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"Charlotte's Web”
The Filmmakers


Dakota Fanning (pictured) as Fern in “Charlotte’s Web.” Paramount Pictures and Walden Media present a Kerner Entertainment Company / Nickelodeon Movies Production “Charlotte’s Web.” Directed by Gary Winick from a screenplay written by Susannah Grant and Karey Kirkpatrick based upon the book by E.B. White, the film is produced by Jordan Kerner. Executive Producers are Edgar M. Bronfman, Julia Pistor, Bernie Williams, and Paul Neesan. The film is rated G for all audiences. © 2006 Paramount Pictures. All rights reserved. Photo by: Suzy Wood

GARY WINICK (Director)
SUSANNAH GRANT (Screenwriter)
BERNIE WILLIAMS (executive producer)
JULIA PISTOR (executive producer)
PAUL NEESAN (executive producer)
EDGAR M. BRONFMAN (executive producer)
SEAMUS MCGARVEY, BSC (director of photography)
STUART WURTZEL (production designer)

(Director) earned his BA at Tufts University and his MFA from the University of Texas and the American Film Institute. Winick taught at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts for seven years, and in 1999 teamed up with John Sloss and IFC Productions to create Independent Digital Entertainment (InDigEnt) to produce digital video feature films to be released theatrically.

Winick’s producing credits include: “Final,” directed by Campbell Scott; “Chelsea Walls,” directed by Ethan Hawke premiered in the Director’s Fortnight at the 2001 Cannes Film Festival; “Tape,” directed by Richard Linklater and “Women In Film,” directed by Bruce Wagner premiered at the 2001 Sundance Film Festival; “Ten Tiny Love Stories,” directed by Rodrigo Garcia; “Wake Up And Smell The Coffee,” directed by Michael Rauch; “Personal Velocity,” directed by Rebecca Miller, premiered in the Dramatic Competition at the Sundance Film Festival in 2002 and won the Grand Jury Prize, the Cinematography Award, and also won the 2003 John Cassavetes Independent Spirit Award; “Pieces of April,” directed by Peter Hedges, premiered in the Dramatic Competition at the 2003 Sundance Film Festival, and Patricia Clarkson was nominated for a Golden Globe and an Academy Award® for her role; “Kill The Poor,” directed by Alan Taylor; “November,” directed by Greg Harrison, premiered in the Dramatic Competition at the 2004 Sundance and won the Cinematography Award; “Pizza,” directed by Mark Christopher; “Land Of Plenty,” directed by Wim Wenders, premiered in the Dramatic Competition at the 2004 Venice Film Festival and won the UNESCO Award; “Lonesome Jim,” directed by Steve Buscemi, premiered in the Dramatic Competition at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival; “Sorry, Haters,” directed by Jeff Stanzler, premiered at the 2005 Toronto International Film Festival; “Flakes,” directed by Michael Lehmann; and “Puccini For Beginners,” directed by Maria Maggenti, premiered in the Dramatic Competition at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival.

Winick’s film directing credits include “Curfew” (1988), “Out of the Rain” (1991), “Sweet Nothing” (1996), and “The Tic Code,” which won the Glass Bear at the 1999 Berlin Film Festival. Winick directed two digital feature films, “Sam the Man” (2000) and “Tadpole,” which premiered in the Dramatic Competition at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival and won the Best Director Award. Winick directed “13 Going On 30” (2004) for Revolution Studios.

SUSANNAH GRANT (Screenwriter) received Academy Award®, Writers Guild and BAFTA nominations for best original screenplay for “Erin Brockovich,” directed by Steven Soderbergh and starring Julia Roberts and Albert Finney. Roberts received the Academy Award® for her portrayal of whistle-blower Erin Brockovich, a single mother whose discovery of a cover-up by Pacific Gas & Electric involving contaminated water resulted in the largest class action lawsuit in American history against a multi-billion dollar corporation.

