Friday 29 May 2009

Filmbase Shortlist 2009

Filmbase and RTÉ have decided on the final ten projects for the January round of the Filmbase/RTÉ Short Film Award scheme.

343 scripts were submitted for the award, so the panel had a difficult job whittling it down to a shortlist of ten.

The shortlisted projects are:

  • An Incident in Room 307 - writer/director John Mulvaney
  • Cold Turkey - writer/director Gavin Keane, producer Ruth Coady
  • Cured - writer Louise Ní Fhiannachta, director Mary Redmond
  • No Lies - writer Nora Windeck, director Eoin Heaney
  • The Corporate Support Superstar - writer/director Anthony Garvey
  • The Early House - writer Derek O'Connor, director Danann Breathnach
  • The Letter - writer Pól Ó Conghaile
  • The Nation Held Its Breath - Writer/Director Emmet Vincent, Producer Charlene Lydon
  • Warmth - writer John Sheahan
  • Windows - writer/director Ken Walshe
Three awards will be made in this round, each consisting of €10,000 in cash and a matching level of production equipment and editing facilities supplied from Filmbase.

Arts Council Cuts

The latest Arts Council newsletter contained this statement about its recent cut in funding, and how it will impact the organisation and its funding decisions in the coming year:

You may be aware that the Arts Council grant-in-aid from Government has been reduced twice in recent months - in February and again in April. The combined effect of these cuts is a loss of €2.35m on the sum originally provided in the October 2008 budget.

This means that, at the time of writing, the Arts Council's grant-in-aid for 2009 is €73.35m.

The Arts Council has given careful consideration to how it will manage this altered allocation. It has taken account of the fact that, if implemented this far into the year, budget cuts would cause great difficulty for organisations. Accordingly, at its meeting on 28 April, the Council decided that it will not revisit grants to organisations for 2009.

The impact of these recent cuts, however, will be reflected in reduced funds available for 2010 grant allocations.

The Council is now turning its attention to planning for 2010 and beyond. We would alert you to the likelihood that the funding context next year will be extremely difficult. We will be in touch again after we have considered further our strategy, to advise you of our approach and to allow you to plan accordingly.

We will also advise you separately of the application deadlines this year for funding in 2010. These deadlines are likely to be set for later in the year than usual.

The intention of the approach outlined in this article is to support you in the immediate term to realise the activities planned for this year and, most importantly, to assist you in planning your organisation's future in what will be very challenging circumstances.

Filmbase Award Advice

Film Ireland has published a podcast - on their re-vamped web site - with Alan Fitzpatrick, Managing Director of Filmbase, who sits on the Filmbase/RTÉ Short Film Awards judging panel.

Ahead of the next application deadline of Friday 26th June, Alan gives an overview of the scheme, the application procedure, the process of whittling the applications down to a short list of 10 and some advice should you reach the short list interview stage.

Writers/Directors Speed Dating

On Wednesday the 27th writers from the Irish Playwrights and Screenwriters Guild and directors from the Screen Directors Guild of Ireland were "fixed up" in a random series of dates to pitch ideas and make connections.

There was a strong turnout, and a lively exchange of contact details and information. Feedback from members indicates that everyone enjoyed themselves and found it a useful way to meet their colleagues and industry professionals.

Thursday 28 May 2009

Google Settlement Seminar

CLÉ is offering an information seminar on the Google Book Settlement Deal on Friday 29th May at 2pm in the Royal Irish Academy, 19 Dawson Street, Dublin 2.

How many hours have you now spent trying to figure out the Google Settlement? Opt in? Opt out? Feel informed enough to make the decision? Informed enough to advise your authors? Informed enough to answer their questions?

This is the kind of issue where talking with each other and listening to experts can save you oodles of time and brain power! Dedicate the afternoon of 29th May to sorting this baby out!

Sam Holman, ICLA, Olga Martin Sancho, FEP, and Fergal Tobin, Gill & Macmillan, Vice-President FEP and CLÉ representative to FEP and IPA, will discuss the important aspects of the settlement and consider the various decisions available to Irish publishers and stakeholders and their consequences. The floor will also be open to questions and discussion.

This event is open to all but registration is compulsory, please RSVP to Brendan at

SAMANTHA HOLMAN is the CEO of the Irish Copyright Licensing Agency which represents authors' and publishers' rights in relation to reprography. Samantha is also on two national voluntary boards, the Copyright Association of Ireland and the Irish Visual Artists' Rights Organisation.

OLGA MARTIN SANCHO is a qualified lawyer and is currently working as the legal advisor of the Federation of European Publishers, focusing particularly on EU copyright issues. Her main areas of expertise are Protection of Intellectual and Industrial Property in the EU and in the WIPO, Competition Law, and European and German Media Law.

FERGAL TOBIN (CHAIR) is Vice President of the Federation of European Publishers. Fergal has been the Publishing Director of Gill & Macmillan since 1995 and has published, among many books, the monumental Encyclopaedia of Ireland. Fergal also served as President of CLÉ from 2002 to 2004.

AGM Venue Change

The 7th Annual General Meeting of the Irish Playwrights' and Screenwriters' Guild will take place on Saturday, June 6th at 2.30 pm.

There has been a change of venue: the AGM will take place at The Morgan Hotel 10 Fleet Street, Temple Bar, Dublin 2.

Nominations to vacant places on the Board of Directors, proposed by a member entitled to attend the AGM, together with a note of consent to be so nominated from the nominee, should reach the Company Secretary at Art House, Curved Street, Temple Bar, Dublin 2 no later than 5.00pm on the 5th June, 2009.

