Tuesday 22 December 2009

Dublin Film Critics Circle Awards

The Irish Film Board reports that the Dublin Film Critics Circle has announced its annual awards, including a special Best Irish Film of the Decade, which went to joint winners Adam and Paul (written by Mark O'Halloran, directed by Lenny Abrahamson) and Hunger (written by Edna Walsh and Steve McQueen, directed by Steve McQueen). There Will be Blood (written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson), was named Best Film of the Decade.

The 2009 Awards went to:

Best Irish Film
Written by Lauren Davies and Joel Conroy, directed by Joel Conroy

Best Film
Let the Right One In
Written by John Ajvide Lindqvist, directed by Tomas Alfredson

Best Actor
Sean Penn in Milk
Written by Dustin Lance Black, directed by Gus Van Sant

Best Actress
Yolande Moreau in Séraphine
Co-written by Marc Abdelnour and Martin Provost, directed by Martin Provost

Best Documentary
Anvil! The Story of Anvil
Written and directed by Sacha Gervasi

Best Director
Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker (written by Mark Boal)

Best Breakthrough
Neill Blomkamp for District 9 (co-written with Terri Tatchell)

Outstanding Achievement
Duncan Jones for Moon (written by Nathan Parker)

Monday 21 December 2009

Arts Council Bursaries

The deadline for the next round of Arts Council Bursaries is 21 January, 2010. Each is funded to a maximum of €15,000.

Of specific interest to our members are:

Information on how to apply, and a full list of all bursaries, are available on the web site.

Pay Membership Online

Membership to the Irish Playwrights and Screenwriters Guild runs from January - December, which means that member fees are due in the coming weeks.

To make the process easier members can now renew their membership online using PayPal.

Our thanks to members who pay their fees on time. The work we do on your behalf would not be possible otherwise!

Friday 18 December 2009

Dublin Film Fringe

The online forum FilmmakersNetwork.ie is taking submissions for the inaugural festival, the Dublin Film Fringe.

Short film entries should be:

  • Under 20 minutes long - the shorter the better!
  • Made in the previous 2 years
  • Made in Ireland and/or by Irish filmmakers
  • Be submitted on DVD with the completed application form. You should send in a DVD copy of your film for preview purposes and also a Quicktime/AVI of the film on disc.
  • When projecting the selected films we will be playing the films from a hard drive or a DVD compilation and supplying the Quicktime/AVI file of the film will help preserve the quality of your film. Please use a common codec to encode your Quicktime/AVI version of your film. H-264 / DV PAL / etc.
  • If you are unable to obtain a Quicktime/AVI version of the film we can pull your film from the DVD copy but this will result in a drop in quality.
The closing date for submissions is January 23rd 2010.

If you like to volunteer to work on the festival go to the forum thread on how you can get involved.

Wednesday 16 December 2009

Globes Nominees

The 67th Annual Golden Globes nominations have been released in the USA.

The entire list is online, but here are the nominees for The Best Screenplay, Motion Picture Award:

Neill Blomkamp, Terri Tatchell
District 9

Mark Boal
The Hurt Locker

Nancy Meyers
It's Complicated

Jason Reitman, Sheldon Turner
Up in the Air

Quentin Tarantino
Inglorious Basterds

Irish actor Brendan Gleeson is nominated for Best Actor in a Miniseries or TV Movie for his portrayal of Winston Churchill in Into the Storm.

U2 are among the nominees in the Best Song category for 'Winter', featured in the new Jim Sheridan film Brothers - American actor Toby Maguire is also nominated for Best Actor in a Motion Picture for his performance in the film.

Tuesday 15 December 2009

Done in 60 Seconds

The Jameson Empire Done in 60 Seconds Competition has returned:

The idea is, simply, to take any movie of your choice, grab a bunch of friends and remake it in no more than 60 seconds! It's your chance to show that the likes of Spielberg and Scorsese are really long-winded.

The top two Irish entrants (to be announced in February) will attend the Jameson Empire Done in 60 Seconds finalist's party in London on Friday 26th March, along with 18 other international entries. Their films will be judged by an expert panel of judges, with the top 5 nominees going on to attend the Jameson Empire Awards on Sunday 28th March, where the overall winner will be presented with their award. The prize includes flights and 3 nights accommodation for you and a guest in London & the opportunity to rub shoulders with the A-listers at the Jameson Empire Awards Wrap Party.

The deadline for entry is Friday 29 January 2010, and information on how to apply is available on the web site.

Friday 11 December 2009

Storyland 2010

RTÉ has announced the six finalists for its new Storyland webisode competition. The first episode of each series will air on the 29 January, 2010.

There is no information on the Storyland web site about the writers and directors of these pieces, merely the names of production companies. I'll update this entry when I discover those facts.

Written and directed by Jason Butler & Brendan Butler. Produced by Brothers Gonna Work it Out Ltd.
"Meat is Murder (But Also Delicious)"

Daily Strife
Written and directed by Cecilia McAllister. Produced by Poca Productions.
"All Glenn wants to do it change his life and leave his wife but daily strife keeps getting in the way."

Written by Steven Stubbs and co-directed by Stubbs and Ray Sullivan. Produced by Eekreb Films Ltd.
"Mariana is a normal, happy, ambitious woman. She’s also a 400 year old vampire."

Star Feck!
Written by Gemma Creagh and directed by Kevin McCann. Produced by Maccana Teoranta.
"Feck it into Space. A Cavan Space crew (one half Monaghan) and a three foot alien called Romtox have a cargo to feck into Space..."

We Own The Streets
From Chutney Films Ltd
"There comes a time when you have to stop running."

Zombie Bashers
Written by Stephen Shields and directed by Conor McMahon. Produced by Tailored Films Ltd.
"Don’t get eaten; our prices can’t be beaten!"

Thursday 10 December 2009

IPSG Budget 2010 Press Statement

The Irish Playwrights' and Screenwriters' Guild welcomes news of the continuation of government support for the Film Industry and the Arts as announced in the budget.

Cuts of 5% and 6% respectively in the budgets for the Film Board and the Arts Council will undoubtedly exacerbate the current difficult situation in the Arts.

However, in the context of the financial problems faced by the country, this level of cut implies a welcome acknowledgement by Government that the Film Industry and the Arts in general, in addition to their importance to society, are a valuable source of employment; a fundamentally important aspect of growing tourism revenue; and an important contributor to Ireland’s international reputation.

The decision to retain the artist tax exemption scheme is particularly welcome. In the last two years, the average income of Irish writers for the stage and screen from their writing work was less than €10,000 per annum. The tax exemption is of baseline importance to those creative individuals who produce the raw material that fuels the arts.

The IPSG expresses its particular thanks to Martin Cullen TD, Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism, who has been unequivocal in his belief that support for art and artists makes economic and cultural sense, even in difficult times.

David Kavanagh
Irish Playwrights' and Screenwriters' Guild
Art House
Curved Street
Temple Bar
Dublin 2

Budget 2010

The Irish Government has released its Budget for 2010, and while the predicted cuts have indeed arrived, they are not as ruthless as the McCarthy Report encouraged. Many recommendations of the report have been ignored entirely.

The IPSG would like to thank its members who petitioned the government and its representatives to remember the importance of the Arts to the cultural and economic vitality of Ireland. There is no doubt that the many heartfelt letters, emails, phone calls and personal meetings made a difference, so a virtual bualadh bos for your time and effort. Thanks also to the National Campaign for the Arts, which encouraged artists, arts groups and organisations around the country to pool their resources and prove their clout.

In particular the IPSG is pleased to hear of the promise to retain the Artist Tax Exemption, although in the Arts the definition of a very high earner might not match the figures in most other industries, so we await clarification on this matter in the coming weeks.

Martin Cullen TD, Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism, has issued a press release about how the Budget will affect his department, and here are his thoughts on Arts, Culture and Film:

"At the Global Irish Economic Forum held in Farmleigh in September there was wide acknowledgement of the importance of culture in promoting Ireland abroad and developing a unique brand for the country in new markets. Most participants agreed that our unique and strong cultural identity provides the Government and the private sector with a strong competitive advantage abroad. Internationally, the creative economy is moving centre stage and creativity is seen as a crucial bedrock, underpinning our knowledge economy. I am pleased that significant funding to support the arts is secured for 2010. The overall allocation for the arts, culture and film area in 2010 is €166m as compared to €178m for 2009 - a 6% adjustment. Even in more stringent times, overall funding for the arts is up 14% on 2005 levels."

