The New York Time has a piece today about why indie filmmakers in the USA are going the self-distribution route to have their films seen in the USA.
Thursday 31 July 2008
Wednesday 30 July 2008
The Irish Playwrights and Screenwriters Guild launched the first ever ZeBBies Report at the Galway Film Fleadh on Friday, July 11th.
The report contains information and analysis on writing and writers in Ireland for film, television, radio, and theatre. It is now available to view online.
Tuesday 29 July 2008
The Irish Examiner reports that TV3 has reached an initial agreement to purchase Channel 6 for a sum of money thought to be around the €10 million mark pending final approval from the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland. If there are no hiccups the deal will be closed by the end of September.
Steven Bone, a senior principal with Doughty Hanson--the private equity company which owns TV3--added that the deal is "a highly attractive acquisition for TV3, which will add real value to the group, significantly enhancing its competitive advantage and strengthening its ability to benefit from future growth in the market."
TV3 yesterday said that it was too early to suggest what kind of investment would be put into Channel 6 in the short-to-medium term.
It is also unclear whether the Channel 6 name will be retained.
Monday 28 July 2008
The Stage reports that "Your Only Man", a new radio play written by Northern Irish novelist and screenwriter Annie Caulfield, about Irish writer Flann O'Brien, will début on BBC Radio 3 on August 31. It will feature Irish actors Ardal O'Hanlon, Pauline McLynn, and Dara O'Briain.
It focuses on the true identity of O'Brien, whose real name was Brian O'Nolan - a civil servant in Dublin during the thirties and forties, who regularly wrote for the Irish Times under the name Myles na gCopaleen.
Northern Ireland Screen has announced that the Irish Language Broadcast Fund (ILBF) will be running a course focusing on script translation for animation on 19th and 20th August, 2008 at Zoogon Ltd, 12C Clarendon Quay, Belfast.
The objective of the workshop is to enhance the skills of translators, resulting in accurate script to screen synchronisation. The workshop will cover methods for lyric and dialogue translation, an examination of good (and bad) practice, as well as on the spot improvisation with a production team.
This is an advanced course and it is essential that candidates would have prior script translation experience and/or have a translation qualification.
Applications should express their interest as soon as possible, and details on how to apply are available on the web site.
FÁS Screen Training Ireland is running a screenwriting for children course on two weekends (2nd – 4th Sept; 29th Sept – 1st Oct 2008) at the Adelaide Chambers, Peter St, Dublin 8. The course costs €400.00.
Professional writers writing for children’s television animation/live action, or children’s books/theatre writers who wish to enhance their scriptwriting skills for programmes aimed at the 6-11 age group.
This course provides practical training in scriptwriting for six to 11 years-targeted programmes. Through project-based course work, the course enhances participants’ ability to develop character, story, humour and dialogue suitable for a six to 11-year-old market in live action and animation. Participants will enhance their understanding of these issues through intensive, practical work on their own projects with the course tutors.
The deadline for applications is August 21st, 2008. Information on how to apply is available on the web site.
Thursday 24 July 2008
The Irish Film Censor's Office has been renamed to the Irish Film Classification Office, and the offical film censor will henceforth be known as the Director of Film Classification.
- The phrase "likely to cause harm to children" is introduced into the legislation for the first time.
- Lower fees will be charged for classifying specialty interest DVDs. This initiative is similar to the highly successful 'limited release initiative' for cinema films, which was introduced in 2004.
- It will now be an offence to supply a DVD to a person who is under the IFCO-designated age rating.
- Fines for certain offences are updated.
Welcoming the changes and IFCO's modernized remit as an open and transparent agency, the Minister said: 'The role of the Film Censor has evolved to reflect changed times. In a mature society, I think most of us believe that adults should be free (subject to the law) to decide for themselves what they may see, and the primary role for IFCO should be what we call age-related classification'.
The Director of Film Classification said: "Today, we don't censor, we classify. We don't decline to explain or justify our decisions. Rather, we welcome the fact that we can provide the public, and parents in particular, with age-related classification and consumer advice. We have gone from stop sign to sign post. This is a very special occasion for all of us here at Harcourt Terrace. For me, on both a professional and personal basis, it's a really special and symbolic day.