All members of the Guild should have received the relevant documents in the post, including proxy vote forms if they are unable to attend the AGM.


  1. Minutes of the sixth Annual General Meeting of June 2008
  2. Report of the Chairperson of the Board of Directors (including the 2nd ZeBBies report)
  3. Accounts for 2008
  4. Budget for this year
  5. Writing and the Economic Crisis
  6. Other Activities for this year
  7. Appointment of the auditors and fixing of their remuneration
  8. Election of members of the Board
  9. Any Other Business
We encourage all members to attend the AGM, get involved in your Guild, and meet your fellow colleagues and industry professionals.

Wednesday 27 May 2009

Brodway Remains Buoyant

New York Times reports on figures released recently by the Broadway League about figures for the grosses for the 2008-9 Broadway theatre season.

Broadway musicals and plays made approximately $943.3 million during that period, which is a slight increase on the previous season, and just enough to set a new record for total grosses -- the previous high was set during the 2006-7 theatre season, which had total grosses of $938.5 million.

Last summer and fall, a few producers prepared for the recession by postponing or canceling planned Broadway shows, and a few others shuttered long-running shows such as "Hairspray" and "Spring Awakening." Some cited a lack of capital from investors; others expressed concern that potential audience members might stay away to save money.

But many other producers responded to the recession by offering steep discounts to plays and musicals, and by staging an unusually high number of appealing shows that drew positive reviews from critics.

Tuesday 26 May 2009

Agent Layoffs in Hollywood Shuffle

An article on The Independent discusses the latest shake-up in Hollywood, with the merger between two agencies -- William Morris and Endeavour -- to create a new "super-agency" called WME Entertainment.

The agents were the first casualty of this change, with over 100 employees at William Morris being made redundant.

"Tenpercenters", as agents are known, are notoriously sharp-elbowed, and many small firms such as Gersh now hope to convince former Endeavour clients that the new firm, WME Entertainment, will no longer offer the "boutique" service they had enjoyed.

Kevin Spacey was among the first casualties of the new era. He announced this month that, after years with William Morris, he was joining CAA. This week, by way of response, WME announced its first new signing, stealing the Lost star Matthew Fox, inset below, from ICM.

The turmoil comes as agencies weigh the cost of the recession. Box-office revenues remain robust but DVD sales have slumped and fewer films and TV shows are getting the green light. Owing to difficulties securing finance, the once extortionate salaries offered to actors and writers are being slashed. "All you ever need, to do to know what's happening in Hollywood, is to follow the money," said an agent at a leading Beverly Hills firm, who was not authorised to speak publicly. "Look at this year's box office: fewer hit films are star driven. People are buying into concept movies like Terminator and Transformers. The days when $20m-a-film deals happened each week are gone. Bluntly, that means fewer jobs for agents."

Sky Arts Theatre Live!

The Stage reports that Sky Arts will be bringing live theatre to television.

Called Sky Arts Theatre Live!, the series will draw on the talents of a specially-formed company of actors and directors, who will stage new work from novelists such as Kate Mosse, who penned the book Labyrinth, and crime writer Nicci French.

Each of the 30-minute plays will be broadcast live on Sky Arts 1 from a purpose-built Theatre Live! studio in West London, which will hold 140 invited audience members.

Production of each author's original work will be overseen by Sandi Toksvig, who came up with the idea for Sky Arts Theatre Live! and has been appointed artistic director of the newly formed Theatre Live! company, which also includes Fiona Laird, Sue Tully and John Alderton as directors, and actress Pauline Collins. Further casting has yet to be announced.

Toksvig described the series as "genuine reality television" and said: "Live drama has a rawness and immediacy in which anything can happen."

Other novelists who will write plays for the series include Jeremy Hardy, Morag Joss, Michael Dobbs and Jackie Kay. Rehearsals for each of their plays will begin at the Orange Tree Theatre in Richmond, before being broadcast live from the purpose-built studio.

Each programme, hosted by Toksvig, will begin with behind-the-scenes footage detailing the making of each play.

Monday 25 May 2009

Ustinov TV Scriptwriting Award

Each year The Foundation of The International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences administers the Sir Peter Ustinov Television Scriptwriting Award.

The competition is aimed at non-American novice screenwriters under the age of thirty. Entrants are asked to create a completed half-hour to one-hour (commercial length) English-language television drama script for a family audience.

The deadline for submissions is July 15, 2009.

The winner will be flown to New York City to be presented with an Award and a $2,500 prize at the International Emmy World Television Festival on November 21, 2009.

The winning script will be read by actors in front of an audience at the Festival, and the winner will be invited to take part in the red carpet festivities at the 37th International Emmy Awards on November 23.

An application form can be downloaded from the web site.

Cannes Winners 2009

The winners of Cannes Film Festival were announced last night, and of particular interest are the following awards:

Palme d'Or
Das Weiße Band (The White Ribbon)
Written and directed by Michael Haneke

Grand Prix
Un Prophète (A Prophet)
Written by Jacques Audiard, Thomas Bidegain, & Abdel Raouf Dafri, and directed by Jacques Audiard.

Jury Prize
Fish Tank
Written and directed by Andrea Arnold

Bakjwi (Thirst)
Written by Jeong Seo-Gyeong & Park Chan-wook, and directed by Park Chan-wook

Best Screenplay
Spring Fever
Written by Lou Ye

A full list of all the winners is available from the web site.

Friday 22 May 2009

Social Media Seminar

FÁS Screen Training Ireland is offering a free morning seminar on Tuesday the 2nd of June at the Digital Exchange, Digital Hub, about social media marketing, and how it can enhance film or television projects/brands.

