Tuesday, November 30, 2004

German movies open LA's AFI fest and pick up award

Made In Germany, the 5th Festival of German films, took place during the recent AFI Fest in Los Angeles. Writer/director Fatih Akin was on hand to enjoy the applause first hand when "Gegen Die Wand" opened the festival. "Made in Germany" subsequently featured "Lautlos" (soundless) by Mennan Yapo, and the children's film "Wer Uesst Schon Einen Leguan?" (Secondhand Child) by Karola Hattop was presented by screenwriter Michael Demuth. Amongst the other films, documentaries and shorts, the Audience Award for short film went to "Meine Eltern" (My Parents) by Neele Leana Vollmar.

"Gegen Die Wand" is currently playing in several European countries and will be available on DVD in January 2005. Read more about "Gegen". The next festival of German film will be held in Australia in April 2005.

Stockholm and Mannheim-Heidelberg festival news

The Belgo-French production “Innocence” by French writer/director Lucile Hadzihalilovic won the award for best film at the 15th edition of the Stockholm International Film Festival. French partners Jean-Pierre Bacri and Agnès Jaoui received the award for best script for the sharp and funny “Comme une image/Look at Me”.

Norwegian filmmaker Mona J. Hoel's comedy “Chlorox, Ammonia and Coffee (Salto, Salmiakk Og Kaffe!)” won the main award at this year's International Film Festival Mannheim-Heidelberg (18-27 November). The International Jury gave its Special Award to: David Lanzmann's “Doo Wop”, Annette Sjursen's “My Jealous Barber (Min Misunnelige Frisor)” and Nathaniel Geary's “On The Corner”.

Monday, November 29, 2004

RIP: Arthur Hopcraft

Little known outside the UK, Arthur Hopcraft epitomised the old-school writer. He left school at age 15 to first cover football for English newspapers, later travelling the world for a number of stories and writing books along the way. A meeting in a pub led to his writing the play "Cyril and the Sex Kittens", followed by highly-rated original plays, screenplays and adaptations. His version of John Le Carre's "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy" was the author's favourite.

Hopcraft won the Bafta Writers Award in 1985, and died at age 71 on November 22, 2004.

Football, spies and hard times: Arthur Hopcraft on Amazon UK

Sunday, November 28, 2004

First RISE award goes to Spanish writing team

The first edition of RISE, the international screenwriter's festival, came to a close on November 21 in Strasbourg. As well as screenings, premieres, a script market and debates, members of screenwriting organisations chaired by Luc Jabon voted for this year's best European screenplay. The Grand Prix du Scénario went to Spaniards Alicia Luna and director Iciar Bollain for the highly-rated "Te doy mis ojos/Ne Dis rien/Take my Eyes".

RISE also paid special tribute to Tonino Guerra, the Italian screenwriter behind some 90 movies for some of Europe's most distinguished directors including Fellini (Amarcord), Taviani, Antonioni and Angelopoulos. Guerra was also awarded the keys of the city of Strasbourg.

Plans are already being prepared for next year's edition. For more details about Rise, see our previous post.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Jean-Pierre Jeunet on trenches, Amelie and being French (or not)

"Un long dimanche de fiançailles/A Very Long Engagement" is probably THE hot ticket of the season. Jean-Pierre Jeunet's luscious First World War drama manages to be a superb movie experience, an excellent role for its Bambi-eyed star and topical (as the debate about sending soldiers to war is very much back on the agenda). Jeunet himself is letting the movie do most of the talking. But Screenplay Europe picked up two interviews of interest. For the French trade magazine Le film français, Jeunet and his producer talk about why Warner and not UGC released the film, and their byzantine struggle to get it recognised as being French (the union of French independent producers does not want majors such as Warner gobbling up local aid). Read the full piece in French right here.

On Indiewire, Jeunet talks about more practical matters, such as the difficulty of finding somewhere they could turn into a battlefield. "All of France is either farmland or built on," he explained. "We were looking at army land until another option came up." What about the anecdotes and details? "All true, even the horse in the tree," he says. Read the full interview here.

Jean-Pierre Jeunet on Amazon UK
Jean-Pierre Jeunet in Amazon US
Jean-Pierre Jeunet on Amazon France

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

East of Eden: Deadline for East European filmmakers

The East of Eden training programme is run by North by Northwest specifically for film professionals from the new EU Member States and Bulgaria, and offers professional training to screenwriter / director / producer teams. Working with international tutors with proven industry track records, East of Eden participants develop their projects in their creative teams, and with their colleauges in screenwriter / director / producer groups.