That same year, 2002, Grant’s screenplay “28 Days” was produced. The film, about drug and alcohol rehab, was directed by Betty Thomas and starred Sandra Bullock. She also wrote the screenplay for last year’s “In Her Shoes,” directed by Curtis Hanson, starring Cameron Diaz, Toni Collette and Shirley MacLaine.

Previously, Grant co-wrote the screenplays for “Ever After,” the critically acclaimed update of the Cinderella fairy tale, starring Drew Barrymore and "Pocahontas," the 1995 Disney animated feature.

From 1995-1998, Grant was a writer-producer-director on the popular series “Party of Five,” which received a Golden Globe® Award for Best TV Drama.

Grant is currently at work on” Catch and Release,” her original screenplay on which she makes her directorial debut. The film stars Jennifer Garner and will be released in January, 2007.

Born and raised in Englewood, New Jersey, Grant is a graduate of Amherst College, with a degree in English, and the American Film Institute’s Center for Advanced Film and Television Studies screenwriting program. In 1992, she was a recipient of the Nicholl Fellowship in screenwriting given by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

KAREY KIRKPATRICK (Screenwriter) made his directorial debut on DreamWorks Animation’s summer hit “Over the Hedge.” Kirkpatrick’s writing credits encompass both live-action and animated features. Together with his writing partner, Chris Poche, he also wrote an original comedy entitled “Flakes,” which Kirkpatrick also produced. The film stars Zooey Deschanel, Christopher Lloyd and Aaron Stanford. He is currently serving as a writer/producer of Paramount’s and Nickelodeon’s “The Spiderwick Chronicles.”

Born and raised in Louisiana, Kirkpatrick attended a performing arts high school and started out as an actor. His career pursuits eventually landed him on the streets of Walt Disney World’s EPCOT Center, where he performed improvisational audience-participation street theater. As his artistic focus turned to writing, he was accepted to the USC School of Cinema-Television’s Filmic Writing Program, where he won the Robert Riskin Screenwriting Award and the Jack Nicholson Screenwriting Award.
Immediately out of film school, Kirkpatrick landed a job as a staff writer at Walt Disney Feature Animation, where he worked for more than three years.

During that time, he earned his first screenwriting credit as a co-writer on “The Rescuers Down Under.” Since then, Kirkpatrick has been working almost non-stop as a freelance screenwriter. He co-wrote the comedy “Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves,” which, together with his animation experience, led to his co-writing the acclaimed stop-motion animated feature “James and the Giant Peach.” In addition, he adapted the film’s script into a children’s storybook, featuring illustrations and conceptual designs by award-winning illustrator Lane Smith.

Kirkpatrick went on to write the screenplay for DreamWorks’ and Aardman’s award-winning clay-animated comedy “Chicken Run,” which was named the best-reviewed movie of 2000. On the live-action side, he co-wrote the screenplay for the family comedy fantasy “The Little Vampire.” He more recently collaborated with author Douglas Adams on the screenplay for the sci-fi comedy “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” based on Adams’ enduring bestseller.

In 1986, JORDAN KERNER (Producer) and Jon Avnet formed The Avnet/Kerner Company, a production entity that developed socially relevant and family-oriented motion pictures and television movies, series, and mini-series. With many acclaimed productions to its credit, the company established a reputation for high-quality, value-oriented, provocative entertainment. In the fall of 2001, the company split into two independent film entities: The Kerner Entertainment Company and Brooklyn Films. They strive individually to maintain the same orientation to high quality, value oriented, provocative entertainment.

Kerner Entertainment was recently in a long-term first-look production arrangement at Paramount Pictures. The company currently has over 25 projects in development for theatrical, television, and video premiere release.

Kerner is in pre-production on “A Tale of Two Cities,” written by Harley Peyton and Gordon Griesman. The four-hour miniseries will shoot in Paris and Romania. It is a British and French co-production of the classic French Revolution tale.

In 2002, Kerner produced “Snow Dogs,” starring Cuba Gooding, Jr. and James Coburn. A Walt Disney feature set in Alaska, the film took in over $135 million in box office.