This seminar will be taught by Damien Mulley, and will cover the following topics:

  • Introduction to social media platforms: Twitter, Linked In, Facebook, MySpace, Bebo.
  • Identifying the right social media platforms for your project.
  • Blogging.
  • Social media case studies – film/TV/animation.
Places can be booked for the seminar via the web site.

Extra Direction

Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board (IFB) in partnership with the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival (JDIFF) have added extra tickets to their screenwriting conference entitled Give Me Direction due to popular demand.

Confirmed guests to date include Shane Black (Lethal Weapon), Shane Meadows and Paul Fraser (A Room for Romeo Brass, Somers Town), Eran Kolirin (The Band's Visit), Conor McPherson, Neil Jordan, Pat McCabe, Roddy Doyle, Kirsten Sheridan and Mark O'Rowe.

The conference runs from 4-5 June, and the mix of screenings, talks and panels will take place at the Light House Cinema and the Shelbourne Hotel. A ticket costs €40.

Thursday 21 May 2009

Fastnet Winners

The winners of the inaugural Fastnet Short Film Festival were announced at the weekend.

Best of Festival
'An Cosc' - written by Hugh Travers and directed by Vincent Gallagher

Best Drama
'Penny' - written and directed by Paddy O'Shea

Best Cinematography
'Tart' - written and directed by Mairtin De Barra

Best Comedy
'Hammerhead' - written by Andrew Yerlett and directed by Sam Donovan

Best Director
'Play' directed by Muriel d'Ansembourg

Best Documentary
'The Stolen Generation' by Kim Houghton and Pól O Conghaile

Best Experimental/Animated Film
'Tomato Soup' written and directed by Paul O' Brien

Best Screenplay
'The Escort' - by Clare Holman

Best Use of Music
'Of Best Intentions' - written and directed by Brian Durnin

Best of Workshop
'How Does The Heart Know What The Eyes Can't See' - written and directed by Alan Tobin

One-Week Workshop

The New York Film Academy is hosting an intensive one-week screenwriting workshop in Dublin from 27-31 July 2009. Tuition costs €742.

The workshop will be taught by Simon Hunter, senior lecturer with the New York Film Academy, and a screenwriter who has worked for NBC USA, Columbia Tristar, Fox Family Channel, and the Nine Network Australia.

The NYFA One-Week Intensive Screenwriting Course is designed to focus your creative energies so you can design and define your screenplay idea, your characters, and your theme enabling you to leave the program with a clear outline, ready to jump into your first draft.

Students will design individual stories from concept to detailed outline. Three-dimensional characters are created to explore the premise of your story. Narrative structure is presented to find the best way to tell your story. Over the course of the week you will search for your story’s theme and complete the week leaning how to format your screenplay and start writing your first draft.

This course is designed for screenwriters wanting to clarify their story before launching into the first draft.

Further details about the workshop, and how to apply for a place, are available from the web site.

Signatures & Reality Bites

Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board (IFB) is looking for entries for its short film scheme SIGNATURES (deadline Friday, July 17th) and the short documentary scheme REALITY BITES (deadline Friday, August 7th).

SIGNATURES is a short film scheme for the making of live-action, fiction films that act as a proving-ground for Irish creative talents which aims to encourage strong, original storytelling, visual flair, and production values appropriate to the big screen.

The scheme is an opportunity for producers, directors and writers to work in a professional environment that will allow them to further their experience.

REALITY BITES aims to encourage experimentation and a fresh approach to short non-fiction filmmaking. We are looking for something new in the use of the documentary form, whether the projects are journalistic or creative, observational or aesthetic, objective or personal.

The IFB actively encourages submissions in Irish as films for either scheme can be produced in either the English or Irish language. The successful short films will premiere at the Corona Cork Film Festival next year.

For more information on making an application, and to download an application form, visit the Funding Programmes section of the website.

Wednesday 20 May 2009

New Irish Cinema

Variety recently wrote an article on the "coming of age" of Irish cinema, which should be of interest to those working in the industry. Here's a highlight:

Following in the footsteps of Sheridan and Jordan comes a generation that includes such directors as Lenny Abrahamson, Conor McPherson, John Crowley, Martin McDonagh, John Carney, Kirsten Sheridan, Lance Daly, Paddy Breathnach and Damien O'Donnell, and writers such as Mark O'Rowe, Enda Walsh and Mark O'Halloran.

"We now have a list, whereas we didn't before," says Alan Moloney of Parallel Pictures, one of the small band of Dublin-based producers who have worked closely with the Irish Film Board to nurture this rising tide.

Carney's "Once," Abrahamson and O'Halloran's "Adam and Paul" and "Garage," McDonagh's "In Bruges," Daly's "Kisses" and the Crowley/ O'Rowe collaborations "Intermission" and "Boy A" have redefined expectations about the range and quality of work that Irish talent is capable of delivering.

Carney's sci-fi comedy "Zonad" and O'Rowe's latest riff on the Dublin gangster scene "Perrier's Bounty" are among the most anticipated upcoming Irish movies. There's also another wave of talent coming, including Margaret Corkery, Ken Wardrop and "Perrier" helmer Ian Fitzgibbon.

It's easy to forget that for most of the 20th century, Ireland had no film industry at all, just a few determined independent spirits such as Joe Comerford and Cathal Black working in glorious isolation.

The refounding of the Irish Film Board in 1993, along with the introduction of a tax break targeted at film production, provided a turning point. It coincided with the modernization of the Irish economy and culture, and the rise of a cine-literate generation as eager to pick up a camera as a pen.