Wednesday 23 July 2008
Filmbase reports that the first Peg Bar event will take place upstairs in Murray's Bar on O'Connell Street on the 7th August 2008 at 7.30pm.
It's a gathering of animators, who plan to discuss and view new and innovative animation. It's organised by Daniel Spencer, Ben Hennessy, Ben Harper and Anna O'Sullivan who are all highly motivated animation artists and filmmakers. All are welcome.
Tuesday 22 July 2008
The Broading Casting Commission of Ireland (BCI) announced its decision with regard to the award of the three national Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) multiplex contracts.
The Commission considered the applications received from three consortia and has awarded the contracts in principle to Boxer DTT Limited.
RTÉ reports that the Boxer consortium includes the Denis O'Brien's Communicorp and BT. They beat the other hopefuls: Easy TV -- composed of RTÉ and UPC -- and One Vision, which involved TV3, Setanta, and Eircom.
Applying for the licences, Boxer had said it would offer prices below €10 a month and will allow viewers to top up their channel selections 'a la carte'. It said there will also be a 'pay as you go' option for its pay channels.
'We are delighted to have been awarded the licence and look forward to rolling out a world class broadcast network in Ireland over the coming months,' commented Boxer DTT chairman Lucy Gaffney.
'As an independent operator formed with the sole purpose of providing these services, our offering provides consumers with excellent choice and simple, flexible and affordable access to a wide range of TV channels', she said.
Boxer DTT will launch its offering in January 2009.
Monday 21 July 2008
GAZE, the Dublin International Lesbian and Gay Film Festival (31st July - 4th August), has announced its entire programme.
Martina Niland, producer of the Oscar winning film Once, will officially open this year's festival prior to the screening of Breakfast with Scot on Thurs 31st in the IFI.
This year more venues than ever will host the festival - you can catch GAZE at Project Arts Centre and The Winding Stair as well as our home venue, the IFI.
We're also delighted to announce the GAZE/IFI Audience Award. By voting for your favourite film of the festival, you could win a pair of tickets every month for a year in the IFI.
Earlier this month, Xaria Byron, a young Derry writer, won the screenwriting competition in conjunction with the Portobello Post Super Shorts International Film Festival
Her script, 'A Tale of two Serial Killers,' is a clever, dark comedy that is now set to go into production. The judges selected it from a more than a thousand entries
Xaria has written several feature scripts and plays and in 2007 made a music video for the Italian heavy metal band 'Nanowar'
She was short listed for the Handful Short Plays Festival competition in April 2008, which also attracted international entries.
Posted by Maura McHugh at 09:58
Friday 18 July 2008
Dublin Community Television (DCTV), Ireland's first democratically run, advert-free TV channel officially switched on at 1pm on July 16th 2008.
DCTV is broadcasting 24-hours-a-day at Channel 802 on the Chorus ntl digital cable network, reaching 200,000 households across Dublin, Limerick, Cork, Galway and Waterford.
Programmes for DCTV are created and produced by a variety of sources:
DCTV assists members and member organisations to secure funding from the Sound and Vision fund, which is generated from the TV licence fee and administered by the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI). The Sound and Vision fund is a grant scheme designed to support the production of new television and radio programmes in the areas of Irish culture, heritage and experience and adult literacy
- DCTV itself.
- Not-for-profit TV production companies, such as NEAR TV Productions in Coolock.
- Other DCTV member organisations, such as Aontas (adult education), Cultivate (sustainable living), Project (arts); NALA (adult literacy).
- Individual members of DCTV.
DCTV was awarded Ireland's first Community Television licence in May 2006 and has been broadcasting on a pilot basis since September 2007 on the Chorus ntl digital cable network. The station is run by a not-for-profit, democratic co-operative, of which membership is open to all both individuals and not-for-profit organisations. The station is controlled by its members, and most of the programming is created and produced by members.
Thursday 17 July 2008
An article in the Irish Independent casts doubts about the recent proposal for an Irish cinema channel detailed in the new Broadcasting Bill.
The channel, which is proposed to run without advertising and is expected to cost between €3 - €4 million a year, may become a victim of the government's current cost-cutting in light of a more precarious economy.
