John Forte

Biz vet earned his stripes by 35

NEW YORK — John Forte has become one of the most sought-after scribes to emerge from Northern Ireland’s new filmmaking scene. A graduate of the screenwriting program of Britain’s National Film & Television School at Beaconsfield, Forte, 35, already is a seven-year veteran in the business, having amassed a number of film and TV writing credits, not to mention directing stints on a short and a feature.

For BBC TV, he wrote the whimsical drama “Henri” and the first episodes (considered the best) of the light-hearted series “Ballykissangel.” Feature scripts include recently shot twist-of-fate romancer “Old New Borrowed Blue,” helmed by Michael Winterbottom (“Welcome to Sarajevo”) and Northern border comedy “No Man’s Land,” which is due to go into production next year.

As writer-director, Forte’s work includes the short “Skin Tight” and the upcoming Polygram release “Mad About Mambo,” which he’s editing for Phoenix Pictures; Polygram will distribute the $7 million dollar production.

Forte is described by “Old New” producer Andrew Eaton as “lyrical and subtle” and as “one of the few (Northern Irish) writers writing about things that go beyond the (Northern) conflict.”

BBC Northern Ireland’s Kevin Jackson says Forte “writes a gentle form of comedy with great deftness.”

As for Forte himself, who claims to be “tired of the bucolic stuff, priests, poets and terrorists, that seems to come out of (Ireland),” his “Mambo” is about a young Belfast footballer who blends Brazilian dance lessons with the Beautiful Game.

Forte has two other scripts with “Mambo” producer David Kelly that he may direct, one a romantic comedy set in London, the other a thriller that is not set in Ireland. Another Forte script, “Bigger Than Jesus,” is set to be directed by Marc Evans (“Resurrection Man”).

Forte is repped by Jane Villiers at the Tessa Sayle Agency.

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