IFB Budget Safe, But Funds Low

ScreenDaily has reported that Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board (IFB) has had confirmation of its budget for the coming year.

It was cut by $4m (€3m) at the beginning of the year, from $27.2m (€20m) back to $23.1m (€17m) . Further cuts were expected but just before Cannes, the Board has just learned that the 2009 budget will not be reduced further.

Speaking in Cannes, Simon Perry, IFB’s chief executive, said: "The 15% cut if difficult to handle but not as bad as we had thought."

Perry aims to spread the cuts evenly and it has escaped without job losses. He added: "We got away very luckily. Other areas of the economy are being far more fiercely cut. It’s brutal in Ireland."

The article also notes that the cuts are coming after a record year for production: in 2008 25 new live action features, not including documentaries, were shot in Ireland.

As a result the IFB dipped into its reserves, which are now almost gone. Therefore the money available for new film production in 2009 is down 30% on last year.

My Favourite Scene

Filmbase and are running a competition in which the entrants can re-enact a favourite movie scene. It can be from any film and acted out in any style or method.

Once the scene is shot it can be uploaded (if it is less than 40MB) using an online form, or the DVD containing the movie can be mailed in.

The closing date for the competition is 24th July 2009.

1st prize
A digital filmmaking production equipment package worth up to €1,000.

2nd prize
A Training Course of the winner's choice from the scriptwriting, directing, producing, or camera & lighting courses available from Filmbase (to a maximum value of €400).

3rd prize
1 year's Filmbase membership for Producer and Director.

4th and 5th prizes
1 year subscription to Film Ireland magazine.

Further information on the competition is available on the web sites.

Tuesday 19 May 2009

Drama Desk Awards

The 54th Annual Drama Desk Awards have been announced.

The following awards should be of particular interest to our members:

Outstanding Play
Ruined by Lynn Nottage

Outstanding Musical
Billy Elliot The Musical

Outstanding Revival of a Play
The Norman Conquests by Alan Ayckbourn

Outstanding Revival of a Musical

Outstanding Ensemble Performances
The cast of The Norman Conquests and the cast of The Cripple of Inishmaan

Young Wicklow Filmmakers Bursary

IFTN reports that Wicklow County Council has launched its 2009 Bursary Awards for Young Wicklow Filmmakers.

The awards for film makers, aged between 18 and 25 years, will be presented to the applicants who are deemed "Best Short Filmmaker" across two age categories.

This initiative, which was started in 2007, alongside Wicked Young Filmmakers Festival will award a total of €2,750 will be awarded in the following categories:

Category One – Best short for age category 22 – 25 years - €1,000
Best runner up in age category 22 – 25 years - €500

Category Two – Best short for age category 18 – 21 years - €750
Best runner up in age category 18 – 21 years - €500

The successful applicants will be selected by a panel of judges including film practitioners and representatives of Wicklow County Arts Office and County Wicklow Film Commission.

A selection of successful shorts will be screened in the Greystones Theatre at the Wicked Young Filmmakers Festival (August) and awards will be announced and presented at this event.

Closing date for receipt of completed application form is 5.00pm on Friday 26th June 2009. Details from Wicklow County Arts Office at 0404 20155 or

GFC Awards 2009

The winners of the Galway Film Centre / RTÉ Short Script Awards have just been announced. Each of the recipients will receive €9,500, as well as access to the Galway Film Centre's equipment and facilities.

The winners are:

  • "The Toll", by first time writer/director Medb Johnstone
  • "Tarp" by writer/director David Freyne
  • "The Ottoman Empire" by writer/director James Phelan
Declan Gibbons of the Galway Film Centre commented; "These awards have been running for over ten years and to date we have completed more than thirty short films. This year we had over one hundred submissions and the standard of short-listed finalists was very high. It remains a very competitive award scheme and a vital fund for aspiring film-makers to get the chance to make a short film."

The Commissioning Editor Drama in RTÉ, Jane Gogan agreed: "This has been a long standing gratifying partnership and is indicative of RTÉ's support for the development of new film talent. The awards are not just an acknowledgement of writing, producing and directing talent in Ireland; the films also demonstrate the talents of a diverse range of television and film craftspeople and actors. They are therefore an important showcase for creative skills within the industry in Ireland."

Monday 18 May 2009

Theatre Forum Conference

The Theatre Forum's Annual Conference is taking place from 10 - 11 June in the Wexford Opera House. Curated by Belinda McKeon, the theme of this year's conference is "The Way Through."

The conference schedule and booking forms are available via the web site. Payment must be submitted to Theatre Forum by Friday 5 June to guarantee a place at the conference.

Friday 15 May 2009

Hare Podcast

The latest Podcast on The Stage is with playwright David Hare, who is best known for his stage productions including Stuff Happens, The Vertical Hour and Gethsemane, and he was nominated for an Oscar this year for his screen adaptation of The Reader. Earlier this year Hare also acted as judge for the prestigious Yale Drama Series Prize for emerging playwrights.

Thursday 14 May 2009

Guild AGM

The 7th Annual General Meeting of the Irish Playwrights' and Screenwriters' Guild will take place on Saturday, June 6th at 2.30 pm.

There has been a change of venue: the AGM will take place at The Morgan Hotel 10 Fleet Street, Temple Bar, Dublin 2.

Nominations to vacant places on the Board of Directors, proposed by a member entitled to attend the AGM, together with a note of consent to be so nominated from the nominee, should reach the Company Secretary at Art House, Curved Street, Temple Bar, Dublin 2 no later than 5.00pm on the 5th June, 2009.

