Friday, December 22, 2006
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
I have been out of the loop for a few days, and so missed discussing the European Film Awards 2006 held in Poland recently. To save time, I suggest that you simply visit the Cineuropa page about the event.
Here's the executive summary:
European Film 2006
The Lives of Others (Das Leben der Anderen) by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, Germany
European Director 2006
Pedro Almodóvar for Volver, Spain
European Actress 2006
Penélope Cruz for Volver by Pedro Almodóvar, Spain
European Actor 2006
Ulrich Mühe for The Lives of Others (Das Leben der Anderen) by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, Germany
European Discovery 2006
13 Tzameti by Gela Babluani, France, Georgia
European Screenwriter 2006
Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck for The Lives of Others (Das Leben der Anderen), Germany
European Cinematographer 2006
José Luis Alcaine for Volver by Pedro Pedro Almodóvar, Spain
Barry Ackroyd for The Wind That Shakes the Barley by Ken Loach, UK, Ireland, Germany, Italy, Spain
European Composer 2006
Alberto Iglesias for Volver by Pedro Almodóvar, Spain
EFA Lifetime Achievement Award 2006
Roman Polański, Poland
European Achievement in World Cinema 2006
Jeremy Thomas, UK
EFA Award for An Artistic Contribution 2006
Pierre Pell and Stéphane Rozenbaum for The Science of Sleep (La science des rêves ) by Michel Gondry, France
People’s Choice Award Best European Film 2006
Volver by Pedro Almodóvar, Spain
Fipresci Award 2006
Regulars Lovers (Les Amants réguliers) by Philippe Garrel, France
ARTE award, EFA Documentary 2006
Into Great Silence (Die Grosse Stille) by Philip Groning, Germany
UIP Award, Short Film 2006
Before Dawn by Bálint Kenyeres, Hungary
UPDATE DEC 14: "The Lives of Others" has just picked up a nomination from the (Hollywood Foreign Press Association) for the "Best Foreign Language Film Golden Globe Award".The last German nomination was for "Goodybe Lenin".
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
See the list for the full selection on the Screenwriters Festival website, as well as tips on pitching.
Friday, November 03, 2006
A special roundtable concerning 3D animation co-production will be held. Director Tsao Jui-yuan will be among the guests. Steve Montal will also chair a discussion about "Indie production in Times of Global Instability", while Jeff Bens will give a talk on "Creating Attaching Characters".
FIFI will be held between Nov 7 and 12, 2006. Entrance for most films is a mere €3. For details, visit the FIFI website.
Thursday, October 12, 2006
To keep in touch, I recommend spending some time on the Italian screenwriters' site Sceneggiatori.com. It acts as a good source of information concerning writers' groups, workshops, articles, competitions and relevant screenwriting news in Italian. It also features a catalogue of available scripts and a busy messageboard (with a section in English just dying for some input).
Monday, October 09, 2006
The festival has its awards, called the "Bayards". Highlights of this year's selection were the Bayard d'or for Best Film going to Michel Kammoun's "Falafel", a low-budget exploration of Beirut by night which also won the award for best original music by Toufic Farroukh. The other big winner was Olivier Masset-Depasse's debut feature "Cages", a Belgo-French production about a couple that organises a competition of animal noises in a cafe. The film picked up the Audience Award and the Youth Jury award (with a special mention for the screenplay). "This is particularly satisfying," said writer-director Masset-Depasse (photo, left). "My previous short films were wanky auteur films. This time I decided to write for the real jury: the audience." The Bayard for the best script went to Jean-Stéphane Bron and Karine Sudan for the Franco-Swiss production, "Mon frère se marie".
For the full results, visit FIFF.be.
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
After viewing the film with the cast, Chirac decided to do something. The French government is expected to announce this week that full pensions will be granted to the survivors.
"Indigènes/Natives/Days of Glory" was written by Rachid Bouchareb and Olivier Lorelle ("The Devils", "Avec un grand A"). Its five main stars picked up the Best Male Actor award collectively at this year's Cannes film festival. It is released in France on September 26 and is showing at the Festival Int'l de Film Francophone de Namur.
UPDATE Oct 9: Palme d'Or-winning actor Jamel Debbouze will not be attending the Algerian premiere of "Indigènes". The Algerian authorities refused to grant him a visa, although it is not clear why. In France, meanwhile, the film opened very successfully, ranking as the 10th strongest opening of 2006.
For a series of articles about "Indigènes, visit CinEuropa. Or visit the Indigenes/Days of Glory site (French and English).
