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Screenwriter of series ‘24’ to present workshop, receive award at NMSU film festival

Jack Bauer, the lead character played by Kieffer Sutherland in the groundbreaking series “24,” survived political coups, nuclear and bio-chemical threats, treason, torture, and more. That series started the career of a screenwriter, Anne Cofell Saunders, who has gone on to become a writer/ producer and co-executive producer of various series.


Head and shoulders of blonde woman wearing black shirt
Anne Cofell Saunders, screenwriter for the series "24" and "Battlestar Galactica" as well as writing and producing for the series' "Chuck" and "Smallville," will be be on a panel workshop for screenwriting at the third annual Las Cruces International Film Festival presented by NMSU. (Courtesy photo)

Saunders will bring her expertise to share with students as a panelist in the screenwriting workshop for the Las Cruces International Film Festival presented by New Mexico State University, set for March 7-11. She also will receive the Mark Medoff Outstanding Entertainment Writing Award.

It’s the third year of the five-day festival that brings thousands of movie-lovers to Las Cruces to see feature-length, short films, documentaries and student films. Last year, more than 6,000 people attended the event, with about a third coming from outside the immediate area.

“We are proud to present the Mark Medoff Outstanding Entertainment Writing Award to such an accomplished writer in the field,” said Ross Marks, executive director of the festival and assistant professor at the Creative Media Institute at NMSU. “It’s also exciting to bring her to this region to share her know-how and advice about the business with our students.”

Saunders began her career in television on the political thriller series "24," where she earned her first writing credit. She then staffed on the critically acclaimed re-imagining of "Battlestar Glactica,” for which she received a Peabody Award. She was also nominated for a Hugo award for the fan-favorite episode "Pegasus."

After writing/producing on “Chuck” and the final two seasons of “Smallville,” Saunders garnered two Saturn awards for her work as co-executive Producer on NBC's "Revolution.” In 2016, she served as co-executive producer on NBC’s “Timeless,” and will be a co-executive producer on “The Boys,” which will air on Amazon in 2019. She is currently writing a pilot for Sony Pictures Television, based on one of her favorite sci-fi novels.

Saunders has a bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University and a master’s degree in playwriting from Ohio University. She has taught television writing at the University of Southern California School of Film and Television, and has been a guest speaker at USC, University of California-Santa Barbara, Comic-Con and the Austin Film Festival.

For tickets, hotel packages and more information visit www.lciffest.com/ or call (575) 646-6149. Tickets are also available at Visit Las Cruces on the corner of Water Street and Las Cruces Avenue.