Kerner also recently produced an adaptation of Madeline L’Engle’s classic coming of age novel A Wrinkle In Time for ABC starring Alfre Woodard, Kate Nelligan, Alison Elliott, Kyle Secor, Greg Smith, Katie Stuart, David Dorfman, and Chris Potter.
In video premiere arena, Kerner produced in 2002 both “Inspector Gadget 2” and “George of the Jungle 2.” In 2003, each film sold over 2 million units its first month of release.

Among his many previous credits as producer or executive producer, Kerner’s theatrical motion pictures have earned in excess of $1 billion, including “Inspector Gadget”; “George of the Jungle,” Disney’s most successful release of its year; “Red Corner”; “Up Close and Personal”; “The Mighty Ducks” franchise; “The War”; “Miami Rhapsody”; “When a Man Loves a Woman”; “The Three Musketeers”; “Funny About Love”; “Fried Green Tomatoes,” which was nominated for two Academy Awards®, three Golden Globe Awards, and received the Writer’s Guild of America Award for Best Screenplay; and “Less than Zero,” which spawned a #1 soundtrack album, song, and video.

For television, Kerner’s miniseries and telefilms include Showtime’s “A House Divided,” which was nominated for numerous NAACP, Diversity, and Golden Satellite Awards; CBS’s “Mama Flora’s Family,” a miniseries for CBS based on Alex Haley’s last book; ABC’s “My Last Love”; CBS’s “The Switch”; ABC’s “For Their Own Good”; CBS’s “Side By Side”; ABC’s “My First Love”; CBS’s Emmy-nominated “Do You Know The Muffin Man”; and the highly acclaimed TNT movie “Heatwave,” which received four Cable ACE Awards, including Best Picture, an Emmy Award, the WGA Award and the NEA award; NBC’s “The Nightman”; ABC’s “Backfield In Motion”; and TNT’s “Breaking Point.”

Kerner began his career in the entertainment industry working in various capacities for CBS affiliate KPIX-TV. He relocated to Los Angeles and worked in the Motion Picture Department of Ball, Hunt, Brown and Baerwitz, a Beverly Hills law firm. Two years later, Kerner joined CBS as a Talent and Program Negotiator in the network’s Business Affairs Department. From 1978 to 1981, he held positions in development at Universal and QM Productions before moving to ABC Entertainment as Director of Dramatic Series Development. He became Vice President of that division in 1983. While at ABC, Kerner was responsible for developing such shows as “Moonlighting,” “Macgyver,” “Dynasty,” “Spencer For Hire,” and “Call To Glory.”

Kerner was a Trustee of the Starbright Foundation and an Executive Producer of its Diabetes and Asthma CD-ROM games; a member of General Wesley Clark’s Four Star Council in his 2004 bid for the presidency and possibly his 2008 bid; and a member of Senator Dianne Feinstein’s California Cabinet. He has served on the Board of Directors for the Media Office, established by the California Governor’s Committee for Employment of Disabled Persons; the President’s Advisory Council for the City of Hope; the Chrysalis Foundation; and, previously, the Show Coalition. Kerner is also a former Governor of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and the Beverly Hills Bar Association Barristers.

He is the Founder and former Co-Chairman of the Committee for the Arts of the Beverly Hills Bar Association, an organization providing legal aid to indigent performing artists, with educational programs and speakers for disabled and arts/entertainment groups. Kerner is a member of the National Resources Defense Council, Human Rights Watch, Planned Parenthood’s political action arm, and the Earth Communications Office. He currently is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, the Producer’s Guild and the American Film Institute.

A 1972 graduate from Stanford University, Kerner received a degree with distinction, and honors in Political Science and Communications. He then earned a JD-MBA degree from the University of California at Berkeley and San Francisco in 1976, serving on the Law Review and founding COMM/ENT, the Journal of Communications and Entertainment Law.
Kerner currently resides in Los Angeles with his wife, Nicola O’Shea; their daughters Haley, Grace, and Lily; a golden retriever, Gowan; a chocolate lab, Charlotte and Barney; a cat, Lucy; and 7 Koi fish, who have requested anonymity.

