Thursday 29 April 2010

Give me Direction II

After the success of last year's event, Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board announced yesterday the return of the screenwriting event Give Me Direction, which will be run in association with the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival.

This year the focus of the conference will be on interrogating the topic of comedy in filmmaking. The two day event will be held on Thursday 17th and Friday 18th June in Dublin.

Further details of the event and the release date for tickets will be announced shortly.

Wednesday 28 April 2010

Dublin Scriptwriters Group

Ever thought about joining a writers' group?

Being a writer can be, by its nature, a fairly solitary existence so being part of a group can be invaluable. As well as the companionship, it is also important to have someone (who isn't your mammy) with whom you can share your writing, get (honest!) criticism from and bounce ideas off.

The Dublin Playwrights and Screenwriters Group (apologies for the long title) is one of two groups which meet every two weeks in Filmbase in Temple Bar, Dublin, to discuss our stage and screen writing projects and generally chat about what's going on in the writing world. If you think a group would be helpful to you and your writing, we would like to invite you to come along to one of our meetings to see if you would like to join.

You can get in touch with us through the IPSG ( or 01 6709970) and we can arrange for you to come to the next meeting.

Happy writing!

Paul FitzSimons
Group Co-ordinator
Dublin Playwrights and Screenwriters Group

Tuesday 27 April 2010

Dublin Gay Theatre Festival 2010

The Dublin Gay Theatre Festival will be happening from May 3 - 16 in venues across Dublin City centre.

The programme of features, comedy and musical theatre includes Eight World Premières, Eight European Premières and Four Irish Premières. This year the festival includes productions from Ireland, UK, USA, Spain, South Africa and Australia, with a particular emphasis on new writing from emerging playwrights.

Highlights from the programme include The Laramie Project (USA) a play which recounts the brutal kidnap and murder of Mathew Sheppard, Kiss the Women (South Africa), a brave and deeply moving exploration of growing up as a black lesbian in South Africa, Loaded (USA) a no-holds barred look at internet sex, identity and ageism, Exiles (UK) a fresh and unique perspective on James Joyce's only play, Working Late (Ireland), a coming out comedy set in today’s economic crisis, Under the Rainbow (Ireland) a musical journey through the many lives of actress and entertainer Liza Minnelli and Drags Aloud (Australia) Joan Rivers support act that’s part Glee, part Scream, with a health dose of Priscilla Queen of the Desert.

Festival Director, Brian Merriman, said "This year we break through many barriers with our diverse programme of theatre that seeks to dialogue culturally with mainstream society." He added that festival was "delighted to welcome so many Irish companies to our programme this year. Playwrights as young as 18 year old Aaron Rogers were successful amongst the largest ever cohort of Irish applicants."

Monday 26 April 2010

Dublin Arts Bursary

Dublin City Council is looking for applications for its Arts Bursary of €4,000, which can be used to fund studies at an advanced level or the development of work/ professional skills.

Artists, resident in Dublin City Council’s administrative area, can apply for a Bursary in Visual Arts, Music, Dance, Drama and Literature. One Bursary will be awarded in each discipline.

Application forms, guidelines and criteria may be obtained by contacting:The Arts Office,Dublin City Council,The LAB, Foley St, Dublin 1.
Tel: 222 7850 or email:

Deadline for receipt of applications is 5pm Friday May 14th 2010. Only applications in hardcopy form will be accepted.

Application forms and information on how to apply are on the web site.

Thursday 22 April 2010

iad-T in the Park, April

The last event in the iad-T in the Park season is taking place this Saturday 24th April, at the the Tea Rooms in the People’s Park, Dun Laoghaire. The theme is: Play 4 Today (drama).

At noon there will be an Improvisation and Storytelling Workshop followed at 2pm by a Presentation by Annie Ryan and Michael West of The Corn Exchange, the theatre company behind the Dublin Theatre Festival's hit Freefall.

The events are organised by Mia Gallager, the 2009/10 IADT Writer in Residence.

