the City of Athens & the Athens Film Office present

The annual workshop for professional screenwriters

with global ambitions

Athens Session 2022


Peter Straughan

Peter Straughan is a critically acclaimed screenwriter whose BAFTA award winning film, TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY, featured an all-star cast including Gary Oldman, Colin Firth and Benedict Cumberbatch. He became a sought-after screenwriter when he adapted Jon Ronson’s book THE MEN WHO STARE AT GOATS for BBC Films; directed by Grant Heslov and starring George Clooney. Other screenplay credits include THE DEBT, directed by John Madden, starring Helen Mirren. Peter's films include those co-written with his late wife Bridget O’Connor: Working Title Films SIXTY SIX directed by Paul Weiland & MRS RATCLIFFE’S REVOLUTION. Peter reteamed with Jon Ronson on FRANK directed by Lenny Abrahamson, starring Michael Fassbender. Peter adapted the Hilary Mantel novel, WOLF HALL, a BAFTA award winning TV series, along with OUR BRAND IS CRISIS, which starred Sandra Bullock and was produced by George Clooney’s Smokehouse Pictures. Peter adapted Donna Tartt’s THE GOLDFINCH, directed by John Crowley.

Peter Straughan
Academy Award Nominated Screenwriter

Dan MacRae

Dan MacRae is Senior Vice President of Production and Development at Studiocanal, the leading European studio, financier and distributor. He oversees a slate of around 30 projects and is Executive Producer on a number of recent titles including The Secret Garden, A Boy Called Christmas and The Electrical Life of Louis Wain.

Prior to joining Studiocanal, he worked as a development executive at Working Title Films and Deputy Head of Development at the UK Film Council.

As an executive at Scottish Screen he ran a range of screenwriting and producing programmes and oversaw around 100 short films.

CREDITS INCLUDE: The Railway Children Return (2022); Yardie (2018); Early Man (2018); The Mercy (2018); Mindhorn (2016); The Take (2016); Macbeth (2015); Man Up (2015); '71 (2014)

Dan MacRae
Senior Vice President of Production and Development

International production executive with extensive overseas credentials and a proven track record of creating and monetizing business opportunities across cultures in a variety of small screen media.

Specialties: Primetime scripted television and OTT development, production and commissioning in the US Hispanic, Latin American, Spanish and Italian markets.

Brendan Fitzgerald
SVP English Language Co-Productions
Sony Pictures Television International Production

Kristen Barnett

Kristen Barnett is the Head of Television at Lea Pictures. Prior to joining Bradley Cooper’s new production company she worked in Original Series at Topic Studios, Scripted Television at eOne/Hasbro, and Original Programming at Starz/Lionsgate.

Kristen’s experience in development and production spans broadly across the television, film, and podcast landscape. She's worked on both scripted and alternative projects made for broadcast, cable, premium, and streaming networks.

Lea Pictures has a First-Look Deal with Apple+ for Television, a First-Look Deal with Netflix for Film and a slate podcast deal with iHeart Radio. She works across all of the Lea Pictures production departments while primarily focusing on Television. Kristen has a deep love for storytelling and a passion for bringing original characters to the screen. She currently resides in Los Angeles but was born and raised in Memphis, TN.

Kristen Barnett
Head of Television
Lea Pictures
Los Angeles

Julien Leroux

Julien Leroux was born in Paris France in 1980. After completing a double master of European business and management, he started his career in 2004 working for TV France International, the association of French TV international distributors then joined France Televisions as sales manager.

In December 2005 he joined AB International Distribution (now Mediawan Rights) as SVP of Sales and Acquisitions working on shows such as Mafiosa, Desperate Parents or Dragon Ball. In 2011 he joined Newen Group and actively participated in its international expansion and sale to TF1 Group in 2015.

He ran the international distribution arm of Newen until 2017 working on international hit series such as Spiral, Witnesses or Versailles before moving to London to launch the UK activities of the group ( ). In May 2018 he joins Canadian TV studio Cineflix to lead their scripted activities across production, financing and distribution launching hit shows such as CBC’s Coroner, TV3 Russia’s An Ordinary Woman or Scandi political drama The Minister.

In June 2020 it was announced Apple was acquiring the first season of TEHRAN a new Israeli spy drama series co-written by Moshe Zonder (Fauda) which Julien Leroux executive produced. The series launched in late June in Israel to record breaking ratings and later in September worldwide on AppleTV+ and quickly became one of their most watched series.

