Monday 30 April 2007

It's Alive!

According to The Seattle Times Mel Brooks has decided to transform another of his early films into a theatrical musical.

This time he's adapting his black and white horror homage film, Young Frankenstein (1974), to the stage. It will be called It's Alive! The musical will rehearse in both Seattle and New York, and will have its premier on August 4 in Seattle, before opening in Broadway in the autumn.

As he did for The Producers, Brooks will pen the score for Young Frankenstein, and co-author the book (based on his screenplay) with Thomas Meehan. The design team: Robin Wagner on sets, William Ivey Long on costumes and Peter Kaczorowski on lighting.

All the above won Tony Awards for The Producers, which garnered an even dozen in 2001, including one for director Susan Stroman.

Friday 27 April 2007

One Page Play

Practicum Theatre is looking for play submissions for its one page play competition.

These can be in the form of sketches, monologues, dramas, comedies or physical theatre - you name it, we want it. You can break your page into columns to fit in more - whatever you can do to get your play on that page! The only restriction is that it can't be more than 5 minutes long when it's performed.

If your play is chosen as one of the finalists, you will be asked to present it on 10th June, 2007 at the Bedford Globe Theatre in Balham, South London. The audience chooses the winners for Best Writing, Best Direction & Best Overall Play.
The deadline is 16 May 2007, and there is an fee of £5 per entry. Submissions can be emailed, and the fee paid via PayPal online.

Thursday 26 April 2007

Future Shorts Ireland

Future Shorts Ireland is part of a global organisation that aims to bring the best of international and home-grown short films to the viewing public. There are screenings in Belfast, a meeting in Dublin on the last Wednesday of every month, and now Cork will have its own monthly gathering, organised by production company, Egomotion.

The first meeting will be Wednesday, 2nd May at 8pm, upstairs in the Roundy, Castle Street, Cork. The night will cost €5, and for that you will get a selection of nine international shorts, three local short films, and a Q&A with one of the filmmakers. Music and a DJ are promised to keep the night going.

Wednesday 25 April 2007

Less than 25 words

Thanks to Lianne's blog I note that the UK Film Council has announced details about its new round of the 25 Words or Less scheme.

The next round of 25 Words or Less brings a new approach to the initiative, in partnership with 3 of the UK's low budget production financiers: Warp X, Vertigo Films and Slingshot Studios. The production partners and the UK Film Council’s Development Fund will jointly select three writers to develop a first draft script inspired by each of the production partner's chosen genre. Involvement of these partners will provide access to their expertise and experience of developing for low budget features, in an environment where a primary focus is moving rapidly to production.

Funding of £10,000 will be awarded by the UK Film Council to each successful writer. The Development Fund will assign a script editor to each project -- the cost of which will be attributable to the project but met by the UK Film Council.
The three studios and matching genres are: Warp X: "Lo-Fi, Sci-Fi."; Vertigo Films: "A comedy involving a case of mistaken identity"; Slingshot Studios: "Teen Hitchcock".

All EU citizens are eligible, but only people with literary agents, or full members of the Writer's Guild of Great Britain, can apply. Otherwise, the application mostly consists of a pitch line of under 25 words, a one-page outline, 10 pages of sample scenes, and pertinent application details. Applications need to arrive at the UK Film Council's offices by Friday 13th July 2007, an auspicious date.

Advice from Albee

At the weekend American playwright, Edward Albee (Who's Afraid of Virginna Wolf?, The Sandbox), gave a two-hour masterclass in New York on writing for theatre. The New York Times sat in, and recorded some of his advice:

"Then say it," Mr. Albee said. "That's your job, to change things and bring people around to your point of view. You're either right or wrong. Creativity begins in the unconscious. Don't write too soon. Get to know your characters. You should be writing absolutely real people in real situations. That's the only way actors can act your stuff."

There were practical matters, too: never lecture, don't be obscure, never become someone's opinion of you, and remember that every line has two purposes -- one, to delineate character, and two, to advance the plot. Everything else is a waste.

There was also a reading list of the four essential 20th-century playwrights (Chekhov, Pirandello, Beckett and Brecht) and a warning.

"If you only read the great writers, you'll be in trouble," he said. "Read junk. It's enormously encouraging to tell yourself, 'I can do better than that.' "

Dublin Theatre Festival

RTÉ notes that the preliminary programme for the 50th Dublin Theatre Festival (27 September - 14 October) has been announced.

