Wednesday 28 February 2007

February Arts Council Newsletter

The February edition of the Arts Council's Newsletter is online, with information about the latest Local partnership scheme 2007, and news about funding schemes around the country.

BBC Trust approves Freesat

The BBC Trust has backed plans to create a non-subscription satellite version of its Freeview digital television service in the UK, which will be called Freesat.

The Beeb news service reports:

The BBC's governing body said the non-subscription Freesat would benefit homes with poor terrestrial reception.

And it recommended a launch before analogue TV transmissions were switched off, a process which begins next year.

There will now be a 28-day consultation to gauge opinion on the BBC's proposals before they formally get the go-ahead.

It was hoped that as well as BBC channels, "a wide range of other services would also be accessible", the trust said, adding that other organisations could be involved as partners in the venture.

The BBC and ITV announced plans to launch Freesat in September 2005.

Tuesday 27 February 2007

Polish cinema in Sligo

From the Film Ireland web site I spotted that the Model Arts and Niland Gallery in Sligo is holding a Polish Avant-Garde Film Festival in association with the Lodz Film School, in Poland.

Running from 3 - 10 March 2007, the festival will show films spanning the long history of Polish cinema, and will be accompanied by discussions with students from The Polish Film School, and curators Adam Klimczak and Alicja Chicowicz. All-inclusive festival tickets are a steal at 10 euros, and special day tickets cost 5 euros each.

Monday 26 February 2007

Carney at the MoMa next month

According to IFTN John Carney's film, Once (2006), will be shown in the Museum of Modern Art in New York next month.

It will be part of MoMa's annual New Directors showcase, and Carney's film will air alongside a selection of the best emerging international director/writers, such as Andrea Arnold's Red Road (Great Britain/Denmark), Paul Auster's The Inner Life of Martin Frost (Portugal/USA), Peter Schønau Fog's The Art of Crying (Denmark), Jean-Pascal Hattu's 7 Years (France), and Julia Loktev's Day Night Day Night (USA).

Jordan to direct New Line fantasy

From The Guardian on Friday I noticed that Irish director Neil Jordan is slated to direct a new supernatural period film for New Line. Called Killing on Carnival Row it's is set in a fictional town of Burgue in Victorian England where faeries, vampires and other mythological creatures live with humans. A human detective must discover the identity of a serial killer before he is charged with the crime.

Jordan is also co-writing the script with Travis Beacham.

Oscar morning-after

There were few surprises at last night's Academy Awards. Here is the list of winners.

Sunday 25 February 2007

Alternative Film Awards

Amid the hoopla and speculation about tonight's Oscar ceremony it's nice to remember a couple of alternative awards.

Last night marked the 27th Golden Raspberry Awards, or the Razzies, which handed out dishonourables to the worst Hollywood films last year.

Leading the pack was Basic Instinct: 2, which nabbed worst Actress (Sharon Stone), Worst Picture, Worst Screenplay, and Worst Sequel. It was neatly followed by the film Little Man, which collared Worst Actor (Marlon Wayans & Shawn Wayans), Worst Screen Couple (same again) and Worst Remake/Rip-Off. Lady in the Water took home two Razzies for Worst Supporting Actor (M. Night Shyamalan) and Worst Director (M. Night Shyamalan). Carmen Elecktra scooped a Worst Supporting Actress for her work in both Date Movie, and Scary Movie 4.

On a more positive note, film critic Mark Kermode handed out his "Kermode Awards" on the BBC's Culture Show this week. His "alternative Oscars" is aimed to re-address outrageous omissions in Oscars nominations.

His favourites: Best Actor: Toby Jones as Truman Capote in Infamous; Best Actress:
Sandra Hüller as Michaela Klingler in Requiem; Best Picture: Pan's Labyrinth; Best Director: Guillermo Del Toro for Pan's Labyrinth; and Best Sound Design for David's Lynch's Inland Empire.