IWC Publishing Day

On Saturday May 8th from 10.30am - 5.00pm the Irish Writers' Centre in Dublin is hosting an information day on publishing.

The event will feature talks with Dermot Bolger; Literary Agent, Jonathan Williams; Commissioning Editor for Hachette Books, Ciara Considine; Editor and digital publishing expert, Eoin Purcell; and Literary Publicist, Cormac Kinsella.

Tickets are €50 and can be booked by paying online or calling the Centre.

Wednesday 21 April 2010

BBC Writers Academy

Applications are now open for the BBC Drama's Writers Academy


The training you receive from BBC Drama’s Writers Academy will give you the specific skills required to write for some of the BBC’s most popular series such as Doctors, EastEnders, Holby City and Casualty, and a springboard to write across all the BBC’s drama output.

To be eligible for this scheme, writers will have already had at least one professional (paid) drama commission in film, television, radio or theatre.

The Writers Academy will train up to 8 writers a year, over a period of twelve months.

Course Breakdown

The course will break down as follows:

Introduction to Writing for Continuing Drama Series

This is a 3 month training course in writing for Continuing Drama Series which will consist of a number of workshops and lectures accompanied by intensive writing exercises and analysis.

During this period each writer will write a broadcast episode of Doctors.

The training course will be lead by John Yorke, Controller, Drama Production and New Talent, and other industry experts from all areas of drama production.

Course participants will be required to attend classes at the BBC premises in Elstree for three days per week, and one day at Television Centre in London.

Some expenses will be paid for writers based out of the London area for this period.

Writing for Broadcast

After you have completed the initial training and the Doctors script, your work will be assessed. If you have reached the required standard for production on Continuing Drama Series you will begin the next phase of the training.

Writers will rotate across Casualty, Holby and Eastenders in turn, writing a broadcast episode, spending a maximum of 12 weeks on each show.

At the end of the 12 months, each writer will have written for each of the four shows.

Core team & HQ

The course will be run and administered from BBC TVC in London W12 and BBC Elstree Studios. The course will be overseen and run by a Course Producer.

The deadline for applications is: May 5th 2010. More information and how to apply is on the web site.

Tuesday 20 April 2010

Storyland II: Final 2

The final two series in the RTÉ Storyland competition are:

  • Zombie Bashers, written by Stephen Shields and directed by Conor McMahon
  • We Own the Streets, written and directed by Alan Kavanagh

McGuinness Play on TV

The Stage reports that Sky Arts has announced its successor to its Theatre Live! series, which saw six novelists make their playwriting débuts in 2009.

This year it's called Sky Arts Playhouse - Live, and will bring new work by established playwrights to the screen, including Irish playwright Frank McGuinness, whose credits include Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me.

The plays will be broadcast live every Wednesday from June 9, with each production being previewed at the Riverside Studios in the UK for four nights prior to transmission.

As with Theatre Live!, there will be a special company of directors and actors formed for the series, which will be overseen by Sandi Toksvig as artistic director, and Pip Broughton, who is creative director.

Toksvig said: “With Playhouse - Live, we’re staying true to the theatrical experience whilst simultaneously ensuring that we successfully marry the components of theatre and television that make each experience so unique. We’re thrilled to have such an extraordinary range and calibre of playwrights on board, and are delighted about partnering with the Riverside Studios to give the creative teams an opportunity to preview each play.”

The schedule is:
  • June 9; The Typist, by Rebecca Lenkiewicz; directed by Bijan Sheibani.
  • June 16: Ghost Story by Mark Ravenhill, who is also directing the play.
  • June 23: Hens by Alia Bano; directed by Peter Gill
  • June 30: Crocodile by Frank McFuinness; directed by Toby Frow.
  • July 7: Ensler's Here by Eve Ensler; directed by Josie Rourke.

Monday 19 April 2010

West End Remains Popular

According to the Hollywood Reporter theatre is still proving very popular in the UK despite the recession, and the latest figures reveal that attendance at the West End in London hit 14 million last year and box office revenue made a record £500 million.