BERNIE WILLIAMS (executive producer) has served as producer, executive producer, associate producer, or co-producer on more than 25 movies, including “Daredevil,” “Star Trek Generations,” “Blood and Wine,” “So I Married an Axe Murderer,” “Manhunter,” “Navy SEALS,” “War Party,” “Who’s That Girl?,” “Wisdom,” “The Bounty,” and Stanley Kubrick’s “A Clockwork Orange” and “Barry Lyndon,” among many others. He also executive produced “Flash Gordon” and “Ragtime.” A longtime collaborator with director Frank Oz, Williams executive produced “The Score,” “Bowfinger,” “The Indian in the Cupboard,” and “Housesitter,” co-produced “What About Bob?,” and produced “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.”

Williams began his career as a third assistant director, working with such directors as Robert Day, Ken Annakin, Val Guest, Peter Ustinov, Alexander Mackendrick, Robert Wise, Roger Corman, Karel Reisz, and Otto Preminger. In his long career, Williams has also served as location manager (credits including “Alfie”) and production manager (credits including 13 episodes of “The Prisoner”).

JULIA PISTOR (executive producer) is Senior Vice President of Nickelodeon Movies, a position she has held since 1994. In this capacity, she oversees development and production for Nickelodeon’s feature films based at Paramount Pictures. Most recently, she served as executive producer of “Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events” and producer of “The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie,” both family hits in 2004. She was executive producer of two Academy Award®-nominated films, “The Wild Thornberrys Movie” in 2002 and “Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius” in 2001, as well as for “Rugrats Go Wild” in 2003.

Pistor most recently produced the hit films “Nacho Libre,” a comedy starring Jack Black from the creators of “Napoleon Dynamite,” and “Barnyard,” a CG-animated feature. She is currently serving as executive producer of “The Spiderwick Chronicles,” now in production.

Pistor served as executive producer for Nickelodeon’s “Rugrats in Paris: The Movie,” which grossed more than $100 million worldwide, and was a producer for Nick’s sci-fi adventure “Clockstoppers” and the live-action hit “Snow Day.” Additionally, she co-produced the company’s first animated feature in 1998, “The Rugrats Movie,” which grossed more than $150 million worldwide.

Pistor was integral to the early success of Nick Movies, having served as executive producer of the 1997 Nickelodeon movie “Good Burger,” starring Kenan Thompson and Kel Mitchell, and as associate producer of the company’s first feature in 1996, “Harriet the Spy,” starring Rosie O’Donnell and Michelle Trachtenberg.

In 1993, PAUL NEESAN (executive producer) moved to Los Angeles from San Francisco, California to pursue a career in film. Later that year, Neesan was introduced to film producer John Davis, who offered Neesan the opportunity to develop film material from one of Davis’s offices on the 20th Century Fox studio lot. In his first year, Neesan developed the screenplay “Courage Under Fire.” In 1996, Neesan co-produced that film, which starred Denzel Washington, Meg Ryan and Matt Damon. Directed by Edward Zwick, “Courage Under Fire” centered on a female helicopter pilot whose bravery in the Gulf War earned her a medal of honor. The pilot’s actions are confirmed by an Army Lieutenant (Washington), whose personal journey also gets redeemed in this emotional war drama.

Neesan also developed and executive produced the Sylvester Stallone action thriller “Daylight” with Davis, which was produced for Universal Pictures in 1996.

In 1997, Neesan was named director of development of Universal Pictures and was promoted to vice president of production that same year. Neesan supervised many films as a studio executive during his tenure there, from 1997 to 1999.

