14 May 2018 - PEN International has this week launched its Stage and Screen Circle in London, bringing together screenwriters, playwrights, filmmakers and actors who support the essential work of PEN International: protecting freedom of expression and celebrating the artistic vibrancy of the international film and theatre industries.
The launch, which was hosted by the multinational law firm Clifford Chance and opened by Partner Alex Nourry, highlighted the increasing risks that filmmakers, playwrights, directors and others face around the world and PEN's commitment to protecting the written word in all its forms. PEN International board member and writer Margie Orford spoke about cases of threatened and imprisoned filmmakers, among them the Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov, who is currently serving a 20 year prison sentence in a Siberian labour camp.
In a welcome address, PEN International's Executive Director, Carles Torner said: 'At heart of all our work is the power if stories. We are storytellers, whether it’s through the written, the spoken or filmed word. Film and theatre are some of the most potent mediums of free expression. Holding the powerful to account, no matter what your means of expression or vehicle of storytelling, is dangerous. I would like to particularly thank the first members of Stage and Screen Circle: Eric Lax from Los Angeles, Jaume Roures from Barcelona (Mediapro) and the Mexican directors Guillermo Navarro and Rodrigo Garcia.'
PEN International and the stage and screen worlds have been intertwined for almost one hundred years. One of PEN’s founding members, along with H.G Wells, was George Bernard Shaw.
Exceptional writers, playwrights, screenwriters, actors and film directors have been and are today members of PEN. In the 97 years since its inception, PEN’s active members have included Chinua Achebe, Margaret Atwood, J.M. Coetzee, Joseph Conrad, Nadine Gordimer, Günter Grass, Vaclav Havel, Eugène Ionesco, Mario Vargas Llosa, Norman Mailer, Amin Maalouf, Arthur Miller, Toni Morrison, Pablo Neruda, Sofi Oksanen, Harold Pinter, Salman Rushdie, Orhan Pamuk, Léopold Sédar Senghor, Susan Sontag, Tom Stoppard, Rabindranath Tagore, Luisa Valenzuela, H.G. Wells, Liu Xiaobo and many more. Together, with members from around the world, we have fought to protect the written word in all its forms.
As PEN International approaches its centennial year, the need for what we do is constantly growing, and with it our need for support from our community. Join the Stage and Screen Circle and your membership will contribute to PEN’s work throughout the stage and screen professions. For more details email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Download the PEN International Stage and Screen brochure (PDF):