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