Thursday 31 May 2007

A Fishy Tale at the IFI

The IFI is hosting a special screening on June 16 of a new Chinese film, Jin tian de yu zen me yang? (How Is Your Fish Today?), which was directed by Xiaolu Guo, who co-wrote the script with Hui Rao. The film is a blend of documentary and fiction in which both Guo and Rao appear as themselves.

Guo will be present during the screening and will introduce her film beforehand.

Krivine in Dublin

The French television writer Frédéric Krivine is coming to Dublin at the invitation of the Guild. The creator and writer of many of the 125 episodes of PJ, France's police procedural television show, Krivine also created and wrote the tense television thriller Nom de code: DP.

He is the creator, main writer, and executive producer of a new 66 x one hour series, which will be collectively written in a European take on the American writers' room system. Since June last year he's been the co-president of L'Union-Guilde des Scénaristes.

The meeting will be on 20th June at 8.00pm – venue to be announced - and will be open to Guild members only.

Midsummer Darklight

Full information about the Darklight Festival (21-24 June) has been released. The three days will be crammed with forums, workshops, a YouTube video lounge, screenings, and masterclasses featuring film/television industry professionals and experts. It costs €50 to attend all the events, and a mere €20 for the unwaged/students.

Wednesday 30 May 2007

Summer Diversions

The twelve short films nominated for the 2007 Diversions Short Film Award have been announced. They are competing for a €5,000 cash prize that comes with €5,000 worth of time at the Filmbase production facilities.

Each short will be screened in Temple Bar's Meeting House Square, and will precede the Jameson Movies on the Square feature presentation every week from Saturday June 9th until Saturday August 25th.

Commercials Change Tack

Back Stage reports that American television networks are going to try a number of innovations to stop their audiences from fast-forwarding through the commercials on the shows they've recorded with a DVR. It coincides with a week in which the Nielsen Media Research started to offer ratings for commercial breaks as well as television shows.

One of the ideas gaining popularity is "content wraps", used by the CW network. In one example a hair care company abandoned a typical advertisement to present beauty tips and interviews with the network's stars, which used the company's products. Another idea is to intersperse competition clues during commercial breaks, or to embed advertisements on a show's web site. Product placement will probably become ubiquitous in the future.

"We all need to become more creative in how we incorporate sponsors into a program," said Ed Swindler, executive vice president for NBC Universal ad sales. "No one on the creative side or the business side wants to make commercials intrusive, but we do need to commercialize efficiently so viewers can afford to get free television."

An estimated 17 percent of American homes now have digital video recorders. Nielsen estimates that in prime-time, nearly half of 18-to-49-year-old viewers with DVRs are watching recorded programs instead of live ones. Of these, six in 10 skip through the ads.

RTE Announces Winners

RTÉ has announced the winners of the 2007 PJ O'Connor Radio Drama Awards.

First prize and €3,000 goes to Ciarán Gray from North Strand in Dublin for his radio play 'In the Real World'. Second prize and €2,000 was won by Kevin Gildea from Dún Laoghaire for 'Story'. Third prize and €1,000 was awarded to Garrett Keogh from Gorey, Co Wexford for 'Nancy'.

All the plays will be professionally produced and broadcast later this year on RTÉ Radio 1.

Tuesday 29 May 2007

Mamet's Radio Drama

The BBC has a strong tradition of broadcasting radio plays. Yesterday's play, which you can access via the website, was Keep Your Pantheon, the premier of David Mamet's new comedy of ancient Roman manners. In the 46-minute play an impoverished actor-manager and his troupe struggle to survive.

Donor Reality TV Show

The BBC reports that a new Dutch reality TV show is causing an uproar in its home country.

Called The Big Donor Show, it features a terminally-ill woman who selects one of three patients to receive her kidneys when she dies.

The programme, from Big Brother creators Endemol, is due to be screened on Friday night.

The 37-year-old donor, identified only as Lisa, will make her choice based on the contestants' history, profile and conversation with their family and friends.

Viewers will also be able to send in their advice by text message during the 80-minute show.

Monday 28 May 2007

Children's TV is Toxic?

The Guardian reports on tirade about the state of programming for children on television from critically-acclaimed writer Philip Pullman. Pullman is the author of many children's books, including the Dark Materials trilogy, which are being filmed.