Members of the Guild will receive all the relevant documents in the coming days, including proxy vote forms if they are unable to attend the AGM.


  1. Minutes of the sixth Annual General Meeting of June 2008
  2. Report of the Chairperson of the Board of Directors (including the 2nd ZeBBies report)
  3. Accounts for 2008
  4. Budget for this year
  5. Writing and the Economic Crisis
  6. Other Activities for this year
  7. Appointment of the auditors and fixing of their remuneration
  8. Election of members of the Board
  9. Any Other Business
We encourage all members to attend the AGM, get involved in your Guild, and meet your fellow colleagues and industry professionals.

Wednesday 13 May 2009

Film Story Competition

The Brussels Film Festival, in association with the Flemish Writers Guild, is running a Film Story Competition to promote excellent film story ideas, and to assist writers in the development of their scripts.

Two winners will be chosen by a jury of professionals, and will be invited to the Brussels Film Festival's Awards Ceremony - held on July 5, 2009 - to collect their prize: a place on a Script Factory course of their choice in London.

Participants in the competition should send their movie story (3 pages maximum, written in English, French or Dutch) by email to:

The deadline for entries is June 5th, 2009.

Final Draft Offer

Filmbase has announced that it is offering the latest version of the screenwriting software Final Draft 8 to Filmbase members for €145.

Filmbase is also running a one-day comprehensive introduction course to Final Draft 8 on Friday 29th May on its premises. The cost is €60 for members and €75 for non-members.

Anyone who bought Final Draft version 7 from Filmbase after February 1st is entitled to a free upgrade to Final Draft Version 8. Please contact for more info.

Tuesday 12 May 2009

Copyright Talk

The Irish Writers' Centre in Dublin is running a Writing Week from 18-22 May, during which there will be a variety of writing courses, readings, seminars, literary events and workshops.

An event that should be of interest to many writers will be taking place on Thursday May 21st at 3 pm. Samantha Holman, the Director of the Irish Copyright Licensing Agency, will be giving a talk on the subject of "Copyright, PLR & The Google Book Settlement".

Admission is free.

Storytelling Fellows

ScreenDaily reports that the Sundance Institute and Time Warner have chosen playwrights Quincy Long and Matthew Paul Olmos, and filmmakers Ritesh Batra and Elgin James as the 2009 Time Warner Storytelling Fellows.

The Time Warner Storytelling Advancement Fund, established in 2007, provides support over four years to help fund the development and celebration of independent artists across Sundance Institute’s Feature Film and Theatre Programmes.

Time Warner Storytelling Fellows receive grants enabling them to focus on the advancement of the narrative and voice in their projects. Fellows receive a combination of year-round guidance, residency support, mentoring and professional development.

Outer Critics Circle Awards

The Outer Critics Circle in New York has announced the winners of its 59th Annual Awards.

The following are the categories of particular interest for our members:

Outstanding New Broadway Play
God of Carnage by Yasmina Reza
Irena's Vow by Tovah Feldshuh
Reasons To Be Pretty by Neil LaBute
33 Variations by Moises Kaufman

Outstanding New Broadway Musical
Billy Elliot the Musical
Rock of Ages
Shrek the Musical
A Tale of Two Cities

Outstanding New Off-Broadway Play
Ruined by Lynn Nottage
Becky Shaw by Gina Gionfriddo
Farragut North by Beau Willimon
Shipwrecked! The Amazing Adventures of Louis de Rougemont (As Told By Himself) by Donald Margulies
Why Torture is Wrong, and the People Who Love Them by Christopher Durang

Outstanding New Off-Broadway Musical
The Toxic Avenger
Rooms A Rock Romance
What's That Smell? The Music of Jacob Sterling

David Pearse won the award for Outstanding Feature Actor in a Play for The Cripple of Inishmaan. A full list of all the categories and the winners are available on the web site.

Monday 11 May 2009

Fingal Bursaries

Fingal County Council, in partnership with the Tyrone Guthrie Centre, is offering four special bursary awards for professional artists in Fingal.

These awards are offered to enhance the development of four specific arts disciplines:

  • visual arts
  • writing
  • music
  • dance
Each award will grant successful applicants the opportunity to spend two weeks in the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Monaghan. This centre provides an ideal environment for the development of creative projects and an opportunity to network with other artists.

  • The applicant must be an emerging or established artist/writer, poet/musician/dancer or choreographer.
  • The applicant must be born or currently resident in Fingal administrative area.
Application forms and further information about the bursaries are available through Fingal Arts Office at 01-8906237 or email

The closing date for applications is Tuesday, 2 June 2009 at 4pm.

Comedy Busary Win

The Irish Times reports that the first annual Dermot Morgan Foundation Bursary has been awarded to Diarmuid O'Brien - an IPSG member - for his comedy script about the workings of the Irish secret service.

The €5,000 award, in honour of the late Scrap Saturday and Father Ted comedian, was presented to its inaugural recipient, Diarmuid O'Brien, from Co Cork, in Dublin at the weekend.

The bursary is intended to encourage and support Irish comedy writing talent. A script and series proposal, based on his application, will be developed over the coming months. "He's a bit of a dark comic, and is clearly talented, so it's great to be able to give him the bursary to allow him take time off to develop the idea," said Don Morgan, Dermot's son.

CBI Conference

Those writing for children should mark on their calendars the annual conference by Children's Books Ireland, which takes place from 16-17 May in the National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin.

Tackling the pertinent theme of Challenge and Change in Children’s Books, this year’s speakers will bring a huge wealth of knowledge and expertise to the table, promising an exciting weekend of discussion and debate.