The programme consists of 3 residential workshops over a 7-month period. The working language of the workshops is English, although scripts may be written in any of the official languages of the eligible countries. Deadline for applications is December 1. For more details, visit North by Northwest.

Monday, November 22, 2004

STOP PRESS: Masterclass with Roger Smith, story editor Wed 24, London

The hardworking Hoxton Screenwriters' Group is hosting a free seminar and workshop with Roger Smith, who has worked extensively with the BBC and Ken Loach on Wednesday, November 24. The seminar will be followed by a workshopping session on writers' projects. Please bring your ideas, synopsis or treatments (up to 3 standard format pages) and scripts (up to 10 standard format pages) for discussion and feedback at the group.

7.15 - 9.30pm Wednesday 24th November, Gainsborough Studios, Poole St, off New North Road, London, N1. Nearest tube Old St.

Hoxton Screenwriters' Group is organised by the London Script Consultancy.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Dutch director questions sequel following Van Gogh murder

In a sad sequel to the murder of Theo Van Gogh in the Netherlands, Albert ter Heerdt the producer/director/writer of charming hit comedy “Shouf Shouf Habib” is considering postponing the follow-up, according to Screen International. During a debate on self-censorship in Amsterdam organised by film magazine De Filmkrant and film theatre Het Ketelhuis, he said he had been advised against it by Muslim friends claiming it was “dangerous”. “Shouf” follows the tribulations of a Moroccan family trying to integrate into Amsterdam. Its release caused some commotion, despite the feelgood nature of the work. Given the current tense situation in the Netherlands, Ter Heert feels a sequel “might be interpreted the wrong way”. He also said he feared the potential consequences.

Shouf Shouf Habib on IMDB

EDIT: Nov 29. Screenplay Europe has just read that Van Gogh's video diaries will be put online by provider Tiscali. For details, see here.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

German cinema to be showcased in London

Probably the most impressive results in European cinema are coming from Germany, where a new wave of writers and directors are bringing audiences back to German movies at home. Following the success of Run Lola Run and Goodbye Lenin! around the world, The Goethe-Institut will be premiering a raft of German films between Nov. 26 and Dec. 2 at the Curzon in Soho. Titles include "En Garde", "Between Night and Day", "Kroko" and "Northern Star". They will be preceeded by recent shorts. Many of the filmmakers will be in town. Further details can be found on the Goethe-Institut site.

Monday, November 15, 2004

"Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason" opens with a bang

The UK's Working Title have another hit on their hands, with "Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason" breaking its previous record in the UK and US. In all, the film took about $26.7 million in 6 countries, according to Screen International. Writers credited for the sequel are Andrew Davies, author Helen Fielding, Richard Curtis and Adam Brooks.

Bridget Jones on Amazon US
Bridget Jones's Diary [2001] UK

Sunday, November 14, 2004

"Vera Drake" and "Bad Education" up for European awards

The nominees for the European Film Awards run like a "who's who" of the European arthouse scene. Top films are: Lukas Moodysson's "Ett Hal I Mitt Hjärta (A Hole In My Heart)", Sweden/Denmark; Fatih Akin's "Gegen Die Wand (Head-On)", Germany; Almodovar's controversial "La Mala Educacion (Bad Education)", Spain; Christophe Barratier's runaway success "Les Choristes (The Chorus)", France/Switzerland; Alejandro Amenábar's "Mar Adentro (The Sea Inside)", Spain/France/Italy; and Mike Leigh's "Vera Drake", UK/France. Almodovar and Akin are also nominated as best directors. With the exception of "Les Choristes", the films each deal with pretty harsh society problems.

Screenwriter nominees (that again include Almodovar and Akin) are as follows:

Fatih Akin for "Gegen Dir Wand (Head-On)"
Pedro Almodovar for "La Mala Educacion (Bad Education)"
Alejandro Amenabar & Mateo Gil for "Mar Adentro (The Sea Inside)"
Jean-Luc Godard for "Notre Musique"
Agnès Jaoui & Jean-Pierre Bacri for "Comme une image (Look At Me)"
Paul Laverty for "Ae Fond Kiss".

The European Film Awards will be held in Barcelona on December 11, 2004 and broadcast on some 20 stations around Europe including the UK's ITV. For details, click here.

