Archive for the ‘Europe’ Category

Save our Scripts

17th February 2010 by Maura McHugh

The Bureau Film Company is launching a new MEDIA-funded development programme called SOS: Save Our Scripts.

The SOS development programme is currently searching Europe for emerging producers and screenwriters.

Writers will develop their selected one page idea to a full length script, which will then receive feedback from financiers and key industry figures. Alongside this the producers will build their development skills, and new relationships with the participating writers, producers, and industry contacts.

The training will run from May until December and is made up of 3 intensive workshops and a number of one to one virtual script meetings. The workshops will take place in the UK, France and Belgium, and will be composed of a range of writing exercises, master-classes, and peer to peer development.

Writers must be able to display the strength of their writing ability, but cannot have had more than one feature film produced.

More information on the application process is on the web site – note a new web site for the programme will be launched soon.

The deadline for entries is the February 26, 2010.

If selected, the Initial Development fee is £250, and the Final Development fee is £250.

European Commisson Tackles Digitisation and Copyright

21st October 2009 by Maura McHugh

The European Commission had adopted a Communication on Copyright in the Knowledge Economy, which aims to tackle the issue of legal challenges of mass-scale digitisation and dissemination of books, particularly in relation to the European library collections.

The Communication was jointly drawn up by Commissioners Charlie McCreevy and Viviane Reding. Digital libraries such as Europeana will provide researchers and consumers across Europe with new ways to gain access to knowledge. For this, however, the EU will need to find a solution for orphan works, whose uncertain copyright status means they often cannot be digitised. Improving the distribution and availability of works for persons with disabilities, particularly the visually impaired, is another cornerstone of the Communication.

On adoption, Commissioners McCreevy and Reding stressed that the debate over the Google Books Settlement in the United States once again has shown that Europe could not afford to be left behind on the digital frontier.

“We must boost Europe as a centre of creativity and innovation. The vast heritage in Europe’s libraries cannot be left to languish but must be made accessible to our citizens”, Commissioner McCreevy, responsible for the Internal Market, stated.

Commissioner Reding, in charge of Information Society and Media, said: “Important digitisation efforts have already started all around the globe. Europe should seize this opportunity to take the lead, and to ensure that books digitisation takes place on the basis of European copyright law, and in full respect of Europe’s cultural diversity. Europe, with its rich cultural heritage, has most to offer and most to win from books digitisation. If we act swiftly, pro-competitive European solutions on books digitisation may well be sooner operational than the solutions presently envisaged under the Google Books Settlement in the United States.”

The Communication addresses the actions that the Commission intends to launch: digital preservation and dissemination of scholarly and cultural material and of orphan works, as well as access to knowledge for persons with disabilities. The challenges identified by the Commission today stem from last year’s public consultation on a Green Paper ( IP/08/1156 ), the Commission’s High Level Group on Digital Libraries and the experiences gained with Europe’s Digital Library Europeana (IP/09/1257).

The recent information hearings held by the Commission on the Google Books Settlement Agreement highlighted the anomalous situation that would arise were the

Settlement to be approved, namely that the vast number of European works in U.S. libraries that have been digitised by Google would only be available to consumers and researchers in the U.S. but not in Europe itself. Ensuring that Europeans are given access to their own cultural heritage, while European authors are fairly remunerated, is therefore of immediate concern and will require European responses, as recently stressed jointly by Commissioners Reding and McCreevy (MEMO/09/376)

Digital Preservation and Dissemination

The Commission will now engage in a stakeholder dialogue to find viable solutions for simple and cost-efficient rights clearance covering mass-scale digitisation and the online dissemination of library collections still protected by copyright. This concerns both out-of-print works and orphan works, i.e. works whose owner cannot be identified or located.

Orphan Works

The digitisation and dissemination of orphan works pose a particular cultural and economic challenge – the absence of a known rightholder means that users are unable to obtain the required authorisation, e.g. a book cannot be digitised. Orphan works represent a substantial part of the collections of Europe’s cultural institutions (e.g., the British Library estimates that 40 percent of its copyrighted collections are orphan 1 ). The Commission will now examine this phenomenon more in detail via an impact assessment. The aim is for an EU-wide solution to facilitate the digitisation and dissemination of orphan works and the establishment of common ‘due diligence’ standards to recognise orphan status across the EU. First progress in this respect has already been made by the ARROW (Accessible Registries of Rights information and Orphan works) project which gathers national libraries, collective management organisations and publishers and is co-funded by the European Commission under the eContent plus programme (€ 2.5 million). This project (launched in November 2008 ) is aimed at identifying rights holders and clarifying the rights status of a work, including whether it is out of print or orphan: “The EU-funded ARROW project is a first step to link Europe’s different rights registries and make it easier to identify rights holders,” said Commissioners Reding and McCreevy today: ” We call on national libraries, collective management organisations and publishers to build on this good start and work with the Commission to develop a pro-competitive and pan-European system of book registries that will allow for cross-border licensing under a transparent and affordable pricing system, while ensuring a fair remuneration of authors.”