Here are the pertinent details:
  • Funding to the Arts Council, the state agency for the arts is €69.15m, a 6% reduction on the 2009 figure of €73.35m.
  • "Other key agencies like the Irish Film Board and Culture Ireland will continue to develop and support their sectors. Their budgets have been maintained at 2007 levels with the Irish Film Board allocated €19.31m and Culture Ireland, €4.083m. The important tax relief scheme, Section 481, for investment in film and TV production is maintained until at least 2012, underpinning the Government's commitment to the importance of our indigenous Irish film and audiovisual sector."
  • Culture Ireland and Tourism Ireland have intensified joint planning on cross-promotions in the cultural tourism field. Initiatives for 2010 will include a programme of cultural projects and events for the World Expo in Shanghai from May to October. In January, Culture Ireland will lead its annual performing arts promotional mission to the United States, its priority market, promoting an expanded range of showcases by Irish music, dance and theatre artists/companies.
  • Capital funding for arts infrastructure has been consolidated in the Department and all major arts capital projects will be completed as will regional capital projects to which commitments have been made. Projects for completion in 2010 include Solas Picture House in Galway, the Model Niland in Sligo, Limerick City Art Gallery and Droichead Arts Centre, Louth.
  • Day-to-day funding for the national cultural institutions is maintained at or above 2007 levels and their capital funding is maintained at 2009 levels to ensure continued investment in high quality visitor experiences as part of an integrated cultural tourism drive. The aim for 2010 is to exceed the 3.2m visitor target at the cultural institutions.
  • Investment in regional and smaller museums like Marsh's Library, Hunt Museum, Science Gallery, Print Museum, Foynes Flying Boat Museum and the James Joyce Centre will continue.
  • The digitization of the 1901 and 1911 Census will be completed. It is intended to name the preferred tenderer for the new National Concert Hall project shortly. Work is ongoing in assessing the GPO complex as a possible location for the Abbey, the National Theatre.
  • In 2010 the Department will also create a new National Opera Company.
  • The artist tax exemption has been maintained with some adjustment only in respect of very high earners to reflect a more equitable apportionment of the tax burden.
Commenting on the Government decision to continue the existence of Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board, the Chairman, James Morris said:
"I would like to acknowledge the role of the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism Martin Cullen in supporting the Irish Film Industry and the work of the Irish Film Board as the industry development agency. The support of the Government for Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board is a strong endorsement of the economic value of the film and television production sector to the emerging digital economy. It is also an acknowledgement of the cultural value of Irish artistic and creative work in building Ireland's international profile that emerged as a major conclusion of the Global Irish Economic Forum in Farmleigh earlier this year."

Commenting on the Arts Council's Budget allocation, the Chairman of the Arts Council, Pat Moylan said:
"The Arts Council recognises the enormous challenges facing the Government and the need to reduce public spending. The €69.15 million budgeted for the Arts Council in 2010, despite the pressure on public resources, underscores the commitment to the arts of the Government and especially the Minister for the Arts, Martin Cullen TD.

"We are grateful to Minster Cullen, and also to the many artists, arts organisations, TDs, members of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on the Arts and to communities across Ireland who have in the course of recent months made public the value they place on the arts at this difficult time.

"The allocation does represent a significant reduction in funding, and, its impact, along with previous reductions, will be felt hard across the sector. However, as the country's expert body on the arts, the Arts Council is best placed to invest this money wisely, and we will draw on our experience and redouble our efforts to ensure that people right across the country have access to the best of the arts in 2010.

"The Council will also be focusing on the key role the arts can play in stimulating job creation, cultural tourism and investment at this time. We know from research that the sector is already making a very significant contribution to the economy and employment. Ireland's consistently high level of achievement in the arts means that they represent our 'unique selling point' as a country.

Wednesday 9 December 2009

Drip Action Plays

The Drip Action Theatre company in the UK is looking for plays to perform at the 2010 Arundel Town Festival Theatre Trail.

Plays should be between about 30 minutes long and be suitable for day time performance. The 7 selected plays will be announced at our Theatre Trail Launch in May 2010 and will performed alongside a newly commissioned work by Simon Brett.

Submissions should be sent to:

Drip Action Theatre Trail 2010
1 Norfolk House
28 High Street
West Sussex
BN18 9AB

The deadline for submissions is 31 December 2009.

One play only per entrant, in hard copy. Please enclose an SAE if you want your manuscript returned.

The best submitted play will receive the Joy Goun award of £200 at theTheatre Trail launch in May 2010, and each successful playwright will receive a £150 writer's fee.

For further information call 019 0388 5250 or email dripactioninfo@btinternet.com.

Tuesday 8 December 2009

New Belfast Arts Venue

The Stage reports that construction has begun on Belfast's new £17.5 million city-centre arts venue.

When complete, the six-storey complex will become the new home for the Old Museum Arts Centre and house two black-box performance spaces seating 150 and 350, workshop rooms, rehearsal and dance studios, an art gallery and retail unit.

The development is the latest capital project in a decade-long investment in new infrastructure venues in Northern Ireland, including a new home for the region's only repertory company, the Lyric Theatre, and major refurbishments of Belfast's Crescent Arts Centre and the Playhouse Theatre in Derry.

Monday 7 December 2009

Dialogue Writing

FÁS Screen Training Ireland is running a one and a half day Dialogue Writing course starting on December 17th in Galway. The tutors are Bobette Buster and Iain Morris.

Participant Profile:
This course is designed for professional television scriptwriters, screenwriters, script editors and development executives working in the Irish film and television industry.

Course Profile:
The purpose of this course is to explore the craft of dialogue writing across all genres in film and television.

Day One:
Tutor Bobette Buster will give participants an overview of the dialogue writing and editing process, and provide participants with tips and techniques that will hone their dialogue writing skills. The course will cover the following:
  • Dialogue where, when, how, why, what for?
  • Writing to reveal subtext
  • Writing to reveal character
  • Tone
  • Dialogue to advance plot
  • Combining dialogue with visuals

Day Two (morning session):
Iain Morris will speak about his approach to dialogue writing for comedy. This will include capturing the voice of the character, timing in comedy writing and working with a co-writer. This course is in association with the Galway Film Centre.

The course costs €100, and details on how to apply are on the web site.

Friday 4 December 2009

Short Film Awards 09

The winners of the Filmbase/RTÉ Short Film Award scheme (June round) have been announced.

Three projects were chosen out of over 250 applications received earlier this year. All three teams will receive €10,000 along with matching equipment and/or post-production facilities at Filmbase to realize their individual projects.


'Billy and Chuck' is a tale about a young boy who sets out on an adventure deep into the forest to face his fear, guided only by a voice at the end of his walkie-talkie.
'Billy & Chuck' is written and directed by Lee Cronin and produced by John Keville for new Dublin-based production outfit Rank Outsider.

'Dead Load' is a dark comedy about a relationship in turmoil; a surreal crime thriller. But most of all a movie about Joe. His evening is about to get extremely complicated. But it’s more than just his fat friend’s corpse that's weighing him down…
'Dead Load' was written by Greg Corcoran and Colin Corrigan and will be directed by Corcoran. Dave Leahy of Warrior Films will produce.

'Til Death Do Us Part' is a black comedy about a married couple's ailing relationship which is only exasperated by the current financial crisis.
'Til Death Do Us Part' was written by Matthew Roche and will be directed by Feidhlimidh Woods with AnneMarie Naughton of Park Films producing.

Commenting on the round, Eilish Kent of RTÉ said "The Filmbase/RTÉ Short Film Awards continue to unearth talent, the three commissioned short film projects were stand out in terms of ideas, quality of writing and preparation so I'm really looking forward to the finished films."

Alan Fitzpatrick of Filmbase also added "We were delighted with the extremely high quality of both the scripts submitted to this round and the filmmakers who were shortlisted for interview. In a very competitive round we are pleased to have selected three very diverse, creative and original projects from three exciting teams. We hope that the opportunity to produce the films through the scheme, with the help and support of RTÉ and Filmbase will be a valuable stepping stone in developing the careers of all the filmmakers involved."

Thursday 3 December 2009

Short Film Course

Filmbase is running a new course called "Writing Short Films That Get Funded" from Thursday 10th - Saturday 12th December 2009, which will be taught by award-winning screenwriter Mary Kate O Flanagan.

Making a successful short film is very often a springboard to a career in feature films, documentaries and TV drama. Competition for short film funding under the various Irish schemes, including the Filmbase/RTÉ Awards, is incredibly high.

To give writers and producers expert guidance in crafting their short film scripts to the standards required by Filmbase/RTÉ and other funders and to improve the quality of entries for Irish short film schemes.

There will also be a Meet the Funders panel, where participating filmmakers can hear from, and ask questions of, the people who select the winners. This is highly recommended for filmmakers who propose to apply for the Filmbase/RTÉ short film awards.

Cost of the course is €180 waged / €150 unwaged, and details on how to apply for the course are available on the web site.