In January 2021 Julien Leroux announced the launched of London based new production company Paper Entertainment which will focus on “exciting, thrilling, crazy and emotional stories” from all over the world in addition of producing the next seasons of TEHRAN for Apple. Leroux’s credits include:

  • Tehran – 2020 – Israel/USA – 8 one-hour – Broadcasters: AppleTV, KAN – Coproducers: Donna & Shula Productions / Paper Plane Productions – note: AppleTV first international hit series
  • Mirage – 2020 – Canada/France/Germany – 6 one-hour – Broadcasters: France Televisions, ZDF, SuperChannel, Bell Media – Coproducers: Lincoln TV / Wild Bunch Germany / Connect3 – note: first series commissioned by the Alliance of European public broadcasters
  • Happily Married (C’est comme ca que je t’aime) – 2020 – Canada – 10 one-hour – Broadcasters: Radio Canada – Coproducers: Casablanca Productions – note: selected in the official Berlinale 2020 Festival
  • Osmosis – 2019 – France – 8 one-hour – Broadcaster: Netflix – Coproducers: Capa Drama – note: second French language Netflix original drama series
  • Stem – UK/USA – 8 one-hour – Coproducers: Clerkenwell Films / Participant Media
  • Mary & George – UK - 8 one-hour – Coproducers: Hera Pictures
  • The County Guides To Murder – UK – 8 one-hour – Coproducers: Bryncoed Productions
  • The Butchers of Berlin – Canada/USA – 8 one-hour – Coproducers: Connect3 / Broadway Video
  • Ratlines – Canada/Brazil – 8 one-hour – Coproducers: Connect3 / Boutique Films
  • The Minister – 2020 – Iceland/Sweden/Norway/Denmark/Finland – 8 one-hour – Broadcasters: RUV, SVT, NRK, DR, YLE – Producers: Sagafilm
  • An Ordinary Woman – 2018-2020 – Russia – 17 one-hour (2 seasons) – Broadcasters: TV3 Russia – Producers: Look Film
  • Spiral – 2005-2019 – France – 86 one-hour (8 seasons) – Broadcasters: Canal+, BBC, Netflix – Producers: Son & Lumiere
  • Ouro (Guyane) – 2016-2018 – France – 16 one-hour (2 seasons) – Broadcasters: Canal+ - Producers: Mascaret
  • Beyond The Walls – 2016 – France – 3 one-hour – Broadcasters: Arte, AMC International – Producers: Lincoln TV
  • Witnesses – 2015-2017 – France – 16 one-hour (2 seasons) – Broadcasters: France Televisions, BBC – Producers: Cineteve
  • Filthy Rich – 2016-2017 – New Zealand – 33 one-hour (2 seasons) – Broadcasters: TVNZ, Hulu – Producers: Candice Renoir – 2013-2020 – France – 78 episodes (8 seasons) – Broadcasters: France Televisions, Fox International Channels, Rai – Producers: Boxeur de Lune, Telfrance, Filthy Productions
  • Terror Studios – 2016 – France – Documentary – Broadcaster: Canal+ - Producers: Capa Presse
  • Genie In The House – 2006-2009 – UK – Youth Sitcom – 78 half-hour (3 seasons) – Broadcasters: Nickelodeon – Producers: MJTV• Out of Control – 2016-2019 – France – Documentary – 29 one-hour – Broadcasters: RMC Decouverte, Discovery – Producers: Capa Drama
  • Putin’s Hidden Treasure – 2014 – France – Documentary – Broadcaster: Canal+, Netflix – Producers: Capa Presse
  • The Mysterious Cities of Gold – 2013-2016 – China/France – Animation – 91 half-hour (3 seasons) – Broadcasters: TF1, Nickelodeon – Producers: Blue Spirit Animation
  • Loopdidoo – 2008-2017 – France – Animation – 260 half-hour (5 seasons) – Broadcasters: France Televisions, Disney Junior – Producers: Blue Spirit Animation
Julien Leroux
Executive Producer

Olivia Mascheroni

Olivia Mascheroni (Agent, Verve Talent & Literary Agency)

Olivia joined the Verve Ventures team in 2022, where she packages and sells film content of all genres. Olivia previously acted as the Director of Development and Production at The Black List, where she brought in and co-produced the first film under The Black List banner, COME AS YOU ARE. She also co-produced BREAKING NEWS IN YUBA COUNTY. Before The Black List, Olivia was at Blumhouse Productions. She served in several roles over her time there, including Executive of New Media, Manager of Acquisitions at Blumhouse Tilt, Chief of Staff for the company and Creative Coordinator in the Feature Film Department. She joined Blumhouse from CAA where she worked for two years in both the Television and Motion Picture Literary Departments

Verve Ventures is the independent film finance and sales team at Verve. Providing full-service consulting from script to screen, the Ventures group’s main mission is to help take high-quality, creator-driven cinema from script to screen—and everywhere in between.