On the home front, Ireland is well represented by the talents of Celine Kiernan (The Poison Throne), Andrew Whitson and Caitríona Hastings (An tSnáthaid Mhór), Orla Kenny & Mary Branley (Kids' Own) and Eoin Colfer (Artemis Fowl, Airman), who will close proceedings on Sunday in conversation with Robert Dunbar.

From the UK, CBI is delighted to welcome illustration expert Martin Salisbury (Play Pen), award-winning authors Patrick Ness (The Knife of Never Letting Go) and David Almond (Skellig, Jackdaw Summer), as well as writer and publisher Verna Wilkins (Tamarind Books), who will present this year’s Ibby Ireland session.

Making perhaps the longest commute ever in the history of CBI conference speakers will be the celebrated Australian author and illustrator Shaun Tan (The Arrival, Tales from Outer Suburbia) who makes his first visit to Ireland especially for the conference.

Friday 8 May 2009

Cannes Irish Pavilion '09

Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board (IFB) had announced the details of its 2009 Irish Pavilion at the Cannes Film Festival.

The Irish Pavilion functions as the focal point for the Irish film industry at the festival, and aims to promote Irish film and facilitiate the needs of Irish producers. It will provide the following services:

  • Information Desk (staffed by IFB personnel)
  • providing information on Irish companies and delegates, Irish films and co-productions screening during the festival.
  • Bar & Terrace serving beverages and light snacks
  • Meeting facilities.
  • Messaging service for IP registered delegates
  • Multiple internet points / WiFi (priority given to IP members)
  • Storage facilities (subject to availability)
  • Business facilities: Phone charging / Fax / Photocopier
The IFB will also be organising three events:

Friday May 15th
17.30 – 18.30 "Screen Producers Ireland hosted Section 481 Panel"

Sunday May 17th
16.00 – 17.00 "The Changing Role of International Film Festivals"
17.15 – 18.15 "Death of a Salesman? A debate on the international distribution landscape for independent film"

The Pavilion's opening hours, and a full list of all Irish delegates attending the festival, are available from the web site.

Storyland 2 Results

The results of the second round of the Storyland web series competition are in:

1 Rental Boys
2 Hardy Bucks
3 Psych Ward
4 Happy Slapper
5 Pub World
6 Jenny Was a Friend of Mine
7 Running Low

The top four dramas will be commissioned to make a third episode.

Voting will open on Friday 5th June at 5pm until Monday 15th June at 5pm to decide who will progress to make a fourth episode.

Thursday 7 May 2009

Give Me Direction

Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board (IFB) in partnership with the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival (JDIFF) have announced a new screenwriting conference entitled Give Me Direction.

Attended by a mix of Irish and international guests, GIVE ME DIRECTION will be an opportunity to champion great and original writing for the screen and to deepen the IFB's engagement in addressing industry concerns. The conference will follow an informal, mixed format of sessions and interviews: plus a rehearsed read-through and a preview screening.

Confirmed Guests:
  • Shane Black (Lethal Weapon)
  • Shane Meadows and Paul Fraser (A Room for Romeo Brass, SomersTown)
  • Eran Kolirin (The Band's Visit)
  • Conor McPherson (The Eclipse)
More guests and further details on the sessions will be announced shortly

Book your places on the JDIFF web site now. Places are strictly limited and tickets will be issued on a first-come, first-served basis.

When: 4th—5th June 2009

Where: The Light House Cinema & The Chester Beatty Library

Time: 4th June 16.30—21.00 / 5th June 9.30—18.00

Tickets: €40

2009 Irish Book Awards

The winners of the 2009 Irish Book Awards were announced last night:

Hughes & Hughes Irish Novel of the Year
The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry

The Argosy Irish Non-Fiction Book of the Year
Stepping Stones by Seamus Heaney and Dennis O' Driscoll

The Dublin Airport Authority Irish Children's Book of the Year - Jnr
Before You Sleep by Benji Bennett

The Dublin Airport Authority Irish Children's Book of the Year - Snr
Skulduggery Pleasant - Playing With Fire by Derek Landy

International Education Services Ltd Best Irish Newcomer of the Year
Confessions of a Fallen Angel by Ronan O'Brien

The Best Irish-Published Book of the Year
The Parish by Alice Taylor

The Energise Sport Irish Sports Book of the Year
Ronan O'Gara, My Autobiography by Ronan O'Gara

The Tubridy Show Listeners' Choice Book of the Year
The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry

The Easons Irish Popular Fiction Book of the Year
This Charming Man by Marian Keyes

Ireland AM Crime Fiction Award
Blood Runs Cold by Alex Barclay

Lifetime Achievement in Literary Ireland Award
Edna O'Brien

Movie Released on Phone

If you want to track the impact of technology on an industry, it's always a smart idea to watch the trends in Asia, especially in Japan. reports that the first simultaneous movie release across multiple platforms has occurred in Japan for the first time: Kadokawa Pictures' romantic comedy Fujoshi Kanojo was released in cinemas, online, and was also available via mobile phone.

The film, which translates as My Geeky Girlfriend, launched on two screens in Tokyo and Nagoya on May 2, through distributor SPO Entertainment, as well as on pay-per-view broadband site, ShowTime, and Kadokawa-Docomo's i-Movie Gate mobile portal.

Online and mobile viewers will be charged $10 (Y1,000), which is the same price as the discounted advance ticket for the film. The film, which will be rolled out to a further ten screens by the early summer, has been adapted from a successful blog story and has also been developed in a novel and manga.