Wednesday 2 December 2009

Residencies in Paris

Irish artists can apply for a number of artistic residencies at the Centre Culturel Irlandais/Irish College in Paris.

Artists-in-residence have been appointed on an annual basis since the Centre Culturel Irlandais opened in the Irish College in October 2002. Residency gives the recipient the chance to spend time in Paris and engage with one of the most culturally diverse cities in the world.

Through the residencies and its own cultural programme, the Centre Culturel Irlandais showcases Ireland's dynamic contemporary culture and strong historical traditions on an international stage.

Guidelines for Applicants for Residency Bursary
The Centre Culturel Irlandais is a resource for Irish artists and the artist-in-residence is given the opportunity to tap into all that the Centre and Paris has to offer. The combination of living and working in these historic and atmospheric surroundings, in one of the most cultured cities in the world, helps to channel a rich influence towards Ireland and its artistic community, as well as providing a benefit to each individual who resides in the Centre.

Applicants must be either:
  1. Irish citizens with full-time professional involvement in creative practice.
  2. French professional artists whose work demonstrates an Irish dimension, who are resident in Ireland or have another clear link.
  3. Artists with a body of work with a distinct Irish element, and who would benefit from a connection with France and Paris.
Information on how to apply is available from the web site.

For a residency between September 2010 and July 2011, the deadline for applications is Friday 29 January 2010.

Tuesday 1 December 2009

WGGB Award Winners

The Writers Guild of Great Britain announced the winners of its 2009 Guild Awards at a ceremony in London on 29 November.

  • Television comedy / light entertainment: Guy Jenkin and Andy Hamilton for Outnumbered
  • Television drama series: Toby Whithouse for Being Human
  • Television soap / continuing series: Coronation Street, episodes written by Carmel Morgan, Chris Fewtrell, Damon Rochefort, David Bowker, David Lane , Debbie Oates, Jan McVerry, Jayne Hollinson, Joe Turner, John Kerr, Jonathan Harvey, Julie Jones, Lucy Gannon, Mark Burt, Mark Wadlow, Martin Allen , Martin Sterling, Peter Whalley, Simon Crowther, Stephen Bennett (Pictured: Chris Fewtrell, Simon Crowther, Mark Wadlow, Joe Turner, Jan McVerry, Jonathan Harvey)
  • Television short form drama: Peter Moffat for Criminal Justice
  • Feature film screenplay: Enda Walsh, Steve McQueen for Hunger
  • Feature film screenplay newcomer: Eran Creevy for Shifty
  • Theatre play: Juliet Gilkes Romero for At the Gates Of Gaza
  • Theatre play for children and young people: Brendan Murray for Scarlet Ribbons
  • Radio comedy / light entertainment: Dave Cohen Richie Webb and David Quantick for 15 Minute Musicals
  • Radio drama: Katie Hims for The Gunshot Wedding
  • Video games: Andrew S Walsh for Prince of Persia
  • Lifetime Achievement: Andrew Davies
  • Outstanding contribution to children's writing: Sir Terry Pratchett

Monday 30 November 2009

IWC Open Day

On the 5th of Decemember, from 12pm until 10pm, the Irish Writers' Centre is holding an open day to publicise its new line-up of courses for 2010. Course organisers and tutors will be on hand to answers any questions and offer advice.

The Writer in Residence, Catherine Morris, will give a presentation on Alice Milligan - poet, dramatist and key figure of the Irish literary revival. All of which will be followed by a table quiz and raffle, starting at 6.30pm. There will be drinks and nibbles and wonderful prizes. Tables of 4 cost €16.

Friday 27 November 2009

Irish at BAFTA Rocliffe Forum

IFTN reports that next week the BAFTA Rocliffe New Writing Forum will spotlight the science fiction feature film The Colony, written by Irish screenwriter Aisling Corristine, with a workshop co-chaired by fellow Irishwoman, director Farah Abushwesha.

It will be workshopped in front of an industry audience at BAFTA in London on Monday, November 30th at 7.30pm.

The Colony will be part of a workshop alongside two other pieces and all three will be performed in the Princess Anne Theatre by actors cast by Laura Dickens CDG, and each be accompanied by music composed for each extract by Air-Edel. The event is rounded off by an informal networking session in the BAFTA bar where attendees will meet with the featured writers, directors, actors and other industry members.

Ticket information is available on the BAFTA web site.

Thursday 26 November 2009

2009 ZeBBie Award Winners

At a packed and sparkling Ceremony at the Sugar Club in Dublin the 2009 ZeBBie Award Winners were announced:

Best Television Script
Frank Deasy for Father and Son (Episode 1)

Best Radio Script
Elizabeth Moynihan for Cider Queens

Best Theatre Script
Elaine Murphy for Little Gem

Best Film Script
Enda Walsh for Hunger

Honorary Services to Writers Award
Rough Magic Theatre Company

Actor Stephen Rae rushed from his performance this evening in Sam Shepard's Ages of the Moon at the Abbey to speak about Frank Deasy's career. Frank died earlier this year after failing to obtain a liver transplant. There was also a video montage showing highlights from his award-winning body of work.

Our thanks to Senator David Norris for serving as an excellent Master of Ceremonies, and to our fine Award Presenters: Film Editor Emer Reynolds, Director of Photography Ciarán Tanham, Producer Edwina Forkin, Film Director Declan Recks, and the Minister for Communication Eamon Ryan.

The celebrations are still on-going!

London Festival Fringe 2010

Next year will see the first London Festival Fringe, which will run from August 6- 30, and place it in direct competition with the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Director Greg Tallent said, "London is the world's greatest art centre, drawing performers from around the globe. We want to bring together fringe artists to give audiences innovative acts in one place at one time - in every sphere, from comedy and drama to music, film and street theatre.

"In July 2009 we organised the London Bridge Festival, which was a great success. It's now time to bring together London's fringe scene and give it the international recognition it deserves."

The London Festival Fringe is being held in August to offer art and entertainment to Londoners and the large number of tourists who visit the city in the summer. In particular, London Festival Fringe allows artists and promoters living and working in London to put on shows and events to audiences on their doorsteps, at a price they can afford without earnings being eaten up by travel and accommodation costs.

Perhaps in response to this new festival, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe has announced that it will freeze its participation fees at the 2008 prices, despite an expected grant cut of 4% from various arts organisations.

Wednesday 25 November 2009

New Playwriting Competition

For the new international biennial competition, the International Playwrights' Forum (IPF) of the International Theatre Institute focuses on one of the painful issues of our global contemporary world: the problem of exile and fugitives, migration and identity.

Playwrights are invited to submit a play (not a monodrama) on this theme written in Arabic, English or French (UNESCO languages) of not more than 100 pages.

An international jury will read all entries: 1st prize: US$3,000; 2nd prize: US$2,000; 3rd prize: US$1,000.

Deadline for entries: 30 June 2010.

For full details of the competition, please consult the web sites.

Tuesday 24 November 2009

2010 Tony Doyle Bursary

The Tony Doyle Bursary for New Writing provides a fantastic opportunity for writers new to television. Previous winners of the prestigious £2,000 television writer's award are Bill Murphy, Brian Dungan, Dominque Maloney, Danny Stack, Abbie Spallen and Martin McSweeney and Martin McNamara.

The judging panel for entries will include John Yorke, Kate Rowland, Liam Cunnigham, Lorcan Cranitch, Peter Norris, Sally Doyle, Emma Norton from Element Pictures, Sarah Stack and Tina Kellegher.

The bursary's core aim is to assist the development of new writers. To achieve this, the chosen finalists will take part in a residential seminar where they will undergo intensive, structured, script sessions with members of BBC Northern Ireland Drama's development team and with top script writers and producers.

The aim of the bursary
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 the 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. The winner and runners-up will be announced in January 2010.

All submissions should be received by 4th December 2009.

Further information and the rules of entry are available on the web site.

Monday 23 November 2009

2009 Review of AudioVisual Industry

The Audiovisual Federation, the IBEC group that represents the feature film, television and animation sectors, launched its 2009 review of film and television production in Ireland last weekend.

In 2008, 266 audiovisual productions were completed in Ireland, with a total production value of €246.8 million. This was a significant increase on 2007 (€195.7 million). Estimates for 2009 are, however, showing a fall to €217 million. Animation performed well with its production value increasing from €38.9m in 2008 to an estimate €43m this year.

Speaking at the launch, Audiovisual Federation director Tommy McCabe said: "Notwithstanding current pressures, the audiovisual sector remains vibrant and continues to make a significant contribution to the Irish economy. The sector is one of Ireland's great success stories and it is critical that public policy continues to support the industry, to ensure that this momentum is not lost.