Saturday 24 February 2007

Birds Eye View of Film

Running from March 8-14, the Birds Eye Festival is hosted by three of London's premiere cultural venues: the ICA, the NFT and the Barbican. The festival promises six days of inspiration and celebration, showcasing the very best work from women filmmakers across the globe.

It features workshops and masterclasses, including: The Survival Guide to Screenwriting by Kate Leys (feature film script editor and former commissioning editor, festival director, and agent); Pitch!: The Ultimate Guide by Eileen Quinn and Judy Counihan (authors of The Pitch); the Hilary Brougher: Screenwriting Masterclass (writer/director and winner of the Waldo Salt Award for Scriptwriting at Sundance 2006).

Friday 23 February 2007

contributions to Irish film honoured

RTÉ reports that Singer-songwriter Van Morrison and Belfast writer-director Terry George were honoured in Los Angeles last night by the US-Ireland Alliance, as part of their annual Oscar Wilde: Honouring Irish Writing in Film event.

Al Pacino presented Morrison with his award, and Irish actress Fionnula Flanagan gave Terry George his award. George is the writer and director of Hotel Rwanda, Some Mother's Son, and the forthcoming Reservation Road.

Boston Irish screentwriter William Monahan, who wrote Kingdom of Heaven and has been nominated for the Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar for The Departed, also received an award.

Thursday 22 February 2007

Belfast Festival at Queens saved

The Stage reports that the international arts festival, Belfast Festival at Queen's, has been saved from closure by a "one-off" grant of £150,000 by the arts minister, Maria Eagle.

In November, principal sponsors and hosts, Queen's University, had threatened to withdraw its backing after successive years of declining support from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.

Last month it launched a high-profile petition to save the festival. While welcoming the new money, half of what organisers had been hoping for, a festival spokesperson told The Stage: "We regret that it took a crisis to secure additional investment, the case for which is compelling. We hope that our other funding partners in the public and private sectors will now respond by increasing their financial support and investing in the festival’s long-term future".

The Oxford Samuel Beckett Theatre Trust Award 2008

Applications are invited for The Oxford Samuel Beckett Theatre Trust Award 2008.

Two grants of up to £2,500 for Research and Development will be awarded to two individuals/companies. Following the showing of the result of this R and D period in November 2007 a production grant of up to £27,000 will be awarded to one of them.

The chosen production will have a run at The Pit as part of barbicanbite08 in September 2008.

Bold, innovative and challenging projects from emerging practitioners will be favoured, and artists from all disciplines are encouraged to apply.

Application deadline 30th March 2007.

Wednesday 21 February 2007

33 x 3 mins cinema at Cannes

To celebrate the 60th Cannes Film Festival 33 directors have been commissioned to create a 3-minute film each.

Hailing from 5 continents and 25 different countries, these 33 directors will reveal, in 3 minutes each, their current state of mind as inspired by the motion-picture theatre - a second restriction but also, of course, a promise of Paradise! A family stroll back through memories, dreams, bursts of laughter, cries of alarm and emotion. The novelty of the form derives from its extreme division and the pleasant sweetness of its lightness.
The overall title of the work is To Each His Cinema.

The masculine pronoun is almost correct, since only one of the directors is a women. Here's the full list: Theo Angelopoulos, Olivier Assayas, Bille August, Jane Campion, Youssef Chahine, Chen Kaige, Michael Cimino, Ethan & Joel Coen, David Cronenberg, Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne, Manoel De Oliveira, Raymond Depardon, Atom Egoyan, Amos Gitai, Hou Hsiao Hsien, Alejandro Gonzalez Iñarritu, Aki Kaurismaki, Abbas Kiarostami, Takeshi Kitano, Andrei Konchalovsky, Claude Lelouch, Ken Loach, Nanni Moretti, Roman Polanski, Raoul Ruiz, Walter Salles, Elia Suleiman, Tsai Ming Liang, Gus Van Sant, Lars Von Trier, Wim Wenders, Wong Kar Wai and Zhang Yimou.