The current success owes to several factors, not least of which is a high standard of excellence. Critics have joined the public in being generally bowled over by the range and quality of what has been presented of late.

Two more reasons for the growing appreciation of what's onstage: The lackluster state of British film and television means local talent is gravitating to the theater; and the development of well-trained directors.

Says Almeida artistic director Michael Attenborough: "TV in the U.S. is infinitely stronger. Most U.K. sitcoms are pathetically vulgar and crude."

Meanwhile, the current crop of top stage directors is among the most innovative and distinctive to date, with Rupert Goold ("Enron"), Michael Grandage ("Hamlet," "Red"), Howard Davies ("All My Sons"), Christopher Morahan ("The Caretaker"), Ian Rickson ("Jerusalem") and Nicholas Hytner ("London Assurance," "The Habit of Art") following in the footsteps of Sam Mendes, Richard Eyre, Stephen Daldry and Trevor Nunn.

Says Burns simply, "We train great directors." It shows.

Burns, who runs Nimax Theatres with U.S. producer Max Weitzenhoffer, adds: "Not only are more people coming, they're paying more money to see the plays and musicals. Last year, it was a coincidence that so many plays came to fruition in one performing year. It was very much the year of the play. But that doesn't mean the musicals were struggling -- it means the plays did better."

Friday 16 April 2010

The Cant, Can

The winner of the inaugural McGuire International Playwriting Competition is Dublin writer Shay Linehan, for his play The Cant.

Shay is an IPSG member, and found out about the competition via our newsletter, and workshopped his entry at the IPSG's Dublin writers' group. He was also a nominee for the 2009 Zebbie Award for Best Radio Script. Currently, Shay is the director of Deilg Inis Living History Theatre Company, a professional theatre company based in Dalkey, Ireland and engaged at Dalkey Castle and Heritage Center.

The world première production of The Cant will open the Irish Classical Theatre Company's 20th Anniversary Season at the Andrews Theatre, Buffalo, NY from September 9 – October 3, 2010.

Thursday 15 April 2010

The Daisy Chain

Horror feature film The Daisy Chain, written by acclaimed screenwriter and Guild member Lauren MacKenzie, is opening on Friday 16th April at the Omniplex cinemas in Dublin (the Savoy), Cork and Galway.

Directed by the critically acclaimed director of Song For A Raggy Boy, Aisling Walsh, and starring double Oscar-nominee Samantha Morton, The Daisy Chain is a supernatural thriller of obsession, superstition and fear.

The film was also nominated for Best Irish Film at the 2009 Dublin Film Festival.

The Engine Room Pitch

FÁS Screen Training Ireland is running a two-day course called The Engine Room Pitch starting on the 20th of May 2010 in Dublin. The course tutors are Christina Burnett, Micheal O'Meallaigh and Niamh O'Connor.

The cost of the course is €150.

Application Procedure:
Please apply online attaching a CV and a one page proposal for a doc/factual project. You can attend either as a pitcher with project, or as an observer. All projects which are submitted by the deadline of Wednesday May 6 will be considered and those which are selected to pitch will be notified in advance of the workshop.

Participant Profile:
This workshop is aimed at producers, directors, researchers and development personnel who wish to refine their proposals and explore the commissioning process.

Course Profile:
THE ENGINE ROOM PITCH is a unique 2 day project development and pitching workshop for documentary/factual filmmakers seeking Irish and international commissions and market intelligence. It is also an exceptional networking opportunity.

Created by leading international pitch trainer Christina Burnett of Wide Eye Pictures, THE ENGINE ROOM pitch formats have been successful in the UK, Brazil and Abu Dhabi. Intense, friendly and focused, the workshop develops real projects which are then presented to two commissioners for feedback. MEDIA Desk Ireland will also give an introduction to the funding, training and opportunities available at international festivals and markets.

Stranger Than Fiction 2010

The Documentary Film Festival, Stranger than Fiction, kicks off today in the IFI in Dublin, with the première of Pyjama Girls directed by Maya Derrington. The film was produced by Maya and Nicky Gogan for Still Films, who will both be in attendance for a Q&A session afterwards.

