Archive for August, 2008

Stranger Than Fiction ‘08

28th August 2008 by Maura McHugh

The Stranger Than Fiction (25-28 September) documentary film festival has announced its programme.

As usual there is a full schedule of international and Irish documentaries. In association with Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board (IFB), the festival has organised Stranger Than Fiction Pitch Perfect!, which is a training workshop and pitch events.

These will consist of an intensive training session with documentary expert Tue Steen Muller. One week after this, participants will get to put these pitching skills into practice in front of two expert panels made up of key players in the industry.

More information on how to apply for the workshop, and details about the festival, are available on the web site.

Hare Wants More TV Drama

27th August 2008 by Maura McHugh

In a recent article in The Times the playwright David Hare has criticised the BBC for its abandonment of the single television play.

Even in the days when single plays were allowed on majority channels, drama was identified as a conspicuous source of mischief and expense. How could anything which cost so much be so infuriatingly unpredictable in quality? Little wonder, then, that controllers chose to steer their investment away from individual stories that could never be repeated into long-running series with familiar characters and cliff-edge endings that would keep the ratings ticking over nicely.

It is, of course, for these same sour commercial reasons that fiction has responded to its own demotion by increasingly choosing to pass itself off as fact. More and more single films, if they happen at all, seem merely to reconstruct events about which we have already read. Figures such as Margaret Thatcher, Christine Keeler, Frankie Howerd and Lord Longford are mimicked and lent motives in a stuttering flow of biopics, behind which lies some depressingly tame thinking: “Oh, they’ll be interested in this; they already know about it.”

Hare does point out that the BBC is airing two theatre adaptations of his work: My Zinc Bed (tonight on BBC 2 at 9pm) and A Number (next week). Despite this he feels these small gestures towards original drama are not enough in a period when the BBC is under continued pressure to justify its funding from television license money.

Venice is 65

27th August 2008 by Maura McHugh

The 65th Venice Film Festival kicks off today and runs until the 6th of September.

Variety’s article offers an overview of the films that will be screened at the festival this year, and the BBC will post daily reports from Venice with news and information about the films and their creators.

Hollywood Slows Down

26th August 2008 by Maura McHugh

According to the LA Times film production in Hollywood has ground to an almost total halt.

The Los Angeles region has seen a steady outflow of feature film projects to other countries and states, about 40 of which now offer a plethora of production rebates and tax breaks that aren’t available in California. Since peaking in 1996, annual film production has declined in nine of the last 11 years in Los Angeles.

But Brown and others in the industry say the slowdown has been exacerbated by labor unrest this year, which saw the first Hollywood writers strike in two decades.

To plan for a possible actors strike, studios decided as far back as a year ago to revamp their lineups so that most films would wrap shooting by June 30, when the actors contract expired. As a result, studios have already filmed most of the movies that will be released in 2009, leaving them with fewer movies to shoot this year.

“We had 17 films in production between January and June, which is unheard of,” said Donna Langley, president of production for Universal Pictures, which recently shot “Fast and Furious,” the fourth film in “The Fast and the Furious” series, in L.A. “We all had to prepare for the worst-case scenario.”

Actors and studios have not been able to reach agreement on a new contract and the sides remain far apart, especially in how actors are paid for work distributed in new media.

21st August 2008 by Maura McHugh

Membership to the Irish Film & Television Academy is currently open to Industry Professionals. The deadline for receipt of applications is Friday, August 29th 2008.

The Academy now in its 2nd year is currently inviting new members to join who have been working in the Film & Television industry for at least 4 years. Full membership to the Academy entitles you to vote in the 6th Annual Irish Film & Television Awards along with many benefits such as invitations to preview screenings, Q & A’s, Master Classes and many more.

Membership also entitles you too many industry discounts such as discounted rates in the Hilton Hotel in Ireland & the UK, Milano Restaurant / Pizza Express in Belfast, QFT Belfast, Movies @ in Dublin & Kino in Cork, Shoot Communications, Screen International, VHI, Aer Arann, Film Ireland, Galway Film Centre plus many more.

Further information, membership forms, and membership guidelines are available on the web site.