Access for Persons with Disabilities

Persons with disabilities experience obstacles in accessing information. In particular, visually impaired people experience a “book famine” – only 5% of European publications are available in accessible formats, a situation compounded by restrictions on cross-border distribution, even between countries sharing a language. A stakeholder forum on the needs of disabled persons, in particular visually impaired persons, will examine policy responses, including ways to encourage the unencumbered EU trade of works in accessible formats.

Irish eQuinoxe

13th October 2009 by Maura McHugh

Irish screenwriters Brian Ó Tiomáin and Shane Grealy Perez have been chosen as part of a group of nine European writers to attend the latest Equinoxe screenwriting workshop currently being held in Elmau, Bavaria in Germany.

The residential workshop sees experienced industry advisors work intensively with screenwriters on selected scripts. Advisors include James V Hart, writer of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and renowned script supervisor An gela Allen, who started her career on The Third Man and went on to work with countless luminaries and thirteen of John Huston’s films.

Brian Ó Tiomáin is from Dublin and writes in Irish and English and has won prizes in the Oireachtas Irish language literary awards over the last five consecutive years. He has been selected for Equinoxe with Dublin Stories, a coming-of-age story about two inner city boys growing up on the periphery of a gang war.

Transplanted New Yorker Shane Perez resides in Galway and comes to Equinoxe with his screenplay Blood & Sand, about a soldier serving in Iraq who discovers he fathered a son during the first Gulf War 14 years earlier. Blood & Sand won Best Screenplay at the London Independent Film Festival in March 2009.

The Equinoxe Screenwriting Workshop runs twice a year and the next workshop will be taking place in the West of Ireland in April 2010. The deadline for applications for the workshop is 3 November 2009.

MEDIA New Talent Info

25th September 2009 by Maura McHugh

Filmbase, in association with MEDIA Desk Ireland and FÁS Screen Training Ireland, is hosting an information session for audiovisual professionals. The session is aimed at emerging talent within the film and digital media sectors (particularly emerging producers, directors, writers and writer/directors).

The session intends to give those unfamiliar with the full range of supports for Irish audiovisual professionals available under the EU MEDIA Funding Programme a better understanding of relevant opportunities. This will be a strong focus on the variety of Training opportunities provided under the MEDIA Programme as these have been particularly successful for Irish talent in the past.

The session will take place at Filmbase, Curved Street, Temple Bar, Dublin on Wednesday 14th October from 1.30 – 3.00 pm.

Places are free but must be reserved in advance. To register your interest in attending please RSVP to info1@mediadesk.ie.

10 Arguments for the Arts

21st September 2009 by Maura McHugh

Those of us looking to construct an argument about the relevancy of the Arts to society would be well advised to notice that the Council of Europe recognises this vital connection, and funds an organisation, Culture Watch Europe (CWE), whose remit is “the presentation and exchange of information and good practice in the broad sectors of culture and cultural and natural heritage. Based on the Organisation’s fundamental principles of human rights, democracy and the rule of law, CWE offers an innovative and evidence-based understanding of cultural and heritage developments in Europe.”

It offers a document called “Culture: A Tool For Reversing Recession: Ten Arguments For Use By Ministers”.

This paper sets out ten arguments that Ministers of Culture can use in discussions with their colleagues – especially Finance and Prime ministers – when annual budgets come under scrutiny. It suggests reasons why cultural investment can be an important tool in combating the effects of recession and – perhaps more importantly – leading the way back to prosperity. The arguments also help Ministers of Culture make common cause with those responsible for employment generation, social cohesion, security and education. Every country will have its own examples and statistics to back up the arguments. Similarly each can develop new proposals based on them for restructuring and regeneration. The arguments are as useful at the intergovernmental, regional and local levels as they are at the national. Indeed they can be part of any municipality’saction plan.

I think it’s wonderful for the EU to offer us this coherent strategy for combating budget cuts in relation to culture. If European ministers can use these arguments, so can you!