Filmbase is hosting a free panel session "The Honest Truth: Ethics in Documentary" in Cinema 3 at 11am Friday 16th April, about how documentary filmmakers deal with the conflicting responsibilities to their subjects, their viewers and their own artistic visions.

Alan Maher, IFB Production Executive will chair this panel which will include Maya Derrington (Pyjama Girls), Dr. Harvey O'Brien (UCD), Ciarín Scott (Waiting for the Light) and Ken O'Shea (RTÉ). The session is a free, ticketed event, and tickets can be collected from the IFI box office.

The discussion is the first of a day-long series of free panel events taking place as part of the festival.

The following two days will features screenings of Irish and International documentaries.

Wednesday 14 April 2010

Creative Thinking in May

FÁS Screen Training Ireland is running two separate day-long courses on Creative Thinking Techniques on the 5th of May 2010 and on the 6th of May 2010 in Dublin, which will be taught by Pam Relton.

The cost is €100, and the deadline for online applications is the 20th of April 2010.

Participant Profile:
This one day programme is aimed at all sectors of the film and television industry.

Course Profile:
Participants will hone their creative thinking techniques.
Topics will include:
  • Creative thinking techniques
  • Ideas generation
  • Six thinking hats
  • The Disney Strategy
  • This course is supported by Bord Scannán na hÉireann/The Irish Film Board.

Book of the Decade

Voting for the Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards Book of the Decade begins on April 14th and ends on May 27th.

Simply click on the button for the title you regard as the best Book of the Decade. The winner will be announced on May 28th.

The Irish Book Awards covers the broad spectrum of Irish publishing from popular to literary and this promotion is intended to reflect that diversity. The judging panel was therefore instructed to select books which had made a dramatic impact either through critical acclaim or popular success or a combination of both factors.

Tuesday 13 April 2010

Young Playwrights Wanted

Tinderbox Theatre Company in Belfast is looking for applicants aged between 16 and 25 for its Fireworks – Young Writers Programme.

The Fireworks writers will be working with the actors in the Tinderbox Studio Ensemble. In addition writers will watch plays or readings and any Tinderbox productions that coincide with the programme, as well as read and analyse plays together.

Writers must be available in Belfast during a number of specific dates in 2010 - the information is on the web site.

To apply, you will need to send two pages of dialogue from a previous script (not written for this application), and a covering letter about yourself stating why you are interested in taking part in Fireworks, and your writing experience so far.

The deadline for entries is 3 May 2010

Writing Short Films

Filmbase is running its popular "Writing Short Films That Get Funded" course again from 23rd - 25th April.

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.

Mary Kate O Flanagan is an award-winning screenwriter and experienced tutor and script consultant. She regularly reads and shortlists projects for schemes across the European film industry.

  • Finding a visual correlative for the theme of a short film
  • Develop an idea from conception to production-ready script
  • Avoiding the most common pitfalls and how to rewrite
  • Examining what makes short films effective
Cost: €220 waged / €180 unwaged
Deposit: €60 required (non-refundable)

Monday 12 April 2010

FilmOffaly Bursary 2010

FilmOffaly, Offaly's Film Commission, in association with Filmbase, is pleased to announce the FilmOffaly Award 2010.

This funding initiative aims to foster creative, resourceful filmmaking in the county. FilmOffaly are looking for unique, original stories by talented new filmmakers, professional and novice alike. The only stipulation is that the filming must take place in Offaly! There will be one award to one successful applicant.

The winning applicant will receive:

  • €8,000 towards the cost of their production
  • A premier in Tullamore Omniplex Cinema
  • 1-year’s Filmbase membership to the Writer, Producer and Director of the winning film
  • A 50% discount on production equipment and/or editing facilities from Filmbase for the project
  • Filmbase's production insurance to cover the shoot

The closing date for the receipt of completed applications is 3.30pm on Friday, 14th May 2010.