The full, expanded programme for the festival will be announced later this year, but among the highlights are the Irish premiere of Marina Carr's 'Woman and Scarecrow' at the Peacock Theatre; Druid Theatre Company's production of 'A Long Day's Journey into Night' at the Gaiety Theatre; Laurie Anderson's 'Homeland' at the Olympia Theatre and Japan's premier Butoh dance company's 'Sanki Juku' at the Gaiety Theatre.
Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism, John O'Donoghue, has granted once-off funding of €200,000 for the anniversary year, and a 50th Celebration Committee had been established to work with the Dublin Theatre Festival.

Tuesday 24 April 2007

Why Experiment?

Charles McNulty at the LA Times considers the trends in awards for American drama, and the Pultizer Prize in particular, and wonders if cutting-edge playwriting has a chance to succeed if it is not rewarded by critical attention, or honoured for its achievements.

Audio Drama Popular Again

Toby Lichtig at the Guardian blog has an interesting article, chock-full of links, about how the rise in popularity of podcasting might revitalise the art of audio drama.

Frederick Greenhalgh of Radio Drama Revival! thinks so. His blog, which began at the end of last year, includes a range of new radio dramas. He is based in the US, where audio theatre, he admits, is still an especially "small world" desperately in need of promotion; but he is convinced that things are changing. Greenhalgh runs Final Rune Productions and is dedicated to making this happen. He reminds us that that Orson Welles started in radio, and laments the current paucity of commercial radio drama in the US:

The popularity of programmes such as Sonic Theater on XM Radio and sites such as Dramapod also indicate a resurgence, though a quick look at the latter's main categories - Superhero, Dr Who, Star Trek - points to Greenhalgh's fears. He is enthusiastic about the more illustrious recent history of radio drama in the UK: "They actually think it's valuable to have written stories recorded and played on the radio for people. What's crazier, is that they PAY people to do it!"
Radio broadcasters in Ireland would do well to consider how they could use this revived interest in audio theatre to bring new drama to the Irish public.

Sundance Director at Guth Gafa

IFTN reports that the Guth Gafa Documentary Film Festival (10 – 13 May 2007) in Donegal has announced that Geoff Gilmore, Director of the Sundance Film Festival, will be a special guest.

Gilmore, who has been director of Sundance for 10 years, has helped establish the Sundance Film Festival as the most important event in the US independent filmmakers calendar. At Guth Gafa 2007 Gilmore will host an industry seminar focusing on Creative Theatrical Documentaries on Saturday 12th May. This event is supported by the Irish Film Board.

Monday 23 April 2007

Gough Wins Best Short

RTÉ reports that Irish author, songwriter, and playwright, Julian Gough, has won the prestigious Britain's National Short Story Prize, and a sum of €22,000.

Gough's winning short story, 'The Orphan and the Mob', was broadcast by BBC 4 radio last week, and if you hurry you can still listen to it (click on the Tuesday reading; the story is read by Irish actor Conor Lovett).

Gough's new novel, Jude: Level 1, which continues the adventures of the hero of 'The Orphan and the Mob', will be published in July.

Texts Don't Grow on Trees

Texts Don't Grow on Trees – the Authors' Rights Awareness Campaign

The European Writers' Congress has launched a campaign which over the next two years, aims to raise public awareness of Authors' Rights. Texts don't grow on trees; they are the works of authors.

At a time when new digital distribution models are being developed worldwide – many libraries and publishing houses are already digitising their catalogues for publication on the web – the campaign focusses on the danger to authors' rights that this poses. This is not a dream of the future but is happening now, and very soon many protected texts will be freely downloadable.

Easy access to texts is good for everyone, including writers, but the dangers must not be overlooked. Plagiarism is already well established as a negative consequence: In our universities, tutors have been aware for some time that students have been copying and pasting from the work of others on the internet. The novel How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild and Got a Life by Kaavya Viswanathan was called back by her publishing house Little, Brown and Company shortly after publication when it was discovered that great parts of the book had been copied from other novels.

In this age of easy availability and access to texts, authors' moral and copyrights are being overlooked; either wilfully or through ignorance. There is a growing and rapid desensitisation to the fact that behind every work there is an author; who's livlihood and reputation rests upon the recognition of their authorship. Freedom of access is increasingly being confused with freedom to take without permission or payment.

As authors we want our campaign "Texts don't grow on trees" to sensitise our public to our rights and their responsibilities. Unlike the music industry, we don't want to threaten prosecution or wage war on people. Rather we want to open a dialogue with them in order that they understand and accept our position: Yes please download our texts, but please also respect our moral and copyrights and our right to be remunerated for our work.