Monday, September 18, 2006
For more details and to cast your vote, visit the People's Choice Award 2006.
March of the Penguins on Amazon UK
March of the Penguins on Amazon US
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
In other German festival news, co-production "Khadak" by Peter Brosens and Jessica Woodworth was awarded the Lion of the Future Premio Venezia Opera Prima "Luigi de LAURENTIIS" at the 2006 Venice Film Festival for the Best Feature Film Debut. This award is open to all of the film debuts participating in the program sections of the Venice Film Festival and has a purse of Euros 100,000.
The Best of Short Films Festival in La Ciotat distinguishes the best shorts shown at international festivals for the year. Maximilian Engert was pleased with the award for his short "With a Flower (Durch die Blume)" as the third best short.
Monday, September 11, 2006
Interviewed by Cineuropa, Resnais remembers: "During the first 45 minutes of Last Year at Marienbad, the audience reacted very violently, responding to the dialogue in the film with deafening laughter. I turned to the organisers: 'let’s stop the film, this is painful!' Then, after a series of images, most of the audience members began applauding, a respectful silence grew and, ultimately, the Golden Lion. My directing career could have ended definitively that night because I would never have been able to come back to Venice with another film." See the full interview here.
Wednesday, September 06, 2006
For more details about the event, visit Beirut Film Foundation.
Sunday, September 03, 2006
“I was an intern at a small literary agency for seven months, and now work as a freelance reader and editor, and in all that time I have read about four unsolicited scripts worth making - not a lot given I was reading or glancing over 10 or 12 every week.
“Writing is rewriting”
As other people have pointed out, there are a lot of 'daft' writers out there, although I would be more kind and use the word deluded. They simply do not understand the sheer volume of scripts out there, and if they are like one writer I spoke to who gets 'tired of reading' his own scripts, then that is tantamount to laziness. Writing for film and TV is all about rewriting, so if you think you can simply write a script, put it through spell-check then send it off, you are deluding yourself and wasting a reader's time.Another major problem with unsolicited writers is that they refuse to show their work to anyone else for fear of someone stealing it. Again, while an intern, we received many a call from writers who didn't want their scripts read by 'just anyone' and that it was for the agents' eyes only, which was ridiculous. If you want a different perspective, you need to allow others to read your scripts. I know it is easy to become lost in the work itself, but if a writer is unwilling to consider changes then it is the sign of a true amateur. Many amateur writers will not listen to input, deluded by the thought that they are better than whoever is giving out advice.
Get some advice
And for all those out there who expect a full report from the BBC - stop complaining. The readers at the BBC work incredibly hard, and they are the only broadcasting company who invite unsolicited material all year round. If you only get a standard letter, it means your script isn't good enough. Sorry, but it’s a fact, most people send the BBC shite expecting to be given a contract. And if these people keep complaining about the fact that the BBC don't give them respect (or even worse, that the BBC is stealing their ideas), then eventually the BBC will turn around and say 'Fine, we're not accepting unsolicited material anymore.' So stop spoiling what is a great scheme [the BBC Writers’ Room – ed] by simply getting some advice about your script before sending it in, letting others read it beforehand and being open to suggestions and new ideas. Maybe once you focus your attention and energy on your script rather than complaining about the BBC you will find it improves.”
Rainnie has an MA in English Literature and Film & TV Studies, MA/PGDip in Screenwriting, seven-month internship at Blake Friedmann Literary Agency (also worked on Julian Friedmann's DTP title ScriptWriter) and has worked for the Writers Guild of Great Britain. To reach him, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Monday, August 28, 2006
For details, see the Scriptforum website.
Sunday, August 20, 2006
The series is currently running on BBC2. If this link doesn't help, try the BBC2 homepage.
"Only Fools and Horses" has just been voted by viewers as Britain's best Sitcom, edging out "Blackadder", "Vicar of Dibly", "Dad's Army" and "Fawlty Towes". But where does "Absolutely Fabulous" come in? For the full list, click here.
Friday, August 11, 2006
The writing-directing team of Mark O'Halloran and Lenny Abrahamson are now set to start shooting "Garage" in Ireland. I'll leave the comments to one of the producers, the UK's FilmFour. "Lenny and Mark [have] taken a genre we think we know and think may have had its day – the small-town drama – and used it to make something new, poignant and hilarious".
