Friday 29 January 2010

Storyland 2010 Online

The first webisodes of RTÉ's new Storyland series are now online.

The second episode of each series will be online from Friday 5 February. After that viewers will be able to vote for which projects will make a third episode.

iad-T in the Park, January

The January iad-T in the Park takes place this Saturday 30th January, at the Tea Rooms in the People's Park in Dun Laoghaire. The event is hosted by Mia Gallagher, writer-in-residence at the IADT, and the theme is: Murder on the Bookshelves (crime fiction).

12noon: Writing the Dark Side (workshop). A fun workshop exploring how to get the most out of your dark side, structure suspense and play with horror and thriller motifs.

2pm: Readings & discussion by Declan Hughes and other crime writers.

JDIFF Programme Launched

Last night the programme for the 8th Jameson Dublin International Film Festival (18th – 28th February) was launched at Dublin's Tripod bar on Harcourt Street.

The festival will open with the European premiere of Neil Jordan's new film Ondine, starring Colin Farrell, a very special event with Jordan and Farrell attending the screening. Highlights in this year's festival include a season celebrating Kristin Scott Thomas' French film work, including the Irish premiere of her new film Partir; three films featuring Patricia Clarkson: Whatever Works, Shutter Island and Cairo Time, which Clarkson will attend; as well as the Closing Gala I Am Love with director Luca Guadagnino and actor Tilda Swinton attending. Other guests include Ciarán Hinds (Life During Wartime), and directors Kirk Jones (Everybody's Fine), Leslie Zemeckis (Behind the Burly Q), Samuel Maoz (Lebanon), Sally Potter (Orlando) and Academy Award winner Fernando Trueba (The Dancer and the Thief).

Commenting on the programme, Festival Director Gráinne Humphreys said:

"I'm delighted to unveil this years JDIFF programme, and I am proud of the wonderful line up of films and events which makes up this much anticipated event. I believe that we have put together a truly dazzling array of films from around the world. With special seasons from Russia and Korea, an increased focus on documentary and classic films, our Irish film season, a retrospective of Kenneth Anger, a celebration of the film music of Nino Rota, and new films from famed filmmakers such Werner Herzog, Martin Scorsese, Tim Burton and Woody Allen, I hope we have found something for everyone. We acknowledge our friend and colleage Michael Dwyer by dedicating this year's festival to his memory and by presenting a season of films to celebrate his life"

This year sees two major foreign language seasons, Russian and Korean. The Russian Season will challenge perception of Russian cinema, and includes screenings of Sundance award-winning Mermaid; spiritual parableThe Island, and the film that has been described as the Iron Curtain version of Hairspray, the colourful and lively Hipsters! The festival will also see a screening of the iconic film Russian Ark, a film shot in just one take in The Hermitage in St. Petersburg, screened in the National Gallery of Ireland. The Korean Season will include South Korea's Academy Award submission Mother; the original and quirky Castaway on the Moon and gangster film Breathless, considered by many to be one of the best Korean films in years.

The Irish Talent Spotlight, now in its third year and run in association with the Irish Film Board, will platform director Conor Horgan who will be showing two films at the festival, the word premiere of documentary The Beholder and the feature film One Hundred Mornings; IFTA nominated actor Darren Healy, whose film Savage will be screened at the festival and cinematographer Kate McCullough with Sundance acclaimed His & Hers. Conor, Darren and Kate will also participate in a panel discussion on representations of Ireland on screen, along with Sundance's Director of Programming Trevor Groth, amongst others.

Special events as part of the festival include a retrospective on iconic film artist Kenneth Anger; Retour de Flamme, a silent film event by the 'Indiana Jones of the moving image', Serge Bromberg, who collates a film from archive footage screened along to his live score; an Out of the Past season of films including Orlando, for which director Sally Potter will attend, and La Dolce Vita, which will whet audience's appetite for the DIT symphony Orchestra presentation of works by Nino Rota in the National Concert Hall.

