Geoffrey Fletcher

Geoffrey Fletcher

Upon graduating from NYU, Fletcher proceeded to spend the next 10 years trying and failing to break into the film business. While working various temporary jobs, including one rather thankless gig doing data entry in a windowless bank office, he banged out thousands of pages of scripts and directed his own short films. In 1996, he began to make a bit of headway with his short film "Magic Markers," a 23-minute, black-and-white drama about two young lovers that screened at that year's Sundance Film Festival and garnered the attention of director John Singleton. Though briefly signed by an agent, Fletcher nonetheless continued to earn his pay via the mind-numbing drudgery of office temp work. But when all hope had seemed lost, Fletcher was approached in 2006 by filmmaker Lee Daniels, who had also seen "Magic Markers," about adapting the novel Push by author and performance artist, Sapphire. In an instant, Fletcher's fortunes - which had been fairly poor at that point - changed forever.Unaware of the novel's following, Fletcher nonetheless was hooked by its stark and gritty realism, and embarked on transposing the grim tale into "Precious," about an illiterate 16-year-old girl (Gabourey Sidibe) struggling to overcome her destructive Harlem environs, which includes a sexually abusive but absent father, a verbally and physically abusive mother (Mo'Nique), and a future that showed nothing but abject poverty ahead. But with the help of her new teacher, the firm but patient Ms. Rain (Paula Patton), Precious slowly begins to learn how to read, which leads to her rebirth, despite a future that becomes bleaker than she could have imagined. Thanks to inspiring performances by Sidibe and Mo'Nique, as well as from the strong supporting cast that included a surprisingly adept Mariah Carey as a social worker, "Precious" emerged from the 2009 Sundance Film Festival to become both a critical darling and box office hit, while earning numerous awards and nominations. For his part, Fletcher earned several critics' award nominations, as well as nods for Best First Screenplay at the Independent Spirit Awards and Best Adapted Screenplay at the British Academy Film Awards. But most importantly, Fletcher earned top honors when he received an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay.