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Actor, writer Lena Waithe to headline screenwriting conference

Courier 12 to feature writers from ‘The Post,’ ‘Arrival,’ ‘Guardians of the Galaxy,’ ‘Ramy’

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Emmy Award-winning writer, creator, producer and actor Lena Waithe, of “Twenties,” “The Chi” and “Queen & Slim,” will headline DePaul University’s Courier 12 Screenwriting Conference Feb. 5-6. DePaul’s School of Cinematic Arts will present a series of virtual panel discussions with top screenwriting talent and TV and film executives from across the entertainment industry. Slated speakers include screenwriters Liz Hannah of “The Post” and Nicole Perlman of “Guardians of the Galaxy.”

Lena Waithe
Actor and screenwriter Lena Waithe will headline this year's virtual Courier 12 Screenwriting Conference, organized by DePaul University's School of Cinematic Arts. (Photo by Shayan Asgharnia)

“Given everything we’re facing right now, this is a hard time to be creative. We’re relying on film and television writers more than ever to provide escape, to inform, and to unify us as a society through their art,” says Brad Riddell, an associate professor in the School of Cinematic Arts. "Courier 12 celebrates accomplished writers and gives them an opportunity to inspire DePaul students and aspiring screenwriters around the world “to keep believing in their voice and doing the difficult work of creation." 

Admission to the Courier 12 Screenwriting Conference is free and open to the public but separate registration is required for both the Friday and Saturday programs.

Friday, Feb. 5
A Conversation with Lena Waithe
6 - 7 p.m.
Emmy Award-winning writer, creator, producer and actor Lena Waithe of “Twenties,” “The Chi” and “Queen & Slim” speaks with DePaul School of Cinematic Arts faculty members Jess King and Fatou Samba about her trailblazing career.

Saturday, Feb. 6
Breaking in: JB Ballard, Sam Campos and Roberto Larios
11 a.m. - 12 p.m.
DePaul alumni share how they got their start in the industry after graduation. Writer’s assistant JB Ballard of “Shameless” and “Moon Knight,” ABC development executive Sam Campos, and Verve talent agent Roberto Larios in conversation with filmmaking faculty member Matt Quinn.

We Know Morph Dies: Decoding Writers' Room Short-Hand
12:15 - 1:15 p.m.
Showrunner Chris Cantwell of “Halt and Catch Fire” and “Paper Girls” speaks with faculty member Kat O’Brien about working in a writer’s room.

Writing Movies, Writing TV, Writing Partners
1:30 - 2:30 p.m.
Liz Hannah of “The Post” and “The Long Shot” and Brian Millikin of “Haven” and “Teen Wolf” discuss their writing process with faculty member Scott Myers.

Adapting ‘Arrival’
3:45 - 4:45 p.m.
Screenwriter Eric Heisserer will discuss the development of his Oscar-nominated adaptation of “Arrival.” Riddell will moderate.

Breaking Barriers: Inclusive Representation in Film & TV
5 - 6 p.m.
Writer, producer Sahar Jahani of “Thirteen Reasons Why” and “Ramy” discusses breaking barriers with faculty member Fatou Samba.

Writing Superheroes and Beyond
6:15 - 7:15 p.m.
Screenwriter, producer and director Nicole Perlman of “Guardians of the Galaxy” and “Captain Marvel” appears in conversation with faculty member Anna Hozian.

Through its Visiting Artists Series, DePaul’s School of Cinematic Arts is committed to bringing talented artists from across the entertainment industry to Chicago so they may inform and inspire students, as well as the Chicago filmmaking community. For more information, visit