Continuing a strong tradition for documentary screenings, the Real to Reel season will feature the Arts Council Reel Art Documentaries The Beholder by Conor Horgan; Outliving Dracula: Le Fanu's Carmilla by Fergus Daly and Katherine Waugh; and Jimmy Murakami: Non Alien by Sé Merry Doyle, as well as Doors' documentary When You're Strange, First Appearance Award winner at the International Documentary Film Festival in Amsterdam, Colony, and the stunning La Danse which follows the Paris Opera Ballet, amongst many others.

The festival also offers viewers a special opportunity to get a First Look at some of the most exciting films of the forthcoming year, such as Drew Barrymore's first feature Whip It!, Atom Egoyan's new film Chloe, Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland 3D and Werner Herzog's Bad Lieutenant, as well as offering the chance to see exciting new cinema with the Discovery season such as the multi award winning Revanche by Götz Spielmann and the rich and memorable Scheherazade, Tell Me a Story.

The festival will present a season of screenings as a tribute to the co-founder Michael Dwyer, who passed away in January. Michael truly celebrated cinema, and this selection of films including My Beautiful Laundrette and The Best of Youth, pays testament to his passion. The 2010 festival is dedicated to his memory.

Presenting over 100 films from over 30 countries, 7 of them world premieres, with archive and premiere screenings, special guests, discussions and unique events, all over an action packed 11 days.

Platform Ireland

Platform Ireland is a new multi-media web site that showcases leading Irish arts and cultural content to audiences worldwide. It launched its trial site this month.

Featuring arts content across visual, performance, literature and traditional sectors, Platform Ireland strives to act as a one-stop shop for the Irish arts sector. Its goals include promoting and marketing Irish arts abroad while also acting as an arts archive and providing an online forum for critical debate with the latest news and reviews for both audiences and those involved in the arts.

The Department of Arts, Sport and Tourism are partnering Platform Ireland for the duration of the trial, while over forty organisations are involved in providing content for the Platform Ireland trial including amongst others, Druid Theatre, Opera Ireland, the Irish Museum of Modern Art.

Currently, users who register can log in and watch Madama Butterfly – a live recording of the Opening Night of the Opera Ireland season at The Gaiety Theatre on their computer or mobile phone. Other featured videos include "The Adventures of Flannery", a documentary about Cathal Coughlan (Bandit Films), an Interview with David Bolger, artistic director CoisCéim, and a performance by the The Irish Chamber Orchestra.

Thursday 28 January 2010

Artist in the Community

Create has announced information about the Artist in the Community Scheme 2010, which it manages for the Arts Council.

Twice yearly, the Arts Council offers grants to enable artists and communities of place/or interest to work together on projects. The scheme is open to artists from any of the following artform disciplines: architecture, circus, street art and spectacle, dance, film, literature (Irish and English language), music, opera, theatre, visual arts and traditional arts.

The aim of the scheme is to encourage meaningful collaboration between communities of place and/or interest and artists. It is essential that consultation take place between the artist and the community group, so that both parties are involved in deciding on the nature of the project realisation. Group ownership of the art should be maintained at every stage. The Project Realisation may result in a variety of outcomes.

There are two phases to the Artist in the Community (AIC) scheme:

Phase One, Research & Development, is open to artists who wish to research and develop a project in a community context. Maximum time frame is 3 months. The maximum amount awarded in Phase One is €1,000.

New this year: Phase One, Research & Development/Mentoring is open to artists who wish to develop a community based project and who have identified an artist mentor they want to work with a during the research and development phase. The maximum award is €1500, which includes €500 fee payable to the mentor.

Deadlines in 2010: Friday 26 February 5pm and Friday 25 June 5pm.

Phase Two, Project Realisation, is open to communities of interest or place (or their representative organisations), planning a project of between 6 weeks and 5 months duration with a maximum award of €5000, and those who are planning a project of between 6 months and 9 months with a maximum award of €10,000.

Deadlines in 2010: Friday 26 February 5pm and Friday 25 June 5pm.

For further information on application criteria and assessment, or to book an advisory session about the Scheme, contact Katherine Atkinson, Professional Development, 01-4736600 or email

Application forms are available from the web site.

2010 Rising Stars

IFTN reports that the 2010 Irish Film Board/IFTA Rising Star award nominees have been announced.

