Monday, February 26, 2007

Poland's "Strike" hits protest

According to a report in Cineuropa, Volker Schlondorff's "Strike" has hit a major snag. The film, released in Poland on February 23, is an account of the events that led up to Solidarnosc's strike that eventually brought down the Communist regime. But the film is based on the life of the union's creator, Anna Walentynowicz, and she is not happy at all. In fact, she has been fighting the project from the start and is now threatening legal action against the film. She cites numerous biographical inaccuracies and "historical untruths". Oops. Questioned about the accuracy, fellow Solidarnosc member Lech Walesa said, "It does not entirely reflect the strategy of participants in the 1980 strike but it is a good reflection of the situation up to 1970".

"Strike", written by Andreas Pflüger and Sylke Rene Meyer has been awarded with two Bavarian Film Awards, Best Actress for Katharina Thalbach and Best Cinematography for Andreas Höfer. It will be released in Germany on March 3.

Volker Schlondorff on Amazon UK
Volker Schlondorff on Amazon US

Thursday, February 22, 2007

European cinema attendance and local films on the rise

Provisional figures from the European Audiovisual Observatory show that cinema attendance has grown over the past year, with local cinema finding more audiences. Total admissions in the 25 member states of the European Union rose by around 4% in relation to the preceding year, with 17 out of the 20 countries for which data is available registering a positive change. In major markets, Germany and France saw increases of over 7%. Spain and the UK were down somewhat. The most impressive gains were in Lithuania (+98%) while Estonia (+40.2%) and Latvia (+22.7%) also showed impressive increases. Double-digit growth was registered in Austria (+10.6%), the Czech Republic (+21.4%), Finland (+11.5%) and Slovenia (+10.8%), whilst preliminary results in the Slovak Republic (+ 54.3%) are the best since 1998.

The market share of local films also brought good news. France leads the way with 45%, only slightly less than the figure for US films (45.8%). Germany had the highest national market share since analyses began in 1991. Other countries reporting improved market shares for domestic films included Finland, where local films accounted for 23% of admissions, up from 15% in 2005 and the best result since 1999. Three out of sixteen domestic titles released during the year claimed a place in the annual Top 10, led by Aleksi Mäkelä's ski jump champion biopic "Matti - Hell is for Heroes" (photo). Domestic films also figured in the Top 10 in Estonia, where the success of two children's titles, animation "Lotte from Gadgetville" (an Estonian-Latvian co-production) and comedy "Ruudi" (an Estonian-Finnish-German co-production), brought national market share to just over 9%. In Slovenia the 10% market share registered is the highest since records began. Other Central and Eastern European countries registering improved national market shares included the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Romania.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Irish film and TV awards

The Irish Film & TV Awards were held on February 9, with awards going to what was clearly a very good year for Irish film generally. The two heavyweights this year were Ken Loach's "The Wind That Shakes the Barley" (photo), which picked up the Best Film award, and "Breakfast on Pluto" that picked up the Best Script award for Neil Jordan and Pat McCabe. Cilliam Murphy also picked up a Best Actor award for his role in "Breakfast".

Also worth checking is "Small Engine Repair", written by Niall Heery. For the full list of winners, check the Irish Film & TV Awards.

Monday, February 05, 2007

UK: How to write a TV treatment

It's a well-known fact that TV offers more work for writers than anywhere else. And just like in movies, the producers are sighing, "Where are all the good writers?" To hopefully help you provide the answer, London's The Script Factory is running a special event aimed at getting you on the first rung of the ladder on March 29 & 30, 2007. "How to Write a TV Treatment" will be led by Yvonne Grace (who has worked in various writing and production roles for "Coronation Street", "Eastenders" and "Crossroads"), and there are only 12 places available. For details, visit The Script Factory.