Pullman castigated broadcasters for sacrificing high-quality programmes in favour of those that yield more marketing opportunities. 'Children are regarded by broadcasters as a marketing opportunity at best, a dangerous and feral threat at worst, and an expensive nuisance otherwise,' Pullman said. 'This social poison goes much deeper than broadcasting, of course, but it's particularly visible there. ...

Pullman went on to say that fiction loses its value unless it 'tackles the great moral dilemmas of our time'. 'Fantasy, and fiction in general, is failing to do what it might be doing,' he said. 'It has unlimited potential to explore all sorts of metaphysical and moral questions, but it is not doing that.

'You can't leave morality out unless your work is so stupid and trivial and so worthless that nobody would want to read it anyway.

Garage wins at Cannes

RTÉ reports that Garage, directed by Lenny Abrahamson and written by Mark O'Halloran, has won the CICAE Art and Essai Cinema Prize at the Cannes Film Festival.

CICAE is the International Confederation of Art House Cinemas and the jury is made up of representatives of its members.

Commenting on 'Garage's win, director Lenny Abrahamson said: "I am totally delighted with this award coming after such a fantastic reception for the film at Cannes. It's the best possible launch for its journey around the world."
Mark O'Halloran is a member of the Irish Playwrights and Screenwriters Guild, and the Guild offers him its heartfelt congratulations.

The Palme d'Or was presented to writer/director Cristian Mungiu for 4 Luni, 3 Saptamani Si 2 Zile (4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days).

The runner up Grand Prix went to Naomi Kawase for Mogari No Mori (The Mourning Forest), which she wrote and directed.

The Best Director award went to Julian Schnabel for Le Scaphandre et le papillon (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly) which was written by Ronald Harwood, based on a novel by Jean-Dominique Bauby.

German-Turkish writer and director Fatih Akin won the Best Screenplay award for Yasamin kiyisinda (The Edge of Heaven).

Friday 25 May 2007

Pitch Yourself on YouTube

It's a tough job pitching for work as a television screenwriter in L.A., and last week writer David McMillan decided to try a new approach. According to the L.A. Times McMillan created a video pitch and placed it on YouTube. He sent the link to 100 industry contacts he'd amassed during his career in L.A., and although he hasn't landed a job yet, he's garnered positive feedback and an article about his ploy in the newspaper.

"I love the bold move," said Carol Barbee, executive producer of "Jericho" and the former show runner of "Judging Amy" who assigned McMillan his first script. "I think any way you can get people's attention -- as long as you come off as competent and professional -- can't hurt."

"When assembling a TV staff, you're also assembling a group of personalities to share a writers room," David Rambo, a writer-producer for "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation," said via e-mail. "The video conveys a personality, and that may help David in his job search."

Landing a job isn't easy. This year alone, said Glenn Geller, senior vice president of current programming at CBS Paramount, his studio expects to hire a mere seven writers out of the hundreds who apply for its 21 shows.

New Theatre Biography Prize

The Stage notes that at a London gala in memory of the late Sheridan Morley--actor, author and critic--the inauguration of the Sheridan Morley Prize for the Best Theatre Biography was announced.

During his long career, Morley wrote more than 30 books, including major biographies of Noel Coward, John Gielgud, his father Robert Morley, and his grandmother Gladys Cooper. To celebrate the art of theatrical biography and to continue his legacy in the forefront of this field of literary endeavour, The Sheridan Morley Prize will be awarded annually for the best biography of a theatrical subject written in English, during the previous year. The prize will be administered by Morley's publisher, Oberon Books.

Thursday 24 May 2007

Document the Arts

Information about this year's Documenting the Arts funding has been released. The fund aims to support 5/6 projects, up to a maximum of €80,000 each. The deadline for applications is Friday, July 6.

Landy Writes Adaptation

RTÉ reports that Irish screenwriter Derek Landy (Dead Bodies, Boy Eats Girl) will adapt his children's book, Skulduggery Pleasant, for the big screen after Warner Bros Pictures won a bidding war for the cinema rights. The deal includes rights to all the books in the proposed nine-book series, and is rumoured to be worth over $1m.

Wednesday 23 May 2007

RTE goes mobile reports that RTÉ will now offer entertainment and lifestyle content for Three's mobile TV service, building on the news and sports clips they've been offering for the past two years.

The partnership will see RTÉ shows such as 'The Late Late Show', 'Off the Rails' 'Tubridy Tonight' and 'Show Me The Money' being made available to both pre-pay and bill-paying Three customers at a rate of EUR0.50 for a period of 24 hours.

