Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Belgian writers' group to look at the Belgian touch

After the Belgian victory at Cannes for "L'enfant/The Child", as well as the César for "Quand la mer monte" a few months back, it might seem like there is currently a Belgian touch in cinema. But is there really? The Belgian writers' group ASA will ask the big question at a special meeting that features representatives of the Sopadin screenwriting competitions in France. As all Belgian films are co-productions - most often with France - outsiders' opinions are very important. Perhaps coincidentally, the Belgian writer Bernard Bellefroid won the Sopadin's junior award some time back. So there will be plenty to debate.

There is no website for ASA. The talk will take place on June 7. For details, contact ASA (Association des Scénaristes de l’Audiovisuel asbl), Rue du Prince Royal 87-1050 Bruxelles Tel.: 02/551.03.20. E-mail : asa@sacd.be

"Quand la mer monte" on Amazon FR (release date: June 6, 2005)

Monday, May 23, 2005

Cannes 2005: Young film-makers get break

You've probably already heard that the Dardenne brothers picked up their second Palme d'Or for "L'enfant/The Child". If not, check the articles in La Libre Belgique and Bloomberg. The French and British media are passing on the story, preferring to run headlines about "Star Wars" and Jim Jarmusch. Could their noses be out of joint (no British films were in the running, although several films were being shown at Cannes and the Brits remain a significant and very active presence through the UK Film Centre)?

Stepping behind the headlines for a second, Cannes is also a major film market. Several major projects were supporting future film-makers and writers. At one of these, the "Atelier" (workshop), nine out of 18 projects found funding. Budgeted between €700,000 and €1.73 million, the films are: Ulrike von Ribbeck’s "Sooner Or Later" from Germany, Joachim Lafosse’s "Revolte Intime" from Belgium, American Ryan Eslinger’s ""When A Man Falls In The Forest", Leon Ivanga’s "L'Ombre De Liberty" from Gabon, Narinam Turebayev’s "Sunny Day" from Kazakhstan, Som Ock Southiphonh’s "Les Amis" from Laos, Gerardo Naranjo "I'm Gonna Explode" from Mexico, Paraguayan Paz Encina’s "Hamaca Paraguaya" and Serbian Vladimir Perisic’s "The Ordinary People".

The winner of the London Script Consultancy and Panasonic's Big Pitch (featured below) was Brit writer/director Ed Blum.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Irish screenplay wins second award at Cannes

After winning the Irish Film Institute's fourth Tiernan MacBride Award for Screenwriting this year, Brian O'Malley and Terry McMahon have won the Hartley-Merrill Prize for International Screenwriting at Cannes. "Sisk", a tale set in the Chinese mafia in Dublin, was up against over 2000 entries from 23 countries and is the first Irish screenplay to win the award. Chairman of the prize, Ted Hartley, called 'Sisk' "a skilfully written piece". Previously, producer and MacBride jury chairman Ned Dowd has said: "In the four years that I have been involved with Tiernan MacBride Award, this is a script that stands out as a film I would personally like to make. It is almost ready to shoot in terms of the way it is written; a credit to the writers.”

Information about the Tiernan MacBride Award and "Sisk".

Friday, May 13, 2005

Cannes 2005: Look out for 101 Scriptwriters

For the first time this year, scriptwriters will be massively present at Cannes through a series of initiatives. Not the least of these (but the closest to home for Screenplay Europe) is the new revue "101 Scénaristes/101 Scriptwriters" - over 100 pages of pitches in English and French from writers in 10 countries. The brainchild of French writer Jacques Gumbau, it will be available in the major hotels, beach venues and the numerous writer events that are taking place this year.

Find out more in Cineuropa.

Writer events this year include The Big Pitch from the London Script Consultancy, conferences from Script Factory, the Equinoxe workshop, the second script market from The European Producers' Club, Speed Dating from Adami and more.

