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October 2021 in Tuscany


Marina Shron

Marina Shron is a Russian-born, New York-based, award-winning writer and filmmaker. After earning her MFA in Dramatic Writing from New York University, Tisch School of the Arts, she enjoyed a successful career as a playwright before turning to filmmaking.  Marina has received awards and funding for her work from Foundation for Contemporary Arts, New York Foundation for the Arts, Jerome Foundation, James Thurber Foundation, and Fund for Mutual Understanding. Her short films, including “Lullaby for Ray” and “Sea Child” (described by critics as a “haunting portrait of grief and desire in the tradition of Terrence Malick”) aired on Channel 13, Reel NY, won prizes and screened at numerous festivals around the world, including Fantasia, Atlantic, Hamptons, Toronto Indie, and Aesthetica. Distributed by TV Shorts International, these films are currently streamed on the TV International Shorts channel as well as on Amazon Prime and Fandor.

Marina cowrote the 2016 feature film “Buddha’s Little Finger" (starring Toby Kebbell) with the director Tony Pemberton. She currently works on her first feature as a writer-director, "The Fruit of Our Womb" (The Rising Star in Screenwriting Award at Canada International Film festival).

Marina stage plays have been published and produced at New Georges and Soho Rep Theatre in New York as well as nationally and internationally. She also co-authored a critically acclaimed book of nonfiction “Red Blues.”

A former Fulbright scholar, Marina teaches screenwriting at The New School, NY, and Rhode Island School of Design.

During the Nostos retreat, she’s be working on her new project “The Image Makers.” The script was also selected for the  Stowe Story Lab 2021.


Betsy Tsai

Betsy Tsai is a filmmaker and writer. She most recently produced Confucian Dream (Special Jury Prize, Karlovy Vary 2019) and is a co-producer with Walking Iris Media, known for films such as Our Time Machine (Tribeca 2019). From 2015-2020, she was a staff member of the Documentary Film Program at Sundance Institute, where she provided managerial and curatorial support for the Sundance Labs and the Sundance Documentary Fund, which awards over $1.5 million in grant awards to feature documentary films from around the world. Betsy is a directing alumna from UCLA, where she also studied English Literature and International Conflict Resolution. Prior to Sundance Institute, she worked for an educational nonprofit, The Olive Tree Initiative, which provides an experiential, multi-perspective approach for conflict resolution students studying the regions of Israel & Palestine and the South Caucasus. Betsy often travels between Los Angeles and Belfast, Northern Ireland, where she is developing her first hybrid film.


Miriam Tuercke

Miriam was born in Berlin, Germany, but grew up in Brazil, Cameroon, Senegal and Argentina, which is where her passion for storytelling first developed. She took film studies classes at Colby College, Maine, USA, and Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia, before completing her Bachelor’s Degree in “Film Directing” at the Falmouth Film School in the UK, where she made multiple short films during her studies. Miriam moved back to Germany in 2017 and started working on international feature film productions, where she learned the ins and outs of professional film production of medium- to big budget features. Her credits as a Producer's Assistant include Sony Picture’s “Charlie’s Angels” (2019), and Amblin/Universal’s “Distant” (2021). She is currently working on another Amblin feature “The Last Voyage of the Demeter” as a Production Supervisor. Simultaneously, she continuously works on her own projects, writing and making short films. Her last narrative short “Pas De Deux” was selected to screen during the 2018 “Grrl Haus Cinema” series and her last documentary short “The Dream of El Dorado” won the Audience Choice Award at the 2019 “Africa World Documentary Film Festival


Carina Rosanna Tăutu

Born behind the Iron Curtain in Romania, Carina Rosanna Tautu is a director, screenwriter, cinematographer and professional mediator. Or additional Greek and Sicilian heritage, Carina entered the path of the storyteller since she was 5 years old, when she was taken on a walkabout by her maternal grandparents visiting to all the sacred sites of Bucovina, the Northern Romanian territory. Since then, she continued to travel the world from the jungles of Peru, to Mexico or Ouagadougou, in Burkina Faso, gathering stories and making films.

Her latest short documentary was shot in the Peruvian Amazon, La Jaula del Gallo and was honored by The Jury’s Special Prize in Bangkok International Film Festival 2020, among other accolades. Yololti (Heart), selected for Nostos Screenwriting retreat, is Carina’s latest screenplay. This fantasy story combines ancient Aztec and Romanian pre-christian cultures in a tale about ending human sacrifices.

Carina earned a MFA in Directing from Columbia University in New York, and MSc in Neurobiology from University of Bucharest, was trained in the Romanian National Film School UNATC for film directing, and in 2019 she also earn a Master in Dispute Resolution from Pepperdine Caruso Law School/Straus Institute of Dispute Resolution. Currently, she lives in Los Angeles, California with her black cat Cloud, adopted during the 2020 pandemic.