Even the most advanced copy protection technology is inferior to the understanding and good will of our public. The best copy protection is that which we can place in their consiousness. We call it Respect.

This campaign needs your support, because it is your campaign too. Spead the message. Go to - - download the banner: put it on your website and even in your emails. Thank you.

For the European Writers' Congress
Adi Blum
Graham Lester George

Friday 20 April 2007


The Annual General Meeting of the Irish Playwrights' and Screenwriters' Guild takes place on Saturday 21st April at 2.30pm in the Irish Film Institute in Eustace Street in Dublin's Temple Bar.

Members of the Babysitters' Guild have announced in a press release that Apprentice (kid next door), Junior (little brother) and Retired (Granny and Granddad) members have had to be pressed into service to deal with demand. Woody's has announced that the sale of garden implements has fallen dramatically, despite the good weather*, as plans to weed the planter by the front door have been abandoned by writers all over the country. The Garda Traffic Bureau has warned motorists to be careful of a flood of writers on bikes trying to read their Chairperson's Report while careering down Dame Street.

* In a shock announcement the Met Office has stated that heavy rain, turning to sleet and snow, is predicted for next Saturday afternoon in the back gardens of all writers not at the Annual General Meeting of the Irish Playwrights' and Screenwriters' Guild which takes place on Saturday 21st April at 2.30pm in the Irish Film Institute in Eustace Street in Dublin's Temple Bar. We understand that all sporting fixtures which might have been broadcast that afternoon on any television service receivable in Ireland have been mysteriously cancelled.

Speed Wins

RTÉ reports that the Irish romantic comedy, Speed Dating, bagged the Best Picture award at the 8th Malibu International Film Festival in California.

Written and directed by Tony Herbert, the film goes on release in Ireland today.

IFTN interviews Herbert, in which he describes how he developed his story from script to film.

Who Online

The BBC's Writer's Room continues to add new scripts to its archive for download.

Those who admire the latest Dr. Who television show can download the first episode of the new series, entitled "Smith and Jones".

Thursday 19 April 2007

Cannes 07 Line-up

ScreenDaily informs us that Wong Kar-wai's first English-language project, My Blueberry Nights, will open the 60th Cannes Film Festival, and will be part of the competition. The festival runs May 16-27, and Stephen Frears is the jury president.

The other films selected for competition are:

Catherine Breillat's An Old Mistress (Une Vieille Maitresse)
Christophe Honore's The Love Songs (Les Chansons d'amour)
Julian Schnabel's The Diving Bell And The Butterfly
Fatih Akin's The Edge of Heaven (Auf der anderen Seite)
The Coen Brothers' No Country For Old Men
David Fincher's Zodiac
James Gray's We Own The Night
Naomi Kawase's Mogari No Mori
Emir Kusturica's Promise Me This
Lee Chang-Dong's Secret Sunshine
Cristian Mungiu's 4 Months, 3 Weeks And 2 Days
Raphael Nadjari's Tehilim
Carlos Reygadas' Silent Light
Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud's Persepolis
Ulrich Seidl's Import/Export
Alexander Sokurov's Alexandra
Quentin Tarantino's Death Proof
Bela Tarr's The Man From London
Gus Van Sant's Paranoid Park
Andrey Zvyagintsev's The Banishment
Kim Ki-duk's Breath

Official selection, out of competition:

Michael Moore's Sicko
Steven Soderbergh's Ocean's Thirteen
Michael Winterbottom's A Mighty Heart

The closing film, out of competition, will be Denys Arcand's The Age Of Darkness.

Comedy Duo at IFI

The IFI in Dublin will host a special preview on May 1st of Magicians, the first feature film from British comedians David Mitchell and Robert Webb who are the stars of the Channel 4 series Peep Show.

Mitchell and Webb will be at IFI for the event, and will take part in a public interview following the screening. The film does not go on nationwide release until May 18th.

Listowel Delights

The programme for the 37th Listowel Writer's Week is now online. Running from May 30-June 3, the festival will feature readings, theatrical productions, film showings, poetry, concerts, interviews, lectures, and a lot of fun.

Short Cuts Deadline

The deadline for the Irish Film Board's latest Short Cuts scheme is June 15.

We are looking for new film-makers with imagination, visual flair and a commitment to cinema. Special attention will be given to new directors, writers and producers.

