Friday 31 October 2008

BAFTA Nom for Skunk

Skunk Fu!, the children's animated television show, produced by the Irish company Cartoon Saloon with Telegael and Cake Entertainment, has been nominated for a Children's BAFTA in the Animation category.

The writers of the series are: Greg Grabianski, Thomas Krajewski, Eric Shaw, Aimee Keillor, and Scott Sonneborn.

The awards ceremony will place on 10 November in London.

Austin Round-Up

IFTN has posted the diary of new screenwriter, Eilis Mernagh, from her time pitching and networking at the Austin Film Festival.

Screenwriters who are considering attending Austin's four-day conference — which provides access to A-list producers, studio executives, agents and managers, screenwriters, and filmmakers — will find the article useful.

Arts Council Bursaries

The Arts Council, in its latest newsletter, has announced a new closing date for its first round of Bursary Awards in 2009: Thursday 27 November 2008 at 5.30pm.

The purpose of an Arts Council bursary is to support professional artists at all stages in their careers and in the development of their arts practice. The aim of the award is to allow artists, working in any context or in any artform, to buy space and freedom to concentrate on a body of work and provide the equipment, facilities and third party expertise to develop practice. Recipients can receive up to a maximum of €15,000 per year through the Bursary award. A number of multi-annual bursaries, which offer artists funding for up to a three-year period, are available each year.

Applications can be made using the online application system or by completing a paper form. The Arts Council encourages all those with internet access to apply using the online application process. Applicants using the online system will have an additional week – up to Thursday 4 December 2008, 5:30pm – to provide supporting documentation for their application.

All information on how to apply is available on the web site

SIOL Picks Six

SÍOL, an initiative to promote new screenwriting in the Irish language, has announced the six writers whose projects will progress into production:

Fiona Ní Eidhin ­- "Cinneadh"
Louise Ní Fhiannachta - "Crochta"
Medb Johnstone ­- "Ab initio"
Clíona Ruiséil - "Náire"
Kevin Lavelle agus Diarmuid Goggins ­ - "Papa Joe"
Fiona Ní Dhuibhir ­- "Ena"

SÍOL is supported by the Broadcast Commission of Ireland, Údaras na Gaeltachta, Gréasán na Meán and TG4.

The initiative will assist the chosen Irish language writers to develop and produce a television script that will be broadcast as a part of a major drama series on TG4.

The writers will develop their projects under the direction of series script Editor, Paul Mercier. The development will take place during writing masterclasses commencing at the end of November.

The series will be broadcast on TG4 for the Autumn/Winter schedule of 2009.

Thursday 30 October 2008

IFTA Nominations Open

IFTA has issued a call for nominations for the 6th Annual Irish Film & Television Awards.

The deadline for entries is Monday 17th November 2008 at 5.30pm.

The guidelines and criteria for nomination are available on the web site.

Niko Wins Double

Filmbase reports that the animated feature film Niko & the Way to the Stars won both the Jury and Audience awards at Cinekid, the children's film festival in Amsterdam last weekend. It's the first time in the festival's history that a film has won both prizes.

Ireland-based Marteinn Thorisson co-wrote the script with Hannu Tuomainen, and it was directed by Michael Hegner and Kari Juusonen. The film was co-produced by Finnish film company Anima Vitae, Ulysses Films in Germany (daughter company of Galway-based Magma) and Afilm in Denmark.

Speaking on the win Moe Honan producer with Magma Films says: "We are delighted with these prestigious awards and doubly happy that the film has not only impressed the main jury at Cinekid so much, but has also reached out to our main audience - the children, who also voted it as their favourite. It's a must see film this Christmas."

The film has been sold to more than 100 territories, with The Weinstein Company handling the English-language rights.

"Niko is currently on release in Finland and enjoying the highest audience figures ever for a children's movie after its second week. Altogether it has sold to over 120 countries and the Weinstein Company has bought the film for the US market and Pan Latin America," explains Ralph Christians, executive producer with Magma.

The film tells the story of a boy reindeer who longs to fly, and dreams of meeting his father who is a celebrity member of the famous Santa's Flying Forces. He is accompanied on his adventures by his friend Julius, a flying squirrel, and Wilma a singing weasel whom they meet along the way.

The Film will arrive to Irish cinema screens on November 28th.

FSTI Bursary Awards

Screenwriters should note that the FÁS Screen Training Ireland Bursary Award Scheme has funds available for industry practitioners who wish to undergo training overseas, or need funding for customised work programmes.

