Friday, April 29, 2005

Celtx writing software: new beta update

There are alternatives to the ubiquitous Final Draft. In Canada, Greyfirst has been developing a clean, new tool called Celtx. As well as doing all the usual things a scriptwriting tool should do, Celtx is very focussed on the collaborative side. It enables writers to post scripts to a server for downloading, sharing and re-writing by their partners. It is available in a number of languages (the latest being Finnish, with German in the works). The new update is beta version 0.8.8 - "so we're getting closer to a 1.0 release," says Stephen Pick. For the many writers that are struggling with formatting MS Word and are hesitating before paying for professional scriptwriting software, it's worth noting that Celtx is free and comes in PC and Mac versions. Click the logo or click on Celtx.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Screenwriter Masterclass in Soho, Sat. 7 MAY

With a special guest screenwriter

Kevin Conroy Scott is the author of the recently published "Screenwriters Masterclass: Screenwriters Discuss Their Greatest Films" featuring interviews with celebrated screenwriters such as Alexander Payne & Jim Taylor, Wes Anderson, Guillermo Arriaga, François Ozon and Michael Haneke.

Scott has arranged a tour of his book, putting across his view that writing comes from the inside, thus making his opinions the antithesis of screenwriting guru Robert McKee while expounding on a list of Screenwriting Do's and Dont's and humorously covering topics such as "Self-doubt and the Screenwriter" before analysing scenes from a film that the special guest wrote. The talk will end with an audience Q&A and includes illustrational clips. A must for the aspiring screenwriter. Curzon Soho, Sat. 7 MAY 12 noon. Tickets £6

Supported by The Script Factory. For an update on the special guest screenwriter visit Curzon Cinemas or call the box office on 020 7734 2255.

Screenwriters Masterclass on Amazon UK

Monday, April 25, 2005

Danny Boyle and John Crowley offer writers chance to write new feature films

This is something that is close to the heart of Screenplay Europe. Directors Danny "Trainspotting" Boyle and John "Intermission" Crowley (one of our favourites) are looking to find scripts from writers with agent representation or who are members of the Writers Guild of Great Britain. The UK Film Council’s Development Fund is behind the idea, which aims to "bring together teams with a unified creative and market vision from the outset, so that the resulting projects stand in particularly strong position further down the line – and with a good chance of actually getting made". I-ree!

Rather us than detailing the whys, hows and wherefores, visit the UK Film Council's site.

John Crowley on Amazon UK
Danny Boyle on Amazon UK
Danny Boyle on Amazon US

Pitch Idol in Northern Ireland

Pitching is always - and rightly - considered as a tricky operation. The ability to sell an idea as complex as a film narrative in two minutes is a handy one - although having the opportunity to pitch to the right person is equally as important. Amongst the upcoming writer events, Screenplay Europe noted that Northern Ireland's Screenwriters Ink is hosting Pitch Idol in Belfast on May 3. The title might be silly, but it's never a bad idea to confront your ideas with some seasoned but hopefully supportive professionals. And we also believe in writers getting out of the house a bit more often! And as they say on the site of the Northern Ireland Film and TV Commission, "this could be the start of a beautiful friendship!"

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Screenplay Market at Cannes 2005

Second European Screenplay Market
In Cannes, Saturday, May 14, 2005

After the first successful Screenplay Market in Strasbourg during the RISE (Rencontres Internationales des Scénaristes Européens), where screenwriters such as Laëtitia Masson, Katharina Held and production houses such as Pandora Films, Arcappix, Senator were present, The European Producers Club in partnership with The European Screenwriters’ Federation will be hosting the second EUROPEAN SCREENPLAY MARKET taking place on the 14th of May 2005, 12:30am-6pm during the Cannes Film Festival.

15 qualifying screenwriters will have the unprecedented opportunity to present their script during INDIVIDUAL MEETINGS with TOP PRODUCERS from all over Europe.

Qualifications :

You are the scriptwriter of at least one film project that has been produced and distributed. You have a screenplay project on hold that has a strong appeal and is suitable for a European co-production.

To apply for participation we need in English obligatory and mother language if wished :

Fill out the application form + Your photo as a JPeg
A treatment (max: 10 pages)
A note of intention (one page)
Your CV (one page)

Deadline for entries : 25 April 2005
Send via e-mail only :

The only thing more important in this business than money is great material. This could be the opportunity of a lifetime to present your work to the people with power to produce. Events such as this have launched the successful carreers of writers outside of Europe. The European Producers Club along with the Screenwriter’s Federation have the expertise to make it happen here. Don’t miss this chance.
For more information : Eglantine Pottiez de Césari

Monday, April 18, 2005

"Femme de Gilles" awarded at Istanbul International Film Festival

Belgium's slow-burning love triangle "La femme de Gilles/Gilles' Wife" picked up a very appropriate prize at the Istanbul International Film Festival recently. It had to share the top Golden Tulip award with Taiwan's "Cafe Lumière". As it's the story of a woman that has to share her husband with her sister, there must be some sort of poetic justice in that!

