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RICHARD LaGRAVENESE (Director/Screenwriter) recently directed the truelife drama "Freedom Writers,” starring Hilary Swank as inspirational teacher Erin Gruwell. LaGravenese also wrote the screenplay for the film, which was based on the bestselling book by Gruwell and her students. LaGravenese was also one of the 20 international filmmakers who participated in creating the acclaimed film project "Paris je t'aime,” a compilation of 20 short films about Paris, which premiered at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival. LaGravenese's segment, "Pigalle,” starred Fanny Ardent and Bob Hoskins.

Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, LaGravenese is a graduate of New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, Experimental Theatre Wing. He first garnered acclaim for his screenplay for "The Fisher King,” directed by Terry Gilliam and starring Robin Williams, Jeff Bridges and Mercedes Ruehl, who won an Oscar for her role. LaGravenese was honored with an Academy Award nomination, as well as BAFTA and Writers Guild of America Award nominations for Best Original Screenplay.

His subsequent screenwriting credits include "The Ref,” directed by Ted Demme and starring Denis Leary, which LaGravenese also produced; Alfonso Cuaron's "A Little Princess”; "Unstrung Heroes,” directed by Diane Keaton; Clint Eastwood's "The Bridges of Madison County,” based on the bestselling novel and starring Eastwood and Meryl Streep; Barbra Streisand's "The Mirror Has Two Faces”; "The Horse Whisperer,” directed by and starring Robert Redford; and Jonathan Demme's "Beloved.”

LaGravenese made his directorial debut, from his own original screenplay, for the critically praised "Living Out Loud,” starring Holly Hunter, Danny DeVito and Queen Latifah.

In 2003, LaGravenese partnered with Ted Demme to direct and produce the documentary, "A Decade Under the Influence,” which explored the groundbreaking films and filmmakers of the 1970s. The film earned an Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Nonfiction Special and won a National Board of Review Award.

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