Saturday, August 05, 2006
"Black Book" is a Dutch/UK/German co-production. It will be unveiled at the upcoming Venice Film Festival. "I could not think of a more beautiful premiere for my film," says Verhoeven. Releases have been arranged in some 50 countries, which is quite exceptional for a Dutch-speaking film.
Paul Verhoeven on Amazon FR
Monday, July 24, 2006
Calling "Batman Begins" a British film is a bit cheeky. Once again, we would have to open that thorny issue of a film's nationality. Personally, I find the success of "Wallace and Gromit" and "Valiant" far more encouraging. Recent UK films to look out for include "Mrs Henderson Presents", "The Wind That Shakes the Barley" and teen spy thriller "Stormbreaker".
Thursday, July 20, 2006
Oury is survived notably by his daughter Daniele Thompson, the well-respected comedy director.
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
This verdict bothers me. Either "Tanguy" is based on an original idea by the three writers, or it isn't. The judgment should stop there. It would seem impractical for a production company NOT to let a director read the script. How else could they determine if someone wants to shoot the thing?
There will most likely be an appeal.
Monday, July 17, 2006
Friday, June 16, 2006
Other highlights include a major pitching competition, open-air screenings and an award for Belgian TV scriptwriting.
June 30-July 8, Brussels. Visit the Flagey Film Festival site for more details.
Monday, June 12, 2006
Wednesday, June 07, 2006
N° of films produced in 2005:
Average cost of a feature:
France $6.2 million
UK $13.3 million
US: $60 million for majors, $23.5 for indies
Spectators in 2005
Europe 892 million
US: 1403 million
The Top 10 European films by attendance in 2005:
Pride & Prejudice
Brice de Nice (a surprising result as it was only released in French-speaking Europe)
The March of the Emperor
Torrente 3 (only seen in Spain as far as I know)
Les Poupées Russes/Russian Dolls
Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason
Film attendance gives only a limited view of a film's career, as DVD and TV sales are so important. This is even more true in Europe, where a significant number of films only get a very limited release outside their country of origin.
Monday, May 29, 2006
"The Wind That Shakes The Barley" by Ken Loach. Script by Paul Laverty ("Ae Fond Kiss", "Sweet Sixteen", "My Name is Joe").
"Flanders" by Bruno Dumont on his own script.
The cast of "Volver"
The cast of "Indigènes" (aka "Days of Glory", script by Rachid Bouchareb, Olivier Lorelle)
Alejandro Gonzalez Iñarritu - "Babel" (script by Guillermo Arriaga).
"Volver" - Pedro Almodóvar
"Red Road" by Andrea Arnold on her own script.
"12:08 East Bucharest" by Corneliu Porumboiu on his own script. This is Poromboiu's first feature-length movie, initially developed during a Résidence du Festival in 2004 on the back of his award-winning short film "Trip to the City". "12:08" will premiere at the Transylvania International Film Festival (TIFF) in Cluj on June 2.
Palme d´Or for the Best Short Film
"Sniffe" by Bobbie Peers
For the full round up, see Cineuropa.
Friday, May 26, 2006
But what about the scriptwriting scene? A new development project was launched at Cannes. ScriptEast is a project-based training programme designed specifically for scriptwriters from Eastern and Central Europe. The aim is to select the best local scripts and their authors and "help them become renowned worldwide" (according to their literature). Concretely, it will involve a one-week workshop in Poland with online follow-up, an evaluation session during IFF in Berlin, followed by more homework and a final session at next year's Cannes.
Costs are covered by Poland's Independent Film Foundation, supported by the Media programme, TVP, the Plish Film Institute and Apple Film Production. Participants pay a mere €200. For details, contact Katarzyna Dlugosz on email@example.com. I have a website address, but it doesn't seem to be working. I'll place it in case it comes online some time soon: Script East.
Monday, May 15, 2006
Staying in France, the Adami is running a second Speed Dating session on Monday 22. The idea is simple: put a bunch of writers, actors, producers and musicians in the same space for about an hour and hope that connections are made. Adami is particularly good at finding and supporting young actors.
Writer/director Karan Johar (“Khabhi Khushi Khabhie Gham”) will be talking at the UK Film Centre on Friday May 19, followed by Ken Loach the next day. The London Script Consultancy will hold its second Panasonic International Filmmakers' Pitch. But admissions closed May 15.
Last but not least, Cannes will also see the unveiling of the first issue of “Le Scénario Français” a new quarterly in French (mostly) that features articles and pitches - including contributions from yours truly.
If you hear of any other events, please leave a message.