"In 2008, the net benefit to the economy was €25.7m, which is the highest return since 2003, and over 1,631 people were employed in full-time equivalent jobs. The level of production activity for feature films increased to €71.9 million in 2008, up from €19.3m in 2007, but estimates for 2009 show a fall to €65m. Films produced in 2008 included Cracks (starring Sinead Cusack and directed by Jordan Scott), Five minutes of heaven (starring Liam Neeson and James Nesbit), Ondine and Triage (starring Colin Farrell)."

Other highlights of the sector in 2009 are:
  • Golden Globe awards for Irish actors Colin Farrell (In Bruges) and Gabriel Byrne (In Treatment);
  • Emmy Awards for Brendan Gleeson (Into the Storm) and Dearbhla Walsh (Little Dorrit);
  • Academy award nominations for In Bruges and New Boy;
  • Upward trend in independent television productions, including major TV drama;
  • High standards in Irish animation, exemplified by Ballybradden, Niko and The Way to the Stars and Life Boat Luke.
Kevin Moriarty, MD of Ardmore Studios and Chairman of the Audiovisual Federation database committee, which produced the report, said: "The film and television industry continues to have great potential: economically and culturally. We applaud the government for taking measures to restore competitiveness and enable Ireland to continue to participate in the huge international growth of the industry. Despite the current economic climate, it is vital that the Government continues to support this industry, as it can yield tangible benefits for Ireland."

Andrew Lowe, Director of Element Pictures and Chairman of the Audiovisual Federation added: "This review demonstrates that our industry is experiencing significant challenges to maintain the level of production we enjoyed during 2008. We are heartened by the commitment and support of the government, both in terms of extending and improving section 481 and the expected retention of the Irish Film Board. The current economic crisis is an opportunity to take stock as an industry and identify steps that we can take collectively to build a stronger, more internationally competitive, and ultimately more successful sector, both creatively and commercially. We look forward to working with all the members of the Audiovisual Federation to meet those challenges together in the year ahead."

Teresa McGrane, Deputy Chief Executive, Bord Scannán na hÉireann said: "It should be noted that as a result of changes and improvements implemented to Section 481 there was very little production for the first three months of the year while the improvements were going through Government to become legislation. This is one of the reasons why production is down in 2009."

Friday 20 November 2009

ZeBBie Awards Ceremony

The 2009 ZeBBie Awards Ceremony is taking place from 7.30pm on Thursday 26th November in the The Sugar Club, 8 Lower Leeson Street, Dublin 2.

The evening is not just about the announcement of the winners of the best scripts in television, radio, theatre and film, for which Senator David Norris will be our lively master of ceremonies.

The Irish Playwrights and Screenwriters Guild, with the support of the Irish Film Institute, will also project a presentation of old short films, which include early newsreel, drama and comedy. These films were first seen in the Volta Cinematograph in 1909 under the management of James Joyce. The IPSG and the IFI are delighted to celebrate the cinematic endeavours of Ireland's greatest writer with this centenary programme, which will feature the live musical accompaniment of the highly talented septet, 3epkano.

And after this evening of culture there will be free pizza, thanks to Domino's Pizza!

Tickets for this fabulous shindig cost €10 each, and you can purchase your ticket(s) online, via PayPal, at the IPSG office, or on the door.

We look forward to celebrating the 2009 ZeBBie Awards in the company of our members!

Thursday 19 November 2009

The Blockbuster Course

FÁS Screen Training Ireland is offering a course called, The "BLOCKBUSTER" - Visual Story Development for Animation & Live Action.

The tutors will be Bobette Buster and Bruce Block, and it will commence on December 11th for 8 days in Dublin. The cost is €500, and the deadline for applications is Friday 4th December 2009.

The aim of this course is to provide a creative overview of animation and live action project development from a story and visual perspective. Through two separate sessions, Script Consultant Bobette Buster and Visual Consultant Bruce Block will present a comprehensive analysis of story structure and visual structure. Over five days of Script Analysis, Bobette Buster will explore the craft of emotional storytelling, followed by Bruce Block offering his unique and structured approach to Visual Storytelling. The course will culminate in a joint visual and story analysis of a film from the “Block Buster” tutors.

The course will cover the following:
  • Recognising and using the basic visual components: space, structure, line, shape, colour, tone, movement and rhythm.
  • Applying these components to story structure
  • Emotionally connecting to your audience
  • Analysing story structure
Applicants can choose to attend just the Script Analysis or Visual Structure elements of this course, or, at a reduced cost, both.

Wednesday 18 November 2009

Waterford Winners

The 3rd Waterford Film Festival has announced the winners of its competitions.

Quelle surprise, none of the writers are credited, except in the obvious category.

Best Feature Film:
Winner: Bitterness
Written and directed by Joseph Delond

Runner up:
Billy and Lilly Go To New York
Written and directed by Bill Maloney

Best Feature Documentary:
Winner: Pipe Down
Written and directed by Cian O Laoi and Oliver Knowles

Runner Up:
Obama's Irish Roots
Written and directed by Gabriel Murray

Best Short Film:
Winner: 'The Man in the Boot'
Written and directed by Anthony Kinsella

Runner up:
'Near Future'
Written by Steven Stubbs; directed by Steven Stubbs & Ray Sullivan

Best Short Screenplay:
Winner: 'The boy who killed James Connolly'
By Laura O Connell

Runner up:
'Silent Night'
by James Phelan

Tuesday 17 November 2009

iad-T in the Park

On Saturday November 28th, IADT and the Dún Laoghaire Arts Office are launching iad-T in the Park, a series of literary happenings taking place once a month at the Tea Rooms in the People's Park, Dún Laoghaire.

Writers, readers and booklovers of all ages are invited to drop in and join Mia Gallagher, writer-in-residence at the IADT, for an exciting mix of literature, cakes and super-strength espresso. Tea-drinkers are also catered for!

Whether it's poetry that takes your fancy or crime fiction that keeps you turning those pages, iad-T in the Park offers you the chance to share your work in public, chat with other writers, meet some of Ireland’s brightest literary talents – or just talk about the books you love reading.

The events are free of charge, open to all and will run from midday to 4pm.

A full list of all the events is available on the web site.

Monday 16 November 2009

Vote in the 2009 ZeBBie Awards

A final reminder that voting in the ZeBBie Awards closes today at 6pm GMT.

It's the last chance for members of the Irish Playwrights and Screenwriters Guild to read and vote for the best script in Television, Radio, Theatre and Film in 2009.

The winners will be announced at the 2009 ZeBBie Awards Ceremony on Thursday the 26th of November, at the Sugar Club, in Dublin.

Tickets for the ZeBBie Awards Ceremony are €10 each, and can be purchased online here. No one will be admitted to the ceremony without a ticket.

Enjoy reading and voting!

Thursday 12 November 2009

Kerry Wins

The winners of the Kerry Film Festival short film awards were announced recently, and once again the concept of writing seems to have slipped the mind of the festival.

I've included the writing credit as best as I can ascertain:

The Best Animated Short Film
Written and directed by Sally Pearce

The Best International Short
'Mother, Mine'
Written and directed by Susan Everett.

The best Documentary short from KFF 2009
'A Film From My Parish - 6 Farms'
Written and directed by Tony Donoghue

Best Irish Narrative Short Film
'The Wednesdays'
Written by Conor Ferguson and Luke Clancy; directed by Conor Ferguson

Best Short
'The Man Inside'
Written and directed by Rory Bresnihan, based on a short story by Fernando Sorrentino

Audience Award
'The Valley of Knockanure'
Written and directed by Gerard Barrett

Children's Audience Award
'Our Wonderful Nature'
Written and directed by Tomer Eshed

The Maureen O'Hara Award, which acknowledges women that have demonstrated outstanding leadership in their respective fields in film, was presented to Rebecca Miller at the ceremony.

Filmbase Fundraiser

Filmbase will host a Fundraiser Table Quiz on Friday 27th November at the new club Alchemy in the Temple Bar Hotel. There will be a welcome reception with canapés from 6.30pm, and the quiz starts at 7.15pm (ends 10.30pm).

The quiz will be a fundraising event for Filmbase to go towards improving the services it provides. It will cost €10 per person when booked in advance, and €12 on the night. There will also be a raffle on the night with lots of fantastic prizes.

Canemaker Classes

The Irish film industry are invited to a number of events with John Canemaker, a Professor of Animation at New York University and the author of a number of highly-acclaimed books about the history of animation in general, and Disney in particular. His film, The Moon and the Son: An Imagined Conversation won the Oscar© for Best Short Film - Animated in 2006. He is the first NFS Visiting Fellow and his residency at IADT is supported by the Irish Film Board and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Visiting Artists Program. The subject of his illustrated lecture will be "Winsor McCay - His Life and Art".

During the first week, he will conduct a series of themed masterclasses under the title "Action Analysis: The Thinking Character". The second week will see a second series of 5 masterclasses under the title "Storyboarding: Process". There are be limited places for industry and/or non-IADT students.