The scheme may also be in a position to support individuals who have secured an agreement with a high profile industry expert for the purpose of shadowing/mentoring.

We would encourage applicants to apply for programmes which would be beneficial to their career development.

Screen Training Ireland has supported Irish Industry Professionals through the Bursary Award Scheme to attend programmes such as Moonstone, North by Northwest, Arista, Showrunneres etc.

Applications can be made via the web site.

Son of Pitch Extended

The UK's Screenwriting Festival has extended the deadline for its Son of a Pitch competition (which it is running in association with 4Talent) to 17.00 on Friday 14th November 2008.

Ten lucky finalists will be chosen to come to the SWF'09 (for free), where they will receive a crash course in the art of pitching courtesy of agent Julian Friedmann. After this, each of the ten finalists will take to the main stage and 'wow' the festival delegates - and a panel of terribly serious dragon-like judges who will proceed to quiz you on the strengths and weaknesses of your idea. Simple as that. Of the ten... three will win (1st, 2nd and 3rd place). There are prizes but the real prize is the exposure that this event bestows on all ten of its pitchers. Exposure that can lead to... who knows where.

Wednesday 29 October 2008

Google Book Search Expands

Market Watch reports that the Authors Guild, the Association of American Publishers (AAP), and Google have come to a settlement agreement regarding online access to millions of in-copyright books, and other written materials, in major U.S. libraries participating in Google Book Search.

The agreement, reached after two years of negotiations, would resolve a class-action lawsuit brought by book authors and the Authors Guild, as well as a separate lawsuit filed by five large publishers as representatives of the AAP's membership. The class action is subject to approval by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

The agreement promises to benefit readers and researchers, and enhance the ability of authors and publishers to distribute their content in digital form, by significantly expanding online access to works through Google Book Search, an ambitious effort to make millions of books searchable via the Web. The agreement acknowledges the rights and interests of copyright owners, provides an efficient means for them to control how their intellectual property is accessed online and enables them to receive compensation for online access to their works.

Adapting Work

FÁS Screen Training Ireland is running a course on Adaptation in the Radisson Hotel, Golden Lane, Dublin 8, from 12 — 16 December.

Participant Profile:
This course is designed for professional screenwriters and development executives working in the Irish film and television industry. Participants ideally should have an adaptation project currently in development.

Course Profile:
The purpose of this course is to explore the process of adapting pre-existing material to the screen. Writers will analyze how a variety of source material: novel, stage play, short story, magazine article, graphic novel and history, can transform into a successful cinema story. We will have group discussions to identify the challenges posed by each source. Writers will also explore the process by conceptualizing adaptations of pre-assigned short stories and discussing the results. Combining the creative and analytic will give students a deeper understanding of what it means to adapt stories from one medium to another. The course will explore the following:
  • Where stories come from
  • Conceptualisation
  • Comparative adaptation exercises
  • Adaptations from novels (case study: Remains of the Day)
  • Adaptations from plays (case study: Taming of the Shrew)
  • Adaptations from history/articles (case study: Saving Private Ryan)
  • Adaptations from short stories (case study: Rear Window)
  • Adaptations from comics/graphic novels (case study: American Splendor)

The tutor is L.A.-based writer and story analyst Beth Serlin, and the course costs €350. Applications can be made online, and the deadline is the 7th November 2008.

Tuesday 28 October 2008

Financial Squeeze

Colum Kenny in Sunday's Independent offers analysis of the recent financial crisis and how it is affecting the Irish media market, for instance:

The Broadcasting Commission of Ireland has, in principle, awarded the Irish DTT franchise to a Swedish/Irish company, backed by Denis O'Brien, in order to provide extra new bundles of programming. A new Irish film channel is among other delights promised, but current conditions may not augur well for the future of DTT.

RTE must build a transmission system to deliver DTT to Irish homes. But it has yet to to reach agreement on terms with O'Brien's consortium Boxer. It could cost RTE €100m to build the planned system, and nobody is sure where that money can be found or how much Boxer will agree to pay for using it. There is a danger that RTE may have to borrow the cash, thus building up big debts for the station and possibly subsidising BOXER's private service with public money.

Eleven years ago, in 1997, RTE received just over €77m in TV licence fee payments from members of the public -- and earned €110m more by selling advertising space. By last year, those two streams of income had risen to more than €195m and €245m respectively. That was before the financial crisis, and already now RTE is trailing its projected income by €25m.

Recent figures on Irish advertising suggest a modest annual growth up to last summer, but the figures do not reveal discounts on the asking price, or take into account the sudden downturn that is now happening.