The Oireachtas Commission that is examining the proposal will conduct a feasibility study. A spokesperson said, "The financing is obviously going to come into that."
'Asked whether the prevailing financial climate could see the channel axed, the spokesman replied he "couldn't rule that in or out" since it was "far too early for that". '
Wednesday 16 July 2008
The Stage has obtained an early copy of a new good practice guide compiled by the Writers' Guild of Great Britain, which is designed to outline how broadcasters should work with writers of television dramas.
Called Working with Writers - A Good Practice Guide, it was put together by Anthony Read, a screenwriter with more than 200 credits to his name, and includes contributions from British Guild members Edel Brosnan and Ming Ho.
The guide points out some of the common problems television writers encounter during their jobs:
"As the director and his team take over, the script is often regarded as just one element of the overall production. It is easy to forget that everything else depends on the script. Regrettably, it has become common practice to keep the director and writer apart - producers and editors may fear that their own authority will be undermined, or believe the writer needs protection from the demands of the director. Either way, they do both writers and director - and themselves - a disservice," it reads.
The guide recommends writers should be able to meet directors at least once because it "may spark off productive new ideas". It also suggests "the creator of an original work should be involved in final casting sessions for their lead characters".
It also addresses issues such as dropping writers from long-running series with no explanation, the best way to provide feedback on writers' scripts, and recommended payment for story outlines and treatments.
The Writers' Guild of Great Britain will distribute the guide when it is published in September to broadcasters and independent production companies in the UK.
During the writers strike in Hollywood last year screenwriter and director Joss Whedon began work on an online comedy series called Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog.
The first episode of the three-act series (written by Joss Whedon, Maurissa Tancharoen, Jed Whedon, and Zack Whedon) debuted yesterday and promptly crashed the servers due to demand. After a couple of hours the show was moved onto servers that could cope with the pressure. The second and third episode will go online this week, also for free. On Sunday night all the episodes will be removed from free viewing, and after that Dr. Horrible will be available for download for a fee, and there will be the perquisite DVD later.
L.A. Times has run an article on Whedon's new show, and questions the writer about the ethos behind how it is being distributed.
Whedon's awareness of the Internet's prevailing mood also played into his decision to make "Dr. Horrible" completely free--and free of advertising--for the entirety of its first week. But really? You've got a show that even with zero paid promotion has generated enough buzz to crash servers during the first hours it was available, and you don't want use all that heat to mint some Whedon Dollars?
"Some brows have furrowed at the idea of putting it out for free," Whedon said. "But that was part of our mission statement from the first: to create an Internet event for the fans (and others) to enjoy because we enjoyed it so much."
Still, even if he takes a small hit in the short term, Whedon said that with merchandising, iTunes sales, and DVDs, he expects that Dr. Horrible "will go into the black within the first year."
On his Dr. Horrible web site Whedon further explains:
The idea was to make it on the fly, on the cheap--but to make it. To turn out a really thrilling, professionalish piece of entertainment specifically for the internet. To show how much could be done with very little. To show the world there is another way.
It will be very interesting to watch how this online programme evolves.
Tuesday 15 July 2008
Theatrical company HighTide is looking for new full-length scripts from emerging writers.
Writers may submit one unproduced, unpublished full-length play. There is no restriction on subject matter.
HighTide welcome international scripts, written in English, on the basis that all selected writers are available in the UK for the dramaturgy, rehearsal and production period from January to May 2009.
Information on how to apply is available on the web site. The deadline for submission is 1st November 2008.
Monday 14 July 2008
Yesterday the winners of the film competitions at the Galway Film Fleadh were announced:
First Place: Peacefire, written & directed by Macdara Vallely.
