Sunday, April 29, 2007

Crossing Europe awards

The Austrian festival that features a strong East European slant gave its awards this weekend. Director Pia Marais picked up the European Competition with "Die Unerzogenen/The Unpolished" (Germany 2007) co-written with Horst Markgraf. The audience voted for "Avril/April" by Gérald Hustache-Mathieu for the Ray Audience Prize. The CROSSING EUROPE Award Local Artist was split for the first time, going to Libertad Hackl for "Bleiben will ich, wo ich nie gewesen bin" and to Lukas Marxt and Michael Petri for "Nach der Eishöhle". The jury distinguished the work "Fatsy" by Oliver Stang and Christian Tod with an Honourable Mention. Visit the blog here.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Anton Corbijn film to open Director's Fortnight

Dutch rock photographer Anton Corbijn's "Control" will open the Cannes' Director's Fortnight with a biopic about the Joy Division singer Ian Curtis, who killed himself at the age of 23. The film, written by Matt Greenhalgh and based on the book "Touching From a Distance" by Curtis' wife Deborah, looks at the last years of his life when he was battling with epilepsy and an increasingly confusing private life.

The après-showing party will be attended by Bono as well as members of Depeche Mode and New Order. Will anyone take to the stage? Likely, but who?

Monday, April 23, 2007

"Reprise" wins main and writing award at Lecce

Norway's "Reprise", directed by Joachim Trier and co-written with Eskil Vogt, picked up the main "Golden Olive" award in a tie with Christian Wagner's "Warchild" at Lecce's European Film Festival and went on to pick up the main award for the screenplay. The jury cited, "its ability to tell an extraordinary love story in an original way, and its complex tale rich in metaphors about life and creation". Mentioning the screenplay, it hailed, "the harmonious way it brings together classic narrative elements and elements with fragmented tones".

Vogt is an award-winning short film writer and director who has worked in France and was noted for "The Embrace/Une étreinte" and "Les étrangers/Foreigners".

More about the Lecce European festival.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Writers create first "Zarbi" award for Cannes

For two years now, a group of writers led by Jacques Gumbau have organised writer events at Cannes. This year, they are in the last stages of organising the first Grand Prix Zarbi du Scénario. The idea is not to celebrate the best writing, but to put the spotlight on more off-beat scripts, "scenarios that stand out through their intention, style or theme - even if they are unfilmable," says Gumbau. Scripts in the running feature murder, sex, parodies and combinations of the above! There are a number of high-profile writing contests in France already. Zarbi aims at being more low-key, and will provide a networking event at Cannes itself.

To submit scripts (in French), sign up on ScenaristesEnHerbe.

French "filmists" looking for short ideas

The Parisian moviemakers "les Filmistes" are, according to a post on, looking for ideas for ultra-short films. I quote: "The principle: a theme, one minute, a film and three weeks to produce it." In actual fact, many of the films on their site are considerably longer. Check them out, there are some well-shot and well-edited pieces. There is also a wide variety of styles. "The regularity of the sessions encourages members to develop their own narrative environment... The idea is more important than the means."

In all, Les Filmistes have produced 150 shorts in 3 years, which is not bad going. Check them out here. If you run a short-movie event, why not check to see if they have anything that is up your street?

Monday, April 16, 2007

Brussels: literature and adaptations

This Friday, April 20, an interesting event will bring together scriptwriters and writers for a discussion about adaptations in Brussels. Books remain a very important source for new films, as producers try to build on the success of a writer by transposing his work to the screen. But the field is rife with pitfalls. This event will look at the issue from an African viewpoint, although the actual writing issues are probably the same no matter what language or culture you work from.

Guests include directors such as Toumani Sangare who are attending the Afrique Taille XL festival and the Canadian scriptwriter Marcel Beaulieu. The discussion will be chaired by Isabelle Fauvel, who develops films through Initiative Film in Paris.

For details, visit Afrique Taille XL. Don't forget to catch some of the African films on show, as they are only too rarely shown in Europe.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

UK Screenwriter Festival extends short film deadline

The UK's Screenwriter Festival is running a short script competition whose deadline has been extended to April 12 (yikes). I quote:

Script_1 is an initiative of the Screenwriters' Festival and allows new screenwriters to turn their own ideas into a short film script, with free workshop training, and the winning entries receive cash prizes and entry to the Festival Rising Talent Days. Last year's winners were awarded their prizes at the Festival by Oscar-winner Julian Fellowes (Gosford Park).

We have extended the closing date for your initial outline synopsis to this Thursday 12th April as our Easter present. You only need a short paragraph summary of your story to enter. See the website for rules and entry requirements. It is open only to residents in the South West Of England.

To apply click -

Saturday, April 07, 2007

RIP: Luigi Comencini

Luigi Comencini, one of the fathers of Italy's "commedia italiana" style died on April 6 in Rome. Along with Ettore Scola, Dino Risi and an incredible wave of actors, the commedia italiana was the dominant genre throughout the sixties. Comencini's best known films include Pane, amore e fantasia (Bread, Love and Dreams, 1953), Tutti a casa (Everybody Go Home, 1960), Lo scopone scientifico (The Scientific Game, 1972), episodes of Don Camillo as well as La donna della domenica (The Sunday Woman, 1975) and Quelle strane occasioni (Strange Occasion, 1976). Comencini was 90.