It's In The Can

Fimbase reports that the black and white thriller, Tin Can Man, written and directed by Irishman Ivan Kavanagh, won three international awards at this year's Melbourne Underground Film Festival: Best Foreign Film, Best Foreign Director (shared with British Director Thomas Clay for his film Soi Cowboy), and Best Foreign Actor for Michael Parle.

The film also scooped Best Cinematography for DOP Colin Downey at the Strasbourg International Film Festival. Last year the film won the Boundary Breaking Best Feature, and Patrick O'Donnell won Best International Actor at the Sydney Underground Film Festival.

Friday 24 October 2008

New Media, New Audience?

The Irish Arts Council has organised a working seminar, entitled New Media, New Audience?, on November 25th in Dublin Castle. The event is designed to discuss how new social networking technologies can help promote the arts.

"The Arts Council is pleased to bring together national and international experts from the arts, social media and broadcasting in this one day working seminar to explore the ways in which artists and the public are adapting and adopting new ways of producing, presenting and promoting the arts.

This seminar is open to artists, organisations and policy makers interested in the potential that new media has on the way in which they work, and in the way it can attract and broaden audiences.

The event is free, but registration is essential, and must be completed via the web site.

Maura McHugh, the webmaster and blogger for the Irish Playwrights and Screenwriters Guild, will be participating at the seminar.

Thursday 23 October 2008

Roles for Women on Stage & Screen

The results of a recent Europe-wide survey of female actors — as reported in The Stage — may be of interest to writers.

The results showed that:

79% of female performers consider their gender puts them at a disadvantage in relation to the number of roles on offer, while 73% feel their sex works against them in terms of role variety.

By contrast, 74% of male performers feel their gender is an advantage in relation to the number of roles available and 70% feel being male helps in terms of variety of roles.

Equity vice-president Jean Rogers, who was behind the formation of the survey, said the findings would be taken to governments across Europe in a bid to change the perception of women, claiming how women are portrayed on television and stage can impact on the way they are treated in society.

"We are finding in so many areas - not just where women are concerned - society is not being properly represented in the media," said Rogers. "It is getting very selective and it has such an impact on values and people’s perceptions - even if they don’t consciously realise it. If they only see people of a certain kind, that’s what they think is the norm." ...

Although its exact findings have yet to be finalised, its initial conclusions suggest men enjoy longer careers in television, film and theatre, with 71% of the 71-80 age group bracket being male.

Respondents were asked to state whether they felt age and gender is represented in a realistically varied way across all mediums. Although the majority of women said television is not realistic in its portrayal, theatre fared better, with 51% of female respondents claiming the medium does realistically portray age, compared with 75% of male participators.

The survey found that 57% of women feel theatre also represents gender in a realistically varied way, compared with 85% of men.

Wednesday 22 October 2008

The Emotional Toolbox

FÁS Screen Training Ireland is organising a course on The Emotional Toolbox – Creating Successful Television Drama, Online Series and Feature Films.

Writing Consultant Laurie Hutzler examines the emotional content of a television, online or film project and analyses how the production succeeds or fails in connecting with its audiences. Starting with an experiential exercise, she progresses, in stages, to help writers, producers and executives clarify the emotional bond between characters and the audience. The starting point of Laurie’s programme is the Character MapTM, which provides an accurate litmus test of the emotional experience in any creative project. Laurie Hutzler helps content creators get to the heart of the story.

The course will cover the following:
  • Principles of the Emotional Toolbox, including character types
  • Creating a character map
  • Sharpening character focus and strengthening ensembles
  • Strengthening a character’s function in the ensemble
  • Emotion and storytelling
  • Balance and diversity in an ensemble to create dynamism
  • Transitioning and repositioning characters
  • Creating stories from the ensemble: allies and enemies
  • Balancing guest stories and serial stories
  • Keeping characters relevant
  • Interactivity with the audience.

The course will take place on 17 — 18 November, 2008 at Adelaide Chambers, Peter St, Dublin 8, and costs €150.00.

Apply online on the web site. The deadline for applications is Thursday 6th November 2008.

Writer applicants can also email a synopsis for a TV drama, online series or feature for optional one-to-one meetings with Laurie on the 19th November. Places are limited so one-to-ones will be scheduled on a first-come basis.

Tuesday 21 October 2008

Wednesdays Shortlisted

The Irish Film Board reports that the Irish short film, "The Wednesdays", has been selected as one of six finalists for the TCM Classic Shorts Competition.

The short was co-written by Luke Clancy and Conor Ferguson, and directed by Conor Ferguson.