Relevant links: Almodovar on Amazon US
Almodovar on Amazon France
Jean-Luc Godard on Amazon US

Friday, November 12, 2004

"A Way of Life" wins UK Talent Award

Amma Asante, the young first time director of "A Way of Life", has been awarded the prestigious £15,000 UK Film Talent Award sponsored by Alfred Dunhill, the British luxury brand, in partnership with the UK Film Council. After acting, Asante turned to screenwriting in her early twenties, writing ‘New Year Jamdown’, a Channel 4 special shot in Jamaica. She went on to write two series of the urban drama, ‘Brothers And Sisters’, which she also produced for her company Hanson Television and BBC2, becoming at the age of 28, the first black woman in the UK to both write and produce her own drama series. ‘Brothers And Sisters’ ran for 18 episodes.

"A Way of Life", a look at racism and poverty in Wales, is released in the UK on November 12.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

"Shaun of the Dead" among BIFA nominations

Created in 1998, The British Independent Film Awards celebrate "merit and achievement in independently funded British filmmaking", honours new talent and promotes British films and filmmaking to a wider public. This year's awards include five screenwriting nominations.

Best Screenplay
Sponsored by BBC Films
1. Shane Meadows & Paddy Considine – Dead Man’s Shoes
2. Simon Pegg & Edgar Wright – Shaun Of The Dead
3. Paul Laverty – Ae Fond Kiss…
4. Mike Leigh – Vera Drake
5. Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely – The Life & Death Of Peter Sellers.

BIFA 2004 will take place on Tuesday, November 30th in London.

Cottbus awards East-European movies

Germany's FilmFestival Cottbus, dedicated to East-European movies, just wrapped. Main prize for the Best Film in the Feature Film Competition went to "Schizo (Schiza)" by Gulshad (Guka) Omarowa, a Russian-Kazakh-French-German co-production. Sulev Keedus was awarded the Special Prize for Best Direction for the Estonian-Finnish co-production "Somnabul". The Special Prize for an outstanding artistic individual achievement went to the Croatian film "A Wonderful Night in Split (Ta Divna Splitska Noc)" by Arsen Anton Ostojic. A Special Mention was given to the Polish film "The Wedding (Wesele) by Wojtek Smarzowski. See FilmFestival Cottbus for full details in German and English.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Germany's "7 Dwarves" tops European chart

For the first time since it started an exclusive international box office chart in April this year, Screen International magazine saw the n°1 spot go to a film that was not US-produced: the loony German comedy "7 Zwerge/7 Dwarves". Significantly, the n° 2 position is also going to a non-English-speaking film: Jeunet's "Un long dimanche de fiançaille/A Very Long Engagement". "7 Zwerge" is not yet listed in our chart on the right as it is showing in 3 countries currently (Germany, Austria and Switzerland) on a total of 911 screens. Writing credits go to Bernd Eilert, Otto Waalkes and director Sven Unterwaldt, Jr. Another German film, "The Downfall" is currently n° 20. The success of "Goodbye Lenin" plus the more recent "Gegen die Wand" and "Edukator" give an idea of the growing popularity and wide range of German cinema.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Script masterclass with Steve Montal in Brussels Nov 7

As part of the Int'l Festival of Independent Cinema, Steve Montal will be hosting a masterclass on November 7 next in Brussels. "The goal of this roundtable will present the fundamental elements of great filmmaking -- characterization and story," according to the website. His presentation will be followed by a selection of American short movies.

The festival features work from around the world, including "Beautiful Boxer" by Ekachai Uekrongtham and a focus on Germany.

For more details about Montal and the festival, check Centre Multimedia.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

First European screenwriters fest organised by screenwriters to kick off in Strasbourg

Between November 18 and 21, Strasbourg will host RISE (les Rencontres Internationales des Scénaristes Européens). 18 writer organisations from 14 EU countries have nominated scripts for an award. Debates and masterclasses are being organised, a script market is being run with producers and the event will also feature many screenings. These include "Gegen die Wand/Head On" (Germany), "Le Tango des Rashevski" (Belgium), "Dear Frankie" (UK) and "Shouf Shouf Habibi" (the Netherlands). All have been chosen by their respective countries for the quality of the script. Fellini scriptwriter Tonino Guerra will receive a special homage, as well as a selection of outstanding Polish films.

All details can be found in French and English at les Rencontres Internationales des Scénaristes Européens. Strasbourg is in Alsace, France, on the border with Germany. It can be reached by train and via Strasbourg airport.

Traffic for your movie-related site

If you run or are involved with a movie-related site, you should check out FilmJumper. It's a free traffic exchange exclusively reserved for film/movie resources. The principle is very simple. Every time you open your browser you are brought to a site that could be of interest to you. Plus, the traffic you receive is from the worldwide film community. To find out more, click over to FilmJumper now. It will open in a new window.