This year's Cannes is being called the "year of the auteur". Just in case you are missing the obvious, that means the year of the writer!

Thursday, May 12, 2005

TASTE: Developing scripts for European audiences

It is widely recognised that not enough European movies get distributed outside their home country. So a number of bodies have come together to creat TASTE, a programme specifically about developing scripts for European audiences. "TASTE offers a close look at the development process of European films that have been successful in recent years. Screenwriters and producers of films such as "Good Bye Lenin!", "Italian for beginners", "Le goût des autres" and "My Life Without Me" will be present to explain the first development stages of their films."

The TASTE seminar takes place from the 15 to 17th of July 2005 in Valencia. Registration deadline is 30th of May. Before you ask, the programme costs €500 and Valencia can be reached by low-cost airlines. For more information and applications, visit Taste.

"Goodbye Lenin" on Amazon UK

"Italian for Beginners" (REGION 1) (NTSC)

"Le goût des autres/The Taste of Others" on Amazon FR

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Rewind: DVD release for "Totos le héros"

Rightly hailed as a landmark movie, Jaco Van Dormael's 1991 "Toto le héros" set the tone for a series of films in Europe with its quirky, colourful and retro style, the most noted perhaps being Jeunet's "Amélie Poulain" (although viewers of "Dannie Darko" would recognise more than a passing resemblance). Wacky and charming but with a slightly tragic tone, it has been described as "a kids film directed by Lars Von Trier".

After subsequently making the highly-rated "Huitième jour/Eighth Day" in 1996, Van Dormael dropped off the radar. But according to this report in La Libre Belgique (in French), he is working on a 3-hour project called "Mr. Nobody" about "the multitude of lives we could have. Apparently, they would be different. But deep down, they would be the same... Parts will take place on Mars, others in pre-history.... There will be one main character, but lots of decors, scenes and genres". Gulp! Shooting will start in the autumn. The DVD of "Toto le héros" is now available from Amazon France.

Jaco Van Dormael on Amazon FR

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Cannes 2005: Speed-dating for writers, actors,composers and directors

France's Adami are holding a fun event at Cannes: the second "Speed Dating" for writers, directors, actors and composers. Adami showcase young talent every year, with Audrey Tautou and Sami Naceri amongst the actors they championed (in '98 and '94 respectively). The Speed Dating is simply a way of getting actors, writers, directors and composers to meet up and perhaps swap cards on Monday May 16 from 2.30pm at the Adami pavilion. We'll be there! For details, check the Adami's Speed dating page.

Thursday, May 05, 2005


With the presence of "101 Scénaristes/101 Scriptwriters", Equinoxe and le Club des producteurs, Cannes 2005 was already promising to throw a major spotlight on scriptwriters. Now the London Script Consultancy and Panasonic are coming together to provide another major event: The Big Pitch. "In a once in a lifetime opportunity, filmmakers from across the world are invited to pitch their film ideas to a panel of international industry experts, including Peter Albaek Jensen, producer of "Dancer In The Dark" and "Dogville", Paul Webster, executive producer of "The Motorcycle Diaries", Steve Arnold, the producer of "Brassed Off" and Barnaby Thompson, producer of "Fred and Perry Go Large".

First prize is the Ultimate Filmmaker's Package: the award winning Panasonic NV-GS400 digital video camera, winner of the European Camcorder of the Year Award 2004/2005. They will also receive £3000 of professional script development, Final Draft software, a Focal Press screenwriter's book package, a one year cinema pass to UGC Cinemas, and one year's free subscription to LoveFilm DVDs, Sight & Sound and Hotdog Magazines.

The Panasonic International Filmmaker's Award will be held on Sunday 15th May from 2:00pm to 3:30pm at the UK Film Centre in the International Village, Cannes Film Festival 2005. For further information and entry details, go to www.londonscriptconsultancy.com. Submissions are liimted to 3 pitches per person, and writers should be able to do their 2-3 minute pitch at Cannes in English.