We intend to finance a maximum of 5 films from a total fund of €370,000. The maximum budget for any project is €80,000. Not all films will receive equal funding (i.e. budgets should reflect script content and not funds available). Projects of between 6 and 15 minutes duration are eligible to apply for an award. Short Cuts can be shot on any format but must be delivered on 35mm.

Wednesday 18 April 2007

Pulitzer for Rabbit Hole

Playbill reports that the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for Drama was given to David Lindsay-Abaire's five-person play, Rabbit Hole.

The play's win is somewhat unusual because it was not one of the original three nominated plays selected for the jury: Orpheus X by Rinde Eckert; Bulrusher by Eisa Davis; and Elliot, a Soldier's Fugue by Quiara Alegria Hudes. Since the jury could not agree on a majority vote on any of the final three, they agreed to look at Rabbit Hole, which went on to win.

Playwright Lindsay-Abaire is respected for such quirky, freewheeling Off-Broadway comedies as Fuddy Meers and Kimberly Akimbo, but his more serious Rabbit Hole is about a family recovering from the death of a child. The play received five Tony nominations, including Best Play (it lost the Best Play Tony to The History Boys). Cynthia Nixon received the Tony for her performance as a mother grieving the loss of her young son.

"The [Rabbit Hole] rehearsal process was difficult for everybody," said playwright Lindsay-Abaire at a 2006 Tony Awards press event. Stars "Cynthia Nixon and John Slattery have kids the same age as the boy in the play. Once we were up and running, you sort of forgot about that for a while. Then, when I'd revisit it, with friends or relatives who were experiencing the play for the first time, it would remind me how scary the stuff was that I wrote about."

Lindsay-Abaire wrote the drama after fellow playwright Marsha Norman -- who was his teacher at Juilliard -- told him to write a play about something that frightened him. A father, Lindsay-Abaire began shaping a story about a husband and wife who lose their only child in a freak car accident.

BBC Writer's Academy

Over at the BBC's Writer's Room John Yorke discusses the BBC's Continuing Drama Series Writer's Academy:

... which is a 3 month training course in writing for Continuing Drama Series, consisting of a number of workshops and lectures accompanied by intensive writing exercises and analysis. During this period, each writer will be commissioned to write a broadcast episode of Doctors.

After the initial training and the Doctors script, your work will be assessed. If you have reached the required standard for production on Continuing Drama Series you will begin the next phase of the training, writing a broadcast episode of Casualty, Holby and Eastenders in turn, spending approximately 12 weeks on each show.

The writers will be engaged by the BBC for 12 months on a non-exclusive basis, although the course will be a full time commitment.

A retainer of £400 a week will be paid during the 3 month initial training course.
The deadline for applications is 14 May 2007, and details about the application process can be found on the BBC Jobs page.

Tuesday 17 April 2007

Funny or Die

Via The Hollywood Reporter comes the news that Will Ferrell and Adam McKay's production company, Gary Sanchez Prods., has launched a new comedy video web site,

The site was launched last week, and the first featured two-minute comedy skit called "The Landlord", which stars Will Ferrell, Adam McKay, and McKay's toddler daughter, has garnered over 1.5 million page views.

FunnyOrDie also features user-generated comedy videos, allowing anyone to upload their clips. But unlike YouTube and other popular user-generated sites, the viewers' ratings for the videos determine their fate -- thus the name of the site -- with only the highly rated staying on. Those with negative reviews are banished to the "Crypt" section of the site.
Those of you with genuinely funny videos should consider this as an excellent opportunity to pitch your material to a tough crowd.

BBC past to go online

The Guardian reports that the BBC is going to release nearly a million hours of programming from its vast broadcasting archive for online browsing.

The project is already under trial with 20,000 users, and the BBC hopes it will be available to the British public by 2008. The company has to clear a lot of copyrighted material, as well as contact actors, agents, composers and presenters, and this is a time-consuming process.

The BBC also plans to make a huge amount of supporting material available, including scripts, programme notes and letters relating to shows. If it can secure permission to use them, they will make up a huge database of documents that viewers can search easily and quickly.

Paperwork the BBC hopes to place online includes a signed expenses form Attenborough sent when he was filming in Indonesia: dated 10 August 1954, it requests tropical clothing.

The BBC also has letters from Attenborough, sent care of the British embassy in Jakarta, telling BBC bosses about his first impressions of the country.

The corporation has been planning to exploit its valuable archive for some time. New technology means it is far cheaper to store and distribute video and audio streams, and the growth of broadband has boosted demand for high-quality content.

