Archive for January, 2021

New Screenplay Award

21st January 2021

The Catalyst International Film Festival in association with the Writers Guild of Ireland (WGI) have announced a new Screenplay Award for short film.

The Catalyst International Film Festival will host the 2nd edition of the festival in Limerick in March 2021, presenting a film programme that prioritises stories and storytellers currently under-represented on screen and behind the camera. The festival is currently planning a hybrid version of the festival with online and in person events subject to Covid 19 restrictions.

The festival has partnered with the WGI in establishing this screenplay award. There will be a cash prize of €1,000 for the winner along with membership of WGI for a year and a trophy and book voucher. The runner up will receive a cash prize of €200 and membership of WGI for a year along with a trophy. The story, themes and/or characters of the screenplay should reflect the ethos of Catalyst International Film Festival – reflecting aspects of gender equality, diversity and/or inclusion.

The deadline for submissions is 8th February.

Full details of the short screenplay award along with terms and conditions can be found here. Submissions should be made via Film Freeway only.

Developing Your Project with Screen Ireland: in conversation with the Screen Ireland Project Development Team

12th January 2021

One of the more positive outcomes for screenwriters last year was very significant additional investment placed into development funding. Members of Screen Ireland’s project development team will outline the common pitfalls, and the qualities that successful applications tend to possess.

Questions will be welcomed during the session but discussion on individual projects will not be possible.

The webinar will take place 11am on Friday, 15th January.

WGI members will be emailed registration details.

Places are limited and registration is essential.

A New Year Message from WGI Director Hugh Farley Director

6th January 2021

Reasons To Be Cheerful…

A very happy New Year to all our members across the country. Though the return to severe Coronavirus restrictions doesn’t exactly infuse the usual sense of joy, I am optimistic that 2021 will prove to be something of a watershed year for professional writers.

The upside of the pandemic was an unprecedented focus on development with more money available to option or commission scripts. WGI won an additional €100,000 of support for writers from SI in measures announced to offset the economic impact of the virus in 2020. Not to mention the increase in indirect funding through supports from producers and directors to commission or option new work. We will be campaigning to ensure that as many of these new works can continue to be supported through to production and to copper fasten development funding in 2021.

There is an increased appetite for cooperation and consensus-building within our sector that is most welcome. For example, Screen Ireland is formulating its three-year policy at present. They have retained Crowe Howarth as external consultants who are launching a major round of consultation with stakeholders throughout the industry. I would urge you to make your voice heard either through individual submissions or as part of a sectoral panel.

RTE and TG4 took the initiative to convene a sectoral group which comprises Animation Ireland, Screen Producers Ireland, Screen Directors Guild of Ireland and ourselves. Economics thinktank Indecon was commissioned to write a report setting out the case for a new levy on external media suppliers such as the streamers and Sky (provided for in the EU AVMS directive) that could net a significant amount of new money to invest in the development and production of new TV drama. WGI’s participation in the group ensured that support for writers would be embedded in the scheme. That report has now gone to government and will need vigorous campaigning over the next 18 months to see that the proposals are framed in new legislation.

Other reasons to be cheerful are legislative changes that can only improve the lot of the working writer. The transposition of the European Copyright Directive into Irish law (expected by July) will ensure that producers must provide accurate annualised statements to writers detailing the sales achieved on each production to which they have participated in.  If it has performed unexpectedly well the writer may be entitled to additional ‘fair and proportionate remuneration’.

The European Competition Directorate intends to enact legislation within the next year or so that will allow guilds to collectively bargain on behalf of members (currently prohibited) which will enable us to be able fight more effectively for your rights.

Finally, and most excitingly, we have received some new funding from the Arts Council which will enable us to overhaul our website, newsletter and overall online communications. We’re committed to bringing you a lot more content news, interviews and practical information that will enable you to navigate your career more effectively. You’ll be  hearing about more online seminars, networking opportunities and simply social online meet ups, starting with a session with Screen Ireland’s project managers coming soon.

So, raise a glass, writers. Blue skies are on the way.


Hugh Farley