Thursday, May 11, 2006
Wednesday, May 03, 2006
Here's how he sets the scene: "Why is it that everybody I know, everybody who comes onto my website, everybody I meet in a taxi, wants to be a screenwriter? There seem to be thousands and thousands of people who either are or are becoming screenwriters. And yet every time I meet a producer he says to me, 'I have a project, but I can’t find a writer. Where are the writers? There are no writers.' This gives rise to a strange and haunting image. Armies of wannabe screenwriters are marching away with their heads held high and smiling into a mist, and none of them are coming back. It’s like a scene from the first world war. It’s tragic. Somewhere there’s a swamp in which flounders the dying youth of British screenwriting talent."
Sound familiar? Click through to the site and take five minutes to read the speech in full.
More at Screenwriters Festival 06. Other writers scheduled to appear at the event include Julian Fellowes ("Vanity Fair" and "Julian Fellowes Investigates" and Jimmy McGovern ("Brookside" and "The Street").
Sunday, April 30, 2006
To see where "Lemming" is playing, visit Artificial Eye.
Friday, April 21, 2006
For the full line-up, see Cannes or Bust.
Friday, April 14, 2006
This must be a crunching disappointment to the people that sent them in. It's also an embarassment for the Foundation itself (the awards night, set for April 20, will now be a quiz night). But it must be said that the Foundation is making a hard but ultimately commendable decision to maintain some sort of quality control. It is widely recognised that many scripts in Europe are being rushed into production without having had adequate development. If a Foundation devoted to high levels of writing allows its standards to slip, who will respect them?
One issue the Foundation might want to take on board, however, is the visibility of the Oscar Moore competition. Despite its association with Screen International, the competition is simply not well enough known. Also as the submissions are in English, there are literally thousands of scripts out there that don't qualify. Comedy is particularly strong right now in France, Germany and perhaps Spain. Would the writers have to patch together a translation to enter? That's hardly the ideal solution.
We'll post the announcement of next year's theme when we receive it.
Tuesday, April 04, 2006
What were the obstacles? The first was trying to get read. Several production houses turned the material down before a series of accidents led to an acquaintance picking up an option for the heady sum of €120,000 (payable in small bites). The acquaintance, however, had never produced a film. So he also went through a series of deals and partners, before being turned down by both stars: Johnny Hallyday and Fabrice Luchini.
Upon a closer reading, Hallyday, who already has an impressive series of films to his name, eventually warmed to the idea. "I hate talking about myself. But playing a slightly cheap Jean-Philippe Smet enabled me to 'desacralise' the Hallyday myth," he told L'Express magazine. Luchini was eventually won over by his daughter, although you'd have to be a pretty uptight actor not to want to play in what sounds like a fun romp with a living legend.
"Jean-Philippe", written by Christophe Turpin and directed by Laurent Tuel is distributd by Mars Distribution. To read the Express article in French, click here. Visit the official site on Mars Distribution.
Wednesday, March 29, 2006
From their website: "goEast shows films that created a stir in their countries of making, attracted attention in the international media, represent the cutting-edge – or have already achieved the status of classics. The 2006 goEast Competition features ten fiction films and six documentaries; thirteen of these films are screening in Germany for the first time."
For details, check the goEast website.
Tuesday, March 28, 2006
"The Colour of Words" was made with an ultra-low budget. "It's not that I'm particularly enamoured with poverty in movie-making. But when you try and finance a film, you get lots of comments concerning the project. In this particular case, I wouldn't have been able to bear them. We could work so cheaply as I know most of the crew, and many of the actors know my son and felt involved."
"The Colour of Words" won 2 prizes at the 25th Amiens International Film Festival (France): Best actress award for Aylin Yay & the Signis Prize awarded by an ecumenical jury for "the artistic qualities of the film, and the human, social and spiritual values that it expresses". Blasband is currently working on another project as a director.
For an interview in English, French, Spanish and Italian, visit Cineuropa. Visit the official Couleur des mots site.
La femme de Gilles on Amazon FR
Le Tango des rashevski on Amazon FR
Thursday, March 09, 2006
Over in Paris, Robert McKee will be giving his celebrated "Story" seminar between April 20 and 23. According to the organisers, Dixit, some 35% of the inscriptions are from producers or TV channel execs - which sounds interesting in itself. For further details, visit Dixit
Monday, March 06, 2006
Aleksi Makela’s "Matti – Hell Is For Heroes" (photo), a fictional film based on the life of ski-jumper Matti Nykanen written by Marko Leino, leads the way. Romantic sports comedy "FC Venus" (written by Outi Keskevaari, Katri Manninen and Joona Tena) follows, with Pekka Karjalainen’s comedy "Jackpot" following. Yet there have also been two - "Mother Of Mine" and "Beauty And The Bastard" - that have been running since September and October respectively. Overall, it means that the local share of the market is an incredible 55%.