The winners will be announced at an awards night on 29th October at London's National Film Theatre following a screening of all six shorts in contention for £10,000 in prizes. The shorts will later be broadcast on the TCM channel during a special Classic Shorts weekend.

This year's judges include directors Wolfgang Peterson (Perfect Storm, Troy) and Agnieszka Holland (The Wire), and legendary actor Rutger Hauer (Bladerunner, Batman Begins).

Ferguson's second short film, "Atlantic", which he wrote and directed, was also Highly Commended in the competition.

Virtual Cinema 2

The Irish Film Board is looking for applications for another round of its Virtual Cinema project.

Virtual Cinema is a new scheme for the making of high-quality short films that are suited to the new forms of digital video consumption. Films made under the scheme can be live-action or use any kind of animation technique. The deadline for Virtual Cinema 2008 is November 21st. The scheme aims to encourage exploration of fresh filmmaking ground, with no creative holds barred. Deliberately, no guidelines are offered at this stage with regard to content or style, though material likely to give serious offence is unlikely to be funded.

Films may be made in Irish or English.

Parameters of the Scheme
  • Number of films: up to 10 per year
  • Duration: maximum 2 minutes
  • Budget per film: maximum €2,000
  • Origination on any digital format or flash animation
  • Delivery on digital format suitable for distribution/exhibition

All information on how to apply is available on the web site.

Monday 20 October 2008

Cork Winners 08

The Cork Film Festival has announced the winners of its Short film Awards:

Best Irish Short Film
"Féileachán/Driving Lesson" written & directed by Cecilia McAllister

Special Mentions:
"Danger High Voltage" written by Thomas Martin; directed by Luke McManus
"An Foireann Codladh" written by Guy Fee; directed by Danann Breathnach

Claire Lynch Award for Best First-Time Irish Director of a Short Film
"The Door" written & directed by Juanita Wilson

Special Mentions:
"Out Of The Blue" written & directed by Michael Lavelle
"The Rooster, The Crocodile And The Night Sky" written & directed by Padraig Fagan

Best International Short Film
"2 Birds" written & directed by Rúnar Rúnarsson, Iceland

Special Mentions:
"Clean Hands, Dirty Soap" written by Adam Mourad; directed by Karim Fanous, Egypt
"Giants" written & directed by Fabio Mollo, Italy

Prix UIP Cork for Best European Short Film
"14" written & directed by Asitha Ameresekere, England

'Made In Cork' Award for Best Short Film
"Matty Kiely's Last Day" written & directed by Ed Godsell

Special Mentions:
"Afternoons With Johnny" written & directed by Maximilian le Cain
"Rock With Your Cork Out" written & directed by Egomotion

Youth Jury Award for Best International Short Film
"Giants" written & directed by Fabio Mollo, Italy

Gradam Gael Linn for Best Short Film in the Irish Language
"An Foireann Codladh" written by Guy Fee; directed by Danann Breathnach

Award of the Festival for Best Short Film
"Journey To The Forest" written & directed by Jörn Staeger, Germany

Outlook Award for Best LGBT Short Film
"James" written & directed by Conor Clements

Audience Award for Best Irish Short Film
"Out Of The Blue" written & directed by Michael Lavelle

Audience Award for Best International Short Film
"On The Line" written by Reto Caffi & Philippe Zweifel; directed by Reto Caffi, Switzerland

Often short films are written and directed by the same person, however this is not always the case as can be seen in the above sample.

Most film festivals (including the Irish ones) never credit the writer. In order to complete this list I had to conduct investigative research in order to discover if there were separate writers for the above films - quite a number turned up.

It's downright shameful to laud the director, and often the producer, of a short film and omit the writer. Film Festivals should make it their policy to credit the writer of any film - short or feature-length.

Otherwise they are participating in a type of creative theft.

Friday 17 October 2008

ZeBBies Nominations Close

Nominations are now closed for the second annual ZeBBies Awards.

The short-list of nominated scripts will be available to all current members for reading and voting via the guild website during November.

Tickets for the Awards Ceremony, which will take place on Tuesday 25th November, are now on sale. Numbers are limited, so please contact the Guild quickly to book your tickets and avoid disappointment.

Tightening the Belt

Maurice Foley, Deputy Chair of the Irish Arts Council has responded to the recent budget announced by the Irish government, which has resulted in a 10% reduction of the Arts Council's budget:

"In these difficult times, the enrichment of our lives by the arts is more necessary than ever. The arts are not a luxury and they have massive public support - just look at the huge attendances at the summer/autumn festivals all over the country and the sell out of the current 40 venue Gate Theatre tour. Arts Council support is essential for all such events and for many, many more.