"We see your mobile as being your personal TV -- no sharing the remote, so you can watch what you want, when you want, where you want, up and down the country," said Three's head of entertainment David Riley. He added that RTÉ was the first of many mobile TV channels set to be launched by the network in the coming weeks.

The level of public interest in mobile TV services remains to be seen. A consumer mobility survey conducted by Canalys earlier this month revealed that nearly half of European consumers had no interest in mobile TV services, with a much greater proportion of those surveyed said they would like to have access to a GPS service through the mobile.

World Cinema Foundation

According to Guardian yesterday at the Cannes Film Festival director Martin Scorsese officially announced the World Cinema Foundation.

The concept grew from his work with the non-profit group, The Film Foundation in America, which he established in 1990 with Woody Allen, Robert Altman, Francis Ford Coppola, Clint Eastwood, Stanley Kubrick, George Lucas, Sydney Pollack, Robert Redford and Steven Spielberg. The organisation advocates and supports the preservation of America's cinematic heritage. To date the foundation has saved over 450 films that faced an imminent risk of being lost, and yet it's estimated that 90% of American silent films have vanished, and perhaps as much as 50% of the films made before 1950.

For the World Cinema Foundation Scorsese is backed by an advisory board of directors that include Mexico's Guillermo Del Toro (Pan's Labyrinth) and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (Babel), China's Wong Kar-wai (In the Mood For Love) and Britain's Stephen Frears (The Queen).

"Things have changed, but it's almost impossible to catch up,"' Scorsese said. "So we thought over the past years it would be a wonderful thing to pull together the influence of directors around the world to work in their countries, to work on raising financing."

Scorsese said filmmakers have a "tenacity and obsession" for saving their favourite movies. The goal is to get restored pictures from around the world more exposure, whether on DVD, in cinemas or on the Internet.

"Preserving films is preserving cultural identity," said Brazil's Walter Salles (The Motorcycle Diaries'), a board member. "We're talking here about preserving diversity and plurality, and the possibility to know each other better."

Plays for a Big Village

The Big Village Theatre Co. is running a playwriting competition, in which the winning scripts will be performed in a three/four night run at a theatrical venue in Edinburgh in November 2007.

Plays much be one-act (40-60 minutes), and feature between four to eight actors of any gender balance. All entries must be accompanied by a cheque for £5, and the closing date for receipt of applications is the 31st May.

Sound and Vision

The Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has announced details of the fourth round of Sound & Vision, the Broadcasting Funding Scheme, for television.

The previous three rounds of Sound & Vision have allocated a cumulative total of €29.1m for television since the scheme's inception. Through this funding, 120 new television programmes in a variety of genres have received support.
Application forms can be downloaded from the site, and the deadline for entries is June 27.

Tuesday 22 May 2007

ITV Online Drama

The Stage reports that ITV plans to commission new drama and comedy especially for its revamped broadband website.

Tanya Lidstone, responsible for all new commissions on the site, said the broadcaster was looking to develop original formats in several genres and was already talking to ITV Productions about an idea for a new comedy-based series.

She said the series could take the form of a talent search show aimed at finding new comedians, but said discussions were at an "early stage".

This week, the broadcaster launched its first made-for-broadband commission with real life soap opera Web Lives.

Made by Films of Record, Lidstone said this would pave the way for other commissions and added: "We are trying to break the mould and I have a budget specifically for commissioning broadband programmes. I can definitely see a drama series working online and I am very keen to do one.

"We will definitely be looking to do a comedy series too and I am hoping more pitches from production companies will come in that are like that."

Playwriting Competition

The Warehouse Theatre Company in Croydon is running an International Playwriting Festival from November 24 and 25 2007, and as part of the event it will showcase selected plays from the writing competition it is running.

Entries must be unproduced full-length plays that have a running time between 90 - 120 minutes. The Warehouse Theatre Company reserves the right to buy the exclusive option to produce any play entered subject to contract.

More details, and an entry from, are available from the web site. The deadline for applications is June 30.

Monday 21 May 2007

Galway Picture Palace

According to The Galway Advertiser Galway will get a new arthouse cinema, called the Galway Picture Palace, within two years.

At last week's city council meeting a group called Solas, which represents the Galway Film Society, the Galway Film Fleadh, the Galway Film Centre, and the Galway Arts Centre, made a presentation regarding the project.

