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Jay Cocks named Semel Chair in Screenwriting

Jay Cocks

Carrie Fuller
July 23, 2010

Academy Award-nominated screenwriter Jay Cocks, whose work includes Martin Scorsese’s The Last Temptation of Christ, The Age of Innocence, Gangs of New York, and Kathryn Bigelow's Strange Days, has been named Emerson’s Jane and Terry Semel Chair in Screenwriting for the Fall 2010 semester.

Uncredited, Cocks has also collaborated with James Cameron on the screenplay for Titanic and with Brian De Palma on Mission Impossible. He has been a movie and pop music critic for Time magazine for more than two decades. His writings have also appeared in the New York Times, Rolling Stone, and Vanity Fair.

“Each film screened, whether classic or contemporary, will reflect one or more aspects of the screenwriting craft, so that students can learn from shining examples even brighter than their instructor’s.”

At Emerson, Cocks will teach an intensive weekly seminar in which students will screen and discuss a classic film. Cocks will then “guide, encourage, and cozen” the students into “putting their dreams into words so that, in good time, the words will flower into images,” he explained. “Each film screened, whether classic or contemporary, will reflect one or more aspects of the screenwriting craft, so that students can learn from shining examples even brighter than their instructor’s.”

Previous Semel chairs include Oscar-winning documentarian, screenwriter, director, composer, author, and producer Sarah Kernochan (who will be returning to teach in the spring of 2011) and Academy Award-nominated screenwriter and director Richard LaGravenese, best known for his screenplays The Horse Whisperer, The Bridges of Madison County, and A Little Princess.

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