Second Place: The Lemon Tree, written by Suha Arraf & Eran Riklis, and directed by Eran Riklis
First Place: Anvil! The Story of Anvil by Sacha Gervasi
Second Place: Young at Heart by Stephen Walker
First Place: Kisses, written & directed by Lance Daly
Second Place: Vox Humana, written & directed by Bob Quinn
The Pitching Award
Best Irish Short Film
First Place – The Tiernan McBride Award: "Martin", written & directed by Sean Branigan
Second Place: "The Door" written & directed by Juanita Wilson
Best First Irish Short Film
First Place: "Danger High Voltage", written by Thomas Martin and Luke McManus, and directed by Luke McManus
Second Place: "James", written & directed by Conor Clements
Best Irish Short Documentary
First Place: "The Year I got Younger", by Genevieve Bailey
Second Place: "The Herd" by Ken Wardrop
Best Irish Short Animation
First Place: "Granny O Grimm's Sleeping Beauty", written by Kathleen O'Rourke, and directed by Nicky Phelan
Second Place: "My Day", written & directed by Eamonn O'Neill
Best First Irish Short Animation
First Prize - The James Horgan Award: "Monolith", written & directed by Matt Horan
Second Place: "Plastesex", written & directed by Conor Finnegan
The Times reports on an recent article in Film Ireland, in which Kevin Moriarty, head of Ardmore Studios, criticises the Irish film industry.
Pointing to the "depressing" box-office performance of movies made in Ireland last year, Moriarty says it's because Irish film-makers are preoccupied with artistic aspirations and do not take on board the need to engage the audiences that pay to see films.
"At the very least there has to be a story that engages you, characters that interest you. I don't walk out of films but there are times I think to myself 'Why am I wasting my time here?' because I don't care about what happens to these characters; I'm no longer interested in them. Sometimes people forget that the purpose of film-making is storytelling and entertainment. That doesn't mean that you have to sell out your artistic integrity," said Moriarty.
Although a record number of Irish people went to the cinema last year, indigenous films accounted for just 1.3% of box office receipts, earning just over €1.5m out of the €117m taken.
Only two Irish titles made it into the top 100: Lenny Abrahamson's Garage, starring Pat Shortt, which was 90th; and Strength and Honour, starring Vinnie Jones and Michael Madsen, which ranked 100th.
Moriarty believes Irish films need to focus more on developing scripts before shooting begins. Writing in the current issue of Film Ireland magazine, he says: "My first instinct is to recall too many Irish films that would have benefited from further script drafts before getting to the screen. There is an absence of a core structure, a surface (even superficial) storyline that allows the audience to navigate its way.
"The film-maker has an obligation to every member of the audience. We all pay for our tickets. Some may only be looking for a night of entertainment. The creative artist should be able to provide that while still satisfying all other artistic aspirations through a multi-layered approach."
Since Moriarty focuses on the need for stronger scripts, it would make sense for him to mention in his piece that Mark O'Halloran wrote Garage, and Mark Mahon wrote Strength and Honour.
Later in the article, David Kavanagh from the Irish Playwrights and Screenwriters Guild is quoted:
"The writer sells everything to the producer and is paid the same whether the film is good or bad. If we could design a system whereby the writer was paid more if the film was a success, as is the norm everywhere else, maybe we would get the kind of successful film that Kevin, and indeed everyone else, wants."
Unlike in America, Irish writers are paid a one-off fee for delivering a script and then have no control over the film. Most earn between €10,000 and €15,000 a year. "I don't disagree with Kevin that Irish feature film has been disappointing at the box office," said Kavanagh. "We've got stuck in a strange loop whereby many of the people involved in production [derive] no benefit from the film being successful."
Wednesday 9 July 2008
An Post has released four stamps depicting some of Ireland's best know actors, and the films in which they appeared.
Actor Cillian Murphy features in his role in The Wind that Shakes the Barley on an 82c denomination stamp. The film, directed by Ken Loach, was produced in Ireland during 2006 and awarded the Palme D'Or at that year’s Cannes Film Festival.
Actor Brid Ni Neachtáin appears on a 55c stamp from her role in Cre na Cille. Directed by Robert Quinn in 2007 as an adaptation of the famous novel by Máirtin O' Cadhain, this film was selected for screening at the 2007 Shanghai International Film Festival. Attending the event Brid said "I'm delighted that Cré na Cille is being featured in the series, míle buíochas do An Post."
Actor Colm Meaney appears on a 55c denomination stamp in his role in Kings. Directed by Tom Collins and based on the play Kings of the Kilburn Highroad, by Jimmy Murphy, Kings is a 2007 film featuring both the Irish and English languages and was Ireland/s official entry for Best Foreign-language Film in the 2008 Academy Awards.
