The nature of the screenplay has been in contention ever since the birth of cinema.
Opinion has oscillated, and the cinematic script has been alternately considered non-literary to the point of being academically ignored, or else regarded as a new and vital sub-division within literature; on equal footing with the theatrical play or the novel.
In recent years, the literary quality of the screenplay has been emphasised through the escalating publication of books of cinematic scripts intended to be read for their own merit, independent of the final film in a similar way to the texts of theatrical plays. This then would suggest that screenwriting should be considered as more than simply the skeleton or “guía” for the eventual filming process, disposable once shot.
The great theorist of the cinema, Béla Balázs, defended the independent artistry of the screenwriter as far back as 1948: "Not long ago it was still necessary to prove to the philistines that film was an independent art, with principles and its own laws. Now we must still prove that the literary base of this new visual art is also an artistic literary form, unique and independent, equal to written drama."
This Research Unit will host workshops that involve film screenings as well as working with copies of the script, and discussing various literary and cinematic elements. We will publish collective papers, as well as inviting a couple of prominent screenwriters during the course of the year.
For more info contact Samuel (samuel23@) or Tom (mtw1@)