The nominees are:

  • Writer/director of Eamon, Margaret Corkery
  • Writer/director of The Secret of Kells, Tomm Moore
  • Writer/director of Savage, Brendan Muldowney
  • Savage's lead actor, Darren Healy
  • Misfits star Robert Sheehan
  • Director of His & Hers, Ken Wardrop.
Aine Moriarty, Chief Executive of the Irish Film and Television Academy said of the Rising Star Award: "This important Award puts the spotlight on great Irish talent making a significant mark in the film industry at large. These six exciting Irish stars have shown themselves to be world class talents in their respective fields and I have no doubt that they will be counted among the wealth of leading Irish talents over the coming years. IFTA is proud to put the international spotlight on Ireland’s Rising Stars and acknowledges the Irish Film Board’s ongoing support of new Irish industry talent."

Simon Perry, Chief Executive of Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board said: "It's been an interesting time for Irish film with an abundance of talent both in front of and behind the camera emerging. The Rising Star Award recognises and champions new creative talent which is a key objective of the Irish Film Board. This year's nominees have all demonstrated exceptional talent in their field and we are delighted to see their achievements recognized with the award."

The winner will be announced at the 7th Annual Irish Film & Television Awards will take place at Dublin’s Burlington Hotel on Saturday, 20 February 2010.

Wednesday 27 January 2010

Playwriting Course

Gavin Kostick will teach a ten-week Playwriting Course every Thursday evening from the 4th February to 15th April at the Irish Writers' Centre in Parnell Square, Dublin 1. Cost: €280

Playwright and dramaturg Gavin Kostick will lead participants through the key demands of writing for performance. Over ten weeks, central elements of drama including openings, the playwright’s imagination, plots and structures, dialogue, effective dramatic language, characterization and monologues will be addressed. These areas are investigated through a broad range of examples supported by discussion and practical exercises. As the course progresses the work of individual participants will be read and discussed. Each person attending the course will be encouraged to develop and complete a draft of an original project of his or her own.

The aim of the whole course is to develop practical skills for writing for drama and to encourage participants to widen their conceptual horizons in writing for live performance.

Tuesday 26 January 2010

Online Theatrical Performances

The New York Times features an article about a new pay-for-view online service called Its mission is to provide a platform for progressive contemporary performances from around the world.

Lane Czaplinski, the artistic director of On the Boards, also hopes to raise larger questions about the ramifications of translating live art onto the screen at a time when society is increasingly gravitating toward mediated experiences.

"What our culture cares about, it tends to record and distribute," Mr. Czaplinski said during a recent panel discussion at Performance Space 122, a New York partner of He pointed to sports and pornography, to titters from the industry crowd. "The live artist in a theater is still paramount. But we're in a shifting world."

The Cinderella simile is an apt one for contemporary performing artists, who typically get scant recognition or compensation for their toils. Documentation of the quality Mr. Daniels provides is prohibitively expensive ($10,000 to $15,000), resulting in paltry archival options and little hope of a wider audience for shows that take months or years to develop only to disappear after limited runs.

"What we're doing is creating the live-art equivalent of a museum catalog," Sarah Wilke, managing director for On the Boards, said. "The world is definitely moving toward a wider view of experience. I think the arts are in danger of losing market share if we don't provide a parallel experience."

Monday 25 January 2010

Irish theatre in 2010

The Irish Times reported last week that despite a dispute over costs the new 2,000-seat Grand Canal Theatre will have its gala opening in March.

The paper also had a feature article entitled "Curtain up on a new theatrical era?", which discussed the state of the Irish theatre industry in the face of funding cuts and the economic downturn. Here's a snippet:

Another way of attracting larger audiences is to cast a top star in a lead role. "For instance," explains Hynes, "this season on Broadway, a play called A Steady Rain, which stars Hugh Jackman and Daniel Craig, and which is in fact directed by our own John Crowley, more or less sold out almost before it opened and has completely made back its original investment and will return profits to its investors."

Hynes cautions, however, that casting a star should "be within the context of the remit as subsidised theatres funded by the Irish taxpayer. You can't suddenly turn around and start operating with commercial antennae. Because why are you being subsidised in the first place?"

