Archive for March 28th, 2007

NI arts funding crisis

28th March 2007

The Stage reports there will be a crisis in arts funding in Northern Ireland from 2008 to 2011 unless at least £23.5 million is injected into the NI Arts Council’s budget. The funding body discovered last week that it is going to lose £4.5 million in lottery money to the 2012 Olympics.

Chief executive Roisin McDonough told The Stage she questioned whether the government valued the arts in Northern Ireland as much as elsewhere in the UK. The region has the lowest per capita funding of all the arts councils, at £6.13 compared to £11.93 in Scotland and £8.14 in England. The requested increase would bring its spend up to £10.70.

McDonough added: “Our original forecasts were made before this latest bombshell hit. Over the last ten years, there has been chronic underfunding of the arts in Northern Ireland, and in the last few years funding has been frozen. This loss is coming on top of all the other underfunding and it is very serious. Our theatre sector in particular is small but it is a very important, vibrant part of our infrastructure and it needs to be resourced properly. We haven’t been able to do that.

“You’ve only got to look at the fact the Lyric, our principle rep, struggles every year and at the moment has a £4.6 million shortfall in the funding it needs to get its new theatre, which is absolutely crucial for the whole development of theatre in Northern Ireland.”

Screenwriters Co-Op

28th March 2007

Last week Variety published an article about the creation of a Writers Co-Op, a production venture to be housed at John Wells Prods.

Co-Op is designed to give gross participation to screenwriters, along with a voice in how their scripts are turned into films. It will be staked under a first-look deal by Warner Bros., where Wells is based.

Over the next four years, the Writers Co-Op will generate at least 18 scripts from writers who will risk their usually high upfront salaries for the reward of receiving first-dollar gross, the right to participate as producers and a guarantee they will not be rewritten without their consultation and approval. The scribes will also have a say in the decisionmaking process from development all the way to post-production.

The writers will forgo a great deal of their upfront fees on first drafts to ensure their films move through the sticky development process, and in exchange receive a full payment and production bonuses when the film is made.

19 writers have signed up: Ron Bass (Rain Man), Henry Bean (Internal Affairs), David Benioff (Troy), Scott Frank (Out of Sight), Robert Nelson Jacobs (Chocolat), Kazan (Reversal of Fortune), Callie Khouri (Thelma & Louise), Richard LaGravanese (The Fisher King), Phil Alden Robinson (Field of Dreams), Bruce Joel Rubin (Ghost), Stephen Schiff (The Deep End of the Ocean), Schulman (Dead Poets Society), Ed Solomon (Men in Black), Dana Stevens (For Love of the Game), Robin Swicord (Memoirs of a Geisha), Michael Tolkin (The Player), Rafael Yglesias (Fearless), and the writing team of Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel (City Slickers).

It will be fascinating to monitor how this venture proceeds.

April Sit In

28th March 2007 is having its monthly Sit In on Monday April 2nd, in Training Room 3, Filmbase, Curved Street, Temple Bar, from 7:30pm to 9:30pm.

The Sit In’s are’s monthly meetings. It’s an informal place to meet with other filmmakers, to help get collaboration going, show and discuss our work and generally keep up the energy bubbling away around this site.

All filmmakers are welcome – whether a member of or not – so do come along.

The April meeting will comprise of an announcement of the winner of the February Script of the Month, screenings of members’ work, discussion of projects that individuals are working on, a film swap, followed by drinks in the local.