In 1998, Neesan co-produced a film he developed in 1996, the Universal Pictures thriller “Mercury Rising” starring Bruce Willis. The film, directed by Harold Becker, told the story of an FBI agent (Willis) who was chosen to protect a 9-year-old autistic boy who accidentally cracked an important secret government code.

In 1999, Neesan left the studio to run development and production for Mostow/Lieberman productions. Neesan supervised development of the film slate for director Jonathan Mostow and producer Hal Lieberman, resulting in the 2000 production of WWII U-Boat drama “U-571” for Universal Pictures. The film was directed by Jonathan Mostow and starred Matthew McConaughey.

In 2001, Neesan was introduced to Jordan Kerner, who was in the process of forming The Kerner Entertainment Company at Paramount Pictures. Neesan joined Kerner as executive vice president of the company and head of development and production. He currently guides development and production of over 20 projects for Kerner Entertainment.

A biochemistry graduate from the University of California at Davis, Neesan resides in Los Angeles with his wife Kelly and 3-year-old son Zachary.

EDGAR M. BRONFMAN (executive producer) is a member of the Board of Directors of Vivendi Universal. He has been President of the World Jewish Congress since 1981 and is chairman or honorary chairman of several Jewish charities and organizations. He is Chairman of the Foundation for Jewish Campus Life (Hillel). He also belongs to the Council on Foreign Relations, the Foreign Policy Association, and the National Urban League. The holder of several honorary degrees, in 1986, he was awarded the Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur by the government o France and in 1999, President Clinton awarded Mr. Bronfman the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He lives with his wife, Jan Aronson, in New York City.

SEAMUS MCGARVEY, BSC (director of photography), born in Armagh, Northern Ireland, began his career as a still photographer before attending film school in London. Upon graduating in 1988, he began shooting short films and documentaries, including “Skin,” which was nominated for a Royal Television Society Cinematography Award, and “Atlantic,” directed by Sam Taylor-Wood, nominated for the 1998 Turner Prize.  He also photographed and directed over 100 music videos, for such artists as U2, the Rolling Stones, PJ Harvey, Robbie Williams, Paul McCartney, Dusty Springfield and Coldplay.

In 1998, the British Society of Cinematographers invited McGarvey to join, making him its youngest member ever. In 2004 he was awarded the Royal Photographic Society’s prestigious Lumiere medal for contributions to the art of cinematography.

His credits as a cinematographer includeOliver Stone’s “World Trade Center,” starring Nicolas Cage; “The Hours,” directed by Stephen Daldry, starring Nicole Kidman, Meryl Streep and Julianne Moore, for which he earned the London Evening Standard British Film Award for Best Technical/Artistic Achievement; the action-adventure film “Sahara,” starring Matthew McConaughey and Penelope Cruz, for which he won the Irish Film and Television Award for Best Cinematography; “Along Came Polly,” starring Ben Stiller and Jennifer Aniston; “High Fidelity,” directed by Stephen Frears, starring John Cusack; “Wit,” starring Emma Thompson, directed by Mike Nichols; “Enigma,” directed by Michael Apted; “The War Zone”; “Butterfly Kiss”; “The Winter Guest”; “The Actors”; and “A Map of the World.” He is currently shooting “Atonement.”

STUART WURTZEL (production designer) was nominated for the Academy Award® for his work on Woody Allen’s “Hannah and Her Sisters.” He won the Emmy Award for his design of Mike Nichols’ telefilm “Angels in America” and was nominated for two more, for “Empire Falls” and “Little Gloria… Happy at Last.” He has twice been honored by his peers with the Excellence in Production Design Award, for “Empire Falls” and “Angels in America.”

Wurtzel’s work will next be seen in “Enchanted.” His many feature film credits include “Murder by Numbers,” “Wit,” “Stepmom,” “Jungle 2 Jungle,” “The Ghost and the Darkness,” “I.Q.,” “Romeo is Bleeding,” “The Mambo Kings,” “Mermaids,” “Old Gringo,” “Brighton Beach Memoirs,” “The Purple Rose of Cairo,” “Tattoo,” “The Chosen,” “Hair,” and “Hester Street.”