Producer Anne Clarke, who works in both commercial and subsidised theatre, doesn't see the necessity for a difference in approach or outlook when considering either. "Some people talk about commercial theatre as being cynical, cheap, only there to make money," she says. "In my experience, that's not the case. I took the same care and attention in casting and producing The Last Days of the Celtic Tiger and The Goat."

For the sector to survive in the coming year, which Clarke concedes will be "bumpy", she believes it "needs to do two things: one, continue to find ways of making work; two, not to lose courage while focusing more on the audience. It would be easy for people to keep their heads down, make work they think people want to see – that's not the way out of this."

Thursday 21 January 2010

BAFTA Nominees

BAFTA has announced its nominations for the Orange British Academy Film Awards in 2010.

Following are the nominees for the two screenwriting awards.

Original Screenplay

  • The Hangover Jon Lucas, Scott Moore
  • The Hurt Locker Mark Boal
  • Inglourious Basterds Quentin Tarantino
  • A Serious Man Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
  • Up Bob Peterson, Pete Docter

Adapted Screenplay
  • District 9 Neill Blomkamp, Terri Tatchell
  • An Education Nick Hornby
  • In The Loop Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci, Tony Roche
  • Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire Geoffrey Fletcher
  • Up In The Air Jason Reitman, Sheldon Turner

A full list of the nominees in all categories is available on the web site.

IFB Awards

Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board (IFB) has announced the latest teams selected for the third round of Signatures and Reality Bites projects.

Signatures is a short film scheme for the making of live-action fiction films that act as a proving-ground for Irish creative talents. It is an opportunity for producers, directors and writers to work in a professional environment that will allow them to further their experience.

We received 108 applications and following a very competitive selection process the following five teams of filmmakers have been awarded funding for their project.
  • "Pentecost", to be written and directed by Peter McDonald and produced by Eimear O'Kane for EMU Productions.
  • "This Is A Test", to be written by Eoin Rogers, directed by Ruairí Robinson and produced by Nick Ryan for Image Now Films.
  • "The Christening", to be written and directed by Oonagh Kearney and produced by Rachel Lysaght for Underground Films.
  • "Shoe", to be written and directed by Nick Kelly and produced by Seamus Byrne for Zanita Films.
  • "Crossing Salween", to be written and directed by Brian O'Malley and produced by Gary Moore.
The Reality Bites scheme aims to encourage experimentation and a fresh approach to short non-fiction filmmaking, focusing on the use of the documentary form.

Over 40 applications were submitted for this scheme and the successful four projects are as follows.
  • "Collaboration Horizontale", to be written and directed by Ciaran Cassidy and produced by Morgan Bushe for Fastnet Films.
  • "Blue Rinse", to be written and directed by Matt Leigh and produced by Nodlag Houlihan.
  • "Needle Exchange", to be written and directed by Colm Quinn and produced by Andrew Freedman for Venom Films.
  • "How Can I Play With What I Cannot Hear?", to be written and directed by Hilary Fennell and produced by Martha O'Neill.
The Signatures and Reality Bites shorts will be premiere at the Cork Film Festival.

Wednesday 20 January 2010

Blackburn Prize Nominees reported yesterday that the short-list for the prestigious Susan Smith Blackburn Prize has been announced.

This international award is given each year to a woman who has written an outstanding new work for the English-speaking theatre.

The ten nominees are:

  • The Aliens by Annie Baker (U.S.)
  • The Language Archive by Julia Cho (U.S.)
  • This by Melissa James Gibson (U.S.)
  • it felt empty when the heart went at first but it is alright now. by Lucy Kirkwood (U.K.)
  • The Shipment by Young Jean Lee (U.S.)
  • The Nature of Love by Rebecca Lenkiewicz (U.K.)
  • East of Berlin by Hannah Moscovitch (Canada)
  • The Swallowing Dark by Lizzie Nunnery (U.K.)
  • Enron by Lucy Prebble (U.K.)
  • Strandline by Abbie Spallen (Ireland)
The 2010 Blackburn Prize will be marked with a ceremony in New York in early March, honouring all finalists. The winner will be awarded $20,000, and will also receive a signed and numbered print by renowned artist Willem De Kooning, created especially for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize. A Special Commendation of $5,000 may be given at the discretion of the judges, and each of the other finalists receives $1,000.