There are also three evening events which are all open to the industry:

  1. Tuesday, 10 November at 5.30pm in IADT - NFS Lecture ("Winsor McKee: His Life and Art")
  2. Thursday, 12 November at 6.30pm in IFI: "An Evening with John Canemaker" (screening followed by Q&A)
  3. Monday, 16 November at 6.30pm in the Light House ("The Art and Flair of Mary Blair" followed by discussion on industry issues)
The National Film School Lecture Series is held in association with Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board.

For more details contact:
Celine Blacow, School Administrator, School of Creative Arts<
Phone: + 353 1 239 4664
Email: Celine.Blacow@iadt.ie

World Conference of Screenwriters Report

Last weekend a delegation representing the Irish Playwright and Screenwriters Guild attended the historic first World Conference of Screenwriters in Athens, Greece. It consisted of David Kavanagh, Chief Executive of the IPSG, Audrey O'Reilly, Chair of the Board of Directors, and screenwriters Mark O'Halloran and Lauren Mackenzie.

The event brought together all of the members Guilds and Unions of the Federation of Screenwriters in Europe (FSE) - who initiated the project - and the members of the International Affiliation of Writers Guilds (IAWG). Approximately 160 people attended the two-day event, from countries as far apart as Israel, Canada, New Zealand, and Brazil.

The conference tackled its subjects with intense energy, even when faced with intimidating issues such as bi-lateral trade agreements.

What quickly emerged is that while screenwriters in other countries may operate under different agreements with producers and directors, there is a commonality of experience which bridges the cultural divides.

In particular, most screenwriters and Unions encounter issues to do with how credit is attributed to the writers of films; the process of writing treatments and drafts and the manner in which they are subjected to critique; coping with the advent of digital media; the globalisation of the industry and the rights that multinational corporations are attempting to co-opt; and finally the hope writers have for their future based on being the creative source for a good script.

Sometimes the mood in the room became despondent or strained, as people from various groups tried to communicate their frustration and fears, but in the end it was overtaken with a serious determination for screenwriters to remember their strength as the originators of material, and the power of collective action. Screenwriters are not powerless, and it's not impolite to ask for fair treatment. As the American screenwriter Frank Pierson said, in a video clip to the audience: "Take it easy, but take it."

When the conference concluded the FSE and the IAWG issued a joint Declaration, and also a Joint Activity Programme.

The conference was a good first start, and already there is a suggestion of another meeting in two year's time to carry on the action, and conversation.

Wednesday 11 November 2009

Cork Winners 09

The winners of the Short Film Awards at the Corona Cork Film Festival have been announced.

As usual none of the writers have been credited.

The following list includes all the writers - as best as I could discover:

Best Irish Short Film
'Free Chips Forever!'
Written and directed by Claire Dix

Special Mentions:
'A Film From My Parish – 6 Farms'
Written and directed by Tony Donoghue

Best International Short Film
Written and directed by Blu, Italy

Special Mentions:

Written and directed by Jeanne Herry, France

'Little Red Hoodie'
Written and directed by Joern Utkilen, Scotland

'A Film From My Parish – 6 Farms'
Written and directed by Tony Donoghue, Ireland

Cork Short Film Nominee for the European Film Awards
'Joseph's Snails'
Written and directed by Sophie Roze, France

‘Made In Cork’ Award for Best Short Film
'My Beamish Boy'
Written and directed by Mike Hannon

Special Mention:
'The Shop'
Written and directed by Neil Hurley

Youth Jury Award for Best International Short Film
'Lesh Sabreen?'
Written and directed by Muayad Alayan, Palestine

Award of the Festival for Best Short Film
'Elephant Skin'
Written and directed by Severin Fiala and Ulrike Putzer; Austria

OutLook Audience Award for Best LGBT Short Film
Written by Kim Farrant & Anthony Johnsen; directed by Kim Farrant, Australia

Audience Award for Best Irish Short Film
'Bye Bye Now'
Written and directed by Ross Whitaker and Aideen O'Sullivan, Ireland

Audience Award for Best International Short Film
'Moore Street Masala'
Written by Rodney Lee & David O'Sullivan; directed by David O'Sullivan, Ireland

Tuesday 10 November 2009

IFTAs Open

The Irish Film and Television Awards, presented annually by the Academy, are a platform to honour and celebrate outstanding Irish creativity, talent and achievement; to encourage a high standard of arts and technique in work produced.

The Call for Entries for the 7th Annual Irish Film & Television Awards is now open. Submissions are invited for categories in film, television, shorts and animation.

The deadline for submissions is 5.30pm, on Monday 23 November 2009.

More information on the nomination process is available on the IFTA web site.

IFB Galway Information Session

The Galway Film Centre is hosting an information session at 2pm, on Thursday November 19th, at the Town Hall Theatre in Galway City, to take a look at Bord Scannán na hÉireann / the Irish Film Board's development and production funding schemes.

Andrew Meehan, Development Executive and Sarah Dillon, Production & Development Co-ordinator, will outline the principles and criteria for each scheme, the application process as well as answer any questions in relation to the schemes.

To reserve a place contact Mary at education@galwayfilmcentre.ie or 091-770748, as places are limited.

Monday 9 November 2009

ZeBBie Voting Starts

Voting in the 2009 ZeBBie Awards has commenced.

All members of the IPSG should have received their individual IDs and passwords that will enable them to log in securely and read the nominated scripts.

The final ballot must be cast by 6pm on Monday, the 16th of November.

The winners will be announced at the ZeBBie Awards Ceremony on Thursday 26th November 2009 in the The Sugar Club, 8 Lower Leeson Street, Dublin 2. Each ticket costs €10. No one will be admitted to the Awards Ceremony without a ticket.

You can purchase your ticket(s) online, via PayPal, or you can drop into the IPSG office in Art House, Curved Street, Temple Bar, Dublin 2 and buy them in person.

Friday 6 November 2009

Save the Kino

Over 300 people attended a public meeting to launch a campaign to save Cork's Kino Cinema, the only independent art-house cinema outside of Dublin in the Republic, which recently announced it was being forced to close as a result of High Court proceedings by creditors seeking repayment of a debt owed for design work.

Kino owner Mick Hannigan confirmed that a special steering committee has been formed following the public meeting to both raise funds to pay off a debt of about €60,000 and to develop a business plan to put the 188-seat cinema on a sound financial footing.

Those in attendance included the Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin, Fine Gael TD Deirdre Clune, Labour TDs Kathleen Lynch and Ciarán Lynch, and Senator Dan Boyle.

The SaveTheKino.com web site has been established to co-ordinate the effort, and over 8,000 people have signed up to a Save the Kino group on facebook.

Thursday 5 November 2009


Now in its third year, DARE2BDRINKAWARE.ie is a competition for third-level students, sponsored by drinkaware.ie and organised by the Digital Hub Development Agency (DHDA).

The aim of the competition is to highlight young people's attitudes to alcohol: through the use of digital media, students tell their stories and inform their peers about responsible drinking.

The competition is open to students of any discipline. Technical ability is just one element of the judging criteria.

To apply for this year’s competition please fill out the Online Application Form before Friday, 20th November 2009.

Last year’s winning film 'On The Cutting Room Floor' won all of the judges' categories, beating rival entries from colleges throughout Ireland and scooping a total of €4,000 in prize money.

To find out more details about the competition visit the web site.

Monday 2 November 2009

2009 ZeBBie Awards Short-List

The short-list for the 2009 ZeBBie Awards has been announced.


  • Frank Deasy for Father and Son (Episode 1)
  • Lisa McGee for Raw (Episode 2)
  • Peter McKenna for The Clinic (Series 6: Episode 1)
  • Shay Linehan for The Lottery
  • Elizabeth Moynihan for Cider Queens
  • Eugene O'Brien for Numb
  • Gary Duggan for Trans Euro Express
  • Elaine Murphy for Little Gem
  • Billy Roche for Lay Me Down Softly
  • Lance Daly for Kisses
  • Mark Doherty for A film with me in it
  • Enda Walsh (with Steve McQueen)for Hunger

Congratulations to all the nominees!

Members of the IPSG will be able to log on and read the scripts, and voting will commence from Monday, the 9th of November and end at 6pm on Monday, the 16th of November.

The winners will be announced at the ZeBBies Awards Ceremony on Thursday 26th November 2009 in the The Sugar Club, 8 Lower Leeson Street, Dublin 2. Each ticket costs €10. No one will be admitted to the Awards Ceremony without a ticket.

You can purchase your ticket(s) online, via PayPal, or you can drop into the IPSG office in Art House, Curved Street, Temple Bar, Dublin 2 and buy them in person.

