The paso Digitla

film & wine festival



Rex Pickett

Author of "Sideways" with his

new book "Vertical" now out,

will be at the festival for the

Sideways Screening and a

very special presentation on

"Book to Film Adaptation"


A very special screening of "Sideways"

with music from the soundtrack and

a Sideways/Vertical Wine Event

Rex will be doing the stage adaptation of Sideways for the Ruskin Group Theater in Santa Monica.  It will premiere November

1, 2011 and run for 12 weeks.




His new Book "Vertical"

Continuing the Dionysian exploits of Miles & Jack, Vertical  Pickett’s long-anticipated sequel to his now iconic Sideways — had me alternately laughing and crying through this hilarious, heartbreaking and ultimately moving meditation on Fame, Friendship and Family. I found it equally poignant and profound the way this epic road novel slowly but surely strips Miles down to his naked, sober soul — a bittersweet, existential deconstruction of everything this man is. Vertical managed to break my heart and then put it back together again, piece by piece, and should abolish any lingering doubts whether the author just got “lucky” with Sideways. This is a work to be both admired and savored like the great Willamette Valley Pinots Miles exults over (**Quoted on the back of Vertical’s hard-cover edition**). A story such as this, about real human beings experiencing real emotions, is unfortunately considered High Concept at a time when most “literary” adults are reading about vampires and wizards. Bravely dipping a pen in the ink of his own soul, Pickett’s novels chart a winding path from divorced, struggling writer in the throes of a mid-life crises, to celebrated author coming to grips with his success. A journey that should serve as inspiration for any underdog artists who feel that time — and hope — is running out for them.  



The independent movie

made $250 million

The Bottom Line

The future adventures of "Sideways" characters Miles and Jack find its original author, Rex Pickett, reclaiming not only his own story from the hit film but striking out in a bold -- and sober -- new direction. 

Hollywood Reporter

 The album was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for "Best Original Score".  We will have

some fun with the soundtrack.  

"Sideways," starring Thomas Haden Church (Rt) and

Paul Giamatti, won  adapted screenplay Oscar in 05



Rex Pickett grew up in San Diego and attended the University of California at San Diego.  He graduated summa cum laude with a Special Projects major, specializing in contemporary literary and film criticism, and creative writing.

            Rex moved to L.A. and attended USC graduate film school for one year.  He went on to write and direct two independent feature films, California Without Endand From Hollywood to Deadwood.  The former played numerous festivals and was bought by Bavarian Radio Television.  The latter was acquired and commercially released by Island Pictures in 1990.

            Rex has written numerous screenplays, some original and some for hire.  In ’89 he was commissioned by Sony/Tristar to write an original screenplay for the actor, Kevin Bacon.  In ‘90 he was brought on for an uncredited rewrite of Alien III.   In ’92 he wrote The Road Back, an original screenplay which was purchased by Silver film Productions.  In addition, he adapted a novel, Striking it Rich, for the same company.  His 2002 script Repairman has also been optioned.

            In ’96 Rex turned his attention to fiction and wrote a mystery novel, La Purisima, which landed him representation with the prestigious Curtis Brown, LTD. literary agency as his representation.  And though that novel ultimately wasn’t placed, it laid the groundwork for his second novel, Sideways. 

            Sideways became the basis for the critically-acclaimed and commercially successful Alexander Payne/Fox Searchlight release of 2004.  The film was nominated for five Academy Awards, winning the Oscar for best adapted screenplay.  It also won the prestigious Writers Guild Award for best adapted screenplay, two Golden Globe Awards for best screenplay and best picture (musical or comedy), five New York Film Critics Circle Awards, including best picture and best screenplay, five Los Angeles Film Critics Awards, again including best picture and best screenplay.  It swept the Indie Spirit Awards with six wins and won too many other year-end awards to enumerate here.  In all it won a total of 350 year-end awards in all categories.  Rex’s novel has sold over 150,000 copies and has been translated into twelve languages.  In 2008, the Writers Guild of America voted it one of 101 Greatest Screenplays of all time.

            In addition to the success of Sideways, Rex’s screenplay for My Mother Dreams the Satan’s Disciples in New York won best dramatic short film at over 15 festivals, culminating in the winning of the 2000 Academy Award for best live action short.  It was directed by his former wife, Barbara Schock, at the American Film Institute.

            Rex has just come out with the follow-up to Sideways.  The novel had a long gestation, beginning with a book deal with Alfred A. Knopf -- the literary division of Random House.  There were serious creative differences when Rex decided he wanted to write the Sideways sequel.  So, in frustration, Rex found equity funding from a private investor, Tim Moore, and decided to go the intrepid self-imprint route.  The result is Vertical, a tragi-comic epic road novel that saw its realease January 10, 2011.

"Sideways," released in 2004, is arguably the most influential wine-themed film in American history. It grossed $300 million, damaged Merlot’s reputation with a single line, and people are still debating whether the film alone caused Pinot Noir sales to spike, or was merely a factor in the variety’s astonishing success.    STEVE HEIMOFF

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So quite unexpectedly, this down-and-out screenwriter, who didn’t get his book published until the movie was being made, fell into the lap of the bitch-goddess of fortune and fame. I well remember running into him at the Paso Robles Zin Fest the following year, when he served as guest of honor and autographed copies of his novel at Justin Winery, a scene he re-creates in his new novel, Vertical.

As you might gather, Vertical is a sequel to Sideways. It follows the further adventures of Miles and Jack, his wayward companion in debauchery, womanizing and wine-guzzling. This time the boys drive through the scenes of their earlier notoriety in the vineyards of Santa Ynez Valley to head for the International Pinot Noir Celebration in McMinnville, Ore., a state whose Pinots can compare with any in the world including Burgundy’s.

"The unique blend of pure, often hilarious, humanity and literary intelligence of Pickett's narrative voice allows his work to broach sensitive subjects and carry readers on an inward journey safely disguised as comedy."  Laura Sanchez


Roll out the barrels Sideways, then stand them Vertical at the

Paso Digital Film and Wine Festival...we're going to uncork

some of our music, film and wine festival blend this November...