GFC Short Film Award

The Galway Film Centre invites applications for the 2010 RTÉ/GFC Short Film Award. The award will be given to the best original script for a short drama. Designed to promote filmmaking throughout the regions, the scheme, funded by RTÉ, is open to filmmakers from all over Ireland. The winner will receive a production fund of €9,500 as well as the use of facilities from the Galway Film Centre. The winning film will be screened twice by RTÉ.

Only one script per applicant is acceptable so please submit your strongest choice and all applicants must be members of the Galway Film Centre.

The closing date for applications is 5pm, Friday 26th February, 2010.

For further information and an application form contact the Galway Film Centre on 091 770 748 or email

Tuesday 19 January 2010

Irish Theatre Awards Nominees

The nominations for the Irish Theatre Awards were announced in The Irish Times at the weekend.

The entire list is on the web site, and here is the Best New Play category:

  • Barry McKinley: For Elysium Nevada produced by Bewleys Cafe Theatre
  • Michael West: For Freefall, produced by Corn Exchange Theatre
  • Richard Dormer: For The Gentlemen's Tea-drinking Society, by Richard Dormer produced by Ransom Theatre Productions
  • Manchán Magan: For Broken Croí/Heart Briste, produced by Manchán Magan

Monday 18 January 2010

Awards Weekend

The awards season kicked off properly this weekend in the USA.

On Friday the Critics' Choice Awards were announced, and here are the two screenwriting categories:


Winner: Quentin Tarantino - Inglourious Basterds


  • Mark Boal - The Hurt Locker
  • Joel Coen & Ethan Coen - A Serious Man
  • Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber - (500) Days Of Summer
  • Bob Peterson, Peter Docter - Up
  • Quentin Tarantino - Inglourious Basterds


Winner: Jason Reitman, Sheldon Turner - Up In The Air

  • Wes Anderson, Noah Baumbach - Fantastic Mr. Fox
  • Neill Blomkamp, Terri Tatchell - District 9
  • Geoffrey Fletcher - Precious
  • Tom Ford, David Scearce - A Single Man
  • Nick Hornby - An Education
  • Jason Reitman, Sheldon Turner - Up In The Air
Irish actress Saoirse Ronan also won the award for Best Young Actor or Actress for her performance in The Lovely Bones.

Last night the winners of the Golden Globes were broadcast. The lone screenwriting category was:


Winner: Jason Reitman, Sheldon Turner - Up In The Air

  • Neill Blomkamp, Terri Tatchell - District 9
  • Mark Boal - The Hurt Locker
  • Quentin Tarantino - Inglourious Basterds
  • Nancy Meyers - It's Complicated
  • Jason Reitman, Sheldon Turner - Up In The Air

Friday 15 January 2010

BAFTA Undervalues Writers

The Stage reports that BAFTA's decision to move the writer category to the Craft Awards - which are not televised - has brought a scathing response from screenwriters in the UK, who claim BAFTA is undervaluing the contribution of writers to the film and television industry.

He [Tony Jordan, (Hustle, Life on Mars)] added: "I do think that the writer's role is somewhat played down by the BAFTA awards. After all, everything begins with the word. As they are so frequently gushing about an actor finding his or her character and performing all the complexity and depth of that character, surely they should be equally gushing about the person who created that character in the first place."

The complaints came to a head after Danny Stack, who has written for TV series such as EastEnders, penned an open letter to BAFTA calling for it to raise the prominence of its awards for writers in both its TV and film awards.

In his letter, he described screenwriting as a craft, but said: "It does not belong in the craft section alongside make-up and sound."

Stack told The Stage: "I think screenwriting is undervalued or dismissed and worse, condescended to, when everyone pays lip service to how important it is in the whole process. I think BAFTA should put it front and centre with the main awards and categories."

His views are echoed by Katharine Way, who has written for Doctors and Casualty, and who claimed that there should be two writing awards - one for drama and one for comedy. "How do you compare the writing of Criminal Justice, say, with the writing of a new sitcom?" she said.