Monday 16 April 2007

How to inflate a Budget

Those wondering why Hollywood films have such big budgets should check out yesterday's LA Times article. Using the failed action film, Sahara (2004), as an example, it lays bear the death-of-a-thousand-cuts spending that can bloat a film budget unduly. The documents were leaked as part of an ongoing lawsuit brought by Clive Cussler, the writer of the novel on which the film is based.

Here's a cost of particular interest:

* Ten screenwriters were paid $3.8 million in fees and bonuses - highlighting the increasingly common practice of hiring and firing numerous writers on big-budget features. David S. Ward, who won an Academy Award for "The Sting," received $500,000. ...

Unlike most financial failures, "Sahara" performed reasonably well, ranking No. 1 after its opening weekend and generating $122 million in gross box-office sales. But the movie was saddled with exorbitant costs, including a $160-million production and $81.1 million in distribution expenses.
It makes the average European film budget look miniscule.

21 Directors of Merit

The Telegraph has assembled the "Top 21 British directors" list. Here's the initial ten:

1. Alfred Hitchcock (1899-1980)
2. Charlie Chaplin (1889-1977)
3. Michael Powell (1905-1990)
4. David Lean (1908-1991)
5. Nicolas Roeg (1928- )
6. Carol Reed (1906-1976)
7. John Boorman (1933- )
8. Terence Davies (1945- )
9. Alexander Mackendrick (1912-1993)
10. Stephen Frears (1941- )

You would get a solid education in cinema just by watching films made by those ten men.

Friday 13 April 2007

A Wet Beginning

The Stage summarises the situation of the Broadway musical, The Pirate Queen, which was created by the Riverdance originators, Moya Doherty and John McColgan.

Based on the life of the 16th-century pirate, Grace O'Malley, the production cost approximately $20 million to stage, and opened to poor reviews from the theatre critics, like this notice from the New York Times, which dubbed it "Oceandance, with Swordplay".

The Stage estimates that to recoup its investment "it would need to play to full houses at the 1,800-seat Hilton Theatre for three to four years."

New Ways to Distribute

There's an interesting article up on Variety about how the struggles for independent producers/directors to obtain a fair deal--or any deal at all--for the distribution of their films might become easier in the future thanks to online innovations.

The piece focuses on producer Linda Nelson, who wanted to find distribution for her very low-budget film, Shifted.

"We knew we didn't have the quality to stand up to a theatrical release," Nelson says. "But we got five offers from DVD distributors." Nelson, however, was shocked by the deal terms, which were typical: No advance without a star or a decent budget. No piece of the backend. The distributor hangs on to its rights for seven to 10 years. And when they sell the DVD on the Internet via Amazon or Netflix, the distrib takes 25% of the gross and subtracts all expenses, including replicating and supplying DVDs and marketing. (Netflix won't take any films without a distributor.)

Nelson was amazed, too, by the distributors' lack of accountability. "They send quarterly reports by country," she says, "But they don't tell you how many units they sold. They don't keep track by film. They don't have systems or bookkeeping capabilities. There's no such thing as making money. What you get upfront is what you are going to see."

But this situation won't last much longer, Nelson predicts. "Everything is changing," she says. Any neophyte filmmaker faces a huge puzzle when it comes to selling theatrical, TV and video rights around the world. But it's nothing the right software can't solve.

Green Fields for free

IFTN reports that there will be a free showing of Alan Gilsenan's WWI documentary, The Green Fields of France next Thursday, 19 April, in Temple Bar's Meeting House Square at 8.15pm. The director will introduce the hour-long film, which honours the Irish men and women who died during World War I.

Thursday 12 April 2007

Waterford Film Festival

According to Film Ireland it's been announced that the inaugural Waterford Film Festival will take place from the 16th to the 18th of November, 2007.

The festival will showcase a wide range of films from best feature films, documentaries, animation, short films, experimental and student work, and will feature a competition with cash prizes across the short film and feature film categories. Entry deadlines: Shorts - 17th September (€15.00 entry fee); Features - 20th of August (€25.00 entry fee).

Roy W Dean Grant

This year's The Roy W. Dean Writing/Research Grant is open for applications; the deadline is May 18, 2007.

This will be a Writing/Research Grant for writers of screen plays, short films and documentary films for important issues that fit our criteria, must be "unique and make a difference to society". It is for writers who need uninterrupted time to work on projects in a beautiful, remote setting with a good computer, VCR, TV, RUV and a few sheep to tend.
The recipient of the award will receive 4 - 6 weeks at the Wye Cottage on the south island of New Zealand and air fare to the country, $120.00 NZ per week for groceries and gas, among other basic needs that will allow the writer to create work in an idyllic location.

