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The Miami International Film Festival Partners with BTG Productions to Offer a Second Intensive Screenwriting Workshop

Miami International Film Festival

Miami, November 5, 2009 - For a second year, the Miami International Film Festival (MIFF) a Miami Dade College (MDC) is partnering with BTG Productions, the Florida Governor's Office of Film & Entertainment, Miami-Dade Office of Film & Entertainment, Latin American Chamber of Commerce (CAMACOL) and the Miami Science Museum to offer an intensive Screenwriting Lab for aspiring Florida filmmakers.

The two-day Screenwriting Lab, the second round in a series of workshops, will provide participants with critical insights into the various elements of the screenwriting craft: screenplay format, developing the story, theme, character, plot, synopsis, treatment, scene list, dialogue, and three-act structure.  In a compact weekend format, the Screenwriting Lab will instruct aspiring filmmakers on the fundamentals of producing content on film or digital technology. What makes these workshops truly exceptional is the quality and caliber of their award winning instructors, all of whom are produced screenwriters with Hollywood credits.

The screenwriting workshop series was successfully launched in 2008 with a six-day Introduction to Screenwriting course.  Participant feedback was overwhelmingly positive.  Claudio, an aspiring writer from Miami, wrote, “Not only have I learned valuable information on film writing from skilled and passionate professors but …I now feel more confident and eager to use the given tools for my next project. The workshop has inspired me.”  Pat, another Lab student, was eager to learn more. “The weekend experience was tremendous. Everyone that I spoke with took a great deal of information away with them… I hope that Piedad can form an advanced workshop (wink wink).” 

Piedad Palacios, producer and president of BTG Productions, is the founder of the series.  In building this program, she aims to develop aspiring Florida filmmakers in screenwriting, producing and directing in a nurturing yet collaborative and disciplined environment.

In an effort to engage students and tap into the community’s top talent, BTG and MIFF will select one Miami Dade College student and one local filmmaker to receive a full scholarship to the workshop.

About the Screenwriting Lab

The Screenwriting Lab will take place Saturday & Sunday, November 14 and 15, at the Miami Science Museum from 10:00AM – 4:00PM (with an hour for lunch).

Participants will acquire the knowledge to write an original story – a short or feature length for either film or digital technology - or rewrite/polish an existing script. Each participant will receive individual attention, discuss their project, and receive feedback from the instructor and peers, simulating the real development process that takes place in a production company or movie studio. Film clips, lecture, pitch sessions, and discussions are incorporated into the program, as well as the business of screenwriting and new digital technologies.

The returning lecturer is award-winning WGA screenwriter, producer, and director Tom Musca.  Credits include Stand and Deliver (Academy nomination for best actor), Tortilla Soup, and Gotta Kick It Up! Tom was named Moseley Fellow at Pomona College in 2006. He was head of the Screenwriting Faculty at the New Mexico Filmmakers Intensive, a post-graduate in the above-the-line film-training program for writers, producers, directors, and editors at the College of Santa Fe in New Mexico. He also conducts MPAA workshops around the world on Screenwriting and Producing.   Mr. Musca has several features in development.  He holds an M.F.A. in Screenwriting from UCLA film school.

Space is limited to 15 participants. Tuition is $295 plus a $15.00 processing and materials fee. A $75.00 deposit is required to reserve a spot. Full payment is due a week before the start of the workshop. Checks, cashier checks or money orders are accepted. Deadline to register is November 7th. To register, email  For more information, contact BTG at 305/227-2750. 

The Miami International Film Festival uses the unique geographical and cultural position of Miami to be a premiere venue for the exhibition of international and U.S. films, with a special focus on Ibero-American cinema. The Festival has presented films from more than 60 countries, including 200 East Coast, U.S. and World Premieres, scores of Oscar winners and nominees, and many international prizewinners. More than 65,000 people attended the Festival in 2009, including more than 300 filmmakers, producers, talent, and industry representatives from around the world who introduced their work to the South Florida audience and other industry professionals. Last year’s festival held more than 250 screenings that included features, shorts, outreach events and press screenings. For more information about the Miami International Film Festival, visit or call 305-237-FILM (3456).

Miami Dade College has a long and rich history of involvement in the cultural arts, providing South Florida with a vast array of artistic and literary offerings including The Miami Book Fair International, the Cultura del Lobo performing arts series, The Cuban Cinema Series, nine visual arts galleries including The Freedom Tower at Miami Dade College and the School of Entertainment and Design Technology in addition to the Miami International Film Festival. MDC is the largest institution of higher education in the country and is nationally recognized for many of its academic and cultural programs. With an enrollment of more than 170,000 students, MDC is the nation’s top producer of associate of arts and associate of science degrees. The college’s eight campuses and outreach centers offer nearly 300 distinct degree programs including baccalaureate degrees in education, nursing, public safety management, supervision and management and others.

BTG Productions President and Producer, Piedad Palacios, was the Special Projects Representative for the MPAA in Miami, in charge of workshops, seminars and programming films. She was head of the Sundance Institute's Latino American Film Program where her focus was on filmmakers’ workshops and seminars. She is currently producing several features with: Pat Crowley, producer of the "Bourne Ultimatum" series; Pablo Helman, Oscar nominee for “War of the Worlds”, Visual Effects on  "Indiana Jones, the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull"; Bill Badalato "About Schmidt", "Men of Honor"; Tom Musca, "Stand and Deliver”, “Tortilla Soup"; Carolina Films from Spain, Pampa Films from Argentina and Vrtx from China. Ms. Palacios was head of Development at Paloma Productions in Century City, where she reviewed over eight hundred projects.  Palacios attended the M.F.A.program at UCLA film school.

Media Contacts:

BTG Productions: Piedad Palacios, (305) 227-2750, 
MIFF: Tatyana Chiocchetti, Marketing Manager, (305) 237-7879, 

Media-only contacts:
Juan Mendieta, 305-237-7611,, MDC communications director
Alejandro Rios, 305-237-7482,
Sue Arrowsmith, 305-237-3710,, media specialist
Tarnell Carroll, 305-237-3359,, media specialist

Miami Dade College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award associate and baccalaureate degrees.
Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Miami Dade College.
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Contact the Office of Director, Equal Opportunity Programs, ADA and Title IX Coordinator, at 305.237.2577 for assistance.