Writers' Guild of Great Britain deputy general secretary Anne Hogben said it was an ongoing concern for the guild's members and added: "Most writers feel very disgruntled indeed about how they are airbrushed out of the picture. BAFTA is obsessed with glamorous starlets. They prefer to keep writers in the back room, along with the make-up artists and focus pullers."

Thursday 14 January 2010

Theatre Awards Judges

The The Irish Times has announced its judges for the 2009 Irish Times Theatre Awards - the nominees for the awards will appear in the Weekend Review on Saturday.

Christine Madden is a writer, translator, dramaturg and arts journalist. She works as dance and theatre critic, primarily for The Irish Times, as well as reporting on the performing arts.

Jack Gilligan, recently retired Dublin City Arts Officer, has seen about 2,000 professional theatre performances. His involvement in professional performance began 25 years ago, as a Local Authority employee, promoting professional theatre and dance in community venues and schools in Co Dublin, many in association with the Dublin Theatre Festival.

Bernadette Madden remains from the 2009 judging panel. She was born in Dublin, and has been working as a painter and printmaker since graduating from the National College of Art and Design.

Wednesday 13 January 2010

2010 Writers Guild Award Nominees

The Writers Guild of America, West (WGAW) and the Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE) have announced their short-list of nominees for the 2010 Writers Guild Awards, which will be held on Saturday, February 20, 2010, at simultaneous ceremonies in Los Angeles and New York.


(500) Days of Summer, Written by Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber; Fox Searchlight
Avatar, Written by James Cameron; 20th Century Fox
The Hangover, Written by Jon Lucas & Scott Moore; Warner Bros.
The Hurt Locker, Written by Mark Boal; Summit Entertainment
A Serious Man, Written by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen; Focus Features


Crazy Heart, Screenplay by Scott Cooper; Based on the novel by Thomas Cobb; Fox Searchlight
Julie & Julia, Screenplay by Nora Ephron; Based on the books Julie & Julia by Julie Powell and My Life in France by Julia Child with Alex Prud’homme; Sony Pictures
Precious: Based on the novel Push by Sapphire, Screenplay by Geoffrey Fletcher; Based on the novel Push by Sapphire; Lionsgate
Star Trek, Written by Roberto Orci & Alex Kurtzman; Based upon Star Trek, Created by Gene Roddenberry; Paramount Pictures
Up in the Air, Screenplay by Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner; Based upon the novel by Walter Kirn; Paramount Pictures


Against the Tide, Screenplay by Richard Trank & Rabbi Marvin Hier; Moriah Films
Capitalism: A Love Story, Written by Michael Moore; Overture Films
The Cove, Written by Mark Monroe; Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions
Earth Days, Written by Robert Stone; Zeitgeist Films
Good Hair, Written by Chris Rock & Jeff Stilson and Lance Crouther and Chuck Sklar; Roadside Attractions
Soundtrack for a Revolution, Written by Bill Guttentag & Dan Sturman; Freedom Song Productions and Louverture Films

Tuesday 12 January 2010

Nominees for IFTA 2010

The Irish Film and Television Academy has announced the shortlist of nominees for the 7th Annual Irish Film and Television Awards, which will take place on Saturday 20th February at the Burlington Hotel, Dublin.

The nominees for the two screenwriting awards are:

Script Film
John Carney, Kieran Carney - Zonad (Element Pictures)
Margaret Corkery - Eamon (Zanita Films)
Neil Jordan - Ondine (Octagon Films)
Billy Roche, Conor McPherson - The Eclipse (Treasure Entertainment)

Script Television
Frank Deasy - Father & Son (Green Park Films)
Frank McGuinness - A Short Stay in Switzerland (BBC)
Eugene O'Brien - Pure Mule - The Last Weekend (Accomplice Television)
James Phelan - Rásaí na Gaillimhe (Great Western Films)

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

Monday 11 January 2010

2010 Filmbase Awards

The next deadline for the Filmbase/RTÉ Short Film Awards 2010 is 5pm Friday 5th February.