A special thank you to the agents, producers, broadcasters, publishers, and nominees, for their assistance.

Wednesday 28 October 2009

Kino in Cork will Close

The Irish Times reports today that Kino, Cork's arthouse cinema, will be closing next month after a firm of architects began a High Court proceeding to recover €50,000 owed for design work.

Mr Hannigan said the debt arose from a plan he developed in 2003 to expand the 188-seat single-screen cinema into a three-screen facility with a total capacity of some 360 seats.

"We had got a grant of €750,000 from the Arts Council and the Film Board for the project which was costing around €3 million in total. I had managed to secure substantial borrowings but we were still left with a shortfall of around €1 million," he explained.

"Because of that shortfall, we were unable to proceed with the work so we never drew down the grant money but . . . we had to do a considerable amount of preparatory work including getting a design done and that's where the debt stems from.

"It's ironic really that our plan to actually expand the arthouse facilities in Cork has now resulted in the city losing its only dedicated arthouse cinema," said Mr Hannigan, who established the Kino in a former pool hall on Washington Street in November 1996.

Tuesday 27 October 2009

James Parriott Interview

On the BBC Writersroom web site there is an extensive interview with US screenwriter and showrunner James Parriott (Grey's Anatomy, Ugly Betty, Sons of Anarchy).

In it he talks about pitching, how the Writers' Room works in America for creating television series, and the changes he foresees in how television programmes will be funded in the coming years.

The piece is well worth reading.

Digital Theatre Download

The Stage reports that theatrical live productions from prestigious companies, filmed in high definition, will be available to download from a new web site called Digital Theatre.

Launching this week, the first two productions to available to buy will be English Touring Theatre's Far From the Madding Crowd, recorded at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre in Guildford, and The Container, presented in association with the Young Vic and Amnesty International. Currently, Digital Theatre is working with five partner theatre companies - the RSC, Young Vic, Royal Court, ETT and the Almeida Theatre Company.

The initiative has been set up by theatre director Robert Delamere and TV and radio producer Tom Shaw. Five shows will be made available in the first season, with future productions due to be announced and available for download shortly. Royalties from the shows will be paid to the theatres involved, as well as creatives and performers and agreements have been reached between Digital Theatre and Equity and Bectu over payments to participants.

ETT director Rachel Tackley said the filmed version of its show "cleverly captures the raw energy and dynamism of the live production", while Royal Court director Dominic Cooke said that "the potential of digital technology to connect with a worldwide audience is genuinely exciting."

Monday 26 October 2009

Cork Festival Talks Industry

The 54th Corona Cork Film Festival takes place from November 1-8, and will offer a splendid array of premières, documentaries, film tributes, special guests, exhibitions, short films, animations, workshops, and courses.

In association with MEDIA Desk Ireland the festival will be coordinating a discussion about film production at the University College Cork, on Friday, November 6th from 2.30pm to 5pm.

"Having been impressed by the cultural and economic enquiry of the recent Global Irish Economic Forum, we invite those active in the Irish film, television and new media sector to attend the Cork forum to engage in reflection and debate," says Festival Director, Mick Hannigan.

"In the European Year of Creativity and Innovation, we are delighted to partner with the MEDIA supported Cork Film Festival in this creative forum which will allow for blue sky thinking," Siobhan O'Donoghue, CEO of MEDIA Desk Ireland continues.

Screen Producers Ireland will host a networking reception for the event’s participants. For further information contact MEDIA Desk Ireland.

Thursday 22 October 2009

The Abbey Stays Put

The Irish Times reports today that the Abbey Theatre will remain in its current location for at least another five to six years as the Office of Public Works (OPW) has initiated a feasibility study on the possibility of relocating it in the GPO.

Minister of State for the OPW Martin Mansergh said a "considerable degree of pressure has been taken off the Abbey Theatre" because of its recent refurbishment. "It is quite happy it will be able to continue for the next five or six years until a new site is developed, hopefully in time for the centenary of the Rising in 2016."

He told the Dáil that to date €219,590.32 had been spent in the development of a new national theatre. The Government had originally decided to relocate the Abbey to a site at George's dock.

Dr Mansergh said the work done was "project specific", not "site specific", and "the vast majority of it could be transferred into the GPO if that is the decision".

Fine Gael arts spokeswoman Olivia Mitchell described the GPO proposal as a "red herring" and said the preparation for a design competition had been going on for years. "Three Ministers have dealt with it and it still has not been announced." She would have loved the GPO as a location "if it had come up five or six years ago when it was first announced". But she was concerned that "it is merely a time-wasting exercise".

The Eclipse wins at Stiges

The Eclipse, the supernatural drama written and directed by Conor McPherson, won the prestigious Melies D'Argent Award for Best European Motion Picture at the Sitges International Fantastic Film Festival in Spain, one of Europe's largest fantasy and horror film festivals.

Wednesday 21 October 2009

European Commisson Tackles Digitisation and Copyright

The European Commission had adopted a Communication on Copyright in the Knowledge Economy, which aims to tackle the issue of legal challenges of mass-scale digitisation and dissemination of books, particularly in relation to the European library collections.

The Communication was jointly drawn up by Commissioners Charlie McCreevy and Viviane Reding. Digital libraries such as Europeana will provide researchers and consumers across Europe with new ways to gain access to knowledge. For this, however, the EU will need to find a solution for orphan works, whose uncertain copyright status means they often cannot be digitised. Improving the distribution and availability of works for persons with disabilities, particularly the visually impaired, is another cornerstone of the Communication.

On adoption, Commissioners McCreevy and Reding stressed that the debate over the Google Books Settlement in the United States once again has shown that Europe could not afford to be left behind on the digital frontier.

"We must boost Europe as a centre of creativity and innovation. The vast heritage in Europe's libraries cannot be left to languish but must be made accessible to our citizens", Commissioner McCreevy, responsible for the Internal Market, stated.

Commissioner Reding, in charge of Information Society and Media, said: "Important digitisation efforts have already started all around the globe. Europe should seize this opportunity to take the lead, and to ensure that books digitisation takes place on the basis of European copyright law, and in full respect of Europe's cultural diversity. Europe, with its rich cultural heritage, has most to offer and most to win from books digitisation. If we act swiftly, pro-competitive European solutions on books digitisation may well be sooner operational than the solutions presently envisaged under the Google Books Settlement in the United States."

The Communication addresses the actions that the Commission intends to launch: digital preservation and dissemination of scholarly and cultural material and of orphan works, as well as access to knowledge for persons with disabilities. The challenges identified by the Commission today stem from last year's public consultation on a Green Paper ( IP/08/1156 ), the Commission's High Level Group on Digital Libraries and the experiences gained with Europe's Digital Library Europeana (IP/09/1257).

The recent information hearings held by the Commission on the Google Books Settlement Agreement highlighted the anomalous situation that would arise were the

Settlement to be approved, namely that the vast number of European works in U.S. libraries that have been digitised by Google would only be available to consumers and researchers in the U.S. but not in Europe itself. Ensuring that Europeans are given access to their own cultural heritage, while European authors are fairly remunerated, is therefore of immediate concern and will require European responses, as recently stressed jointly by Commissioners Reding and McCreevy (MEMO/09/376)

Digital Preservation and Dissemination

The Commission will now engage in a stakeholder dialogue to find viable solutions for simple and cost-efficient rights clearance covering mass-scale digitisation and the online dissemination of library collections still protected by copyright. This concerns both out-of-print works and orphan works, i.e. works whose owner cannot be identified or located.

Orphan Works

The digitisation and dissemination of orphan works pose a particular cultural and economic challenge – the absence of a known rightholder means that users are unable to obtain the required authorisation, e.g. a book cannot be digitised. Orphan works represent a substantial part of the collections of Europe's cultural institutions (e.g., the British Library estimates that 40 percent of its copyrighted collections are orphan 1 ). The Commission will now examine this phenomenon more in detail via an impact assessment. The aim is for an EU-wide solution to facilitate the digitisation and dissemination of orphan works and the establishment of common 'due diligence' standards to recognise orphan status across the EU. First progress in this respect has already been made by the ARROW (Accessible Registries of Rights information and Orphan works) project which gathers national libraries, collective management organisations and publishers and is co-funded by the European Commission under the eContent plus programme (€ 2.5 million). This project (launched in November 2008 ) is aimed at identifying rights holders and clarifying the rights status of a work, including whether it is out of print or orphan: "The EU-funded ARROW project is a first step to link Europe's different rights registries and make it easier to identify rights holders," said Commissioners Reding and McCreevy today: " We call on national libraries, collective management organisations and publishers to build on this good start and work with the Commission to develop a pro-competitive and pan-European system of book registries that will allow for cross-border licensing under a transparent and affordable pricing system, while ensuring a fair remuneration of authors."