"The arts also make a pivotal contribution to our tourist industry and towards maintaining Ireland as a creative, knowledge-based, high-value economic hub.

"For most of the organisations we fund, our support is essential and it is well leveraged by talented artists, capable managers and enthusiastic volunteers. Public funding of the arts increased considerably in recent years, from a low base, and it was well spent. The inevitable cuts will jeopardise much of this investment. The public can expect fewer festivals, fewer exhibitions, less theatre and less music. Individual artists can expect fewer bursaries. There are also likely to be job losses.

"The Council will continue to do its best to maximise the value to the public and the arts community of the funds it has to invest. However, significant grant cuts are unavoidable, conditional commitments will have to be reviewed and some organisations will need funds from other sources if they are to survive. The Council will vigorously make the case for better funding in 2010. However, for now we recognise that the arts are in a new funding environment and that we must all plan accordingly and face up to very difficult decisions."

Thursday 16 October 2008

Budget Changes

Bord Scannan na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board has commented on the Irish government's 2009 budget, which brought a 12% reduction in the IFB's funding.

James Morris, Chairman, Bord Scannan na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board said:

"The Budget announcement of a reduction in the Irish Film Board's funding for 2009 masks the real increases in the agency's funding in 2005, 2006 and 2007, which have been retained for next year. In the current economic climate the retention of funding to the level of 2007 indicates the importance placed by the Minister and the Department of Arts Sport and Tourism on supporting the Irish film and television production sector. The Board will be prioritizing its investments into production activity levels in 2009 and on this basis expects to maintain the current levels of production."

"In the context of the reduction in direct industry funding, the Irish Film Board's submission to the Minister for Arts Sport and Tourism to seek specific enhancements to Section 481 is of particular importance. The submission focuses on enhancements that would significantly restore Ireland's competitive edge as a location for international film production, generating economic activity well in excess of any cost incurred. In this regard discussions are on going between the Department of Arts Sport and Tourism and the Department of Finance with a final outcome expected with the publication of the Finance Bill in November."

Whilst the Government's 2009 Budget focused on creating new business and enterprise, this year IFB-funded film and television projects contributed an estimated total of over €70 million to the Irish economy, showing a significant return on government investment in this sector. The industry continues to provide local jobs and sustained international investment to the economy. A wide range of feature film productions filmed in counties all across Ireland bringing much needed expenditure to local business in regional areas and promoting Irish culture to international audiences around the world.

Media NI Closes

Northern Ireland Screen has announced that Media Service Northern Ireland will close down this month.

From November 1st the UK MEDIA Desk based at the UK Film Council in London will assume the promotion of the MEDIA Programme and provide advice to the professionals based in Northern Ireland.

NI Shorts

Northern Ireland Screen, in conjunction with the UK Film Council, have announced their new Digital Shorts Scheme 2008/09 in Northern Ireland.

There are three different sources of funding:

Digital Shorts

*Eight projects will be selected from writer/director and writer and director teams to go through an initial development process starting in December 2008.
* Applicants can submit up to three projects for consideration under the Digital Shorts Scheme.
* Four films of up to ten minutes in duration will be selected in February 2009 to go into production in May 2009.
* The production budget for a Digital Short film is £10,000. A production company will be attached to the four projects through the production process.
* Final delivery will take place in August 2009.
* The deadline for entries to Digital Shorts is Friday 14 November 2008.

Digital Nation (formerly Digital Shorts Plus)
* Digital Nation invites applications from writers, directors and writer/directors who are ready to make the leap to more ambitious cinematic short films.
* Following the Digital Shorts interviews, the UK Film Council and Northern Ireland Screen will select filmmakers to be put forward for the Digital Nation talent pool.
* In March 2009 the UK Film Council will select the filmmakers who will participate in the Digital Nation talent pool.
* The UK Film Council will select up to 28 filmmakers or up to 2 filmmakers from each region or nation.
* The budget for a Digital Nation film will be between £18,000 and £20,000.
* The deadline for entries to Digital Nation is Friday 14 November 2008.

4Mations Animated Digital Shorts Scheme
* 4mations Digital Shorts will open for applications on 10th October and close on the 10th November.
* Short-listed applicants will need to be available for interview in London on Monday 8 December 2008 at 12pm.
* If you are an animator then you should apply to that scheme through the 4mations website

Application forms and more information are available from the web site.

Wednesday 15 October 2008

IT up for Emmy

The Stage reports that the short-list for the International Emmy nominations has been released.