What, you're still hanging around here?

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Top 20 European films released in Europe 2004

Prior to Cannes, the OBS releases its "Focus" on the state of the movie world globally. It always makes good reading. Here is an item I found interesting:

Admissions to European films released in Europe 2004
Classement provisoire sur la base de données provenant de 24 pays européens y compris la Turquie (environ 87 %des entrées dans l'Union européenne analysées)
Provisory ranking on the basis of data from 24 European countries
including Turkey (around 87% of admissions in the European Union analysed).

Titre original Pays d'origine Année Réalisateur Entrées
Original title Country of origin Year Director Admissions

1 Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason GB/US/FR/DE/IE 2004 Beeban Kidron 17 421 322
2 Les choristes FR / CH / DE 2004 Christophe Barratier 11 399 905
3 (T)Raumschiff Surprise - Periode 1 DE 2004 Michael Herbig 10 731 881
4 Sieben Zwerge - Männer allein im Wald DE 2004 Sven Unterwaldt Jr. 7 323 345
5 Cold Mountain (1) GB / US / RO / IT 2003 Anthony Minghella 6 238 073
6 Two Brothers FR / GB 2004 Jean-Jacques Annaud 5 248 868
7 Un long dimanche de fiançailles FR 2004 Jean-Pierre Jeunet 4 708 990
8 Der Untergang DE / IT 2004 Oliver Hirschbiegel 4 684 536
9 Podium FR / BE 2004 Yann Moix 4 310 997
10 Mar adentro ES / FR / IT 2004 Alejandro Amenábar 4 125 821
11 G.O.R.A. TR 2004 Ömer Faruk Sorak 3 980 947
12 Les rivières pourpres II - Les anges… FR / IT / GB 2004 Olivier Dahan 3 960 958
13 Alexander GB / FR / NL 2004 Oliver Stone 3 857 447
14 La mala educación ES 2004 Pedro Almodóvar 3 728 484
15 Love Actually (2) GB / US 2003 Richard Curtis 3 408 523
16 Girl with a Pearl Earring GB / LU 2003 Peter Webber 3 221 485
17 Les 11 commandements FR 2004 F. Desagnat & T. Sorriaux 3 067 458
18 Vizontele Tuuba TR 2004 Yilmaz Erdogan 2 934 504
19 L' enquête corse FR 2004 Alain Berberian 2 651 406
20 Around the World in 80 Days GB / US / DE / IE 2004 Frank Coraci 2 692 694

(1) 80 102 entrées en Europe en 2003. | 80 102 admissions in Europe in 2003.
(2) 12 878 034 entrées en Europe en 2003. | 12 878 034 admissions in Europe in 2003.

Interesting to see beyond the hype which films draw audiences, notably the n° 3 and 4 - totally unknown outside their native Germany. Special mention also goes to "G.O.R.A." at n° 11. For the record, I recommend Yann Moix' "Podium"

Monday, May 02, 2005

Crossing Europe Award goes to first-time director/writer

The second edition of Austria's CROSSING EUROPE Filmfestival Linz presented 150 films from 30 countries as well as 20 further events. This year's award went to the 22-year-old French actress and first-time director Isild Le Besco (France - left on photo), who impressed the competition jury (Cis Bierinckx/Belgium, Nadejda Koseva/Bulgaria, Jan Krüger/Germany, Micha Shagrir/Israel and Elma Tataragic/Bosnia) with her debut film “Demi-Tarif/Half Price”. The CROSSING EUROPE Award 2005 Local Artist, went to Siegfried A. Fruhauf for his most recent work. A special mention went to Barbara Musil and Karo Szmit for their short film "SW-NÖ 04". The EastWest Filmdistribution nominated the documentary “Totally Personal” by Bosnian director Nedzad Begovic for a special presentation at CROSSING EUROPE 2006.

Link: Crossing Europe.