Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Rent European films in the UK

One of the major disadvantages of European cinema within Europe already is the distribution. Countries such as Belgium show a fair number of movies from other countries, whereas the situation in the UK is quite difficult - even for UK films. It's hardly surprising that sales of European movies are proportionally lower, as most people have not seen them. Rental is obviously the way to go. Amazon UK now runs an up-to-date selection of European flicks. If you've been wondering about "Downfall", "Hotel Rwanda" or "Mar adentro/The Sea Inside" this is your chance to check them out. For some personal recommendations, try "Intermission", "Kontroll" and "Look at Me".

Monday, November 28, 2005

Best film and script award for Fien Troch

Belgian writer/director Fien Troch picked up the Golden Alexander Award and Best Screenplay award at the 46th Thessaloniki International Film Festival for "Een Ander Zijn Geluk/Someone Else's Happiness". The jury, led by Italian cinematographer Vittrorio Storaro, also gave a shared Best Actress award to Ina Geerts (photo) and a Special Mention for Natali Broods as supporting actress. "When a lucky coincidence brought Ina and me together, I had never seen her act," says Troch. "That may make it seem rather unlikely that I immediately saw her in the leading role, but it's the truth."

Visit the official website: Een ander zijn geluk/Someone Else's Happiness

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Anders Thomas Jensen picks up Nordisk award

If this goes on, we'll be calling him Citizen Jensen. Denmark's Anders Thomas Jensen picked up the DKK 99,000 Nordisk Award for major contributions to Danish film last Friday. The 33 year-old's third feature as a writer/director, Adam’s Apples is the Danish entry at the upcoming Academy Awards nominations and one of his two scripts – with Susanne Bier’s Brothers - is nominated at this year’s European Film Awards (see below). According to Cineuropa, Jensen currently represents some 40% of Denmark's film output as either a writer or director.

His latest script, "Explosive Bomb", is to be directed by Thomas Villum Jensen for a 2006 release.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

European Film Awards announce nominess

The European Film Academy has unveiled its nominees for the 2005 awards. The choice, again, very much favours arthouse/auteur work - the relevance of which is debatable in some cases (is "Don't Come Knocking" really one of Europe's best films this year or would they have been embarassed not to include academy president Wim Wenders?). So the jury will have to decide between Palme winner "L'enfant", "Brodre/Brothers" and "My Summer of Love" largely. On a personal note, I don't feel the selection reflects the vitality that can be found in films such as the Czech Republic's "Up and Down" or Ireland's "Adam & Paul".

So it's quite comforting to see that the selection for Best Screenwriter offers a more challenging selection that includes movies that proved popular in the cinemas.

Hany Abu-Assad & Bero Beyer for PARADISE NOW
Mark O'Halloran for ADAM & PAUL
Michael Haneke for CACHÉ (Hidden)
Anders Thomas Jensen for ADAMS ÆBLER (Adam's Apples) and BRØDRE (Brothers)
Dani Levy & Holger Franke for ALLES AUF ZUCKER (Go for Zucker!)
Cristi Puiu & Razvan Radulescu for MOARTEA DOMNULUI LAZARESCU (The Death of Mr Lazarescu).

But having said all that, the best overall selection is probably in the Jameson People's Choice Award. But "the people" are not given a shot at voting for a best screenwriter yet. The Awards ceremony will be braodcast across many European channels on December 3 from Berlin.

See all the nominations here.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

UK Writer and Gazette des Scénaristes become pen pals

In a spirit that Screenplay Europe has been trying to promote for a year now, two of Europe's foremost scriptwriting magazines are sharing articles. The remarkable "Gazette des scénaristes" and "UK Writer" are published by the French and British writers' unions respectively. The latest issue of the Gazette, which deals with love, sex and how to represent them on screen, comes with an article from UK Writer. Cross-pollination of this kind is all too rare, despite the fact that France is a major co-producer with most of the other European cinemas.

Although distribution of the Gazette could best be described as "confidentiel" even in France, it can now be ordered from the writers house Dixit.

The Writers Guild
Union Guilde des Scénaristes
To order the Gazette.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Matthieu Kassovitz on the French riots

In 1995, Matthieu Kassovitz directed one of the most stunning films of its time: "La Haine/Hate". The parallels with what is happening in France are chilling. It follows a group of young people from an impoverished Parisian suburb, tracing their inevitable path towards confrontation after one of their friends ends up in hospital after suffering police brutality. On his website, Kassovitz has written a passionate but accurate review of the situation. Like many other commentators (and Screenplay Europe), he puts the responsibility for the scale of the ensuing violence squarely at the feet of the French Interior Minister who fuelled the flames with his comments about "cleaning the scum". Unfortunately, there were enough hotheads out there to call his bluff, which they have done for over a week already. "Nicolas Sarkozy is ... a little Napoleon, and I do not know if he has the potential of a real one, but it will be impossible to say tomorrow that we didn’t know."

See the full commentary on Matthieu Kassovitz.com.

UPDATE: Djamel Bensalah, director of the hit Franco-Algerian comedy "Il était une fois dans l'oued", and French distributor Gaumont will donate all the proceeds of tickets sold on November 13 and 14 to victims of the French violence. The film is showing in some 200 cinemas. Visit the official website (in French).

Matthieu Kassovitz on Amazon UK
Matthieu Kassovitz on Amazon US

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Morocco meets Asia at Brussels fest

The International Festival of Independent Film that closed last Sunday in Brussels confirmed the emergence of Moroccan film, with "Tarfaya" by Daoud Aoulad-Syad picking up the Grand Prix. "Tarfaya" is best described as an end-of-the-road movie. Bittersweet family comedy "Ici et là" (co-written by Mohamed Ismail, Mohamed Mouftakir and Ismaïl Saidi) picked up the Best Screenplay award. The Philippines' Cesar Montano picked up the Jury award for his directing debut in wartime local drama "Panaghoy sa Suba/Call of the River" while Singapore's Eric Khoo was given the Best Director award for his long tone poem, "Be With Me".

Germany was also well represented, with actress Julie Bowe being recognised as Best Actress for her remarkable role in "Katze im Sack/Cat in a Bag". Daniel Stielgitz went home with a Best First Film for the horror/thriller romp "Happy End".

Jean-Marie Buchet picked a screenplay award in the national (Belgian) section for "Une fameuse journée".

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Bafta Scotland: “Festival” tipped for writing and best film awards

Annie Griffin’s comedy about the Edinburgh festival is being tipped as a strong contender for Scotland's upcoming Bafta awards, being nominated as both Best Screenplay and Best Film that will be held on Nov. 13 in Glasgow.

Best Screenplay
- Annie Griffin
Night People
- Adrian Mead & Jack Dickson (Produced by Clare Kerr. Mead Kerr Productions, New Found Films: SMG Television/Scottish Screen)
On A Clear Day - Alex Rose

Best New Screenplay
At the End of the Sentence – Written by David Grieg
The Immeasurable Joy – Written by Gregor Barclay
Karma Cowboys – Written by Rae Brunton

Best Film
Festival (Directed by Annie Griffin, Produced by Chris Young. Young Pirate Films, Pathe Film Distribution)
On A Clear Day (Directed by Gaby Dellal, Produced by Sarah Curtis & Dorothy Berwin. Forthcoming/InFilm Productions, Icon Film Distribution)
A Woman in Winter (Directed by Richard Jobson, Produced by Chris Atkins, Richard Jobson & Hamish McAlpine, Vestry Films/Tartan Film Distribution)

For the full list of nominees, visit Bafta Scotland