Award Details:

  • A maximum of two awards will be made per round with two rounds per year.
  • Applications will only be accepted 2 weeks prior to the deadline, please see below for application dates.
  • Awards are open to drama, animation and experimental works to be completed on film or broadcast quality video.
  • The award will comprise of a cash award of approximately €10,000. Successful candidates will also receive a production package with up to 5 days of production equipment hire and 3 weeks of post-production hire. (For more information on the facilities available at Filmbase please visit the website's Equipment Section).
  • Some awards may be higher or lower at the discretion of the panel.
  • Projects submitted should be pitched at the award scheme, with a duration and production values so that the film can be completed with the finance and production package available.
  • Awards are made to the Production Company.
Application guidelines and information on how to apply are available on the web site.

Writing a Radio Play

The Irish Writers Centre has announced its Weekend Courses for the Spring.

Our members might be interested in "Writing a Radio Play", which will be taught by John Maher, and will take place on Saturday 6th and Sunday 7th March from 10.30am-4.30pm.

This two-day course will look at the format, style and content of the radio play. We will explore how to build a radio play by focusing on background themes, narrative framework and characters. We will listen to examples and undertake analysis of radio scripts. The course will include practical writing tasks, including dialogue drills and exercises.

The objective of the course will be to enable writers to work towards completing their own radio play. Although not essential, participants are free to bring along work in progress.

The course costs €140, and can be paid for online.

Friday 8 January 2010

IFI Remodelled

The Irish Times reports that yesterday the Irish Film Institute opened its doors on the renovation of its facilities, which included the first look at Cinema 3: a luxury 61-seat theatre with a digital screen.

Most the public areas: café, shop, and toilets have also been given a facelift.

To celebrate the IFI will offer a day of free screenings on Saturday, February 6th. Details of the programme of events will be released in late January.

Thursday 7 January 2010

Cork Arts Funds

Cork City Council invites applications for the grants under the Arts Act from groups who contribute to the creative arts or culture of Cork City. Grant is provided to a number of professional arts organisations and community and voluntary groups throughout the city area. These grants provide direct revenue funding for groups in support of their core work.

Cork City Council's Arts and Cultural Development Plan 2006-2009 is available to download from its website. Grant aid is distributed in accordance with these policies and strategies. Arts Grants are allocated to organisations only. Cork City Council offer artist bursary awards to individual artists. Please contact to arts office for further information.

Applications should be made on the official application form, which is available from the Arts Office, Recreation, Amenity and Culture, City Hall. Cork. Application forms are also available from the website and by email from

Completed application forms, accompanied by the documentation specified on the application form, should be returned to the Arts Office, Recreation, Amenity and Culture, 1st Floor, Abbeycourt House, George's Quay, Cork, not later than 5pm on Friday 5th February 2010.

Archive at Lunchtime

A new series of lunchtime screenings of short films from the IFI Irish Film Archive started this week.

The programme will provide new access to the vast collection of its shorter films - professional and amateur, educational and informational, travelogues, sports films and dramas - all of which provide a unique insight into Ireland's social, cultural and film history.

All programmes are free, and under half an hour, so it's a perfect way to spend a lunch hour. January's films were made by members of the Guinness Film Society with producer Mike Lawlor and each offers a fascinating portrait of Dublin life in the '70s.

Information about the dates and times of the screenings are on the web site.

Wednesday 6 January 2010

Advice for Radio Comedy

Anyone interested in writing for radio comedy will find it useful to read The Stage's article, "Waves of Thought: Harry Venning on writing radio comedy".

Harry Venning has written Clare in the Community a radio sitcom for the BBC, and his new show, Sneakiepeeks has just launched on BBC Radio 4.

My friend Anil Gupta, an award-winning writer and producer in both mediums, and a man who has shamelessly stolen lines from Clare in the Community for his own scripts, once gave me the best definition of sitcom - telling a story through jokes. With more naturalistic comedy in vogue, the joke is currently regarded as something of a debased currency, but I personally feel that nothing beats a good punchline. Character, plot, atmosphere and story arcs can all be revealed through jokes. The trick is finding the right balance, so that they complement rather than dominate each other. It’s also labour intensive, but ultimately more satisfying.