Alas, not an Irish director among them.

To Each His Cinema will be shown on May 30th during the Festival, and on the French television channel, Canal+.

Irish Times Theatre Award Winners

Here is the list of winners from the recent Irish Times Theatre Awards in Dublin, courtesy of RTÉ

  • Owen Roe won Best Actor for his performances in The Taming of the Shrew, Catastrophe and Festen.
  • Jane Brennan was named Best Actress for her performance as Alice in the Alice Trilogy.
  • Declan Conlon won Best Supporting Actor for his performance in A Month in the Country.
  • Mary Murray took away the Best Supporting Actress award for her performance in the Alice Trilogy.
  • The Best Director award went to Atom Egoyan for Eh Joe.
  • Rough Magic theatre company won the Best Play award for The Taming of the Shrew.
  • Tom Murphy was honoured with the Best New Play award for his Alice Trilogy.
  • Wexford Festival Opera received the Best Opera Production award for Transformations.
  • A special tribute award was presented to Ingrid Craigie for her contribution to Irish theatre.
  • The judges' special award went to Fishamble Theatre Company for Whereabouts and its use of Temple Bar for theatre productions.
  • Sabine Dargent won the Best Set Designer award for her work on Hysteria and The Walworth Farce.
  • The Best Designer: Costume award went to Monica Frawley for her work on The Taming of the Shrew.
  • Rupert Murray was posthumously awarded the Best Designer: Lighting award for his work on Catastrophe, Play and The Taming of the Shrew.

Olivier win for Irish actor

RTÉ reports that Irish actor Jim Norton won an Laurence Olivier Theatre Award at the weekend for his supporting role in The Seafarer, a play written and directed by Conor McPherson.

exits and entrances

There's an article on The Stage about the closure of Dublin's Andrew's Lane Theatre.

Owner and artistic director Pat Moylan said it had been a very difficult decision to sell what she regarded as "a small jewel in the heart of the city", but that the theatre needed extensive renovation and she could not afford the cost. A leaky roof spilling rain into the auditorium in recent weeks testified to the urgent need for repairs.
The article goes on to report that John O'Donoghue, Minister for Arts, Sports and Tourism, has said that "an international design competition for the new Abbey will be launched shortly and that a jury has already been established to select the winning entry." Mr. O'Donoghue believes that after the selection the construction of the new Abby will take a mere 18 months.

I've noticed that politicians seeking re-election are awfully optimistic.

Tuesday 20 February 2007

Listowel Writers' Week Competitions

The 37th Listowel Writers' Week (May 30 - June 3) is offering a slew of competitions for writers.

Of particular interest for readers of this blog is the Eamon Keane Full Length Play award for 1,000 euros for the best original play (one-act plays do not qualify).

The deadline for submissions is Friday, 2nd March 2007, and each entry costs 20 euros.

2007 RTÉ ShortScreen Season

RTÉ is inviting submissions for its 2007 ShortScreen season.

Films must be of broadcast quality and under 26 minutes. Longer slots are limited therefore priority will be given to films under 15 minutes.

The deadline for receipt of applications (a DVD or VHS copy of the film with a completed submission form) is Friday 2nd March, 2007.

2007 Diversions Short Film Award

This year's Short Film Award organised by Temple Bar Cultural Trust in association with Filmbase as part of the 2007 Diversions Festival has been announced.

This year the Temple Bar Cultural Trust has increased the prize fund to 5,000 euros (which is aimed at supporting the marketing and distribution of the winning Irish short film). Filmbase will sponsor pre and postproduction facilities and equipment at their Curved Street offices and studios to the value of almost 5,000 euros.

A shortlist of 12 films will be chosen from all entries received. One short-listed film will precede each Movie on the Square feature film that will be screened as part of the open-air 2007 Diversions Festival.

The deadline for receipt of submissions is 5pm on Friday, April 6, 2007, and each entry must be available as a 35mm print film.