Friday, April 14, 2006

Oscar Moore competition: "none merit the prize"

The Oscar Moore Foundation organises one of Europe's most respected screenwriting competitions. One of its particularities is to set a theme each year, 2006 being comedy. In a surprise announcement, however, chairwoman Anne Marie Flynn said in a statement: "This year, though a number of scripts were deemed notable either for the quality of writing or originality of premise, it was our final opinion that none reached the requisite quality to merit the prize."

This must be a crunching disappointment to the people that sent them in. It's also an embarassment for the Foundation itself (the awards night, set for April 20, will now be a quiz night). But it must be said that the Foundation is making a hard but ultimately commendable decision to maintain some sort of quality control. It is widely recognised that many scripts in Europe are being rushed into production without having had adequate development. If a Foundation devoted to high levels of writing allows its standards to slip, who will respect them?

One issue the Foundation might want to take on board, however, is the visibility of the Oscar Moore competition. Despite its association with Screen International, the competition is simply not well enough known. Also as the submissions are in English, there are literally thousands of scripts out there that don't qualify. Comedy is particularly strong right now in France, Germany and perhaps Spain. Would the writers have to patch together a translation to enter? That's hardly the ideal solution.

We'll post the announcement of next year's theme when we receive it.

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