Matt Damon and Ben Affleck reunite for Season 4 of 'Project Greenlight.' Their mission: Foster a first-time filmmaker by providing the resources necessary to see a movie come to life.
The new season began with a call for directors on Facebook. The Facebook community narrowed down the submissions to the top 200. Those selected sent in a 2-minute biography video, which helped Matt and Ben whittle the choices to 20.
From there, Matt and Ben bring in the team overseeing production: comedy writers Bobby and Peter Farrelly; Len Amato, president of HBO Films; Mark Joubert, 'Project Greenlight' producer; and Jennifer Todd, president of Matt and Ben's production company, Pearl Street Films.
The group is tasked to select the top 10. "We chose 13," Ben explains, "because of our crack discipline." The finalists were sent the same comedy script, co-written by the Farrelly brothers, and given a month to make a 2 to 3-minute film with a $1000 budget.
The finalists meet the inaugural winner of 'Project Greenlight,' Pete Jones, who will be working as a writer on this season's film. "One of you, or two of you depending on the team, will be my boss," says Jones, "so that's gonna be weird." The group gets the script for the film they are competing to make: 'Not Another Pretty Woman,' about a man who gets stood up by his wedding night and marries a prostitute. It's "not a traditional HBO film" says Amato, making it "an interesting challenge" for the right director.
The judges join producer Effie Brown to watch the finalists' bio videos and short films, and finally meet them face-to-face. In the room, Chris Capel impresses with his casting and editing. Partners Leo Kei Angelos and Kristen Brancaccio are emphatic that the film not make a judgment on Harmony, the female prostitute character.
The group agrees that Jason Mann's short film stands out, but worry that he does not have broad comedy sensibilities. When they meet with Jason, the room is put off by his "hard to get" approach. Ben asks, "Do you want this job?" Jason replies, "I think I do," qualifying, "if changes are allowed." The team is left with serious reservations about him.
Ashley Barnhill brings along her partner, Kirk Johnson, even though she submitted the film and bio video individually. Matt suspects there's a "whole soap opera behind that one."
The rest of the group comes in: Adriano Valentiti impresses Matt with his writing chops; Mark Manalo brings a visual presentation; Arturo Perez sees the script as a class story about two worlds coming together; Arrius and Ellese Sorbonne pitch a different take; Bosnian filmmaker Marko Slavnic charms the crowd with his sincerity.
Effie Brown advocates for Leo and Kristen, who thought through sensitivities around Harmony, the black prostitute character. Matt hears her concerns, but points out that Leo and Kristen liked the script as written. The group agrees that Harmony's character needs to be reworked.
Jason is considered the best filmmaker, but the judges are wary about his personality. Nevertheless, Jason is named the winner at the announcement party. He corners Matt and Ben moments later with a pair of requests: to shoot on film and to bring in a new writer. Peter Farrelly describes him as "self-destructive."