Olivia Mascheroni
Verve Talent & Lit Agency
Los Angeles

Pavlina Hatoupis

Hailing from Athens, Greece, Pavlina splits her time between producing independent features and television in the US and abroad. Her TV credits include AMERICAN GIGOLO (Showtime), THE FIRST LADY (Showtime), THE ALIENIST: ANGEL OF DARKNESS (TNT/HBO Max), THE SOCIETY (Netflix), NOW APOCALYPSE (Starz), SHUT EYE (HULU), THE LAST TYCOON (Amazon/Sony); TYRANT (FX); HOMELAND (Showtime); THE SPOILS OF BABYLON (IFC) and OUTCAST (CINEMAX.)

Her film credits include PHOENIX FORGOTTEN (2017), BURN YOUR MAPS (Toronto 2016), WHITE BIRD IN A BLIZZARD (2014), THE PYRAMID (2014), MANIAC (Cannes 2013), KABOOM (Cannes/Sundance 2011), LITTLE BIRDS (Sundance 2011), FLY AWAY (SXSW 2011), PERFECTION, NEW GUY, FRANKIE GO BOOM (SXSW), and last but not least SASSY PANTS (SBFF), directed by Coley Sohn. She is a Yale graduate.

Pavlina Hatoupis
Executive Producer
"The First Lady"
Los Angeles

Andrea Gibb

Andrea Gibb is an award winning Scottish screenwriter, working in film and television.

Andrea Gibb
Award Winning Screenwriter

Workshop leaders

David Isaacs

Professor of Screen and Television writing, USC. Credits include: Mad Men, Frasier, Cheers

Tom Abrams

Professor of Screenwriting and Directing, USC. Credits include: Dawn of War, Nails, The Notebook

Step onto the international stage

Each year, the Owl trains 10 professional screenwriters to develop a film or TV project that could take their career global.

We are looking for audience driven scripts for the international market.

If your project is selected, you’ll benefit from:

influential writers, producers, decision-makers and executives getting to know you and your work

script workshops and one-on-one mentoring to maximise your project’s appeal to international producers

expert tutorials on how to succeed in the fast-changing global film and TV industries

networking with other professional screenwriters at the same career stage

screenings and industry networking opportunities at the Athens International Film Festival

exposure at Cannes Marché du Film, the key industry event at the Cannes Film Festival

What to expect

October 2022

5-day workshop in Athens, Greece, including one to one script mentoring sessions, industry expert presentations and networking

February 2023

online follow-up session with script mentors

May 2023

networking and Awards Ceremony at Cannes Marché du Film

Residency Awards

At the Owl closing ceremony, 2 scripts (1 TV series and 1 feature film) will each receive a Residency Award.

The Residency Awards grant the winning screenwriters the chance to spend a month living in Athens and other project shooting locations, to continue developing their project. The awards cover accommodation and a stipend for the residency.

Access and support

The Owl aims to introduce unique voices to the international film and TV market. We’re committed to supporting professional writers with a diverse range of backgrounds and identities.

Entries are judged by an international Selection Committee of experienced film and TV industry professionals. Judging is based on the writer’s track record and overall quality of the script, originality, writing style and concept marketability.

The Owl includes:

accommodation and meals throughout the Athens workshop
Cannes Film Festival pass
stipend to help with festival attendance costs

Our Vision

The Owl was created by the Athens Film Office to help develop film and TV projects with international appeal, and that make the most of the advantages Greece offers to the industry.

We’re looking for screenwriters from a diverse range of backgrounds and identities who develop audience-driven feature films and TV series, combining artistic vision and commercial potential, and which could potentially be produced and/or shot in Greece.

The variety and versatility of Greece makes it the ideal base for a wide range of productions. With locations from inner-city streets to the classic white sand beaches, a project doesn’t need to be set in Greece to shoot here.