Archive for March, 2021

Shortlisted Finalists for Screenplay Award at Catalyst International Film Festival

19th March 2021

The Catalyst International Film Festival in association with the Writers Guild of Ireland (WGI) are delighted to announce the shortlisted finalists for the inaugural Screenplay Award for short film.

The shortlisted screenplays and writers are:

Sherry Trifle – Graham Molloy and Mo O’Connell

Focail Baile Croí – Katie McNeice

High Tea – Miriam Devitt

Abide With Me – Róisín Kearney

Shadow – Aisling Corristine

Divine Interventions – Shannon Welby

Butterfly Mountain – Helen Adams

The shortlisted screenplays will be considered by the jury of award winning screen winning writers:

Mark O’Halloran, Ailbhe Keogan, Paddy Slattery and Juanita Wilson

There will be a cash prize of €1,000 for the winner along with membership of WGI for a year, 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.

Jennifer Davidson, Chair of the Writers’ Guild of Ireland said, “I was delighted that we were able to support the Catalyst International Film Festival Screenwriting Award. It’s so important to see festivals champion screenwriting and screenwriters, and particularly a festival like Catalyst that has equality and diversity at its core. Awards like these are so important to writers, at any stage of their career, and I’m excited to see the talent that this award will highlight.”

Speaking about the award Festival Founder, Susan Liddy; “We are delighted with the response to Catalyst’s first Short Script Award and grateful to an outstanding jury in Mark O’Halloran, Juanita Wilson, Paddy Slattery and Ailbhe Keogan. Our thanks also to the Writers Guild of Ireland and particularly its chair, Jennifer Davidson, for supporting this inaugural award.”

The Catalyst International Film Festival will host the 2nd edition of the festival from Limerick via Eventive on 19th/20th March 2021, presenting a film programme that celebrates diverse stories and storytellers currently under-represented on screen and behind the camera.


Best Short Screenplay:

Winner – Focail Baile Croí  (Katie McNeice)

Runner Up – Butterfly Mountain (Helen Adams)

Special Mention – High Tea (Miriam Devitt)

WGI Membership Fees for 2021

3rd March 2021

Given the difficult financial circumstances of this past year for our members, the Guild have taken the decision to defer requesting the membership fee for 2021 from members, until the second quarter of this year. Members who can afford to pay this year’s membership fee now, please do so via this link:

For those of you who cannot currently pay the fee, please do not worry about this for the moment as we will contact all members in relation to this at a later date.

Equality, She Wrote

3rd March 2021

The Writers Guild of Ireland invites you to join us online on 8th March @ 12pm for a special webinar to celebrate International Women’s Day. Discussing their careers and their experiences as female writers with WGI Chair Jennifer Davidson will be Ursula Rani Sarma and Miriam Devitt. Dr Susan Liddy, Chair of WGI’s Equality Action Committee, will also join the panel to discuss the work being done to bring us closer to gender equality. As well as discussing their own careers, and their advice on how to navigate industry as a woman, the panel also will talk about their aspirations for the industry post the 50:50 by 2020 campaign and where the debate around equality and inclusion needs to go next.

This WGI Webinar is part of a series of webinars supported by Screen Skills Ireland through their Stakeholder Funding Scheme. WGI gratefully acknowledge the support of SSI for this event.

Register in advance for this webinar here.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Panellist Details


Photo Credit – Ste Murray

Miriam Devitt graduated from IADT with a First Class Masters in Screenwriting having won the Warner Bros Scholarship. Miriam has written and produced short films BarryRunning Commentary and The Space in Between, which she also co-directed. She was a regular writer and presenter for RTÉjr with such programmes as Pic-a-story, Shhh… Itʼs Quiet Time, and Storytime. She also wrote and presented the radio documentary The Last Picture Show for Raidio Corca Baiscinn. She is currently in development writing six-part TV crime drama Trace (Wildfire Films, with Screen Ireland funding) and dark comedy feature Dead Wrong (John Kelleher Media with the support of Sources 2/Creative Europe MEDIA). Miriam has been nominated for the Aer Lingus Discovery Award 2021 with Dublin International Film Festival.


Photo Credit – Helen Warner

Ursula Rani Sarma is an award-winning writer of Irish and Indian descent. She grew up in West Clare and is a graduate of University College Cork and Trinity College Dublin. She began writing, directing and producing plays while still a student. Since then she has written for The Abbey Theatre, The National Theatre London, the American Conservatory Theatre SF, Ambassador Theatre Group UK, Traverse Theatre, Paines Plough, BBC Radio and RTÉ Radio amongst many others. She began writing for the screen in 2010 with Raw (RTÉ) and since then has worked on other Irish series Red Rock and Smother. She was lead writer and Executive Producer on Series 3 of Delicious for Sky One in 2019 after joining the team and writing episode 3 for Series 2. Her award-winning short films include Robot and ScarecrowAnywhere But HereImpact, Gloria and Prodigal.

