Trial and Error: About The Filmmakers

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His keen eye for the inherent humor in social institutions led JONATHAN LYNN (Director), a former Cambridge law student, to great success when he created one of Britain's most popular television series, "Yes, Minister" and "Yes, Prime Minister." Co-written with Anthony Jay, the series received numerous accolades, including the BAFTA Award (for three successive years), two Broadcasting Press Guild Awards and two Pye Television Writer's Awards. Lynn and Jay won the BAFTA Writer's Award in 1987 and a Special Award from the Campaign for Freedom of Information.

Aired in the United States on A&E and PBS, the series went on pick up an ACE Award for Best Written Comedy Series. In addition, Lynn's books, The Complete Yes, Minister and Yes, Prime Minister Volumes 1 and 2, were all #1 on Britain's best-seller list. His most recent book was the novel Mayday.

His irreverent film Nuns on The Run, starring Eric Idle and Robbie Coltrane, which he wrote and directed, received the Golden Cane Award from the Festival de Comedie in Switzerland.

After years of success in his native England, Lynn brought his talents across the Atlantic. His smash comedy My Cousin Vinny earned its lead actress Marisa Tomei an Oscar. His other film credits include Greedy starring Michael J. Fox and Kirk Douglas, The Distinguished Gentleman starring Eddie Murphy, and Sgt. Bilko starring Steve Martin.

Among his many stage triumphs, Lynn directed his own company at London's National Theatre in George Abbott's "Three Men on a Horse," recipient of the Lawrence Olivier Award for Best Comedy.

Lynn's additional theatrical successes include his award-winning musical "Songbook," "Anna Christie" at the Royal Shakespeare Company, as well as concurrently running West End comedies Joe Orton's "Loot" and the Feydeau farce "A Little Hotel on the Side." He was artistic director for the Cambridge Theatre from 1977 to 1981.

GARY ROSS (Producer), a two-time Academy Award nominee for his screenplays for Big and Dave, is currently directing his first feature Pleasantville, which he also wrote and is producing, for New Line. In addition to his film talents, Ross has been a novelist and written speeches for various political candidates.

A second-generation screenwriter born in Los Angeles, he grew up in a home where literature and politics were the "religion" of the household. As a result, he became politically active at an early age, working as an intern on Capitol Hill during high school and simultaneously writing and producing two plays and a novella. He entered college during the post-Watergate era and, feeling disillusioned with politics, chose to pursue writing full-time at the University of Pennsylvania.

After three years, Ross left school and worked on a fishing boat in South Carolina, which he calls "the obvious choice for an aspiring novelist." Upon his return to California, Ross wrote two more novels and a pair of screenplays on studio assignment.

Ross has received numerous awards for his screenplays for Big and Dave, including two Academy Award nominations for Best Original Screenplay, two Writer's Guild Award nominations for Best Original Screenplay and a Paul Selvin Award from the Writers Guild of America for Dave.

Throughout his career, Ross has remained active in politics. He was a delegate for Ted Kennedy at the 1980 Democratic Convention and in addition to speech writing, served for three years as president of the Los Angeles Library Commission to become a board member.

ALLEN ALSOBROOK (Executive Producer) has been on the production team of numerous features for more than 15 years. In 1984 he served as production manager on the cult classic Repo Man, and went on to work on the films Quiet Cool, Siesta, Disorganized Crime, Shattered and Aggressor.

Alsobrook served as associate producer on many films, including the recently released Set It Off for New Line. Alsobrook holds an advanced degree in sculpture from UCLA and sits on the board of directors for Frank Lloyd Wright's Innes Brown House.

SARA BERNSTEIN (Screenwriter) was born and raised in Chico, Calif. She attended Chico State University and Chester College in England, where she majored in English literature. She taught English in the San Francisco Bay Area, then attended the American Film Institute, where she received a Masters in screenwriting.

GREG BERNSTEIN (Screenwriter) was born and raised in Los Angeles. He attended UCLA, where he majored in history, then UCLA Law School, where he served as managing editor of the Law Review. He practiced law at O'Melveny & Meyers, and then worked in business affairs at three motion picture studios: Columbia, Tri-Star and Lorimar. Bernstein quit business affairs to enter the American Film Institute's directing program.

On the first day of classes at AFI, he met his future wife Sara, and they began writing together immediately. He directed a second-year project entitled "One Day in Dallas," which he and Sara co-wrote. The film won honors at the Aspen, Houston, Chicago and Melbourne film festivals, among others. The Bernsteins reside in Chico and have one daughter, Kate.

VICTORIA PAUL (Production Designer) was introduced to film as an assistant art designer for The World According to Garp following several years in production design for the theater. Her feature credits as a production designer include My Cousin Vinny, The Desperate Hours, Far From Home, Verne Miller, Heart and The Hunger.

Paul also spent two and a half years as production designer for NBC's "Saturday Night Live." Other television credits include "Another World," the pilots for "Steel Magnolias," "My Sister Melba" and "Campus Comedy" for HBO. Paul received her education at New York University's Theatre Design Program.

SHAY CUNLIFF's (Costume Designer) credits include John Sayles' Lone Star, Multiplicity, Dolores Claiborne, Greedy, The Man Without A Face, Of Mice and Men, Mrs. Soffel, Miles From Home, The Long Walk Home and the award-winning HBO special "Indictment: The McMartin Preschool Trial."

Born in Manchester, England, Cunliffe graduated with honors from the University of Bristol with a double degree in Drama and French. She began her career in the entertainment industry in New York working as a development assistant for director Mike Nichols.

GABRIEL BERISTAIN's (Director of Photography) talents can be seen in such feature films as the suspense drama Dolores Claiborne, starring Cathy Bates and Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Greedy starring Michael J. Fox.

An accomplished music video director for such recording artists as Aerosmith and Bon Jovi, Beristain is a member of the British Society of Cinematographers and graduated from the National Film School in England with a Masters Degree.

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