Actor Pat Shortt features on an 82c denomination stamp in his role in Garage, directed by Lenny Abrahamson and written by Mark O'Halloran. Garage received four prizes at the Irish Film and Television Awards, Best Film, Best Script, Best Actor and Best Director. Garage also won the CICAE Prize at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival and Best Feature Film at the 2007 Turin Film Festival.
The Irish Playwrights and Screenwriters Guild is running an event at the Galway Film Fleadh, on Friday, July 11th at 5.30pm in the Town Hall Theatre. It's the publication of the first annual ZeBBie Report.
The Irish Playwrights and Screenwriters Guild is delighted to announce the publication of the first ever ZeBBie report, which will contain information and analysis on writing and writers in Ireland for film, television, radio and theatre. How many writers are writing in these areas? How much work is being developed and produced? Are women catching up with the opposite sex in this traditionally male occupation? And most importantly - how much money can a writer expect to earn nowadays?
The event is open to everyone to attend.
Tuesday 8 July 2008
Concerns about the future use of product placement in UK television have been raised by the Writers' Guild of Great Britain, reports The Stage.
Currently, product placement is banned in the UK, but a recent EU decision ruled that member states can choose to allow it in commercial television, except for specific genres such as during children's programmes.
EU member states are obliged to consider the EU directive and a UK consultation on the issue is set to get under way this summer, with the government due to give its final response next year.
However, the guild has outlined its concerns to Burnham ahead of this and has suggested that placement could lead to a writer having less control over a show's story.
"Will sponsors and advertisers purchase the right to have a product, such as a soft drink or brand of clothing, featured in a scripted show?
"Or will they purchase a right to exercise editorial control over the humorous or dramatic content of the show? We would caution against any changes that fundamentally change the editorial decision-making process," it said.
Writers' Guild deputy general secretary Anne Hogben added that a "worst case scenario" could see a writer told that a character had to drink a certain product or drive a certain car and said: "It could mean a writer had to act as a free copywriter for advertisers."
One assumes that this legislation will affect Irish television as well.
According to Backstage a new online network, called Strike.TV, will launch this summer. Professional TV and film screenwriters set up the network during this winter's Hollywood writers' strike. It plans on going on air with 40 shortform programs, which will include comedies, dramas and a game show. There will be serials, as well as standalone shows.
Participating writers include Lester Lewis ("The Office"), Rob Kutner ("The Daily Show With Jon Stewart"), Stephen E. de Souza ("Die Hard"), Karen Harris ("General Hospital") and Ron Corcillo ("Malcolm in the Middle").
The impetus for the online network came from writers who wanted to generate revenue for out-of-work colleagues. To that end, Strike.TV pledges to donate the first three months of ad revenue to the Entertainment Assistance Program of the Actors Fund.
However, Strike.tv is also intended to become a profitable venture in its own right, allowing participating writers to own their intellectual property. Its creators also anticipate it could be an alternative to the studio system as well as a breeding ground for programming that studios could co-opt.
Monday 7 July 2008
RTÉ reports that the Abbey Theatre will receive €30.2m from The Arts Council in a funding plan which will run from 2009 - 2011.
The agreement is the second such arrangement between the Government body and the Dublin-based theatre, following a previous investment from 2006 - 2008, which saw The Abbey recover from a financial crisis in 2005
The new funding is designed to allow the Abbey roll out an ambitious theatre programme, which will include the presentation of new plays by Irish writers each year on both the national and international stage.
Under the new agreement, the theatre will receive €9.2m in 2009, €10.0m in 2010 and €11.0m in 2011 totalling €30.2m.
Speaking about the announcement today, Olive Braiden, chair of The Arts Council said: "The Arts Council is very proud of its role in putting the Abbey back on a sound and sustainable financial footing, and we're delighted to be able to announce another three-year funding arrangement for the theatre."
Friday 4 July 2008
The Irish Times reports that a complete copy of the 1927 film Metropolis, co-written by Thea von Harbou and Fritz Lang and directed by Lang, has been discovered in an archive in Buenos Aires.
Its existence only came to light through a remark heard by chance 20 years ago by Fernando Pena, now a Buenos Aires film museum curator. "I remembered an elderly projectionist at a cinema club complaining, 'It's bad enough I have to show such a poor quality copy of Metropolis , but it's getting hard at my age to stand at the projector for two hours, holding the film to make sure it doesn't spring out.'"
