Tuesday, May 05, 2020

Austin Film Festival & Writers Conference Names Nickelodeon 'Star Trek' Co-Producers Julie Benson & Shawna Benson in 2020 '25 Screenwriters to Watch' List

The Austin Film Festival & Writers Conference (AFF), the premier film festival recognizing the writers’ contributions to film, television, theater, and new media, today named writers and producers Julie Benson and Shawna Benson, who are currently co-producing Nickelodeon's Untitled Star Trek animated series, in the organization's fifth annual “25 Screenwriters to Watch”!

About Julie Benson and Shawna Benson:

Shawna and Julie are a powerhouse sister writing team who not only share the same birthday (three years apart), but also share a love of genre TV, film, and comics. That love inspired their move from the cornfields of Illinois to sunny Los Angeles to pursue their careers in screenwriting.

The Benson Sisters are currently developing a live-action television show with the Jim Henson Company based on a popular Young Adult (YA) series and recently wrote for Nickelodeon’s Untitled Star Trek animated series. Before that, they wrote on Netflix’s Wu Assassins, The CW’s critically acclaimed The 100, and penned episodes of the Emmy award-winning web series Emma Approved. Alongside their TV career, they’ve written for DC Comics on the popular 2016 Rebirth launch writing Batgirl and The Birds of Prey, followed by a run on Green Arrow.

AFF: How did you break in or get your start in screenwriting?

Benson Sisters: Over the years, we both worked multiple assistant jobs, everything from pouring coffee and getting lunches to finding our way into the writers’ room as Writers’ Assistants. The prospect to land our first staffing gig was teed up numerous times, but either the pilot wouldn’t go to series or the show was cancelled after the first season. But we kept pushing and finally staffed on the third season of CW’s The 100 after Shawna was the writers’ assistant for season two. This is a war of attrition—a marathon, not a sprint.

AFF: What was a major turning point in your career?

Benson Sisters: This is an industry built on twists and turns and our journey is full of winding roads. We never intended to write together as a team. Shawna was focused on writing, while Julie was interested in producing. But we decided to write a sci-fi drama show together and were floored when an A-list actor optioned it to not only produce but direct. Unfortunately, the WGA strike of 2007 led to the project dying on the vine. But that was the turning point for us; if we had that much success right out of the gate… what could we accomplish if we became a writing team?

AFF: Who are some of your favorite screenwriters?

Benson Sisters: So many, but in television, we are huge fans of Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Damon Lindelof, Vince Gilligan, Noah Hawley, Sally Wainwright, Peter Morgan, David Milch, JJ Abrams, Jane Espenson, and D.C. Fontana.

In film: Emma Thompson, Lawrence Kasdan, Billy Wilder, Greta Gerwig, Rian Johnson, Jordan Peele, Quentin Tarantino, Wes Anderson, The Coen Brothers, and Christina Hodson.

About AFF's “25 Screenwriters to Watch”:

Since 1994, Austin Film Festival has sought to elevate the recognition and stature of screenwriters through a myriad of initiatives and programs, including its industry-renowned Writers Conference, a film festival perennially packed with the visionaries of tomorrow, and the largest screenplay competition in the world. Released on the AFF website, the 2020 “25 Screenwriters to Watch” list is an extension of its mission and includes a roster of promising and innovative voices, featuring writers from diverse backgrounds, mediums, and points in their careers. A full list of 2020 “25 Screenwriters to Watch” honorees can be found at https://austinfilmfestival.com.

About Nickelodeon's Untitled Star Trek Series:

Nickelodeon and CBS Television Studios announced last year the greenlight of a new animated Star Trek series to be developed by Emmy Award winners Kevin and Dan Hageman (Trollhunters and Ninjago) and overseen for Nickelodeon by Ramsey Naito, EVP, Animation Production and Development, Nickelodeon.

Debuting exclusively on Nickelodeon, the series expands the Star Trek universe for a new generation of fans. The new original CG-animated series, currently going under the production title Untitled Star Trek Series, follows a group of lawless teens who discover a derelict Starfleet ship and use it to search for adventure, meaning and salvation.

The series is speculated to be titled Star Trek Prodigy.

The series will be from CBS’ Eye Animation Productions, CBS Television Studios’ new animation arm; Secret Hideout; and Roddenberry Entertainment. Alex Kurtzman, Heather Kadin, Katie Krentz, Rod Roddenberry and Trevor Roth will serve as executive producers alongside Kevin and Dan Hageman. Aaron Baiers will serve as a co-executive producer.

The show’s writers’ room includes Julie and Shawna Benson, former writers of Green Arrow and Batgirl & the Birds of Prey for DC Comics, and executive story editors on The 100; Chad Quandt and Aaron Waltke, whose credits include Trollhunters, Unikitty and Teen Titans Go!; Erin McNamara; Keith Sweet; Lisa Boyd (The Last Airbender); Diandra Pendle-Thompson; and Nikhil Jayaram.

The new Star Trek series is the third animated series from CBS Television Studios, following Star Trek: Lower Decks for CBS All Access and Our Cartoon President for SHOWTIME.

Claudia Spinelli, VP Animation Development, Nickelodeon, is the executive in charge of the new animated Star Trek series for Nickelodeon. The series will also be overseen by Alec Botnick, SVP, Comedy Development and Head of Animation, CBS Television Studios.

The series is slated to premiere on Nickelodeon in 2021.

Nickelodeon Animation are currently hiring production staff to work on the series.

More Nick: 'The Astronauts' - Nickelodeon Debuts First Trailer for New Live-Action Series Premiering Fall 2020!

H/T: The Austin Chronicle.
Follow NickALive! on Twitter, Tumblr, Reddit, via RSS, on Instagram, and/or Facebook for the latest Nickelodeon News and Highlights!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Have your say by leaving a comment below! NickALive! welcomes friendly and respectful comments. Please familiarize with the blog's Comment Policy before commenting. All new comments are moderated and won't appear straight away.