The group called for a four storey arthouse cinema to be built on Lower Merchants Road in Galway. The ground floor will have a box office, café, book shop, DVD store, and garden area. The first floor will have a 160 seat cinema and the second floor will have a 90 seat cinema. The top floor will have a bar/ restaurant with a 'terrace effect'.

The Galway City Council will buy the proposed site for the cinema for €1.8 million. A loan will be taken to pay for this and it will be repaid over five years from development contributions. The council will give the cinema to Solas on a long lease for a nominal fee. The cinema should be open to the public with the next year/two years.

Friday 18 May 2007

Future Perfect

The Paines Plough touring theatre company is once again offering its Future Perfect writing mentorship.

Now entering its third year, Future Perfect is a year long attachment that aims to create a space for writers to explore their individual voices through practical writing projects.

We are looking for six writers between the ages of 18 and 30 to become Future Perfect 2008.
To apply send two unbound copies of a play, along with CV and covering letter, to arrive at the Paines Plough office by Monday, 11th June.

Conference on Media

Filmbase reports that a one-day conference, Media Moves, will take place in the Menlo Park Hotel, Galway on Friday 8th of June 2007.

The conference will examine how the media covers stories, and in particular how it frames issues that are outside of the mainstream. There will be presentations in topics such as "Race and Gender Imagery", "Representation of Youth", and "Portrayal of Travellers", along with three workshops on media skills.

The cost: waged €50, unwaged €20.

Shift the Power Balance

Michael Gubbins writes for about the invisible role of the screenwriter in the filmmaking industry, and the aspirations of the recent European Screenwriters Manifesto.

The stumbling block, or the great opportunity, is money, suggests UK writer William Nicholson, a writer on the Oscar-winning Gladiator. The status of the writer owes much to their position as a salaried employee of a film's producer, who is normally the person taking the financial risk.

"As long as we continue to be in that relationship to the project it will be hard to demand control over our work or even respect.

"The way forward if you really do want power is to function as a writer-director or even more as a writer-producer. If you want the power, you must be willing to shoulder the risk. If you don't want rewrites, be the boss," he says.

Thursday 17 May 2007

Calendar of Events

The Guild has added a a new Calendar of Film and Theatre Events in Ireland to its web site - a smaller version of the calendar is also visible on this blog: at the bottom of the sidebar on the right.

Those of you who possess a Google email account have the added bonus of being able to subcribe to this calendar so it will appear in the calendar section of your email account.

Four Days in June

Channel 4 is organising an event known as Four Days in June at their HQ in London from June 11 - 14 2007:

Members of the public will have the opportunity to attend seminars and masterclasses with various Channel 4 commissioning executives, high-profile on- and off-screen talent - including Academy Award-winning film director Kevin Macdonald; double BAFTA-winning writer Peter Morgan; producer and writer of The Office, Ash Atalla; Peep Show writers Sam Bain and Jesse Armstrong, and internet entrepreneur Martha Lane Fox - plus a selection of leading independent production companies.
On the last day people will be able to pitch ideas to a panel of commissioners from Channel 4's Features department.

Each day must be applied for individually, and Channel 4 requires your name, age, email, contact phone number, and the day you wish to attend. For the first three days you must include a 150-word paragraph on how you would benefit from attending the event. All entries must be received by midnight on 28th May 2007.

Wednesday 16 May 2007

CCTV Filmmaking

The BBC reports on how Manu Luksch, an Australian filmmaker living in London, created a film without a camera.

She realised that people are being filmed all the time by CCTV in the UK, and under the Data Protection Act she was entitled to retrieve CCTV images of herself. She created a short science fiction film, called Faceless, in which she blacked out the faces of anyone else captured in the footage to created a future "faceless world" where she was the only woman with a face.

The film was made according to the "manifesto for CCTV Filmmakers" - there was to be no specialist equipment or cameras involved; the only cameras used had to be CCTV cameras already in place; and the footage had to be obtained by using the Data Protection Act to procure it.

2007 Tony Race

The 2007 Tony Nominations have been announced. Spring Awakening, an Off-Broadway musical hit that transferred to Broadway garnered 11 Tony nominations, followed by Tom Stoppard's The Coast of Utopia trilogy, which received ten nominations. The winners will be announced at the 61st Tony Award Ceremony in New York on Sunday June 10th.

