Doctor of Humane Letters
Brian Helgeland, a New Bedford native and 1983 alumnus of the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, has established himself as one of the leading screenwriters and directors in Hollywood.
In 1997, Mr. Helgeland received the Academy Award, Writers Guild of America Award, and the New York Film Critics Award for screenwriting for his work on the highly acclaimed L.A. Confidential. In 2004, Mr. Helgeland was nominated for an Academy Award and in 2005 won the PEN Award for his screenwriting work on Mystic River.
Based on the novel by Dennis Lehane, Mystic River is the story of three childhood friends who grew up in working-class Boston and are reunited after 25 years by a terrible tragedy. "It is a complicated tale told simply and beautifully," concluded the PEN Award judges. "The book was not an easy book to adapt. Brian Helgeland succeeds in capturing the dark, tangled intricacies of the book and in realizing the multi-faceted characters. He writes well, with a subtle but sure touch."
Mr. Helgeland made his feature directorial debut with the 1999 Mel Gibson crime thriller Payback, which won the Audience Award at the Cognac Festival du Film Policier. Among his directorial hits was the 2002 film A Knight's Tale, which illustrated Mr. Helgeland's versatility as a storyteller.
Mr. Helgeland earned his Master of Arts in Film Writing from Loyola Marymount University in 1986.