The International Emmys acknowledge excellence in international television programming outside of the USA.

The IT Crowd, created and written by Irish screenwriter Graham Linehan, has been nominated for best comedy.

Tuesday 14 October 2008

What the BBC Wants

On the BBC Writersroom Blog they've put together a collection of links to video interviews with various BBC Execs, in which they discuss matters to do with commissioning work for the BBC.

Tony Doyle Bursary 09

BBC Northern Ireland is once again looking for applicants for the Tony Doyle Bursary for New Writing.

The aim of the bursary is to encourage television drama about Ireland by writers new to the medium. This may include writers experienced in other forms of fiction as well as new writers.

The winner will receive a cash prize of £2,000. The winner along with 3 finalists will be invited to a residential seminar run by the BBC Northern Ireland Drama Department. The aim of the seminar is to introduce the writers to the world of television drama through a series of intensive sessions with the BBC Northern Ireland development team and experienced practitioners - producers, directors, actors and fellow writers. We intend to announce the winner and runners-up in January or early February 2009 and to hold the seminar in April 2009.

More details on the submission process are available on the web site. The deadline for applications is 30 November 2008.

Monday 13 October 2008

NI Plays

On acclaimed playwright Lucy Caldwell discusses her new play Carnival, set to premiere at this year's Belfast Festival at Queen's, and in a podcast playwright Owen McCafferty discusses his latest adaptation of Antigone, with a reading from actor Walter McGonagle.

Horrorthon 08

Horrorthon is the annual horror film festival, which takes place this year from 23 — 27 October at the IFI in Temple Bar, Dublin. There will be 29 screenings over the five-day event, with both new releases and classic films.

The full line-up scheduled for this year's Horrothon is available on the IFI web site.

Friday 10 October 2008

2008 ZeBBies Qualifiers

Members of the Irish Playwrights and Screenwriters Guild are invited to nominate Irish writers for the second ZeBBies Awards in the following four categories:

  • Best Radio script
  • Best Film script
  • Best Television script
  • Best Theatre script
The ZeBBies are annual awards created by the Guild — named in honour of O. Z. Whitehead — to acknowledge the best script(s) written by Irish playwrights and screenwriters during the previous year.

To qualify each project must have been:
  • Released to an Irish audience in the period between the 1 July, 2007 — 30 June, 2008
  • Written by an Irish writer, or a writer normally resident in Ireland
A master list of qualifying work is available on the Guild website. Despite our best efforts there may be errors or ommissions in the list. Please inform us of any corrections.

Please send us a maximum of three nominations in each of the four categories, however you can offer fewer or no nominations in any of the categories if you wish.

The closing date for receipt of nominations is next Friday, the 17th October at 17.30.

Nominations can be made by post, by hand, or by e-mail (contact details below). All members — full or associate — of the Guild are entitled to nominate.

The short-list of nominated scripts will be available to all current members for reading and voting via the guild website during November.

Tickets for the Awards Ceremony, which will take place on Tuesday 25th November, will be on sale from the middle of next week: numbers are limited, so please purchase quickly to avoid disappointment.

Contact Details
The Irish Playwrights and Screenwriters Guild
Phone: 01-670-9970
Address: Art House, Curved Street, Temple Bar, Dublin 2.

Calling Young Screenwriters

The Galway Advertiser reports that the Galway Junior Film Fleadh is looking for submissions for its junior screenwriting competition.

The competition is open to those aged between 13 and 18 years old. Entrants must write a 500 word idea for a story which could be for a feature film, short film, a documentary, book, or video game!

The Junior Galway Film Fleadh is encouraging Galway teens to draft their idea, and then practise to family and friends performing the story outline. Five ideas will then be selected and the five authors will be asked to present it on the stage of the Town Hall Theatre from November 12 to 14.

Each idea will be critiqued by the award winning Irish screenwriter, Christian O'Reilly (Inside I’m Dancing, On Home Ground), and following this, the assembled audience will vote on the best pitch/idea.

The first prize is a script training scholarship at the Galway Film Centre. The runner up will receive a book voucher for Charlie Byrne’s book shop.

The deadline for entries is October 24. Entries can be posted to the Junior Galway Film Fleadh Script Competition, Cluain Mhuire, Monivea Road, Galway, or emailed to

More information and entry forms are available from,,, and Charlie Byrne's Bookshop, Middle Street, Galway.