Further information on how to apply is on the web site.

Thursday 8 April 2010

2010 Digital Shorts in NI

Northern Ireland Screen has announced the recipients of this year's Digital Shorts scheme:

  • A Cross to Bear - written and directed by Ryan Tohill
  • Hardy Hands - written and directed by Chris Baugh
  • Of The Sea - written and directed by Paul Hamilton
  • Ring Theory - written and directed by Joe Campo

The four films will be produced by Villi Ragnarsson of RedRay Films in Summer 2010.

Northern Ireland Screen and The UK Film Council’s Digital Shorts scheme is a year long programme which aims to seek out and develop new filmmaking talent and enable them to make innovative short films using digital technology.

Wednesday 7 April 2010

UK Film Council Plans

Northern Ireland Screen reports that the UK Film Council published its three year plan and launched its new £15m Film Fund.

In developing the final plan, the UK Film Council spent three months consulting on the proposals, engaging with hundreds of people from across the film sector, facilitating more than a dozen consultation sessions and attracting almost 1,000 responses. The plan specifically:
  • opens up for business a £15m-a-year Film Fund (topped up further by film recoupment) for emerging, experimental and world class filmmakers;
  • ring-fences money for development;
  • confirms production companies will for the first time automatically receive a significant share of the UK Film Council’s recoupment from all feature film investments they are involved in, following State Aid approval of the measure by the European Commission;
  • sets up a think tank chaired by Tim Bevan to identify new policy initiatives to grow independent UK film companies of scale;
  • proposes a national web-based talent showcase, to be launched in Autumn 2010, to unearth fresh talent and to broaden the diversity, reach and the opportunities available to all filmmakers who are keen to engage with one another in a national filmmaking community;
  • confirms £5m is allocated to the new Innovation Fund, which will launch in Autumn 2010 (more details to follow);
  • provides £500,000 for film exports for each year of the plan;
  • confirms that 100% of recoupment from the Prints & Advertising Fund - which widens and supports the distribution of selected specialised films and British films - will, like the Film Fund, top up that fund’s budget.

Alongside this plan, the DCMS have been leading merger discussions between the UK Film Council and the BFI. These discussions have been underway since August 2009 and continue.

Launching UK Film: Digital innovation and creative excellence, Tim Bevan CBE, Chairman of the UK Film Council, said, “We’ve set out a renewed mission, a new set of priorities, and a new way of working. With the right level of support, a successful British film industry can continue to help get the UK out of recession, drive innovation and create more highly-skilled jobs. Further tough choices probably lie ahead, but having reduced our overheads by 20% and positively responded to the needs of British filmmakers we’re now in the best place we can be to support and promote UK film in the years ahead.”

John Woodward, Chief Executive Officer of the UK Film Council, announced that the new £15m-a-year Film Fund had opened its doors for business. Managed by a new team of experienced senior production and development executives, the fund has introduced a brand new online application process in which applicants will set out their creative and strategic visions for their film.

Woodward commented: “The new Film Fund’s primary focus is creative excellence. Tanya and her team will support filmmakers who want to put British filmmaking at the centre of our national culture and on the international map. The aim is for the Film Fund to attract the best talent, encourage creative risk taking, and deliver great films to audiences.

“Joining Tanya in the search for creative excellence will be a team of three Senior Production and Development Executives with an impressive and broad range of film industry expertise. Natascha Wharton, Lizzie Francke, and Chris Collins each have big production successes under their belts – together, it’s a team that will provide a wide range of expertise and tastes as well as a supportive, energetic and ambitious home for British filmmaking talent.

“The team will all work across the full range of projects in production and development, but individually they will also have specific responsibilities.”
  • Natascha Wharton (starting 4 May 2010) will focus on development;
  • Lizzie Francke will focus on experimental feature length films, national engagement and showcasing new talent;
  • Chris Collins will focus on ideas for future film practices for both emerging and established filmmakers, from micro/low budget features and shorts, through to 3D blockbusters.