SPO said the innovative release pattern was developed from the film's online roots. This has been supported by a digital marketing campaign, including on content site GyaO, which hosts the film's website and has 22 million registered users. The blog's original author Pentabu has also been adding to the buzz by blogging about the film's release.

Dublin Writers Festival '09

The Dublin Writers Festival (June 2 - 7) has announced its programme, and its theme: the 'power of the word'.

Highlights of the 2009 Festival are:

A special live appearance by Nobel laureate Seamus Heaney who will be rounding off his 70th birthday celebrations - and the 80th birthday of publishing house Faber and Faber - by reading a personal selection of his poetry in the National Concert Hall.

Exclusive Irish visit by writer and broadcaster Simon Schama CBE who will be talking about his newest book based on his BBC series, The American Future, A History.

First-time visits to the Festival by Tipping the Velvet author Sarah Waters, and Fugitive Pieces author and Orange Prize winner, Canadian Anne Michaels.

Readings from first-time Irish novelists: music journalist Peter Murphy, former Investment banker Aifric Campbell and war correspondent Ed O'Loughlin.

A focus on crime writing and the murder mystery novel with readings from Suspicions of Mr Whicher author Kate Summerscale and one of the world's best selling crime writers Val McDermid.

A traditional Irish music performance to the poetry of Dermot Bolger - The Frost is All Over; poetry with Paula Meehan and Leanne O'Sullivan and an exploration of the term 'women's writing' with readings and discussion from writers Claire Kilroy, Julia O'Faolain and Christine Dwyer Hickey.

Also in the six-day festival will be readings from: Irish literary phenomenon Brendan Kennelly; humourist and Guardian critic Joe Queenan; genre-defying Geoff Dyer; My Left Foot co-writer Shane Connaughton; former lawyer MJ Hyland; Snow Geese author and relative of Ralph and Joseph, William Fiennes; Booker prize nominee and IMPAC award winner Colm Tóibín; and scriptwriter Steve Toltz.

IFI Spanish Festival

The IFI is running a Spanish and Latin American Film Season from May 8 - 16.

This year's celebration of recent Spanish-language cinema has a very strong selection of documentaries. These include our opening film, LT22 Radio la Colifata, which was a hit at the recent ¡Viva! festival of Spanish cinema in Manchester, and Night Flowers (Flores de luna), a fascinating historical study of a barrio in Madrid. The fiction films range from a Mexican science fiction flick (Sleep Dealer) and a smart Spanish thriller (Fermat's Room/La habitación de Fermat) to the latest seriocomic work from leading Argentine director Daniel Burman (The Empty Nest/El nido vacío)

Wednesday 6 May 2009

Writer/Director Speed Dating

The Irish Playwrights & Screenwriters Guild, in association with the Screen Directors Guild of Ireland, will host a Writer/Director 'Speed-Dating' event on Wednesday May 27th in the upstairs meeting room of the Irish Film Institute, in Temple Bar, Dublin 2.

The evening will start at 6pm with some light refreshments, and the business of the event will start promptly at 6.30pm with each writer and director matched for a five-minute meeting before moving on to another 'fix-up'.

There was great demand for this event when it was last run, so we expect intense interest from both writers and directors again.

Numbers will be limited due to the size of the venue, so early booking by email ( is advised to guarantee your place.

LIFF Screenplay Winners

The winners of the London Independent Film Festival Feature Screenplay Competition have been announced.

Best Screenplay
Devi Snively for Paige and Hadley's Prom From Hell

Best Short Screenplay
Ragnar Olssen for My Life, In Brief

Best Screenplay (UK)
Shane Perez for Blood and Sand

Best Sci-Fi / Horror Screenplay
Zach Nelson for The Void

Best Film Pitch
Debbie Milspaugh for Janeen

Shane Perez is a resident of Galway city, and a member of the IPSG's screenwriting workshop.

Autumn eQuinoxe

éQuinoxe Germany has announced that its autumn International Screenwriters' Workshop & Masterclasses will take place from the 8th to the 17th of October 2009 in Germany.

The International Screenwriters' Workshops are geared towards writers with experience who have had a script produced and less towards writers at the beginning of their career. The workshops deal with screenplays for the cinema. Scripts should be at an advanced stage of development in order to get the full advantage out of the one-on-one meetings with the advisers.

Applicants must send the following via by mail AND E-Mail:

  • script in classic script form - 4x / 3 bound, 1 unbound (English or original language). Note: 1st drafts and more than 135 pages are not accepted.
  • synopsis (1 page) in English - 4x
  • log-line in English (ca. 5 sentences)
  • CVs of the screenwriter and the producer (if relevant) in English
  • motivation letter in English
  • notes about the production, funding
  • status in English (ca. 1/2 page)
  • tape or DVD of previous work
The deadline for entries is 29th May 2009. Further information on the workshop is available from the web site.

Gender Conference in UK

The Stage reports that the Sphinx Theatre Company in London is hosting a conference entitled "Vamps, Vixens and Feminists - The Elephant in the Room" to debate issues around the employment and representation of women in theatre, film and television.

It's funded by the Arts Council England, and is being organised in collaboration with industry bodies, including Equity and the Writers' Guild of Great Britain.

Sue Parrish, artistic director of Sphinx, said the introduction of the Gender Equality Duty in 2007 - which states that public bodies must take steps to pro-actively promote equality between women and men - had presented an “opportunity to raise these issues and be heard”.

She said two years since the directive came into force, ACE was still in the process of implementing the Gender Equality Duty, and added: "The event seemed like a wonderful opportunity for professionals from different parts of the industry to get together and really discuss what is going on and what might be done."

