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Screenwriter Paul Castro joins cinema faculty in School of Communications

Professional screenwriter and UCLA faculty member Paul Castro will join the School of Communications faculty this year as a visiting professor in cinema.

Paul Castro

Castro wrote the original screenplay that became the movie "August Rush," released by Warner Brothers in 2007. The fantasy-drama about a musical child prodigy starred Robin Williams, Jonathan Rhys Meyers,  Keri Russell, Terrence Howard and Freddie Highmore. It received an Academy Award nomination for original song and has earned a worldwide gross of $66 million to date.

While in graduate school at UCLA, Castro signed a three-picture screenwriting deal with Digital Mercury.

His next project (pending financing) is a feature film titled "Archery Lessons" starring Dakota Fanning, with an anticipated shoot date in summer 2011. "Archery Lessons" is an original screenplay by Castro, and he is slated to direct. Veteran producer Bill Badalato ("Top Gun," "Broken Arrow," "Jaws 2" and "Men of Honor") has signed on to produce "Archery Lessons." On another film project, Oscar-winning actress Shirley MacLaine is attached to star in Castro's original screenplay titled "Eileen's Ice."

In 2005, Castro became a full-time lecturer at UCLA. For the past five years, he has taught courses such as Screenwriting, Advanced Screenwriting, and Film & Television Production and has served on the M.F.A. admissions board for the UCLA film program.

"Passion and commitment to our world of storytelling through the visual arts has become my journey as an artist and as an educator," Castro said. "Working with students to celebrate this craft and preparing them to succeed in this industry is my mission."

Castro earned a B.A. in speech and communications at the University of Richmond, worked for seven years in high-tech corporate recruiting, and completed an M.F.A. in film/television/digital media at UCLA in 2000. He has been a voting member of the Writers Guild of America for 10 years. Previously, he served in the U.S. Navy as an officer supporting the Naval Special Warfare Center in Coronado, Calif., where he participated in the center's Superfrog Triathlon. He also was a volunteer counselor for six years at the Crisis Prevention Center of Los Angeles.

At Elon, he will teach Screenwriting and the senior-level Producing Narrative Cinema course this fall and will teach other courses in Winter Term and Spring 2011.

"We are committed to having an outstanding cinema program at Elon, and Paul Castro will help us add to the quality of student experiences," said Paul Parsons, dean of the School of Communications. "Students in the Elon in Los Angeles program greatly enjoyed having him as a guest teacher this summer, and the faculty is highly enthusiastic after hosting him on campus and hearing his commitment to both the liberal arts and to cinema."

Colin Donohue,
7/24/2010 3:09 PM