Filmbase Awards 08

Four projects have been chosen for the June round of the Filmbase/RTÉ Short Film Award

The winning projects are:

  • Sunshower — written and directed by Liam Gavin, & produced by Maggie Mitchell.
  • The Pool — written and directed by Thomas Hefferon, & produced by Fiona Kinsella.
  • The Mill — written and directed by David Freyne, & produced by Rachael O'Kane.
  • A Blood Coloured Moon — written by Barry McKinley, directed by Marc-Ivan O'Gorman, & produced by Gordon Murphy.
An extra award was made in this round to replace a previous short that did not proceed to production.

The deadline for the next round is 5pm, Friday 30th January 2009, and it will return to offering three awards.

Thursday 9 October 2008

Online Screening

In June this year the YouTube Screening Room was set up as a platform for films from around the world to find a new audience.

Every other Friday four new films are featured in the YouTube Screening Room.

These films always appear with the permission and involvement of the filmmakers, so be sure to rate, share and leave comments. This is your chance to not only watch great films from all corners of the globe, but also to converse with the filmmakers behind them.

While the majority of these films have played at international film festivals, occasionally you'll find films that have never before screened for wide audiences.

All films playing in the YouTube Screening Room are displayed within our High Quality player to give you the best viewing experience possible.

Filmmakers can inquire about having their films featured in the YouTube Screening Room, however they must own all the digital rights to their films.

Wednesday 8 October 2008

New Deasy TV Drama

IFTN reports that RTÉ and ITV have co-commissioned a new four-part drama, written by Frank Deasy (Prime Suspect: The Final Act; The Passion), called Father & Son. The story centers on an Irish ex-criminal Michael O'Connor who returns to Manchester from a quiet life in Ireland to save his teenage son from prison, but also to redeem his own troubled past.

The series will be directed by Brian Kirk (The Tudors), and will star Dougray Scott (Enigma), Stephen Rea (Breakfast on Pluto), Sophie Okonedo (Hotel Rwanda) and Ian Hart (Finding Neverland).

Jane Gogan, Commissioning Editor, RTÉ TV Drama, said: "This is a ground-breaking moment in the relationship between RTÉ and ITV, it being our first drama co-production venture. With an exceptional gathering of talent from Ireland and the UK, this is an exciting opportunity and lays down a good marker for the future. Frank Deasy, Brian Kirk, Michael Casey and Andy Harries across one project is an audacious and impressive gathering. With the Irish Film Board and Section 481 joining RTÉ, we have been able bring together a package of Irish finance to make RTÉ and Ireland a competitive presence in the television co-production world".

ITV's Director of Drama Commissioning, Laura Mackie, is delighted with the project: "Father & Son is a compelling, multi-layered thriller that will engage and entertain with every plot twist and turn. The scripts are undeniably gripping and the drama also has a very impressive cast."

Executive Producer Andy Harries (The Queen, Prime Suspect), said: "Frank Deasy has created an amazing portrait of urban life which is researched meticulously. It's a surprising and stunningly original piece of writing - exactly what I hoped it would be. Brian Kirk is a director I have admired for a long time and he has a really brilliant partnership with fellow Belfast born producer, Michael Casey. It's a unique collaboration between ITV and RTÉ and will be the first production for ITV to be shot on the Red Camera."

Wexford Residencies

The Wexford County Council has announced a new round of Per Cent for Art commissions. The scheme is aimed primarily at sculpture, but there will also be opportunities for artist residency schemes.

Submissions are invited from artists, practicing in all art forms – music, dance, drama, literature, film etc. - to apply for a place on a multi disciplinary panel for residency opportunities, which also may arise during 2009 with budgets of up to €20,000.

The closing date for receipt of submissions is 5pm Thursday, 30th October 2008. All application forms and information are available on the web site.

Tuesday 7 October 2008

Storyland Beckons

RTÉ is looking for applications for Storyland, a new 6-part drama series, which will be aired on their web site.

Pilot first episodes of up to ten new drama series will be commissioned by RTÉ and the audience will decide, by voting on-line, which six will get to make a second episode.

The second episodes will again be voted on by the audience and four series will get to make a 3rd episode and so on until only one series gets to make all 6 episodes.

Each episode needs to be between 3 to 7 minutes long. If commissioned your budget is a maximum of eight thousand euro per ep, meaning you get nearly 50 grand for your series if you make it to the end.

The pilots will be up from March 2009, with the series webcast between then and September 2009.

A panel chaired by Irish scriptwriter and actor Mark O'Halloran will choose the first ten winning entries.

Applications forms and information on how to apply for the scheme is available on the web site. The deadline for submissions is noon on 17 November 2008.

