DreamAgo, or a dream becomes a reality…
Created in 2005 by the screenwriter Pascale Rey, in collaboration with the director Soula Saad, DreamAgo is now 8 years old! A great birthday for this international non profit whose objective is to build a network of solidarity to connect those in the movie field from around the world. Its primary actions? To help movies that make a difference to go from script to screen through an annual screenwriting workshop (Plume & Pellicule) that leads to meetings with producers from all over the world.
DREAMAGO, A LIKE-MINDED COMMUNITY
Eight years after its creation, DreamAgo has now a hundred members on different continents. Screenwriters, directors, producers, actors, or simply professionals in the movie field, DreamAgo members meet for a monthly lunch, the same day in Los Angeles, Madrid and Paris. It’s, of course, not completely true for Los Angeles because of the nine hour time difference but the idea is to really to belong to one united, same community. Behind it a desire to develop entertaining but also humanistic movies and to do it with generosity and solidarity.
Very ambitious from the start, this project has taken off quickly and become a reality. According to Pascale Rey, the president, it’s because it was “the right project, at the right time, with the right people”. She was extremely lucky to be rapidly surrounded by a generous team, cohesive and skillful. “Al the members of the team are professionals and work in the movie field, which allows DreamAgo access to talented people” and to rapidly get the support of prestigious patrons (Stephen Frears, Alain Corneau, Jorge Perugorria, Guillermo Arriaga, to name a few…) After eight years, DreamAgo now has branches in Los Angeles, Spain, and Switzerland, which serve as complements to the first branch established in Paris “It’s essential for us to be multicultural, because we want to help international projects. In eight years, we have had 20 different nationalities among the projects selected. We help projects in French, in English or in Spanish” The cultural differences are very important to Pascale Rey, who was born in Switzerland, in the middle of the Alps, in a small city called Sierre.
PLUME & PELLICULE : THE SCREENWRITING WORKSHOP
It is in her home town that she chose to organize the most important DreamAgo workshop, “Plume & Pellicule”, an international screenwriting lab which takes place in a wonderful castle (the Château Mercier). Given that the workshop itself is free (only the trip to the castle is paid by the participant once selected) the idea of “generosity” permeates all aspects of DreamAgo including free evening screenings for the city, and for the region Valais, which are always followed by Q&As with either the writer, the director or an actor of the movie screened. A very popular event, more than once during the week the screenings were “sold out”, with people sitting on the floor and a number of people having to leave due to lack of space. Stephen Frears, a very invested and involved patron, present every year so far, returned to Sierre last May to present “Dangerous Liaisons” and said how astonished he was to see so many people. He came with his screenwriter Christopher Hampton and the Q&A after the screening lasted nearly one hour.
MEET YOUR MATCH : THE NEXT STEP
There are a lot of screenwriting workshops. What distinguishes DreamAgo from the rest is the following up of projects. Once a project has been selected for Plume & Pellicule and the writer has received comments from the consultants that will help him or her in the revision process, the writer has two months to write a new version. After completing his or her new version, s/he can decide to submit it again to DreamAgo. If it is accepted, meaning if the DreamAgo team feels the project is ready to go to producers – then it will be presented to a variety of producers at AFM in Los Angeles in November. “Being a screenwriter myself”, explains Pascale Rey, “I feel it is important to select a project on the sole basis of its quality even if it is not yet attached to a producer. I know that this attitude does not help make our numbers look as impressive as they could because then we need more time to have a script reach the screen.. but I think that we owe this to writers. At least I wish it did existed when I began to write!”
AFTER EIGHT YEARS, WHAT ARE THE RESULTS FOR DREAMAGO?
According to the president, it hasn’t gone fast enough… but if we look at the actual concrete results there have been major accomplishments: the first movie directed after the workshop 2005 “Tengri, Heaven’s Blue”, directed by Marie Jaoul de Poncheville was the official entry for Kyrgyzstan for the Oscars 2009. Several movies have been shot, including “Sauvage” by Jean-Francois Amiguet and “Afinidades” by Vladimir Cruz et Jorge Perugorria. In addition, the awards received by screenwriters who have gone through Plume & Pellicule are really impressive ; a few of them received the prestigious Nicholl’s fellowship, some received Sopadin in France, and others have achieved international recognition.