Thanks to Lianne's Dates for your Diary.

New Works of Merit

The 2007 New Works of Merit Playwriting Competition is looking for original full-length (no longer than 2 hours or 100 pages U.S. Standard Format) and one-act stage plays including children's plays that:

1) Enhance self-realization
2) Support peace and social justice
3) Foster new understanding of minority issues that focus on racial, ethnic and gender discrimination both in the United States and abroad
4) Empower youth to build healthy inner foundations
5) Educate to gain further insight into healthy social/emotional living
6) Shed new light on religious, spiritual, and cultural differences and issues
7) Build respect for cultural expression and identity in a world that is experiencing rapid globalization
8) Explore the widening gap between the values this country was founded on and the values we present to the world today
The submission post-mark deadline is June 30, 2007. 1st Place Award: $300 and a reading at a theatre venue in Manhattan.

Thanks to Lianne's Dates for your Diary.

Wednesday 11 April 2007

IFTA membership

The Irish Film and Television Academy is open for new members. If you apply before the 30th of April you get a 10% discount on your membership. The final deadline is the 31st August 2007.

Membership is open to Irish industry professionals working at various levels in all disciplines, with the opportunity to become a Full Member or an Associate Member.

To become a Full Member of the Academy (with voting rights for the annual Awards), you must have a minimum of four years professional experience and demonstrate that you are working at an appropriate level as defined by each individual Chapter, and/or have made a significant contribution to the industry.

Those who do not, at this time, meet the minimum eligibility criteria may apply to become Associate Members with a view to becoming full members in the future.
Membership forms, and further information about the benefits of the IFTA, are detailed on its web site.

Jack and Rose in Galway

Filmmakers in Galway might be interested in the following event during the forthcoming Cúirt International Festival of Literature.

At 10.30pm on Friday, April 27 in the Town Hall Theatre, writer and director Rebecca Miller will introduce her most recent film, The Ballad of Jack and Rose, which stars her husband, Daniel Day Lewis.

Dublin African Festival

The second Dublin African Film Festival will be playing from the 20-22 April at the CineWorld Cinema, Parnell Street, Dublin. Over 20 of the actors and directors involved in the 8 films showing over the weekend will attend the event.

There will a Q&A, followed by an after-party in the RDS at 9pm, once the opening movie, The Concubine (Andy Amenechi), finishes. The Nigerian Ambassador will be on hand to give a closing speech after the last film of the festival, Forgiveness (John Kamara).

Tuesday 10 April 2007

Grindhouse Split

Bad news for Europeans: after the poor opening weekend (a mere $12 million!) for the Tarantino/Rodriguez double bill movie, Grindhouse, Harvey Weinstein has confirmed to Deadline Hollywood Daily that the project will be split into two separate feature films for the European market. In fact, it appears likely that the movies will be split and aired separately in the USA after the lower than expected business.

That's what Harvey says The Weinstein Co. is already intending to do with the film's release in Europe: split it into two separate pics, Tarantino's Death Proof and Rodriguez's Planet Terror. "Quentin's movie goes out first in competition at Cannes. He'll do an extensive 4 to 5 month tour. And the trailer will be all Quentin's," Weinstein told me about his European plans. "Then we'll release Robert's a couple of months later. By splitting it up, we're going to do a hell of a lot better internationally than we did here." Weinstein noted that, even in Grindhouse's video deal as well as its TV deal with Starz Entertainment Group, it's been sold as two separate movies.

Authors Rights

The Authors' Rights Awareness Campaign is promoting a new campaign to promote authors' rights.

The 23 April is the UNESCO World Book and Copyright Day. By celebrating this Day throughout the world, UNESCO seeks to promote reading, publishing and the protection of intellectual property through copyright. For this reason the European Writers' Congress (EWC), the federation of 55 writers' associations in 29 countries of Europe, has started a campaign which is called "Texts Don't Grow on Trees".
You can support the campaign by signing the online petition.

Sundance Lab Looms

Lianne, an Irish screenwriter and reader in London, has published her second quarter summary of Dates for your Diary.

There are plenty of items of interest, including the approaching deadline (May 1, 2007) for the 2008 Sundance Screenwriters Lab, and the May 15 deadline for the European Writing Competition of Film Concept.

Get writing!

Saturday 7 April 2007

Happy Easter/Passover!

I hope you all enjoy the sunshine, which isn't making it easy to sit indoors and write.