The conference will feature contributors such as playwright Tanika Gupta and Katherine Rake - the chief executive of gender equality campaigning body the Fawcett Society.

Parrish said that she had deliberately avoided inviting political figures, including Equality and Human Rights Commission chair Trevor Phillips, because she did not want to hear "a lot of empty rhetoric from politicians who are having to make a fairly bland statement".

The conference will be made up of a number of panels, including one that will address cultural and historical female stereotypes, led by Manchester University professor Vivien Gardner. Other panels will focus on writers, with contributions from Writers’ Guild president David Edgar and screenwriter Tracy Brabin, and actresses, led by Kate Buffery, who has been at the forefront of an Equity campaign to address the inequalities faced by older female performers.

The conference will take place in the Olivier Theatre at the National on Tuesday, June 16 from 10am until 1.30pm. Places are free and can be booked by emailing or by calling 020 7401 9994 by Friday June 5.

Tuesday 5 May 2009

2009 Tony Awards

The nominees for the 2009 Tony Awards have been announced.

Of particular interest to our members:

Best Play

  • Dividing the Estate by Horton Foote
  • God of Carnage by Yasmina Reza
  • Reasons to Be Pretty by Neil LaBute
  • 33 Variations by Moisés Kaufman
The full list of all the nominees is on the web site.

UK Adopts Playwrights

There is an interesting article on The Guardian about a scheme in the UK called Adopt a Playwright Award, a general discussion about the difficulties facing emerging playwrights, and why funding is an integral element for the development of new theatre.

More Short Wins

  • 'Atlantic', a short-short written and directed by Conor Ferguson, and funded by the Irish Film Board, has won the Grand Prix at the Trés Court Very Short Film Festival in Paris.
  • Cecilia McAllister's short film 'Missing Link', which she wrote and directed, won a Special Jury award at Worldfest - The Houston Independent International Film Festival. The short was produced by Bronagh McCartan through Northern Ireland Screen's Deviate Scheme.

NI Theatre Sales 51% of Sector

According to The Stage the first ever "audience audit" of ticket sales for arts events in 2008 in Northern Ireland revealed that its theatres generated 51% of ticket income, which was worth £13.3 million.

Live music was in third place (behind film) with more than 255,000 tickets generating £4.1 million at the box office. Though lagging in seventh place, dance events produced the highest average ticket yield of £21.43, a third larger than the sector-wide total.

Conducted by Audiences Northern Ireland, the Arts Council-funded body charged with growing and diversifying arts audiences – the survey involved 22 key arts organisations in the region and is, says chief executive Steven Hadley, "a major development in market intelligence for the arts sector here".

Welcoming the report, arts council chief executive Roisín McDonough said: "Its findings refutes commonly held beliefs that the arts are 'a middle income, middle class interest' and 'centered on Belfast'. In fact, as The Audience Audit demonstrates, the arts engage fully across all areas of society".

2009 Brian Way Award

The Stage reports that the London's Theatre Centre has declared Douglas Maxwell the winner of the 2009 Brian Way Award, and the recipient of a cheque for £6,000, for his play for young people called The Mothership.

The annual playwriting prize was first established as the Children's Award in 2000 by the Arts Council of England, to celebrate innovation in theatre for young people. The awards was taken over by the Theatre Centre in 2007, and was renamed after Brian Way--the organisation's founder--when the Arts Council removed funding for the award.

Scottish writer Maxwell is the author of a number of plays such as Decky Does The Bronco, Variety and Backpacker Blue, while his work for young people includes Helmet, Beyond and Mancub. His plays have been performed in translation in Germany, Norway, Hong Kong, New York, Chicago, Holland and South Korea - where his work Our Bag Magnet has just completed a three-year run.

Accepting the award, Maxwell commented: "This means a lot to me because I have been writing for young audiences on and off for ten years, and it deserves respect because I think writing for young audiences is really, really hard. Writing a normal play is hard, writing a good play is almost impossible, writing a good play that teenagers might like ages you like a dog.

"These people we are writing for watch Hollyoaks and The Simpsons five nights a week - you try coming up with an idea that hasn't been done in Hollyoaks and The Simpsons. It's impossible. If it doesn't work, you are personally responsible for putting someone off going to the theatre for life. I'm not comfortable with that - that's William Shakespeare's job."

Friday 1 May 2009

Theatre Researcher Required

The Irish Theatre Institute wishes to engage a Part Time Researcher on a fixed term contract for its Irish Playography database.

The Irish Playography is an on-line catalogue of all new Irish plays produced professionally since the foundation of the Abbey Theatre in 1904.

The Researcher engaged by ITI will be required to undertake a number of specific tasks relating to the Irish Playography and will require the following skills:

  • Knowledge of and interest in the contemporary and classic Irish theatrical repertoire
  • Excellent research skills
  • Good writing skills
  • Excellent attention to detail
  • Technical competence and an ability to learn data-inputting techniques (training provided)
  • An ability to work to deadlines and within budgets.
A proficiency in the Irish language is an advantage as, this year, Irish Theatre Institute will launch the Irish Language Playography (funded by Foras na Gaeilge) as a companion and complementary resource to the existing Irish Playography database.

This research contract will be part time (3 days per week) for three months beginning on 2nd June. The Researcher will be based at Irish Theatre Institute, 17 Eustace Street, Temple Bar, Dublin 2. The research will be undertaken within a very specific timeframe and with agreed deadlines.

Anyone seeking further information or interested in being considered for this contract should email a letter of application outlining relevant qualifications and skills to: Co-Directors at

Deadline for applications is Friday 8th May 2009.