Archive for January, 2009

Critics’ Circle Awards: Theatre

28th January 2009

The Stage announces the winners of this year’s Critics’ Circle Awards:

  • Best New PlayAugust: Osage County by Tracy Letts (National Theatre presentation of the Steppenwolf Company).
  • The Peter Hepple Award for Best MusicalLa Cage aux Folles (Menier Chocolate Factory and West End).
  • Best Actor – Kenneth Branagh in Ivanov (Donmar West End).
  • Best Actress – Margaret Tyzack in The Chalk Garden (Donmar).
  • The John and Wendy Trewin Award for Best Shakespearean Performance, awarded jointly to – Derek Jacobi in Twelfth Night (Donmar West End) and David Tennant in Hamlet (RSC).
  • Best Director – Michael Grandage for Ivanov and The Chalk Garden (Donmar West End and Donmar).
  • Best Designer – Neil Murray for Brief Encounter (West End).
  • Most Promising Playwright – Alexi Kaye Campbell for The Pride (Royal Court).
  • The Jack Tinker Award for Most Promising Newcomer – Ella Smith in Fat Pig (Trafalgar Studios and West End).

Low Budget Short-List

27th January 2009

Last week Northern Ireland Screen announced the five projects picked for this year’s Northern Ireland Screen Low Budget Fiction Fund:

  • Honeymoon Hangover – by Cecilia McAllister
  • The George Best Reunion Tour – by Tom Jonstone
  • Wee Buns – by Christine Murphy
  • Keeping Mum – by Deirdre Alexander
  • Outpost Alaska – by Scott Martin

By April one script will be selected to go into production, with a view to completing principal photography by the end of 2009.

This is the third year of Northern Ireland Screen’s low-budget fiction scheme. The first recipient was Peacefire, which just won the Prix Special Du Jury award at the Angers European First Film Festival.

Peacefire Wins

27th January 2009

Northern Ireland Screen reports that Peacefire, a new drama from first time feature writer-director Macdara Vallely, and starring John Travers (Song For a Raggy Boy, Closing the Ring), won the Prix Special Du Jury award at the Angers European First Film Festival.

Peacefire is an adaptation of Vallely’s play, which won the Edinburgh Fringe First Award, and was also shortlisted for the Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Award.

The film was shot entirely in location in Craigavon, Co. Armagh, where Vallely grew up, and it was the first feature funded through Northern Ireland Screen’s low-budget feature fund.

Screenwriting the Future

27th January 2009

De Montfort University in Leicester is hosting a one-day seminar on TV screenwriting on Saturday 7th March 2009 at the Leicester City campus, and the focus will be on Fantastic Writing – science fiction, fantasy and magic: Writing the future, the past and other worlds.

Confirmed guests include James Moran (Doctor Who, Torchwood and Spooks), Phil Ford (Sarah Jane Adventures, Dr Who and Torchwood), Stephen Volk (Afterlife) and Graham Joyce – winner of the World Fantasy Award, the British Fantasy Award, the Angus Award and the O Henry short story prize. Graham has also written screenplays for Hollywood studios and is currently commissioned to work on the story line for the computer game DOOM 4.

Stephen Volk created and was lead writer of the award-winning ITV drama series Afterlife starring Lesley Sharp and Andrew Lincoln, called ‘terrific television’ (The Guardian) and ‘Unmissable’ (Mail on Sunday). A BAFTA-winning screenwriter, his TV and movie credits include Ken Russell’s Gothic, Octane, Shockers and the notorious, almost legendary, BBC ‘Halloween hoax’ Ghostwatch.

Event organiser and course leader for the unique MA, Christopher Walker says “This is a rare opportunity for scriptwriters of all levels, from complete beginners through to those who have already had some success in the industry, to hear from industry professionals – there are two keynote speakers and two question and answer panels. Events like this are usually restricted to London so it’s a way of giving opportunities to writers from the East Midlands to meet with industry professionals, network and get inspired to boost their writing careers.”

A place on the course costs £65 per person including lunch, refreshments, and parking, and can be booked via the web site.

Sundance 09

26th January 2009

At the weekend the Sundance Film Festival announced its Award Winners:

Of particular interest are:

Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award – Nicholas Jasenovec and Charlyne Yi, Paper Heart

World Cinema Screenwriting Award – Guy Hibbert, Five Minutes of Heaven

Five Minutes of Heaven is an Irish Feature Film, directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel, and Hibbert’s previous credits include his BAFTA-winning television drama, Omagh. Shot in Northern Ireland during the summer of 2008, the film stars Liam Neeson (Taken, Michael Collins) and James Nesbitt (Murphy’s Law, Jekyll) as two Ulstermen; one a murderer, the other the brother of the man he killed, who discover that the past is never dead.