It might be a outdoors laptop weekend.

Friday 6 April 2007

Forum on Actor Training

According to The Stage the outcry against the decision by Trinity College, Dublin to scrap its three-year acting degree has lead to the formation of a 14-member forum to investigate Ireland's actor training needs.

Among the members of the forum are: Fiach MacConghail, director of the Abbey, actors Fiona Shaw and Mark Lambert, Gate Theatre director Michael Colgan, and Druid Theatre founder, and director, Garry Hynes.

Among the issues the forum has been asked to examine are:
  • How many actors should Ireland train each year, and for what sort of work?

  • What training courses are currently available and on what basis do they operate?

  • Where should actor training courses be located - inside or outside the universities?

  • Is a three-year degree course the most suitable option?

  • What relationship should training courses have with the professional theatre?

  • How should such courses best be funded - by the state, from private fees or through public/private partnership agencies?
The forum, chaired by Professor Nicholas Grene, of the university’s school of English, is expected to deliver its recommendations before the summer.

Easter Sunday Fare

IFTN report that a new TV movie based upon Maeve Binchy's short story "Anner House" will broadcast on RTÉ One this Easter Sunday, April 8th, at 9.30pm.

It was directed by Stephen Burke, and shot on location in Cape Town in the summer of 2006. The screenwriter, Anne Marie Casey, discusses with IFTN the challenges she faced while writing this adaptation.

Scorsese busy at Cannes

From Cinematical I see that seasoned director, Martin Scorsese, will be a very busy man at the 60th Cannes Film Festival this year.

Not only will he be the festival's guest of honour, who will present a Masterclass to young filmmakers, and hand out the Caméra d'Or in the best director category, he's also teaming up with other directors to launch a new project: the World Cinema Foundation, which will be "devoted to the preservation and restoration of cinematic masterpieces from across the globe."

Based on the preliminary programme that's shaping up, as reported by Variety, it looks like this year's festival is going to be a lively event.

Junior Workshop

RTÉ Young Peoples Programmes is searching for filmmakers from 12 to 13 years of age to apply for the One Minutes Jr Workshop on filmmaking this summer.

In conjunction with The Ark, Cultural Centre for Children and the One Minutes Foundation, RTÉ is running the workshop from 2 to 6 July in Dublin at The Ark in Temple Bar.

During the workshop participants will explore all elements of filmmaking and make their own one-minute film based on the theme of 'Change'.

The films will be entered into the One Minutes Jr's annual competition and will also be shown on RTÉ Two in the autumn.

Thursday 5 April 2007

Darklight Dates Set

The dates for this year's Darklight Symposium have been announced: 21 - 23 June 2007, in Dublin.

Darklight Symposium is a biannual programme which aims to create a forum for ideas and issues pertaining to film and the arts, plugging into international currents by inviting speakers from abroad.

The Symposium 2007 will be a focused three day event and consist of a combination of seminars, workshops and master classes, including one with UK 's celebrated animator Chris Shepherd. We are inviting artists, filmmakers and technologists to present and explore issues relevant to anyone involved in cultural production, creative industries, journalism, broadcasting and technology. The master class and lecture programme will give the audience a more intimate insight into the professional practice and inspirations of our guest speakers.
The seminars, workshops, screenings and master classes will be held in Dublin city centre and the forums will take place at FilmBase in Temple Bar.

The entire weekend costs €50, and there is a special student rate of €20.

More details will be available from the Darklight website soon, but those who wish to pre-book can do so online.

Guild AGM

The Irish Playwrights and Screenwriters Guild's fifth Annual General Meeting takes place on Saturday 21st April in the Meeting Room at the Irish Film Institute, Eustace Street, Temple Bar, Dublin 2 at 2.30pm.

It's an opportunity for members to contribute to the Guild's plans for the future. Tea, coffee, and biscuits will be on hand to keep the attendees focused, and there will be a glass of wine afterwards.

Members should have received a formal notice and Proxy Form in the post. Please contact the Guild if you haven't got one yet.

Brazilian-Irish Soap

Globo Television of Brazil are shooting a new soap in Ireland called Eterne Magia. The show will benefit from Irish Section 481 funding, which has attracted a high volume of television production to Ireland in the last year or so.

The story tells of a Brazilian pianist who returns to Brazil from Dublin to her sick father leaving her love interest behind. The episodes are one hour long – some will be shot in Ireland - and will start transmission in Brazil in May of this year.

Wednesday 4 April 2007

Spill in London

Fans of experimental theatre will be interested in the inaugural Spill Festival that is running in venues across London at the moment until April 22.