Tuesday 15 May 2007

Outer Critics Choice

The winners of the Outer Critics Circle Awards have been announced, and Playbill has a summary of the event. Tom_Stoppard's The Coast of Utopia trilogy won six awards, the musical Spring Awakening scooped three awards, and other multiple winners were Company, In the Heights, Journey's End, LoveMusik and No Child.

Carney at Directors' Club

Film Ireland reports that the Screen Directors' Guild of Ireland has announced that the May Directors' Club will feature John Carney and his film Once at Denzille Cinema, Dublin 2 on Thursday May 31st at 6.30pm. There will be the opportunity to schmooze over drinks (courtesy of Jameson) after the film. Seats are limited, so members of the Directors' Club should contact Yolanda Barker to book a place.

Monday 14 May 2007

Hammer Lives

According to The Stage the classic UK horror production company, Hammer Film Productions, has been sold to Cyrte Investments. Cyrte plans to invest £25m in new productions for the big screen and television. Since it acquired the Hammer's back catalogue of 300 titles, including Dracula and Frankenstein, it plans to remake these films, possibly in the form of a Hammer TV series.

A statement issued today said: "Hammer will return to film and television production after more than 30 years with an active development programme designed to emulate the best traditions of Hammer.

"The new management plans to aggressively reinvigorate the Hammer brand for a new generation of horror-lovers, utilising web and mobile technologies, whilst retaining Hammer’s significant heritage."

Simon Oakes, who will run Hammer for Cyrte said: "Hammer is a great British brand. We intend to take Hammer back into production and develop its global potential."

Filmbase Test Drive

Filmbase will hold an Open Day on Thursday 24th May at its premises in Temple Bar in Dublin to allow members to inspect its upgraded and expanded equipment facilities, which it obtained under an Arts Council capital grant. Staff will be on hand from 12.30 – 7.30pm to demonstrate and explain the new equipment.

Friday 11 May 2007

One Page Script

The New Media Factory is running a one-page script competition open to anyone living in the border region (Antrim, Armagh, Down, Louth, Meath and Monaghan). The top 5 scripts will go into production at the end of July 2007.

The challenge is to capture and condense all the elements that make film such a popular medium into only one page.

The script must consist of two and characters: One male and one female. These characters must be racially and physically open to interpretation. If a story is unreasonably expensive to produce it may be rejected. The five most compelling stories will be selected.
The deadline for entries is 29 June 2007.

May Sit-In

Filmmakers is having its monthly meeting this Monday, the 14th of May from 7.30 - 9.30m in Filmbase, Curved Street, Temple Bar, Dublin 2. The focus on this meeting will be on pitching, and as usual there will be a screening of short films created by members of the group.

Italian in Ireland

The Buitoni Italian Film Festival is running in the IFI in Dublin from 24 - 27 May, and will feature a selection of contemporary Italian films and documentaries. In the run-up to the festival the IFI will screen classic Italian films such as Felini's 8 1/2, and Visconti's The Leopard.

The Eye Cinema in Galway will show a small selection from the festival on 28-30 May.

Thursday 10 May 2007

TV Viewing Changes

Backstage's article about the change in American television viewing habits points to a fundamental shift thanks to the proliferation of DVRs, TiVos, etc.

This will have a profound effect upon revenue streams for broadcasters, as the American television networks are likely to discover in the coming weeks when they present their Fall schedule to potential advertisers.

Television has made billions based on how many people watch a show at its regular time. That idea may already be obsolete. So should the industry use DVR viewing when setting ad rates? If so, how quickly must people watch the shows -- within two days? A week? What about people who watch shows on their cell phones or on network Web sites, which Nielsen doesn't measure yet? Later this month Nielsen will begin measuring how many people watch commercials. Should those be used to compute advertising costs?

Right now, none of those questions have answers.

However, "if we continue to do business assuming people will watch television as they always have," said NBC's Wurtzel, "it's a dead-end game."
Over the coming years European markets can expect the same shift in television revenue models, especially with the increase of online on-demand material.

Finalists Jan 07

Filmbase has announced the initial shortlist for its January 2007 short script awards, for which there were over 200 entries.

Congratulations to the nine finalists, and best of luck in the forthcoming interviews, which will whittle the group down to the lucky three.