"La femme de Gilles" is directed by Frederic Fonteyne, with a script by Philippe Blasband on a story by Madeleine Bourdhouxe. Blasband has previously written "Thomas est amoureux" and "Le tango des Rashevski".

La femme de Gilles/Gilles' Wife - the official site

La femme de Gilles on Amazon FR
Fréderic Fonteyne on Amazon FR
La femme de Gilles on Amazon UK

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Cinelink shortlists East European writers

The Sarajevo festival will again provide the platform for the third Cinelink, a programme that hooks interesting scripts up with the industry. Ten projects from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Macedonia, Romania, Slovenia and Serbia and Montenegro have been chosen. The writers will undergo a series of wrokshops to get the scripts in shape for presenting them to the industry at the Sarajevo Film Festival in August.

Of the ten projects, two will ultimately be awarded a prize of €25,000. See here for details of Cinelink.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Does European cinema have an identity?

It's an old subject and one that is guaranteed to lead to heated debate. Is there something specifically "European" about films that are made in Europe? There are many schools of thought on this one, that some Europeans use as a comfort zone. The comforting thought being, "we are different, and somehow more interesting". Others point out that European cinema is a geographic denomination, not a label of quality.

All these opinions were expressed at the recent European Film Festival in Lecce (Italy). According to a report on Cineuropa, journalist Oscar Iarussi claimed, "If American cinema is defined by action, the specificity of European cinema could be contemplation." Personally, I would underline the "if" and "could". A little more action would not go amiss in European cinema.

Amongst the prizes awarded to films, the best Golden Olive Award went to Valereij Todorovskij's "My Stepbrother Frankenstein". Its seasoned scriptwriter Leonid Yarmolnik was awarded for his "quality of writing that can synthesise collective and individual problems in a notably distinctive language".

See the full article on Cineuropa. Check the European Film festival for details, and the full final press release in Italian.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Cinecittà News Bites: Reports from Italy

The legendary Cinecittà studios outside Rome have become a spokesman for Italian cinema over the years. In addition to running a good bilingual news service from their site, they also now produce filmed news reports in English called Cinecittà New Bites. Issue n° 5 covers the impact of the Pope's death on cinema attendance (bad), Italy's presence at the recent Monte Carlo festival and Italians films in the UK (both good). To check it out, visit Cinecittà News Bites.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Why are Danish films so good?

It might be a bit over-the-top as a title, but the discussion itself should be interesting. The Script Factory, NFTS and Curzon Cinemas are bringing a Dogme round table (billed as a masterclass) to London on April 20. "Writer/Directors Susanne Bier (Open Hearts, Brothers) and Anders Thomas Jensen (whose writing credits include The King Is Alive, Mifune, Open Hearts, Brothers, and who also directs), will be joined on stage by Kristian Levring (who co-wrote and directed The King Is Alive and is one of the four Dogme Brethren), to take a closer look at the Dogme screenplay. Considering the process of story development, the art of screenplay collaboration, and the constraints or liberations of writing material which is destined to be produced in such a particular style, this lively session with three of the Dogme greats will also look to the future and consider the influence of Dogme screenwriting methods on these filmmakers’ post-Dogme work."

Wednesday 20 April at 6pm
Curzon Soho, Shaftsbury Avenue, London W1 or check the details here.

"The King is Alive" on Amazon UK

Monday, April 04, 2005

"Downfall" and "Heimat 3" spearhead 4th German festival in Australia

Now in its fourth year, the Festival of German Films will run from April 14-24, in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, and will also be presenting a smaller selection in Canberra from April 28 - May 1.

The Festival opens with Dani Levy's comedy GO FOR ZUCKER! - AN UNORTHODOX COMEDY (ALLES AUF ZUCKER!) with the director in attendance. The other films are: AGNES AND HIS BROTHERS (AGNES UND SEINE BRUEDER) by Oskar Roehler, THE OTHER WOMAN (DIE ANDERE FRAU) by Margarethe von Trotta, the documentary I LOVE YOU ALL (AUS LIEBE ZUM VOLK) by Eyal Sivan/Audrey Maurion, AM I SEXY? (BIN ICH SEXY?) by Kathinka Feistl, THE BLIND FLYERS (BLINDGAENGER) by Bernd Sahling, (C)R00K by Pepe Danquart, NAPOLA by Dennis Gansel, SOUNDLESS (LAUTLOS) by Mennan Yapo, SNOWLAND (SCHNEELAND) by H.W. Geissendoerfer as well as WILLENBROCK by Andreas Dresen. Lead actor Henry Arnold will introduce HEIMAT 3 by Edgar Reitz in person. The music documentary MUSICA CUBANA by German Král will screen as a Special in two clubs. The Festival will stage a Special Screening of "Wings of Desire" by Wim Wenders, which was last shown in Australia ten years ago.

The Oscar-nominated film DOWNFALL (DER UNTERGANG) by Oliver Hirschbiegel will be shown as an "avant-premiere" to tie-in with the theatrical opening in Australia on April 1. Leading Australian critics and film historians will discuss developments in German film history in a panel discussion. For details, visit the website.

"Wings of Desire" on Amazon FR
"Wings of Desire" on Amazon US
"Heimat" on Amazon UK