SUSAN LITTENBERG (Editor) has edited such films as “13 Going On 30,” “A Lot Like Love,” “Easter,” “Tadpole,” “Jump Tomorrow,” “The Ballad of Ramblin’ Jack,” “Henry Hill,” “Up on the Roof,” and “Gray’s Anatomy.”

SABRINA PLISCO, A.C.E. (Editor) is a highly regarded editor who has worked on an impressive number of films including the telefilm “Into the West”; the motion picture “Sky Captian and the World of Tomorrow”; “Black Dog,” directed by Kevin Hooks and produced by Raffaella De Laurentiis; “Fried Green Tomatoes,” directed by Jon Avnet; and “Clownhouse,” directed by Victor Salva and executive produced by Francis Ford Coppola.

Among Plisco’s television projects are such films as “Boomtown,” executive produced by Jon Avnet & Graham Yost; “Uprising,” directed by Jon Avnet and produced by Raffealla De Laurentiis (ACE Eddie Award nomination); “Livin’ For Love: The Natalie Cole Story,” “Holiday Heart” and “Little Richard,” all directed by Robert Townsend; “Trapped in a Purple Haze,” directed by Eric Laneauville; “Providence” (series); and “Chance of a Lifetime,” directed by Deborah Reinisch.

Plisco has been frequently called upon to edit Hallmark Hall of Fame television productions. Among these are “The Locket,” “My Sister’s Keeper,” “Looking for Lost Bird,” “Durango,” “Rose Hill,” “Blue River” and “Trick of the Eye.” Other television film projects include “Michael Hayes” and “Divas,” both directed by Thomas Carter; “A Mother’s Instinct,” directed by Sam Pillsbury; “Blue River,” directed by Larry Elikann; “Under One Roof” (series); “Menendez: A Killing in Beverly Hills,” directed by Larry Elikann; “Passion for Justice: The Hazel Brannon Smith Story,” directed by James Keach; and “For Their Own Good,” directed by Ed Kaplan.

Plisco has been a frequent collaborator with director Mike Robe on such projects as “The Junction Boys,” “Scared Silent,” “The Princess and the Marine,” “Shake, Rattle and Roll,” “Emma’s Wish,” “Final Descent,” and “Summer of Fear.” She has also teamed with director John Power on a number of projects, including “Someone Else’s Child,” “Fatal Vows: The Alexandra O’Hara Story,” “Betrayed by Love,” and “Heart of Fire.”

DANNY ELFMAN (music) is one of the movie world’s most versatile and successful contemporary composers. Nominated for the Academy Award® for his original scores for “Good Will Hunting,” “Men in Black,” and “Big Fish,” he is perhaps best-known for his collaboration with director Tim Burton on 13 films, including “Pee-wee’s Big Adventure,” “Beetlejuice,” “Batman” (for which he won a Grammy Award for Best Instrumental and a nomination for Best Score), “Edward Scissorhands,” “Batman Returns,” “Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas” (another Grammy nomination for Best Score), “Mars Attacks!,” “Sleepy Hollow,” “Planet of the Apes,” “Big Fish,” and “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” and “Corpse Bride.”

Elfman wrote an original score for the Oscar-winning film musical “Chicago” and scored the worldwide box office smashes “Spider-Man” and “Spider-Man 2.” His other credits include “The Hulk,” “Red Dragon,” “Men in Black II,” “Proof of Life,” “Family Man,” “A Simple Plan,” “Dolores Claiborne,” and the Grammy-nominated “Dick Tracy,” as well as “Darkman,” “Sommersby,” “Dead Presidents,” “Black Beauty,” “To Die For,” and “Mission: Impossible.”

Elfman is currently composing the scores for the upcoming films “Meet the Robinsons” and “The Kingdom.”


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2006 Entertainment Magazine / All rights reserved.

"Charlotte's Web”

Open Dec. 15, 2006
Dakota Fanning

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