Archive for March, 2009

Reality TV Lawsuit

23rd March 2009 by Maura McHugh

According to the L.A. Times three former employees of Fremantle Media, which produces hit reality TV shows such as American Idol, have launched a class-action lawsuit against the company.

In a lawsuit filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court on Thursday, the former employees — a music coordinator for “American Idol,” an associate producer for the reality-based TV series “Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency” and a producer for the game show “Temptation” — contend that the London-based company and its various subsidiaries exposed them to sweatshop conditions.

“Employees work ten, twelve and even twenty-hour days, six or seven days a week, without overtime compensation and are forced to forgo meal and rest breaks as required by law,” the suit states.

The workers further alleged that Fremantle engaged in a “fraudulent scheme” to conceal the hours they worked, forcing them to falsify their time cards so that they would not be paid overtime.

The Writers Guild of America, East and West, have been campaigning strongly for four years for better rights for writers on reality television shows in the USA. The Guild backed two similar lawsuits that made comparable allegations against reality TV producers and networks, and the suits were settled in January for $4 million.

In February the Guild continued its picket of the popular American Idol reality show.

“‘Fremantle is lowering standards for workers all across the entertainment industry,” said David N. Weiss, vice president of the Writers Guild of America, West. “American Idol is the top-rated show on television, and the fact that Fremantle does not compensate its writers and other workers fairly is unacceptable.”

Interview with Kirsten

20th March 2009 by Maura McHugh

The Southern Star has an interview with Irish writer/director Kirsten Sheridan today.

IFB at Hot Docs

19th March 2009 by Maura McHugh

Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board (IFB) announced it will be attending Hot Docs, the documentary film festival which takes place in Toronto from April 30th to May 7th.

The IFB are hosting an Irish delegation and are offering a small number of bursaries to assist with travel and accommodation costs.

Irish delegation members will have the chance to:

  • attend the Toronto Documentary Forum (TDF), a unique presentation forum that assists independent documentary producers and their market partners to raise co-financing from the international marketplace. TDF is applauded as the most effective international market in North America for those working in the social, political and cultural documentary genres.
  • participate in the International Co-Production Day which includes an information session on financing and production in Ireland, a private networking session with other international documentary professionals and a luncheon.

They are also eligible to avail of a host of promotional opportunities and discounts (hotels, passes, entry in Docs for Sale). Discounted passes (half price) will allow admission to the TDF as an observer and to every film in the festival.

It is an excellent opportunity to meet key co-production partners and financiers from North America and around the world.

If you are planning on attending the festival and would like to be part of the Irish delegation please get in touch with Suzanne Murray before close of business on Friday 20th March.

To make an application for one of the bursaries, please download and complete the Application Form from the web site and email it along with an up-to-date CV to Sarah Dillon before close of business on Friday 20th March.

As the IFB is currently prioritizing the funding of feature documentaries with cinematic potential, these projects will be given priority for the bursary award.

Get LAB Space

19th March 2009 by Maura McHugh

Dublin City Council wishes to invite applications for the award of free incubation/workspace at The LAB. The award is intended to enable innovative arts companies/collectives to research and develop new work, over a period of up to six months, through the provision of work/rehearsal space. The space will be allocated to successful applicants on a rotation basis, from May 09 – May 2010.

Previous Awardees have included visual artists groups, multi-media collectives, theatre companies and dance/choreographic collectives.

Applicants should submit work/research proposal; ideal timeframe; anticipated achievements/benefit of use of incubation space; and details of applicants’ background to date.

Applications should be submitted to:

Foley Street
Dublin 1

Closing date for applications is 5pm, Friday April 10th, 2009, and information on how to apply is on the web site.

Heaney Wins David Cohen Prize

19th March 2009 by Maura McHugh

It was announced last night that Nobel Prize-winning Irish poet, author and playwright Seamus Heaney has been awarded the £40,000 David Cohen Prize for Literature.

The David Cohen Prize is a literary prize awarded every two years to a writer, novelist, short-story writer, poet, essayist or dramatist in recognition of an entire body of work, written in the English language. Previous winners include Derek Mahon, Harold Pinter, Doris Lessing, and V.S. Naipaul.

On receiving his prize this evening at a ceremony at the British Library, Heaney said: “First of all there’s the list of the previous winners, a roll call of the best; there’s the fact that you don’t enter for it but are chosen from the wide field of your contemporaries; and then there’s the verification of that reference to ‘lifetime achievement’” He called it “a lovely reward when offered by a panel of such distinguished writers and readers”.

The David Cohen prize judges – poet laureate Andrew Motion, novelist Rose Tremain, poet and critic Robert Crawford, Guardian journalist Maya Jaggi and Malawian poet Jack Mapanje – felt that the “self-renewing force of his writing, and the sheer scale of his achievement”, made the award of the prize “an absolutely right and proper act of recognition”.

Those who wish to be reminded of Heaney’s talent need only read his poem “In the Attic”, which was published last month in The New Yorker.