Friday, August 24, 2007

"Atonement" to open Venice fest

Amongst the many films that will play at Venice this year, "Atonement" is being billed as the most expected. Directed by Joe Wright, it has a script by Christopher Hampton ("Dangerous Liaisons", "Total Eclipse" and the upcoming "Coco avant Chanel") based on the award-winning novel by Ian McEwan.

The World War II drama is Wright's second feature, although he has directed numerous dramas for British TV. Keira Knightley's role is being tipped as a career-defining performance. Wright had famously berated the Bafta voters for not giving her the best actress for "Pride and Prejudice".

See The Telegraph for an interview with Wright in which he talks about Knightley, budgets and filming Dunkirk.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Belgium: workshops and round table

French-speaking writers might be interested in two upcoming events in Belgium. Laurent Denis, an award-winning scriptwriter and producer with Cookies Films, is running a workshop focused on building characters and writing dialogue in August and September. Later workshops will cover an introduction to scriptwriting and writing a short film.

Check the details on Cinefilms.

A new event, Brussels Film Days, is to be held in the Wolubilis complex this September. In addition to avant-premières and open-air screenings, the writers association ASA will host a round table on the theme of the script and professional scriptwriting on September 13. Writers and directors will be present - although it doesn't say which ones. More details on the ASA site.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

"Kings" showcased in L.A. and Dublin

The Screen Directors Guild of Ireland, in association with the Directors Guild of America, have announced the winner of the Directors Finders Series 2007 as "Kings" directed by Tom Collins, written by Collins and playwright Jimmy Murphy. "Kings" follows the story of a group of six young men who leave their homes in the West of Ireland in the mid 1970's to go to England in the hope of making their fortunes & returning home. Thirty years later only one makes it home - but does so in a coffin.

As part of the award, the film will be showcased in the state-of-the-art Director's Guild of America Theatre, Sunset Boulevard, L.A on 28th September 2007 to an audience of American distributors, with a view to securing a US distribution deal for the film. It will also be featured at a special Awards Ceremony hosted by director Jim Sheridan on 23rd August in Dublin in The Clarence Hotel, to precede the L.A Screening Event. This event is being filmed by TV3.

To find out more, visit the Irish Film Board.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Adapting from books: "The Pianist"

A great story is a great story, and will almost inevitably make its way to the screen. British scriptwriter Ronald Harwood made a magnificent job of writing the script for "The Pianist". As he explained in The Guardian, this was no accident. He had already covered war issues and totalitarian regimes (including his native South Africa), before being called by Roman Polanski to adapt the book. He maintains his closeness to the subject was important.

Harwood has now contributed to a book about adapting novels to the screen, "Ronald Harwood's Adaptations: From Other Works into Films: From Other Media into Films". He goes into "mouth-watering detail" (as one reviewer said) about what adaptations actually involve.

His article in The Guardian is already a treat, if a little unflattering for scriptwriters: "What conclusions, if any, are to be drawn from my experience in the movies? Certainly, I have learned that the screenwriter's relationship with the director is at the very heart of film-making, but the cult of the film director is now so pervasive that the screenwriter is mostly consigned to oblivion. If a critic admires the film the screenplay is ignored; if he finds fault, the screenplay comes in for a mauling. Thus, the screenwriter must learn that he is not an equal partner; indeed he is somewhat subservient."

For the full article, visit The Guardian.