Access for Persons with Disabilities

Persons with disabilities experience obstacles in accessing information. In particular, visually impaired people experience a "book famine" – only 5% of European publications are available in accessible formats, a situation compounded by restrictions on cross-border distribution, even between countries sharing a language. A stakeholder forum on the needs of disabled persons, in particular visually impaired persons, will examine policy responses, including ways to encourage the unencumbered EU trade of works in accessible formats.

Tuesday 20 October 2009

Douglas Hyde Conference 2009

The Irish Times reported yesterday on the Douglas Hyde Conference 2009 that took place last weekend in Roscommon. Its theme was Culture and the Economy: Creativity and Innovation in Post Boom Ireland

The piece quotes from several of the conference speakers, such as Garry Hynes, founder and director of Druid Theatre Company, poet Alice Lyons, and our own David Kavanagh, chief executive of the Irish Playwrights and Screenwriters Guild.

Monday 19 October 2009

Cinemagic Workshops

The Coca-Cola Cinemagic Film and Television Festival for Young People, which is taking place during from 18 November - 4th December 2009 in Belfast, is seeking young people aged 16-25 to participate in their ‘Talent Lab’ and Masterclass series - covering topics such as screen fighting, casting, makeup, production, acting and screenwriting amongst others.

The 2009 Masterclass lineup for the Cinemagic Festival includes: ‘Fights for Stage and Screen’ with Youngblood’s fight director Tim Klotz (Shakespeare’s Globe, Lyric Hammersmith, Royal Festival Hall); ‘Make-up for Film’ with Academy Award winning hair and make-up artist Christine Blundell (Topsy Turvy, Casino Royale, Sherlock Holmes); costume design guidance from Academy Award winning designer Jenny Beavan (A Room with a View, Gosford Park, Alexander); a script writing lesson with Ryan Rowe (Tapeheads, Run’s House, I’m on Fire); a film production session with Terry Bamber (Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace, Phantom of the Opera) and David Cain (Thunderbirds, Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, Hannibal Rising), casting advice from casting director Ros Hubbard (The Commitments, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Bourne Ultimatum), and location management pointers with Andrew Wilson (City of Ember, Middletown, Breakfast on Pluto).

Cinemagic are running other special events in November. Amongst these is an ‘In Conversation with’ session with Muppets Potto and Hilda on November 20th who will be screening ‘Sesame Tree’, the Northern Ireland adaptation of ‘Sesame Street’. There will also be an acting masterclass with IFTA winning actor Ciaran Hinds (The Eclipse) on November 23rd where the actor will deliver a practical workshop in acting for film. Another masterclass being held on the same day is the Channel 4 Programme Making Workshop, hosted by Neil McCallum (head of music at Channel 4) and other members of the Channel 4 Production Team, which aims to expand the skills of individuals who already have gained a degree of experience in areas such as presenting, producing and directing. The Channel 4 Programme making workshop will run for two days.

Friday 16 October 2009

DEAF 2009

Next week see the launch of the eight Dublin Electronic Arts Festival (22 - 31st October, 2009).

DEAF's focus is on the experimental, and the intersection between music, art, film and the public. It attempts to promote a genuine inclusiveness in its approach to showcasing the electronic arts to new audiences in Ireland.

The festival will be running films, workshops, gallery showings, talks and of course live gigs.

Thursday 15 October 2009

Crafting the scene

Filmbase is running a new three-day screenwriting course called "Crafting the Scene", which will be taught by Mary Kate O'Flanagan.

This course offers writers and people collaborating with writers the chance to learn how to craft a scene effectively. There will be one evening lecture to put this work in context, on creating dramatic tension across the span of a feature film or television drama.

TUTOR: Mary Kate O Flanagan works as a script consultant with writers and producers internationally. She trained to teach screenwriting using the Frank Daniel approach with David Howard, author of The Tools of Screenwriting and How to Build a Great Screenplay and Martin Daniel, Professor of Screenwriting at USC.

"I would rank Mary Kate on the highest international level in terms of her knowledge of filmmaking, her contributions to the creative process, and her expertise in dealing with screenwriters." Philip La Zebnik. Screenwriter, Mulan, Pocahontas, The Prince of Egypt.

Participants will learn to:
  • give a scene its own tension, narrative drive and reversal.
  • decide whose scene it is and what choice is more effective.
  • orchestrate the rhythm of a scene
  • how to choose where to come in and where to leave a scene for maximum effect, using visuals in counterpoint to dialogue and the skills involved in crafting key scenes.

Cost:: €325 waged / €300 unwaged, and it requires a €60 deposit.
It will run from 10.00am - 5.30pm on the 6th, 7th & 8th November.

Wednesday 14 October 2009

Arts Delegates Meet Government Committee

IFTN reports today that a number of representatives from the Arts community appeared before the the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Arts, Sport, Tourism, Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs to discuss the future funding of the Arts.

The delegation included Emmy-winning actor Brendan Gleeson (In Bruges), authors Colum McCann (Zoli) and Sebastian Barry (The Secret Scripture), as well as the chairman of the Arts Council Pat Moylan, Arts Council director Mary Cloake, director of the Abbey Theatre, Fiach Mac Conghail and artistic director of the Druid Theatre Company Garry Hynes.

Speaking after the meeting, Chairman of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Arts, Sport, Tourism, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs Deputy Tom Kitt told IFTN it had been a "very productive" day:

"We had meetings today for two and a half hours with representatives of the arts council and very distinguished artists such as Brendan Gleeson, Sebastian Barry, Colum McCann and of course Pat Moylan and Mary Cloake from the Arts Council all of whom came to discuss the seriousness of the situation regarding funding of the Irish arts in this time of economic hardship, laying particular emphasis on the McCarthy report.

The most significant part of the day, for me, was hearing the personal experiences of artists such as Brendan Gleeson and both Colum McCann and Sebastian Barry. It was a very powerful way to defend the arts funding in that all three bore witness to the fact that their respective breakthroughs came as a result of arts committee funding. Brendan Gleeson mentioned, in particular, the help he has received from the Irish Film Board."

Following today's meeting, Chairman Kitt indicated he plans to write to Irish Finance Minister Brian Lenihan to confirm his support for the arts in Ireland.

He commented: "As a result of today's discussions I am now writing a letter to the Finance Minister to explain that having met with the joint committee of the Arts, Sport, Tourism, Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs and following the presentations of several distinguished Irish arts representatives I now strongly support the campaign which asks that the funding of the Irish arts, which is central to Irish culture, be maintained at the present level and I also today suggested the possibility of a system of tax relief for new artists."

RTE Call for Ideas

RTÉ Entertainment is looking for ideas for high energy, popular entertainment programming for 9:30pm on Saturday evenings on RTÉ ONE.

For all information click here:


RTÉ requests that producers submit proposals into the eCommissioning system no later than noon on Friday 16th October 2009.

Tuesday 13 October 2009

Irish eQuinoxe

Irish screenwriters Brian Ó Tiomáin and Shane Grealy Perez have been chosen as part of a group of nine European writers to attend the latest Equinoxe screenwriting workshop currently being held in Elmau, Bavaria in Germany.

The residential workshop sees experienced industry advisors work intensively with screenwriters on selected scripts. Advisors include James V Hart, writer of Bram Stoker's Dracula, and renowned script supervisor An gela Allen, who started her career on The Third Man and went on to work with countless luminaries and thirteen of John Huston's films.

Brian Ó Tiomáin is from Dublin and writes in Irish and English and has won prizes in the Oireachtas Irish language literary awards over the last five consecutive years. He has been selected for Equinoxe with Dublin Stories, a coming-of-age story about two inner city boys growing up on the periphery of a gang war.

Transplanted New Yorker Shane Perez resides in Galway and comes to Equinoxe with his screenplay Blood & Sand, about a soldier serving in Iraq who discovers he fathered a son during the first Gulf War 14 years earlier. Blood & Sand won Best Screenplay at the London Independent Film Festival in March 2009.

The Equinoxe Screenwriting Workshop runs twice a year and the next workshop will be taking place in the West of Ireland in April 2010. The deadline for applications for the workshop is 3 November 2009.

Monday 12 October 2009

Irish Film Board Saved

The Irish Times reported on Saturday that Fianna Fáil and the Green Party have agreed to a revised programme for government that includes the retention of the Irish Film Board.

Speaking on behalf of the National Campaign for the Arts, Tania Banotti welcomed the decision:

"The Film Board is a specialised agency which has built up a unique expertise in the area of film finance and it would have been a terrible shame if it had been axed. We warmly welcome the government's decision."

Friday 9 October 2009

TG4 Drama Competition

Údar is a new development scheme that offers Irish-speaking writers/directors an opportunity to adapt a well-known piece of work for television and to bring it from the basic script stage to the broadcasting stage.