For the full report, see the Finnish Film Foundation.
Friday, March 03, 2006
It would be inconceivable that the Cannes festival shepherd all non French-speaking films into a single category and leave them there. So why do the language policies still hold in London and L.A.? But US and UK audiences don't like watching foreign-language films, I'm sometimes told. If the bias reflects popular opinion, then why not push this to its logical conclusion and just give awards to the biggest-grossing movies in each country and have done with it? That would be the best reflection of popular opinion wouldn't it? Who needs an academy? Your thoughts are welcome on this issue.
European productions competing at the Oscars this year include: "Merry Christmas/Joyeux Noël", the controversial "Paradise Now", "Sophie Schell", "Don't Tell", "The Constant Gardener", "Pride and Prejudice", "Mrs Henderson Presents" and "The March of the Penguins".
UPDATE March 6: Euro winners at the Oscars include "March of the Penguins (best documentary), "Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit" (best animated feature) and Rachel Weisz, best supporting actress for "The Constant Gardener".
Sunday, February 26, 2006
The César awards often skirt controversy in their choices. Amongst the films picking up awards was the harrowing documentary "Darwin's Nightmare" (Best First Film for Hubert Sauper).
Best Original Screeplay went to Radu Mihaileanu and Alain-Michel Blanc for the highly rated "Va, vis et deviens", the moving tale of an Ethopian boy fighting his way back to life.
Best foreign film was Client Eastwood's "Million Dollar Bay" ("Brokeback Mountain" was not released in time to qualify). British actor Hugh Grant picked up an award for his body of work. "I don't win a lot of prizes," he said, "especially at home. Thank you France".
For an interview (in English) about Audiard's remake of "Fingers", see Movie City News.
Monday, February 20, 2006
The other major award went to Michael Winterbottom and Mat Whitecross's "The Road To Guantanamo", shown days before the UN report on the camp. The people portrayed in the film were present at the screening.
Other prizes include a split Grand Jury Award for Pernille Fischer Christensen's "En Soap/A Soap" and Jafar Panahi's "Offside",
Click here for the full list of Berlinale winners.
UPDATE FEB 22: Since winning at Berlin, the mother-and-daughter tale "Grbavica" has been picked up for Austria (where it will premiere at the Women's Film days FrauenFilmTage on March 2) and Germany.
I thought maybe this ultra-Anglophone selection reflected a policy on the part of the jury. But having sat on juries, I know they can only choose from what they are offered. So I had a look at the films that were actually entered. See the list here. I'm not sure what to make of it. Does this mean that most French and German (or indeed Asian) producers are not interested in the Baftas, which would surprise me. One of the conditions for entrance is a UK theatrical release. It is even specified that "Films from all countries are eligible in all categories, with the exception of The Alexander Korda Award, The Carl Foreman Award and the Short Film Award." So are so few French and German films released in the UK?
Thursday, February 16, 2006
See an interview with the writers (in French) here.
Monday, February 06, 2006
The icing on the cake is that a Dutch distributor will be releasing "Eden" in the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg in addition to its German release. For more details, see the interview on the Rotterdam site (in English).
Friday, January 27, 2006
"Hidden/Caché" was one of the strong contenders for last year's Palme d'Or at Cannes, and was subsequently a winner in the European Film Awards.
Michael Haneke on Amazon France (a large selection)
Michael Haneke on Amazon US
Sunday, January 01, 2006
Bert Coules has written a wide range of drama over the years, including high-profile dramatisations of Sherlock Holmes, Thriller Playhouse and the mediaevel sleuth Brother Cadfael. Many of these are available as audio books.
Is radio a poor man's television or a challenge in its own right? The answer is obviously the latter. As an occasional listener to the BBC's Radio 4 and World Service (on long car drives), I've often caught myself listening to dramatisations and radio soaps (is the Archer's still running?). But if you have any doubts, follow the links to find out more about writing for radio.
Check this interview on US sci-fi site The Thunder Child. The BBC conducted its own interview concerning Coules and Sherlock Holmes. Lastly, Bert's own site can be found here.