Wednesday 9 May 2007

Write in the Sun

Monomito, a Portuguese non-profit screenwriting cooperative, and the Flanders Script Academy, are running a one-week international scriptwriting workshop "aimed at training participants on how to write stories that travel successfully across national and cultural borders."

The workshop will take place in Portugal at the Arrábida Monastery located at Arrábida's natural reserve, 40 minutes drive from Lisbon, from July 15 - 21. Seminar and workshop hours are from 9am - 12.30pm, and from 2pm - 5.30pm. The course tutor is Dr. Patrick Cattrysse, co-founder of the Flanders Script Academy.

Applicants must download the application form from the web site, and send it along with their CV before June 10. The workshop is limited to 15 participants.

Cost depends on the type of lodging: €950 (private room) or €890 (double room - shared), and includes the seminars, rooms from 15 - 21 July, Internet access, three meals per day and two coffee-breaks, use of the facilities such as meeting rooms, swimming pool and guided tour to the Monastery, and transportation from Lisbon to Arrábida and back.

Radio Days

The Script Factory has teamed up with BBC Radio Drama to create an information day called Wireless & Boundless, on Thursday 7 June from 2-5pm at The Script Factory in Central London.

During the day, Radio 4 Drama Commissioner, Jeremy Howe, Head of BBC Radio Drama, Alison Hindell, and Producer Sam Hoyle, will illuminate the creative and practical process of writing for radio, followed by a chance to quiz them further over informal drinks. Writers attending the day will then be invited to pitch a written idea for a radio play from which 6 will be short-listed and those writers invited to attend a BBC Radio Drama Masterclass on 1 & 2 August, in the BBC HQ at Bush House in Central London, with the opportunity to make a short drama.
To apply for a place send a writing CV, a short review of a radio play, and an idea for a radio play by post to The Script Factory by 24 May.

Young Writers Needed

BBC Blast Northern Ireland is running a short script competition for young screenwriters, aged between 13 and 19. The winning script will be filmed and edited during the BBC Blast Festival from June 27-July under the supervision of screenwriter and film director Terry Loane (Mickybo & Me).

The script should be 6-8 minutes long, and filmable on a tiny budget over two days. Entries can be submitted by email or post, and must reach the BBC Blast NI by 3pm on Friday, May 25, 2007.

All-Ireland Drama

RTÉ reports on the winners of this year's RTÉ All-Ireland Drama Festival in Athlone. The big winners of the night were the Silken Thomas Players of Kildare, who won the Perpetual Trophy for their production of Larry Kramer's play The Normal Heart. They also scooped Best Actor (Conor O'Connell), Best Supporting Actor (Colin Malone), and Best Stage Management (Maria Finnegan).

Tuesday 8 May 2007

Pitch your Film

The Stella Artois Pitching Awards will be held again during the Galway Film Fleadh (11th- 16th July), and the closing date for applications is the 15th of June.

Submissions consist of a one-page story synopsis, a logline, a completed application form, and a €25 entry fee. Five writers will be selected to make their pitch in person.

The chosen projects will be presented before a panel of industry experts and a public audience. The best pitch will receive a fantastic award sponsored by Stella Artois, worth €5,000, to be presented during the Awards Ceremony at the Town Hall Theatre.
Last year's winner, Mark Wale, is a member of the Irish Playwrights and Screenwriters Guild.

Award Process Changed

The Filmbase/RTÉ Short Film Awards has changed its application process for its June 2007 intake slightly.

The deadline for the next award is 5pm on 29th June 2007, but applications will not be accepted until two weeks prior to the closing date. Therefore, the window for submissions is between 15 - 29 of June only.

Read the guidelines for applications carefully. Filmbase received over 200 entries for the previous submission period in January.

Film Ireland 20

Film Ireland's 20th anniversary publication is issue 116, which is in the shops now. To celebrate, the copy is 20% larger, with extra interviews and articles, and also 20% cheaper.

Friday 4 May 2007

Blogs and the Industry

Ann Thompson, deputy editor at Variety, has posted an article on how blogging is reshaping the coverage of films in Hollywood and beyond:

Many media outlets are building online traffic by giving their best-known writers blogs. While fact- and spell-checking is still de rigueur, so are more personal statements of point-of-view and opinion. On a blog, writers can get away with a heartfelt lack of objectivity that they can't inside the strictures of the newsroom. New York Post critic Lou Lumenick is one of a growing number of daily newspaper critics who are reaching out to readers via blogs. Other notables: the Boston Globe's Ty Burr, the Philadelphia Inquirer's Carrie Rickey and the Oregonian's Shawn Levy. (Some ex-print critics have developed their own online followings, including, and

New York Magazine and Conde Nast's Portfolio just launched a rash of new culture blogs. New York Times media writer David Carr conducts video interviews for his seasonal Oscar blog, the Carpetbagger, while the Los Angeles Times' the Envelope offers party and awards coverage all year long.
In the media industry, blogging is part and parcel of the business now.

