Walter F. Parkes
Parkes+MacDonald Productions

Walter Parkes

Mr. Parkes is a producer, screenwriter and former studio executive whose films include the Men In Black series, Gladiator, Flight, Minority Report, Catch Me If You Can, The Ring, Awakenings, The Mask of Zorro, Twister and Amistad, as well as the screen adaptations of The Kite Runner and of Steven Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd, and many others. In total, films produced or executive produced by Mr. Parkes have grossed over $6B globally.

He and his wife, Laurie MacDonald, ran the motion pictures division of Dreamworks Studios from its inception in 1997 until 2006. During Mr. Parkes’s and Ms. MacDonald’s tenure, the fledgling studio won, for only the second time in Academy history, three consecutive Best Picture Oscars: American Beauty, Gladiator, and A Beautiful Mind, the latter two in partnership with Universal Studios.

In 2009, Mr. Parkes and Ms. MacDonald formed Parkes-MacDonald ImageNation, a partnership with the Abu Dhabi Media Company for the development and production of films for the international market. The partnership produced a feature-length documentary about Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani schoolgirl and activist who survived an assassination attempt by the Taliban. The film was directed by Davis Guggenheim, whose Inconvenient Truth won the Best Documentary Oscar in 2006.

Additionally, Mr. Parkes and Ms. MacDonald entered into a production deal with NBC/Universal. Their first limited series, “Crossbones,” starring John Malkovich, premiered on NBC in 2014. Their next series, “The Slap,” based on the Australian novel, adapted by acclaimed playwright Jon Robin Baitz and directed by Lisa Cholodenko, hit the small screen in 2015.

Mr. Parkes began his career as a screenwriter and, with partner Lawrence Lasker, co-wrote the two films largely acknowledged as establishing the “tech-thriller” genre: WarGames which was nominated for a Best Original Screenplay Oscar, and Sneakers which stared Robert Redford and directed by Phil Alden Robinson.

Mr. Parkes is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Writer’s Guild of America, and also serves on the Boards of Para Los Niños in Los Angeles and Center for a New American Security (CNAS) in Washington, D.C.

Email: wparkes@paralosninos.org
Term expires June 2017