The Film Fund is open for applications from 1 April, but it will be presenting a more detailed strategy to the UK Film Council Board in the coming months. It has already been agreed that a portion of the £15m budget will be ring-fenced for development – although there will be no automatic assumption that projects developed will become films that the fund would then invest in at the production stage. The remaining budget will be safeguarded for the Film Fund’s own production investments. Further details will be announced in the coming months, in addition to details of the Film Fund’s non-London investment target and how the new online showcase will operate.

Tuesday 6 April 2010

Irish Pavilion in Cannes

Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board (IFB) has announced that registration for membership of the Irish Pavilion at the Cannes Film Festival 2010 is now open.

This year, the Irish Pavilion will retain its central position at the heart of the international village and will continue to offer vital business services to its members for the duration of the festival.

Registration is open only to Irish companies or individuals working in the Irish film industry.

Details on how to register are on the web site.

The deadline for application is Friday 9th April 2010 and membership of the Irish Pavilion is not Market or Festival Accreditation.

The Irish Pavilion is a Bord Scannán na hÉireann/ the Irish Film Board initiative.

Please note that there was an incorrect fax number listed on the official application form. All forms should be faxed to 091 561 405 (If have faxed your form to 01 6773394 you will need resend your application). The application form has now been amended and includes the correct fax number of 091 561 405.

Friday 2 April 2010

Writer's Seminar

An intensive five-hour writer's seminar will be held at the New Theatre, 43 Essex Street, Temple Bar by the novelist and playwright Paddy Kelly at 11am on Saturday the 10th of April.

The seminar/workshop will cover all aspects of creative writing based on and around character and storyline development in the novella, novel, stageplay and screenplay formats. Participants are encouraged to bring with them a current project of their own with a view towards developing the project to which ever level they seek.

The cost is €60 Euros and includes a three course lunch at Ciao Bella Roma.

To register please email or ring 085 729 5190.

Thursday 1 April 2010

The Arts and the Economy Debate

Ireland's association of writers, Irish PEN, has announced a forthcoming debate on 'The Arts and the Economy', which takes place at the United Arts Club, Upper Fitzwilliam Street in Dublin, on Thursday 15 April 2010.

Among the panellists are Aidan Burke, Operations Director with the Arts Council, Gerry Godley, Director of the Improvised Jazz Company, broadcaster and spokesperson for the National Campaign for the Arts (NCFA), Claire Doody, Project Manager of Cultural Odyssey, which was set up by businessman Dermot Desmond following the Irish Economic Forum in Farmleigh last year, and Declan Kiberd, literary critic and Chair of Anglo-Irish Literature and Drama at UCD.

Ticket prices for the debate are €3 for Irish PEN members, €5 for non-members, but booking is essential as places are limited. E-mail info or phone: 087 966 0770.

Reel Art Awards 2010

The Arts Council has announced the three recipients of this year's Reel Art Awards:

* "The Door Ajar", Director Patrick Jolley
* "Build Something Modern", Directors Nicky Gogan and Paul Rowley
* "An Ear to the Earth", Director Pat Collins.

Making the announcement, Fionnuala Sweeney, Head of Film and International Arts at the Arts Council, said: “The Reel Art scheme is a very important one for the Arts Council. It demonstrates clearly the Arts Council’s wish to provide film artists with the opportunity to realise their artistic ambition in the making of challenging and engaging documentary films on the arts. We are delighted to be able to support three teams of highly talented film artists and look forward to seeing their distinctive creative work brought to audiences at next year’s Jameson Dublin International Film Festival”.

Grainne Humphreys, Festival Director of JDIFF, added “Reel Art is a serious addition to the funding programmes available in Ireland. Without the need to satisfy narrow broadcast requirements the scheme can make the kind of bold choices that often leads to the most exciting cinema. That’s certainly what we are striving for in these awards, and JDIFF are very much looking forward to premiering the films to a wide audience at next year’s festival.”

The three films will receive their world premieres at next year’s JDIFF before an expected international run of film festivals and theatrical exhibition.