Her websites:


Artemis Preeshl

Dr. Artemis Preeshl is a director, actor and choreographer in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, and the U.S. As a partner in the New Orleans-based Ripe Figs, LLC, she directed the eponymous Ripe Figs, winner of Best Short at Raleigh Film Festival. A Fulbright Senior Theatre Specialist and Senior Researcher, Dr. Preeshl wrote, directed, and choreographed the Collywood musical Pancha Ratna (Honorable Mention, DIY Hollywood), and lectured at the Asian premiere of her first film, Inachevé, at Fatima Jinnah Women’s College in Pakistan. Southern States Film Festival nominated her as best director for Dr. Chevalier’s Lie. Her most recent film, Regret, in which Artemis played Mamzelle premiered at the Vero Beach Wine and Film Festival, screened live at the New Orleans Film Festival, was selected as one of the top five films at the Cane River Film Festival, and won Best Short and Best Homegrown Film at Calcasieu Parish Film Festival in 2020-2021. Having performed Dead While I Was Alive, in England, New Orleans, and Singapore, Artemis rewrote her one woman show as a screenplay, which was an Official Selection in the Page Turner Screenplay Competition. An International Acting Fellow at Shakespeare's Globe, she directed and acted in half of Shakespeare’s canon, including Commedia degli Errori at La MaMa Umbria. The Delmas Foundation awarded a grant to Dr. Preeshl to study the acting style of Eleanora Duse (“It’s a Doozy!”) at the Fondazione Cini in Venice in 2021. Having authored Shakespeare and Commedia dell’arte: Play by Play (2017), and Acting in the Digital Age: Nimbly Scaling Actor Training in the Academy (2019; paperback 2021), Routledge published Consent in Shakespeare: What Women Do and Don’t Say and Do in Shakespeare’s Mediterranean Comedies and Origin Stories (September 2021). Dr. Preeshl She has taught performance at Elon, Loyola New Orleans, Utah State, and West Georgia universities, and Introduction to Theatre, Understanding Dance, and World Drama, in Asia and Africa on Semester at Sea Spring 2020. Dr. Preeshl has served on the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of TV and Radio Artists since 2013. 
Ed.D., MFA Drama, SAG-AFTRA AEA SDC Alliance of Women Directors

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Ashley Christopher Leach

Originally from the Piedmont Region of North Carolina, Ashley Christopher Leach is a writer and performer living in New York City. He holds a BA in American and Black Studies from The College of William and Mary; an MA in Performance from Queen Mary, University of London; and an MA in Media Studies with a Concentration in Film from The New School. His narrative short film Sandhill Boys premiered at the 16th Annual Slamdance International Film Festival. His experimental short Those People of the South was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at the 20th Annual Slamdance International Film Festival, and in 2016 his feature film Annie was a finalist for the Chicago International Arthouse Film Festival. This November Ashley's original performance piece entitled Shirley Chisholm, Robert E. Lee, & Me will be part of the 12th Annual United Solo Performance Festival in New York City. He is a founding member of Lambs Grove Productions and writes a Substack newsletter entitled Religion, Politics, and the Great Pumpkin under the pseudonym Young Törless.


Hal Schneider

Hal Schneider has been wandering the American West for most of his life. Among his recent laurels are Best Dark Sci-Fi Comedy Screenplay for "Broodmother" at the Miami International Science Fiction Film Festival and Best Screenplay for "Munster's Mummy Museum Gift Shop & Gas" at the International Inca Imperial Film Festival, for which he is told his portrait hangs in the Hall of Peruvian Literature in Lima.


Edward Smythe

Once upon a time Ed worked in finance, before moving into economic think-tanks. He's had a lifelong passion for film and compelling story, and has been honing his screenwriting craft full-time for over five years. His favourite genre is sci-fi that asks the big questions about who we really are. Ed studied economics at Cambridge University where he placed top-five in Microeconomics (these skills have proved surprisingly useful when delivering a complex plot involving time-travel) and has since also studied at NYFA and USC.


Jaroslaw Gogolin

Based in London UK, Jaroslaw Gogolin has been working as a Writer/Director since 2014. During his short but very active career he has wrote and filmed 10 short film and one feature film. First award he has received for a short film “Weedomania” (Award at 4chances German Edition film festival) in 2016.

In 2017 he produced and directed his first feature film “Once upon a time on All Hallows' Eve” - thriller. The film was finished in post in 2018 and since then it's been in a festival circle. The film was already awarded  many times.

Also in 2016 he wrote first feature screenplay “Copland in self defence”. This screenplay is in festival circle and was awarded with: 9 official selections, 2 semi-finals and 7 Award Winner so far.

He wrote another feature scripts in 2019 “Superior Being (Part1) - Awaking”, “Superior Being (Part2) -  Axis Mundi”

In 2020 he wrote "Light Years" SF feature script  and two more feature scripts:“Superior Being: Smokeless Fire” and “Superior Being: Stardust”

In Jan. 2020 also finished his another short film: "Requiem for the Living".

Currently he has been working on his new feature film (fantasy thriller) - “Lost Dolls”.


Devin Klos

Devin T Klos is a writer, director and performer based in New York and is the co-founder of the Beards Up Production Company. Priding themselves on crafting good stories with warmth and good humor, some of their recent work can be viewed on Amazon or on their website:


Brandon Stark

Brandon’s passion for screenwriting started at an early age. He earned his Bachelor of Arts in English Studies, with a minor in Creative Writing, from Illinois State University. Brandon applied for Boston University’s Master of Fine Arts Screenwriting program and was selected from over five hundred applicants for this competitive program.
Upon earning his master’s degree, Brandon returned to Chicago to focus on developing his writing portfolio. His TV pilot Legal Implications and horror feature The Family Line have both placed as Semi-Finalists in ScreenCraft Competitions. Brandon’s short script, The Lost Track, was selected Best Short Screenplay for the Festigious Los Angeles Monthly Film Competition as well as Honorable Mention for the Florence Film Awards Monthly Film Competition in 2019. Brandon currently serves as a film judge for the Picture's Up! Film Festival and a script judge for the Broadcast Education Association Screenplay Competition.
Most recently, Brandon was selected for the Nostos Screenwriting Retreat in Tuscany, Italy. He is one of twelve filmmakers selected for this retreat to focus on specific writing projects as he continues his goal of becoming a signed screenwriter in the entertainment industry.

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