The scheme, which is co-sponsored by TG4 and Skillnet, is open to Irish language writers from all over the country, whether they have screen experience or not, and to directors who wish to gain experience in television drama through Irish.

To start the process each applicant must choose an original piece of work in Irish, for example a recognised short story. The applicant can arrange the work in his or her own way by building on the outline of the original work (adhering to the time in which it is set) or by bringing it up-to-date. The most important development, however, is to make the work suitable for the television screen.

The outline of the story and 12 pages of sample script (a number of scenes) must be enclosed when sending the application form to us.

Additional information is available by ringing 091-558492 or by emailing christine@greasannamean.ie

Applicants will be competing in a script competition. From this competition nine will be selected to attend craft master-classes conducted by a script editor where each proposal will be developed further.

6 dramas will be chosen for television production from the nine proposed scripts. These will be developed in the directing workshop before being produced and broadcasted on TG4 in 2010.

Application forms are available from the web site, and the deadline is midday, 16 November 2009.

Thursday 8 October 2009

Create n Innovate

Create 'n' Innovate '09 is a conference going on in Belfast from 11-12 November 2009 that will include presentations, panels and workshops highlighting and exploring ideas and good practice in creativity and innovation, and its importance for our future.

Speakers and panellists from across the UK - keynote from Feargal Sharkey, CEO of UK Music, and panel discussions with creative practitioners, representatives from the business sector, educators, researchers and policy makers.

An amazing array of 12 workshop and presentation sessions where you will be stimulated and challenged – led by people such as Baba Israel, New York hip hop emcee, poet and beatboxer who now runs Contact Theatre in Manchester; Cathy Hunt from Australia who will present the development of Australian indigenous art; Stephen Feber who will be creative about the amazing new Heartlands development project in Cornwall; Marek Banczyk who has worked on a development strategy for Poznan, a "second city" in Poland; Jan Runge, one of the authors of the recent "Creativity in Europe" report; Venu Dhupa who will challenge us on our understanding of what these words mean; Sharon Taylor who will look at the relationships between creative professionals in schools; Raj Isar who will take examine some of the assumptions sometimes made about the successes and failures in this area; and Pia Alebrad from TILLT in Sweden which works on projects where artists are based in everyday workplaces.

Information on how to join the conference is available on the web site.

Wednesday 7 October 2009

Kilkenny Arts Act Grants

Kilkenny County Council is looking for applications for its Arts Act Grants 2009.

Any organisation or individual based in the Kilkenny administrative area involved in activities, which promote, develop the knowledge, appreciation and practice of the arts is eligible to apply for the Arts Act Grant.

The Arts includes:
Visual Arts, Music, Theatre, Film, Artistic Craftsmanship, Literature, Dance, Photography, and Multi-disciplinary events.

The grant divided into three categories:
  1. Groups and Organisations promoting the Arts
  2. Equipment Purchasing Grant
  3. Individual Artists - all art forms - to enable them to pursue their practice and to develop within their chosen discipline, including Professional Development and the purchase of equipment.
Closing date for receipt of completed applications is no later than 4pm on Wednesday 4th November 2009.

Information on how to apply is available on the web site.

Friday 2 October 2009

Cullen Defends the Arts

Martin Cullen, the Minister for Arts, Sports and Tourism, appeared on the RTÉ Radio 1 show, Arts Tonight, on September 28.

He discussed with Vincent Woods future strategies for the Arts in Ireland, and stressed that he does not intend cutting the Artist's Tax Exemption, getting rid of Culture Ireland, or the Irish Film Board.

He promised to publish a recent DKM consultant report that indicates that the added value from the Arts was over €11.8 billion in 2008. He pointed out that Cultural Tourism is expected to grow by about 15% in the coming years, and added:

Why at a time when we have hard facts in front of us would we be undermining where we are world leaders? And we're not world leaders in many areas. But clearly in the whole area of artistic endeavour, in the general area of culture and arts, we are world leaders, and that's something that has to be minded and guarded.

Thursday 1 October 2009

Why the Arts are Important

Here are the central tenets of the The National Campaign for the Arts:

Why the arts are central to economic and social recovery:

1.The arts and our reputational capital

Every day without fail, on the world’s cinema screens, bookshelves, theatres and concert stages, Irish artists are our perpetual trade mission, defending and redeeming our global reputation at a time when it is under the most rigorous scrutiny, and offering the most spirited riposte to the perception of a nation in duress. We are economically bloodied, we are culturally unbowed.

"Most Americans encounter Ireland today through culture: whether that is Irish dance and music, Irish film, Irish writing or an Irish play on Broadway. We have to be prepared to invest in our cultural infrastructure here, as we do in Ireland. As a first step, I am asking Culture Ireland with the Department of Arts, Sports and Tourism and the Department of Foreign Affairs, to prepare a series of high profile cultural events in this country in 2011 to take advantage of recovery". Taoiseach Brian Cowen, Spring 2009, speaking in New York.

"The Government firmly believes that our cultural and artistic reputation is one of our most potent calling cards internationally and it is imperative that we continue to fund and support activity in this sector in the coming years."- Martin Cullen TD, Minister for Arts, Sport & Tourism at Edinburgh Festival, Aug 09
  • According to the statistics compiled from box office host venues presenting Irish work overseas verify that over 500,000 people worldwide attended a theatre and/or dance performance by an Irish company in 2008.
  • 1 Tony Award 2008, five nominations
  • 2 Academy Awards 2008, five nominations
  • 2 Golden Globes 2009, three nominations
  • Man Booker Prize winners 2005 and 2007, shortlisted 2004, 2008, longlisted 2009
  • 7 Edinburgh Fringe Firsts for Irish theatre and dance shows over three years (2005-2008)
2. The arts and the smart economy

Since long before the term existed, the arts have been our greatest creative industry, and today the arts brilliantly foster those attributes so important to the smart economy that is vital to our future collective wellbeing. Lateral thinking, big ideas, resourcefulness and invention, problem solving, vision and originality find full expression in the output of Irish artists, and their work percolates every walk of Irish life. Our artistic community is a nerve that flexes the creative economy muscle.
"Ireland is hugely successful in the arts. Innovation is about creativity and skills, just like art is. Princeton has decided on a drastic expansion of its arts departments. You will not be able to get a degree in electrical engineering from Princeton without having followed a class in drama. The reasoning is that anyone can acquire skills, but the competitive edge is in creativity. Ireland beats Princeton hands down in the arts.

– Dr. Richard Tol, Research Professor, ESRI

3.The arts and cultural tourism

There is a reason that visitors are still compelled to travel here in their thousands, dispersing billions in our local economies in the process. Cultural tourism is a genuine growth industry in Ireland, and just as with our landscape and heritage, the arts have a starring role in how we give our visitors a unique cultural experience, from our mighty international festivals of the performing arts to our vivid traditional music by a convivial fireside hearth. Long before they arrive, it’s our writers, filmmakers and touring performers who whet their appetite to come.

"Ireland enjoys a rich cultural heritage that is central to whom we are. This is a clear attraction for those who wish to visit Ireland and is appreciated by those who spend time here.”

- Tourism Ireland, A New Strategy for Cultural Tourism in Ireland
  • Cultural Tourism is worth over €2 billion to the economy – this includes both domestic and overseas tourism. Source: Failte Ireland Survey of Overseas Travellers/CSO Travel and Tourism
4. The arts and employment

Culture and the creative sector generate 170,000 jobs, a significant ratio of them in the arts, among them practitioners, technicians, producers, curators, publishers and the other highly skilled disciplines that work together to create art from Ireland. We are an indigenous industry, active in every county, we are wholly Irish owned and we are exporters. Our earnings are not repatriated, and we are spending locally.

5. The arts and the national psyche

Our artists steer a course for shore when the waters around us become uncertain. They are a celebration of our shared gift for self expression, our capacity for resilience and reinvention, and a mechanism for us to heal and resonate, understand and reconnect. The artist’s voice is woven into our discourse, reconciling the past, imagining a future, and as important now as at any of the precipitous moments when our forefathers called upon its counsel. The citizenship of the artist is always active.

"We need to listen to everyone who has something to contribute; yes the business sector and the financial experts, but also the social entrepreneurs and innovators, the teachers who educate our children, social workers and activists …. We should also listen to our creative artists." – Former President Mary Robinson at Beál na mBláth, August 2009.

The National Campaign for the Arts wants:
  • Retention of Culture Ireland, the agency for the promotion of Irish arts worldwide
  • Retention of The Irish Film Board, development agency of the Irish film industry
  • Maintenance of existing levels of funding to the Arts Council
  • Retention of the artists income tax exemption scheme
  • Commitment to retain the arts portfolio at cabinet as part of a senior ministerial portfolio