, that could have gone on for an hour, um, tirelessly. What matters is that the defenestrated Cade saves himself by leaping from drone to drone in midair like a frog skipping among lotus pads; that he and Vivian slide along the colossal, polished expanses of sharply tilting age-old fields of metal like luge Olympians. What matters is that, when this heroic duo find themselves thrust out into the void of inner space from a collapsing planet, it has a terrifyingly vast emptiness that Bay doesn’t dare hold for more than an instant lest he become the nightmare-master. What matters is that the enormous thing hurtling toward Earth is composed in a fanatical detail that would repay slow-motion viewing with near-geological patience. Bay has an authentic sense of the gigantic; beside the playful enormity of his Transformerized universe, the ostensibly heroic dimensions of Ridley Scott’s and Christopher Nolan’s massive visions seem like petulant vanities.”
~ Michael Bay Gives Richard Brody A Tingle

How do you see film evolving in this age of Netflix?

I thought the swing would be quicker and more violent. There have been two landmark moments in the history of French film. First in 1946, with the creation of the CNC under the aegis of Malraux. He saved French cinema by establishing the advance on receipts and support fund mechanisms. We’re all children of this political invention. Americans think that the State gives money to French films, but they’re wrong. Through this system, films fund themselves!

The other great turning point came by the hand of Jack Lang in the 1980s, after the creation of Canal+. While television was getting ready to become the nemesis of film, he created the decoder, and a specific broadcasting space between film and television, using new investments for film. That once again saved French film.

These political decisions are important. We’re once again facing big change. If our political masters don’t take control of the situation and new stakeholders like Netflix, Google and Amazon, we’re headed for disaster. We need to create obligations for Internet service providers. They can’t always be against film. They used to allow piracy, but now that they’ve become producers themselves, they’re starting to see things in a different light. This is a moment of transition, a strong political act needs to be put forward. And it can’t just be at national level, it has to happen at European level.

Filmmaker Cédric Klapisch