WGA under scrutiny

LA Weekly has an article detailing an on-going investigation into the practices of the WGA in America:

The L.A. Weekly has learned that the Department of Labor has been quietly gathering evidence and testimony about the guild's payment practices for over a year -- though it refuses to confirm or deny that it is investigating. Moreover, on April 12, a 27-page ruling by Los Angeles federal District Judge Margaret Morrow appears to have granted the writers some legitimacy, by rejecting the WGA claim that, as a labor union, it could collect and hold their money -- and charge them hefty fees to boot. In sending the Richert suit back to state court, according to Hughes and Neville Johnson, the attorney spearheading the class action, Judge Morrow left the guild wide-open to charges of conversion and fraud.

Thursday 3 May 2007

Garage at Cannes

RTÉ reports that the Irish feature film, Garage, has been selected for the Director's Fortnight at the 60th Cannes Film Festival.

Garage is produced by Ed Guiney and executive produced by Andrew Lowe for Element Pictures, who were involved with last year's Palme d'Or-winning The Wind That Shakes the Barley.

This is the second feature film from director Lenny Abrahamson and writer Mark O'Halloran, who were also responsible for the award-winning black comedy Adam and Paul.

Set in the mid-west of Ireland, it tells the story of harmless misfit Josie (Shortt), the caretaker of a crumbling petrol station, and his hapless search for intimacy one summer.

Planning the Future

The Irish Playwrights and Screenwriters Guild is offering a one-day information session for Guild members to help them plan for the future.

It will cover health, pensions, social welfare, personal investment, savings, and wills, and the seminar will take place on Thursday 14th June. Places are limited, so early booking is essential. For more information contact

Wednesday 2 May 2007

The Screenwriters Role

Today's reports on the Screenwriters Festival, which will be running from July 3-6 in Cheltenham, UK.

This year the festival's head, David Pearson, believes an important discussion about the nature of the film industry needs to happen, especially now that the European Screenwriters Manifesto has been established. The festival hopes to offer a platform for screenwriters to discuss their presence in the industry.

Christine Kallas, president of the European writers body FSE, believes it's time that screenwriting took its place at the heart of the film-making process.

"Writers are not looking for recognition of their role in the creation of a film. But films are still generally though of as either a producer's film or a director's film and our creativity is often not recognised."

On Demand Plans

Courtesy of The Guardian is the news that ITV plans to relaunch its web site in the coming weeks as a broadband portal.

At that time the broadcaster will also launch an on demand service via the web site that will allow viewers to watch any programme aired on ITV during the previous 30 days.

The £20m revamp of is designed to bring broadband television into the mainstream. In addition to the catch up service, it will offer live streams of each channel, with extra content, special web-only commissions and behind the scenes footage. ITV is also digitising 20,000 hours of its archive and will offer a selection of classics like Jewel in the Crown, Prime Suspect, The Prisoner and Inspector Morse as well as old episodes of soaps and comedies.
Earlier this week the BBC announced that it was launching its iPlayer service, which will offer a seven day catch up service. The BBC plans for an online archive also.

Tuesday 1 May 2007

Temple in Temple Bar

Director Julien Temple will visit the IFI in Dublin on Saturday 12th May at 12.30pm to present a sneak preview of his new documentary, Joe Strummer: The Future is Unwritten. It will be followed by a public interview with Temple.

Later, the director will also introduce Glastonbuy, his documentary about the legendary music festival that was released last year.

Heery Film wins twice

From a report on IFTN it appears that congratulations are due to Irish writer/director Niall Heery, whose film Small Engine Repair just won two awards at the Nashville Film Festival - the Nashville Film Festival/Regal Cinemas Dreammaker Award for Best Feature and the Audience Award for Best Film.

Early this year Felim MacDermot interviewed Heery on behalf of the Guild, and you can read Heery's thoughts about writing for film on the IPSG web site.