Hollywood Screenwriter Tom Benedek Speaks about Film’s ‘Golden Ages’ at UMass Amherst

AMHERST, Mass. - Tom Benedek, screenwriter for "Cocoon," "Free Willy" and other movies, will discuss "From One Golden Age to Another" on Tuesday, Oct. 5 at 4 p.m. in the Student Union Ballroom at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

In 1971, Benedek was the first graduate of UMass Amherst’s Bachelor’s Degree with Individual Concentration (BDIC) program, which allows students to create their own interdisciplinary majors. Benedek, whose concentration was in film, went on to write and rewrite screenplays for directors including Robert Zemeckis, David Brown, Ron Howard, Martin Scorsese and Sydney Pollack.

He is a member of the Writers Branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and teaches screenwriting at the University of Southern California and the University of Michigan, where he is a James Gindin Visiting Artist.

In his talk, says Benedek, "I hope to paint a picture of the golden age of original screenwriting which emerged in the ’70s in Hollywood to the current state which is anything but that -- and how current technological and creative phenomena ought to lead to the emergence of another ‘golden age.’ Simultaneously, I will attempt to sketch my own academic, creative and professional journey -- the catalysts to my BDIC in film -- how the skill sets of BDIC and UMass continue to aid me in shaping my destiny."

Benedek’s lecture, which is free and open to the public, is part of a 40th anniversary lecture series sponsored by BDIC.

The event is also sponsored by career services, the interdepartmental film studies program and the DEFA Film Library at UMass Amherst.