Script to Screen: 12 Years A Slave

  • Sunday, February 23, 2014 / 2:00 PM (PST)
  • Pollock Theater
  • Screening Format: DCP (134 minutes)
  • With John Ridley (Screenwriter)
  • Director: Steve McQueen
    Starring: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Kenneth Williams, Michael Fassbender

“The extraordinary true story of Solomon Northup.”

Based on an incredible true story of one man’s fight for survival and freedom. In the pre-Civil War United States, Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a free black man from upstate New York, is abducted and sold into slavery. Facing cruelty (personified by a malevolent slave owner, portrayed by Michael Fassbender), as well as unexpected kindnesses, Solomon struggles not only to stay alive, but to retain his dignity. In the twelfth year of his unforgettable odyssey, Solomon’s chance meeting with a Canadian abolitionist (Brad Pitt) will forever alter his life.

This Script to Screen presentation of 12 Years A Slave (2013) was followed by a Q&A with Screenwriter John Ridley. The event was moderated by Pollock Theater Director Matt Ryan.


Screenwriter John Ridley

John Ridley is a writer, working on feature films, television series, and novels. His novel Spoils of War was adapted into the 1999 David O. Russell-directed Three Kings. Ridley then became a writer and a supervising producer on the NBC crime drama Third Watch (1999). In 2015, he led the ABC series American Crime as executive producer.

His work as screenwriter includes 12 Years a SlaveRed Tails (2012), and Undercover Brother (2002). His script for 12 Years a Slave won the 2014 Academy Award® for Best Adapted Screenplay.

Moderator Matthew Ryan

Matthew Ryan is Director of the Pollock Theater where he pioneered the Pollock Theater Internship, which professionalizes students by developing production skills with hands-on experience. Ryan created and hosts the Script to Screen series, which has welcomed prestigious guests like Oscar® winning screenwriter John Ridley for 12 Years a Slave and Oscar® winning screenwriter Alan Ball for American Beauty.

Matthew Ryan began his career as a video librarian at the legendary Kaufman Astoria Studios. He became Associate Producer for Fox Movietone Newsreels putting together video packages for news stories. As Events Manager at New York University’s Cantor Film Center, he produced a series of film programs that included evenings with Martin Scorsese, Tim Robbins and Alec Baldwin. In 2008, he received an MFA in Screenwriting from Loyola Marymount University. His primary writing focus is science fiction and comedy.

This event is sponsored by the Carsey-Wolf Center, the Department of Film & Media Studies, and the Scott Frank Fund for Screenwriting. 

Script to Screen

The Script to Screen series examines the screenplay and its transition to the screen from the perspective of writers, directors, producers, editors, and actors. The Pollock Theater connects artists to our audience of aspiring production students, and Guild & Academy Members. Our Q&As transform into a television show that airs on the UCTV cable station. The series is hosted by the Pollock Theater Director, Matt Ryan, and co-produced by the Pollock Theater student staff.