During the programme of performance, live art, and experimental theatre, there will be the Spill Symposium, produced in collaboration with the Live Art Development Agency. It will take place at Soho Theatre, London on Thursday 12 and Friday 13 April 2007 from 10.00 to 17.30.

The two day Symposium sets out to consider different ways of working with the production, presentation, distribution and discussion of contemporary theatre and performance practices, and propose new models for a more sustainable future. The first day of the symposium will be structured around conceptual issues: polemics and presentations asking what kind of forms contemporary theatre and performance can take, what are the lineages of such work, who are they for, where can they be located, what can they do and say, what can be said about them, and why they are important. The second day will be structured around more practical and discussions: case studies and models of practices around these questions and particularly in relation to the making and touring of contemporary work, to the sharing of existing models, and to the propositions of future strategies for cultural frameworks, critical dialogues and new audiences.

Irish Pen Host Discussion

On Thursday 12th April at 8pm, in the United Arts club, 3 Upper Fitzwilliam St, Dublin 2, Irish Pen is hosting a panel discussion entitled "From Script to Screen - Writing for Film and Television".

The subject will be debated by Ferdia Mac Anna (novelist, producer, director), Andrew Meehan (Development Executive at Bord Scánnan na hÉireann / the Irish Film Board), Brian Gallagher (screenwriter and playwright) and Jane Gogan (RTÉ's Commissioning Editor of Drama).

Booking is essential for the event, so phone or email Irish Pen in advance.

Tuesday 3 April 2007

Be a Filmaka is an online community established by a mixture of independent producers, industry professionals and film financiers.

The goal of is to give undiscovered filmmakers an opportunity to show custom made short films to industry professionals, award prizes to the most talented among them, and to find one truly talented director who will win a feature film deal with Filmaka at the end of the year.

Filmaka allows filmmakers to submit short films at the Entry Level, where they will be voted on by their own peers and at the Jury Level films are selected by a panel of industry professionals. The jury includes Thomas Augsberger, Mariela Besuievsky, Laura Bickford, Tim Delaney, Colin Firth, Werner Herzog, Dr Herbert Kloiber, Kenneth Lemberger, Neil LaBute, John Madden, Deepak Nayar, Zak Penn, Bill Pullman, Paul Schrader and Wim Wenders.

Filmaka will offer cash prizes to filmmakers in periodic competitions, but only one filmmaker will win a feature film deal over the course of one year after having competed with the winners, runner-ups and special prizewinners of each contest. Filmaka will also offer a revenue share opportunity in connection with the short films which the Company decides to pick up for distribution.
Beg or borrow a camera and get filming.

Short play competition

The NativeAliens Theatre Collective of New York is soliciting plays for its 8th annual Short Stories playwrights' festival.

A celebration of the playwright, Short Stories 8, will be a collection of short plays from the gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender perspective that will be produced together for a week's run in late June of 2007. This year's theme is "Urban View" so all plays should be relevant to gay life in the big city.
The details on how to enter the competition are on the web site. The deadline for receipt of submissions is April 13.

bloc monologues

bloc, the online magazine is running a competition for "original and entertaining monologues, suitable for broadcast, on the theme of Ecstasy. From religion to raving, from sex to childbirth, the word ecstasy conjures up many images. What does it mean to you?"

The prizes are unspecified, but the three winners will have their monologues produced and filmed for the April issue of bloc

The deadline is April 16, and the monologue should be between 800-1000 words long.

Monday 2 April 2007

Irish Sweep Festival

IFTN reports that various Irish projects won seven awards at the recent Celtic Media Festival on the Island of Skye.

Restoration Films' short "The Unusual Inventions Of Henry Cavendish" won two awards - First Time Director Award for helmer Andrew Legge and the Best Short Drama Award. Also picking up two honours was RTÉ Television who scooped the Arts Documentary gong for Máirtín Ó Cadhain: Rí An Fhocail and the Current Affairs award for Prime Time Investigates: Sex Traffic – both productions scooping similar awards at the IFTAs earlier this year.

Midas Productions' six part TG4 series Puca agus Peist won top honours in the Best Young People's category while Lugh Films' Fear Na Noileán was awarded the Spirit of the Festival gong.

Finally, the Irish/Scottish co-produced feature True North won the Feature Length Drama award.

Doyle in New Yorker

Irish novelist and screenwriter, Roddy Doyle, has a short story called "Teaching" in the current issue of the prestigious New Yorker.