Ursula is currently writing numerous projects for the Abbey Theatre, the BBC, Channel 4, Film 4 and RTÉ, amongst others. Some of these include developing The Secret Lives of the Amir Sisters for Tiger Aspect/BBC (6×60″) and All That Remains for Dancing Ledge/BBC (6 x 60″). She is adapting the Sci Fi horror novel Outpost for Carnival Films and developing musical drama Something Happened at Lilipoint with 42. For film Ursula is adapting Erotic Stories by Punjabi Widows for Scottfree/Film4 and the true story of Ramla Ali, In the Shadows, for Sleeper Films/Film4. She is also adapting the novel The Survival Game into a feature for Blazing Griffin. Ursula ran the MA in Scriptwriting at Bath Spa University for ten years and continues to feed into the education of emerging scriptwriters whenever possible.


Dr. Susan Liddy is chair of the WGI Equality Action Committee. She is also chair of WFT Ireland and a board member of Women in Film and Television International and Raising Films Ireland. She lectures in the Department of Media and Communication Studies in MIC, University of Limerick.

Susan’s work includes Women in the Irish Film Industry: Stories and Storytellers (ed. 2020) and Women in the International Film Industry: Policy, Practice and Power (ed. 2020). She is currently co-authoring two industry reports: for the BAI and Raising Films Ireland. Her co-edited collection Media Work, Mothers and Motherhood: Negotiating the International Audio Visual Industry will be published by Routledge in April 2021. She is currently working on a collection about ageing women in the international screen industries.

Susan is the founder and co-director of Catalyst International Film Festival, Limerick – a festival that prioritises films from underrepresented groups, in front of and behind the camera.


Photo Credit – Alecia Hoyt

Currently writing for Ireland’s national soap opera, Fair City, Jennifer is an experienced screenwriter with a background in documentary production and development. She has a high-end TV series in development with Port Pictures and has originated a number of other TV series pitches and pilots which are currently available. Her work tends towards relationship drama and intergenerational conflict, and as a writer from North Mayo, with a strong west of Ireland flavour. Her short film Waiting For Tom was named Best Short Film at the London Irish Film Festival in 2015, while another short which she also directed, A Single Woman’s Guide To Life, was awarded a festival prize at the Chicago Irish Film Festival in 2016. In 2015, she attended the prestigious European TV Drama Lab in Berlin. In 2016 she was awarded Film Mayo’s inaugural Tyrone Guthrie Centre Bursary. Having served as the Guild’s Deputy Chair, she was elected Chair of the Writers’ Guild of Ireland in September 2020. Jennifer also sits on the Equality Action Committee and the Board of Raising Films (Ireland).

The Role of the Showrunner – Breaking the Mould

3rd March 2021

Screen Skills Ireland in association with MediaXchange are offering a webinar series The Role of the Showrunner – Breaking the Mould.

Date: Tuesday 23rd March – Thursday 15th April 2021, twice a week on Tuesday and Thursday
Duration: 8 x 60 minute sessions (4pm – 5pm)
Venue: Online
Cost: €100

Leading Showrunners will deliver acute insights into the dual role of developing and sustaining the vision of a show and managing the writing and production practices.

This webinar series aims to provide an opportunity for writers, producers and executives working in drama to consider and examine elements to apply to their own process. Providing inspiration, by comparing and contrasting the best practices shared by Showrunners of successful limited and returning drama series from the US. Each speaker will offer perspectives on their varied approaches, from the creation of the concept and pitching, through development, pre-production, production and post.


Terence Winter Tokyo Underworld, Vinyl, Boardwalk Empire, The Sopranos
David Shore House, The Good Doctor
Soo Hugh Pachinko, The Terror, The Killing
Todd Kessler Bloodline, Damages
Maria Feldman False Flag, Fauda, No Man’s Land
Cheo Hodari Coker Luke Cage, Southland
Adi Hasak The Box, Margeaux, Shades of Blue, Eyewitness
Sarah Timberman Unbelievable, Elementary, Masters of Sex, Justified
Susannah Grant Unbelievable, A Gifted Man, Erin Brockovich
Tuesday, March 23rd: Creating original shows from true stories, the challenges of mingling real and fictional characters
Thursday, March 25th: Showrunners and the role of Executive Producers
Tuesday March 30th: Finding creative freedom within superhero brands
Thursday April 1st: Spotlighting the key elements in securing, managing and directing your stars and cast
Tuesday, April 6th: Building lead characters in ensemble shows and how they help sustain the success of long running series
Thursday April 8th: Creating the vision for genre and period drama shows
Tuesday, April 13th: The Creator/Showrunner as a ‘creative studio’: practical comparisons between the US and international options
Thursday April 15th: Examining the collaborative partnership between Creators and Executive Producers

Participant Profile: Aimed at experienced writers, creative producers and executives who wish to gain further expertise in Showrunning and the associated developing, writing and producing for limited and returning television drama. Participants must have industry track record with at least two paid professional writing/producing/executive television credits.
Please apply online by 12pm on Thursday, 11th March 2021 with your up to date CV.

Apply here.

WGI would like to thank Screen Skills Ireland for acting on our suggestion to subsidize this excellent course to make it possible for Irish writers to participate. If we are to grow the International TV production model here, more and more Irish writers will need to step up to the role of Showrunner/ Executive Producer which is the dominant model in US and increasingly in the UK. This course will give Irish writers a really good insight into what that actually entails.