At which point it is worth mentioning the conventional wisdom prevalent amongst Radio 4's light entertainment department regarding the scheduling of comedy shows. The 11.30am slot has what they call a "lean to" audience, which imagines a listener with his/her ear to the radio, attention fully engaged, apart from the quilt he/she is darning. Such listeners can cope with more complicated, plot-driven comedies. At 6.30pm, the listener is besieged by a multitude of domestic chores and distractions, which limits their concentration to the occasional quick-fire joke, funny voice or impersonation. Which means sketch shows.

Before embarking upon a radio comedy script, it is worth considering this distinction and then ignoring it completely, as it is bollocks. Funny is funny at any time of the day.

The BBC Writersroom has a script online of Venning's series five episode, "Name Calling", from Clare in the Community.

Tuesday 5 January 2010

New Abbey Debate

The Stage reported yesterday that Martin Cullen, the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism, plans an early decision on the proposal to move the Abbey theatre to the GPO on Dublin's O'Connell Street, which he strongly favours.

The minister argues that relocating the Abbey makes sense, socially and economically. It would rejuvenate O'Connell Street, he says, while the move to the GPO would cost only €80-€90 million, compared with the €150-€170 million that was expected to be spent on rebuilding the theatre on an alternative docklands site.

The Abbey move has been proposed in a recently revised government plan agreed by the two partners in the current Coalition administration, Fianna Fail and the Green Party, with a grand opening suggested for 2016, the centenary of the Rising. A feasibility study of the proposal is now under way.

However, Cullen has revealed that before the issue came into public debate, "a very good international architect, who has worked with theatres", had prepared a model of how the Abbey might be relocated to the GPO. He was shown the model, which had involved a huge amount of research. "I know it works. I saw it all and it's fantastic," he said.

But the Irish National Conservation and Heritage Group takes a very different view. Its spokesman, Damien Cassidy, described the proposed Abbey move as "ludicrous and crazy" and said it would succeed only in destroying two national monuments, the theatre and the GPO.

According to Cassidy, the GPO should be retained in its present role as a national monument. The Abbey move was "being pushed by an elitist group", he claimed, and his organisation was planning a campaign to stop any interference with what he called "one of the most iconic buildings in Irish history".

Monday 4 January 2010

Theatre Upstairs @ the Plough

Theatre Upstairs @ the Plough is a non-funded, profit-share venue set up by Karl Shiels and Paul Walker with the co-operation of Lanigan's Plough Bar (opposite the Abbey Theatre, Middle Abbey Street, D1).

It launches its programme of events for Lunch Time and Tea Time theatre on January 18 2010.

The Lunch Time programme will features original works from new and established writers, offering a series of world premiere plays from writers such as Paul Walker (Stardust, Ladies & Gents), Eugene O'Brien (Eden, Pure Mule), Deirdre Kinahan (Hue & Cry), Bryan Delaney (The Cobbler) and Jimmy Murphy (Kings of The Kilburn Highroad).

The Tea Time slot presents a select series of revivals, including one from Mark O'Rowe (Howie The Rookie, Terminus, Intermission), along with play readings and works in progress.

The company is always on the look-out for submissions, so send them to:

Theatre Upstairs
Lanigans Plough Bar
Mid Abbey Street
Dublin 1.

It's also hosting a fundraising night, entitled D'Relish, on Saturday, January 9, 2010, at 8pm. Admission is €5.

It will be an evening of comedy, vocals, guitar, performances, and the infamous D'Relish Raffle.

Michael Dwyer RIP

Michael Dwyer, the film correspondent of the Irish Times, died on Friday, January 1st, at the age of 58, following an illness that began after his last trip to the Cannes Film Festival.

Today the Irish Times published a series of reminiscences about Mr. Dwyer by Irish actors and directors, as well as a tribute by Hugh Linehan.

Mr. Dwyer made a significant contribution to the establishment of film criticism in Ireland, the promotion of local talent, and as one of the co-founders the Dublin Film Festival in 1985 he helped aid a wider appreciation for global cinema in the country.

His funeral Mass will take place Tuesday morning at 11am in the Church of the Holy Name, Beechwood Avenue, Ranelagh, and afterwards to Mount Jerome Crematorium.

Mr. Dwyer is survived by his partner of 24 years, Brian Jennings, and his mother Mary and sisters Anne and Maria. Our sincere condolences for their loss.