Monday 6 October 2008

O'Rowe Wins Script Award

At the Festival du Film Britannique de Dinard at the weekend the film Boy A, adapted to the screen by Irish writer Mark O'Rowe from the novel by Jonathan Trigell, and directed by John Crowley, went on to win most of the major awards.

O'Rowe won the Grand Marnier Trophy for Best Screenplay, and the film also won the Public Prize, the Kodak prize for best photographic director, and on a unanimous decision from the jury, the Golden Hitchock.

The "Coup de Cœur" award, from the organisers of "La Règle du jeu", went to Hunger co-written by Steve McQueen and Edna Walsh, and directed by Steve McQueen.

Friday 3 October 2008

New Boy Wins

The Manhattan Short Film Festival, which toured the world for a week screening its twelve international finalists, has announced the winners:

Best Film went to Steph Green, who directed and wrote the adaptation of Roddy Doyle's short story "New Boy".

Thursday 2 October 2008

Cork's Festival Lineup

Yesterday's Irish Independent has a good overview of this year's Cork Film Festival, which will run from 12-19 October.

The 53rd festival will offer film buffs an exciting programme of events which include big-budget films, world cinema, independent films, international documentaries, a showcase of Irish work and short films from all over the world.

The festival programme will also include special events such as drive-in movies and 'live cinema'.

Cork ranks as one of the oldest film festivals in the world and now attracts entries from more than 3,500 film-makers worldwide each year.

The city is also renowned for having one of the most prestigious categories for short films -- a section that dates back to the festival's establishment in the Savoy Cinema in 1956.

Reel Art

Reel Art is an Arts Council scheme--in association with Filmbase and the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival--designed to allow film artists the opportunity to craft creative and imaginative documentaries on an artistic theme.

Reel Art will support three films with a grant of up to €80,000 per project. Reel Art films will be made for theatrical exhibition and will be premiered at the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival in February 2010.

A successor to the Documenting the Arts scheme, Reel Art will support projects that explore the arts in a visually exciting and creative way. A key aim of Reel Art is to complement, rather than replicate, the documentary and other funding programmes offered by the Arts Council, broadcasters and funding agencies in Ireland. It offers film artists a unique opportunity to make documentary art films that would not otherwise get made.

The treatment of subjects for Reel Art must be imaginative and aesthetically-driven. While biographical projects will be considered, proposals that offer a creative and filmic interpretation of their subject will be prioritised for support. Films may be in Irish, English or bilingual. Applicants must be in a position to deliver completed projects on or before 1 December 2009.

The deadline for applications is 17:00 on Wednesday, 5 November 2008. Forms and further information are available on the web site.

Wednesday 1 October 2008

Grants for Digital Cinema

The Irish Film Board (IFB) has announced that the Cultural Cinema Consortium--a strategic partnership between the Arts Council and the IFB--is launching a new scheme to provide capital funding grants towards the cost of purchasing and installing digital projection equipment in Ireland.

Capital grants towards the cost of purchasing and installing digital projection equipment will be made available to full-time cinema operators who can demonstrate that they currently provide a clear majority of diverse programming on a year-round basis. The scheme will offer grants to cover 85% of installation costs for up to ten cinema screens, subject to a maximum contribution of €75,000 per screen.

Simon Perry, Chief Executive of the Irish Film Board, said "It is vital that public funding intervenes to ensure that cinemas offering Irish audiences a wider choice of film, than that available in mainstream commercial cinemas, are not left behind in the digital race".

Fionnuala Sweeney, Head of Film and International Arts at the Arts Council, said "The Arts Council is delighted to be offering this grant scheme in partnership with the Irish Film Board, through the Cultural Cinema Consortium. It will help arthouse cinemas play their part in the digital age and ensure that Irish audiences have access to a diverse range of cinema programming."

The deadline for receipt of applications for the Cinema Digitisation scheme is 17:00 on Friday, 24 October.

Irish on Brit List

ScreenDaily reports that the second annual "Brit List", which lists the most recommended unproduced screenplays in the UK and Ireland, is circulating the film community.

Compiled from a survey of 40 producers, acquisitions executives, agents, sales agents and public funders, the list is intended to echo the success of the US Black List in drawing attention and perhaps finance to these projects.

Irish writer Frank Deasy's script Gaza, has made the shortlist of 17 screenplays. TV director Philip Martin and Oscar winning actress Helen Mirren are attached to the project--Deasy worked with the pair before on Granada's television movie Prime Suspect: The Final Act, for which Deasy won an Emmy in 2007.