Blueberry at London Screenwriters’ Festival 2016 – In conversation with Michael Ashton
The seventh edition of the London Screenwriters’ Festival (LSF) will take place September 2-4 at Regents University in Regents Park and this year, Blueberry will be in attendance for the first time, presenting a few sessions. One of them is a talk with brilliant playwright Michael Ashton, who has recently transitioned into screenwriting.
An annual conference for screenwriters, the LSF spans over three days filled with workshops, masterclasses, Q&As with A-list industry professionals, pitch sessions and networking. However, despite being a screenwriting event, the guests in attendance include plenty of filmmakers, producers, actors and executives, all gathering to share ideas, hear pitches and build relationships.
Blueberry Creative Consultant Maureen Hascoet will moderate what promises to be a compelling talk about Ashton’s unusual career so far. Born in Scotland, the writer has had a varied life experience, to say the very least. He went from college into active service with the British Army across the world and upon returning to University, he worked as a taxi driver, ice cream salesman and then qualified as a barrister, specialising in human rights.
Following a conviction for fraud, he was sent to prison for 18 months in 2008. Whilst in detention, he undertook a course in playwriting at the end of which he wrote The Archbishop and the Antichrist, a fictionalized account of Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s meetings with Piet Blomfield, a murderer who seeks redemption for the atrocities he has committed while he serves a life sentence in prison in post-apartheid South Africa.
The play was submitted for an award in 2009 by those running the playwriting course and it won a Koestler Gold Award followed by Amnesty International’s Protect the Human prize, and it has been shown at the Royal Festival Hall, the Amnesty Theatre, and the Soho Theatre London.
The Archbishop and the Antichrist has now been adapted for the screen by Ashton and filmmaker Roland Joffé (The Mission, The Killing Fields) and is aimed to start filming soon with Forest Whitaker and Vince Vaughn attached to play the lead roles.
With 32 more plays, 5 original screenplays and 3 adapted scripts under his belt, Ashton’s voice is expected to become as prominent in the film world as it is in the theatre, where he has consistently won awards for his work.
Ashton’s writing typically comes alive in extremely tense and graphic accounts revolving around a real-life character who has to answer for his sins to the ghosts of his past. The session, called “Writing as an act of redemption”, is poised to be just like its extraordinary speaker: raw, authentic and uncompromising.
The event takes place on Saturday September 3rd at 5pm in Herringham Hall at Regents University.
Find more information and get your festival pass on the LSF’s website.
Blueberry Talent get a 15% saving on festival passes. Contact us to receive the promo code!