Sunday, September 30, 2007

"Le spectateur fantasmé": writers consider the spectator

Anyone who writes must at some stage has wondered about the possible spectator. But who is this spectator? What do we know about her? Should we accommodate her already at the writing stage and, if so, how? To what degree?

For the 6th time, the SACD France and SACD Belgium are hosting a talk at this year's Festival de Film Francophone in Namur, Belgium on October 1. The talk is split into two sections: a morning debate between the various guests and a later public encounter in the festival marquee.

Details can be found on the FIFF site. The Namur festival is a cool event, as the whole town is taken over during the week, and they host numerous workshops and production forums. There are also a host of premières, which this year include 14 films from as far apart as Senegal and Lebanon.

PS: I'll be in Namur on October 4 if anyone wants to hook up, just leave a message.

Monday, September 17, 2007

"Kings" chosen as Ireland's "Best Foreign Language" at Academy Awards

IFTA, The Irish Film and Television Academy has announced that Tom Collins’ ‘Kings’ starring Colm Meaney, Donal O’Kelly and Brendan Conroy has been officially selected by an independent IFTA jury for submission to the 80th Academy Award(S)®, for the ‘Best Foreign Language Film’ category. This is the first time that an Irish language film is being submitted from Ireland for this category.

"Kings" tells the story of a group of Gaelic-speaking young men who in the mid 1970s left the west of Ireland, bound for London, filled with ambition for a better life in a place where they could be kings. Thirty years on they meet to mark the passing of the youngest of the group. For some of them, those thirty years have been hard. Their muscle has been spent, their hopes dashed on the roads and building sites of Britain, to be replaced with a sense of hopeless disaffection. ‘Kings’ is a story of a lost generation, rich in humanity and emotion, and with a heart-breaking resonance not just for the Irish in today’s changing world.

According to director Tom Collins, "‘Kings’ has been a remarkable journey for me over the past four years. To receive this latest accolade is quite overwhelming and I am indebted to the Irish Academy for their support. I know it’s always dangerous to have messages in films, but I hope people will watch ‘Kings’ and empathise with the whole experience of emigrants in a foreign land and how hard it is for them to find their way home. This is a universal story – it’s not just about paddies…” Specifically concerning the relationship with the original play "Kings of the Kilburn High Road" and the playwright Jimmy Murphy (see below), Collins had this to say to Screenplay Europe: "I regard Jimmy as a friend and one of Ireland's best writers. Kings is doing exceptionally well which wouldn't have happened without [him]".

"Kings" was produced by Newgrange Pictures and goes on release in Ireland on September 21.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

People's Choice Award 2007

The European Film Academy has made its nominations for this year's European Film Awards. As ever, it's a rather high-brow list that includes "4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days", "The Edge of Heaven" and "La vie en rose".

As in previous years, you can do your bit too, as they are running a more mainstream selection for the People's Choice Award that includes "The Last King of Scotland", "La vie en Rose", "Black Book" and "2 Days in Paris". Check the selection here.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

"4 months, 3 weeks and 2 days" to open in... Romania

After four months of travelling successfully around the world, the multi award-winning "4 months, 3 weeks and 2 days" is only now set to open in its home territory, Romania. The hard-hitting movie will open at the Bucharest National Theatre (that's one premiere I'd like to attend) before moving to other venues. There are also reports that the film will be shown outside major towns in mobile cinemas, a move which is interesting.

The reason I mention this is to underline the difficulty of coordinating movie releases in Europe. Although the 25 countries are technically a single market, only the major studios actually enable Europe-wide releases. All the countries act like separate markets. There are large distributors and movie chains such as UGC and Kinepolis, of course, but every movie has to find a local distributor and start individual campaigns that fit around the majors' releases.

Another way to look at this as writers is that although you always hope that you are writing something with global appeal, you are largely dealing with a series of local audiences. It's also interesting to note that many of the most successful European films have been intensely local. This has been true of "Billy Elliot", "Goodbye Lenin", "L'auberge espagnol", "Adam & Paul", "12:08 East of Bucharest" and now "4 Months".

For more about "4 Months...", visit the blog.

UPDATE: Nov 25. "4 Months..." was awarded the Bronze Horse for Best Film 2007 at this year's 10-day Stockholm film festival ending Sunday November 25.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Intro to scriptwriting in Manchester

Scriptwriting courses tend to be concentrated in capital cities. Here's one that's open to anyone in Manchester, UK. "Due to the success of our previous courses we are pleased to announce our next 6 week project at the Dance House, Oxford Road (opposite the BBC) starting on Monday 8th October 7.30pm - 9.30 pm.

The programme is an introduction to the basics of scriptwriting for screen and is open to anyone 18+ regardless of experience. The course is ongoing and the first 6 weeks will focus on formatting scripts, dialogue, character and developing plots. Writing can be a lonely task, these sessions give participants the chance to meet like minded people from all different walks of life and also fresh eyes and minds to bounce your ideas off. Previous participants have said the course has given them 'confidence about their ideas', 'created a portfolio of work' and has 'given me goals'."

On the face of it, this looks like an intro for people that have always wanted to but never got around to trying scriptwriting. The course is priced at just £35 for the 6 weeks. If you require any further information, e-mail or call 07857 906 014 and tell them Screenplay Europe sent you.