It Starts with a Script: A Comedy Screenwriters Panel
Salon Pommard Sutton Place Hotel
Friday, March 9
Doors 3:30PM | Show 4:00PM

Presented by the Telefilm Canada Feature Comedy Exchange in association with the CFC

It is said that film is a director’s medium, but before a director jumps on board, before the actors are cast, and before craft services grills miniature cheese sandwiches, it all begins with the written word. From romcoms to mock docs, from dramedies to farces, laughs come in many shapes, sizes, and intensities, but the common element is the writer, whose warped views and weird sensibilities become iconic movies and imitated quotes. Sit down with three screenwriters whose scripts catapulted their careers and propelled the production of some of the biggest hit comedies of recent years.

Panel Participants Include:

  • Etan Cohen (Holmes and Watson, Get Hard, Tropic Thunder)
  • Max Winkler (Flower, Ceremony, Magic Camp)
  • Tracy Oliver (Girls Trip, Barbershop: The Next Cut)
  • Moderator: Peter Carlone (Peter n’ Chris)

ETAN COHEN – Director and screenwriter Etan Cohen is known for penning such films as IDIOCRACY, TROPIC THUNDER, and MEN IN BLACK 3. His directorial debut, GET HARD, which he wrote with Jay Martel and Ian Roberts, starred Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart. Cohen wrote and directed HOLMES AND WATSON, starring Will Ferrell, John C. Reilly, and Rebecca Hall. Cohen graduated from Harvard and received the Comedy Writer of the Year Award at the 2009 Just for Laughs Comedy Festival in Montreal.



MAX WINKLER As a young filmmaker, Max Winkler possesses an original and distinctive cinematic voice, astutely portraying the struggles and recklessness of youth.

Most recently, Max directed the feature film FLOWER, starring Zoey Deutch, Adam Scott, and Kathryn Hahn. A dark love letter to his teenage years in the Valley, FLOWER is a coming of age story that tracks the unorthodox bond between a sexually curious teen (Deutch) and her mentally unstable stepbrother. The film premiered at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival and will be released on March 16, 2018 by The Orchard.

Previously, Winkler made his feature directorial debut, CEREMONY, through Magnolia Pictures in 2011.  The film originally premiered at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival.  CEREMONY, which Winkler directed and wrote, stars Uma Thurman, Michael Angarano, and Lee Pace.  Angarano plays an idealistic young man who decides to crash the wedding of a woman (Thurman) he’s become infatuated with and win her back. Jason Reitman, Academy Award nominated filmmaker, produced the film.

Winkler has also recently directed several episodes of Fox’s hit comedies “New Girl” and “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” as well as Netflix’s “Lady Dynamite,” and Hulu’s “Casual.” In 2013, Winkler started production company The Walcott Company at 20th Century Fox TV alongside New Girl’s Jake Johnson, developing projects for both film and television.

Additionally, with writing partner Matt Spicer, Winkler adapted and is attached to direct Mick Conefrey’s THE ADVENTURER’S HANDBOOK, with Jonah Hill.  The pair will also executive produce the film, alongside Hill, for Universal.  Together the pair has also written THE ORNATE ANATOMY OF LIVING THINGS for Fox Searchlight, WHISPERS IN BEDLAM, and is writing the reboot of THE ROCKETEER for Disney.

A graduate of USC film school, a filmmakers’ grant allowed Winkler and his schoolmates to make their short film, THE KING OF CENTRAL PARK.   Winkler first drew industry attention when the film was selected for several film festivals, which established him as a filmmaker to watch.

Winkler directed and produced “Clark and Michael,” the 10-episode web series, produced by CBS, starred Michael Cera and Clark Duke. The mockumentary series focused on two overly-confident aspiring producers who believe their own hype regarding their ‘amazing’ idea for a television show, but in actuality, do very little to have their idea become a reality.

TRACY OLIVER is a rising writer, producer and director whose most recent project, Universal’s “Girls Trip” was the number one comedy of the 2017 summer season. The film exceeded 100 million dollars in the global box-office and it is the first time that a film, produced, directed, written and starring an African American team, exceeded the milestone benchmark.

Tracy’s current feature film projects include writing and making her directorial debut on “Survive The Night,” a music-themed horror thriller for Warner Bros. and Pharrell Williams. She is also currently adapting Nicola Yoon’s New York Times best-selling novel “The Sun Is Also a Star” for Alloy and Warner Bros.

In the television space, Oliver is currently developing the television adaptation of “The First Wives Club” for Paramount Network and Paramount Studios.

Oliver and Kenya Barris (also a co-writer on Girls Trip) partnered to create Barbershop: Next Cut which was a box-office and critical success for the beloved franchise film. In addition, her television credits include ABC’s sci-fi romantic comedy series “The Neighbors” and, most recently, the Starz drama series “Survivor’s Remorse,” on which she staffed for several seasons. She is also known for writing, producing and acting in the hit comedic web series “The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl.”

PETER CARLONE is a Vancouver based comedy writer and performer and director, who is one half of three-time Canadian Comedy Award winning duo “Peter n’ Chris”. “Quite possibly the funniest thing I’ve ever seen.”  – The Winnipeg Free Press. Peter also wrote for the Irrelevant Show on CBC for three seasons. His comedy short film “Grocery Store Action Movie” (co-written with Chris Wilson of Peter n’ Chris) won last year’s Just For Laughs Northwest “Best Short Award” and has been screened at 18 festivals including: Just For Laughs, Atlantic Film Festival, Edmonton Film Festival, and the Canada Film Festival.