Knowing that only the original version of the film was that long, he told his then wife, Paula Félix-Didier, and then forgot about it.
When Ms Félix-Didier became head of the Buenos Aires Museo del Cine in January, she went straight to the archive to check its print.
"It only took 20 minutes," said Ms Félix-Didier to Germany's Die Zeit newspaper yesterday.
"We looked in the index, the archivist got the reels. Fernando held one to the light and said 'Está todo' - it's all there."
The film is a 16mm copy of the original, highly combustible negative.
Although the copy is very badly scratched, the Murnau Foundation is considering making of it a new complete version of the epic.
"Even if the footage is of inferior quality I think most people would rather see the film with it than without it," said Peter Walsh, cinema manager and programmer at the Irish Film Institute. "It's one of the few films from that era that still really excites people, so the excitement about this discovery will not be restricted to archivists and film buffs."
Tonight sees the launch of the summer programme of Jameson Movies on the Square. During July and August the Temple Bar Cultural Trust is hosting a series of free open-air screenings of movies in Meeting House Square. Although free, each event is ticketed, and tickets can be picked up at Temple Bar Cultural Trust's Information Centre in Temple Bar.
The programme is being launched tonight at 9.30pm with a live gig from The Commitments, the band. The film The Commitments will be aired tomorrow in Meeting House Square at 10.30pm.
They include the Oscar-winning short documentary Freeheld, directed by Cynthia Wade, chronicling Detective Lieutenant Laurel Hester's struggle to transfer her earned pension to her domestic partner, Stacie Andree, as she faces a terminal illness.
It screens alongside Suddenly Last Winter by Italian filmmakers Gustav Hofer & Luca Ragazzi, who will attend the screening of this hilarious and sobering reflection on Italian society, as the country grapples with a debate on same-sex partnership legislation.
World premiere of Northern Irish documentary Out In Africa, directed by Tom Maguire, tells the story of Victor Corrigan from Northern Ireland and Kyle Stuart from South Africa as they get married in a staunch Afrikaaner village.
Thursday 3 July 2008
According to the Irish Examiner Hollywood actor and filmmaker, Robert Redford, will visit Dublin next week. He will take part in a public interview, hosted by the School of Drama, Film and Music at Trinity College. Film reviewer, Michael Dwyer, will conduct the interview in TCD's Edmund Burke Theatre.
Wednesday 2 July 2008
Today The Stage reports that UK screenwriter and producer, Tony Jordan, has revealed the details of the second screenwriting competition run through his production company, Red Planet Pictures.
The 2008 Red Planet Prize will see one new writer win £5,000, representation by a leading literary agency, and a script commission from Red Planet Pictures. Last year's inaugural competition attracted more than 2,000 entrants.
Jordan, who is also the creator of HolbyBlue and is EastEnders' former chief scriptwriter, said the initiative emphasised Red Planet's commitment to investing "in new writing talent from across the country".
"As last year's competition proved, there is a wealth of fresh, unique voices out there, but in the current climate there are few chances for them to get themselves heard. The Red Planet Prize offers an exciting opportunity for aspiring writers to get their screenwriting talent recognised and develop their ideas into potential series ," he said.
To apply, writers should submit the first ten pages of a sixty-minute television pilot script, and a one-page submission about how it could work as a series. Writers that impress the judges will be asked for a full one-hour script.
Application forms can be downloaded from the web site, and the deadline for entries is September 30.
Tuesday 1 July 2008
IFTN reports that the European Parliament is seeking non-commercial television programme proposals for its 2009 grants scheme that will see €5 million awarded to communication and information across the 27 member states.
The grant will co-finance television projects which focus on the role played by the European Parliament, the values it upholds, the decisions it takes and how these affect the daily lives of millions of Europeans. The European Parliament seeks innovative and creative projects which approach this subject in a new and interesting way.
In addition to television programmes, grants will be awarded under four more headings: events, websites, proposals from education establishments and radio. The scheme, now in its third year, will see between €5,000 and €300,000 awarded to each project.
The closing date for applications is 1st October 2008.