Archive for the ‘industry’ Category

West End Remains Popular

19th April 2010 by Maura McHugh

According to the Hollywood Reporter theatre is still proving very popular in the UK despite the recession, and the latest figures reveal that attendance at the West End in London hit 14 million last year and box office revenue made a record £500 million.

The current success owes to several factors, not least of which is a high standard of excellence. Critics have joined the public in being generally bowled over by the range and quality of what has been presented of late.

Two more reasons for the growing appreciation of what’s onstage: The lackluster state of British film and television means local talent is gravitating to the theater; and the development of well-trained directors.

Says Almeida artistic director Michael Attenborough: “TV in the U.S. is infinitely stronger. Most U.K. sitcoms are pathetically vulgar and crude.”

Meanwhile, the current crop of top stage directors is among the most innovative and distinctive to date, with Rupert Goold (“Enron”), Michael Grandage (“Hamlet,” “Red”), Howard Davies (“All My Sons”), Christopher Morahan (“The Caretaker”), Ian Rickson (“Jerusalem”) and Nicholas Hytner (“London Assurance,” “The Habit of Art”) following in the footsteps of Sam Mendes, Richard Eyre, Stephen Daldry and Trevor Nunn.

Says Burns simply, “We train great directors.” It shows.

Burns, who runs Nimax Theatres with U.S. producer Max Weitzenhoffer, adds: “Not only are more people coming, they’re paying more money to see the plays and musicals. Last year, it was a coincidence that so many plays came to fruition in one performing year. It was very much the year of the play. But that doesn’t mean the musicals were struggling — it means the plays did better.”

Stranger Than Fiction 2010

15th April 2010 by Maura McHugh

The Documentary Film Festival, Stranger than Fiction, kicks off today in the IFI in Dublin, with the première of Pyjama Girls directed by Maya Derrington. The film was produced by Maya and Nicky Gogan for Still Films, who will both be in attendance for a Q&A session afterwards.

Filmbase is hosting a free panel session “The Honest Truth: Ethics in Documentary” in Cinema 3 at 11am Friday 16th April, about how documentary filmmakers deal with the conflicting responsibilities to their subjects, their viewers and their own artistic visions.

Alan Maher, IFB Production Executive will chair this panel which will include Maya Derrington (Pyjama Girls), Dr. Harvey O’Brien (UCD), Ciarín Scott (Waiting for the Light) and Ken O’Shea (RTÉ). The session is a free, ticketed event, and tickets can be collected from the IFI box office.

The discussion is the first of a day-long series of free panel events taking place as part of the festival.

The following two days will features screenings of Irish and International documentaries.

Irish Pavilion in Cannes

6th April 2010 by Maura McHugh

Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board (IFB) has announced that registration for membership of the Irish Pavilion at the Cannes Film Festival 2010 is now open.

This year, the Irish Pavilion will retain its central position at the heart of the international village and will continue to offer vital business services to its members for the duration of the festival.

Registration is open only to Irish companies or individuals working in the Irish film industry.

Details on how to register are on the web site.

The deadline for application is Friday 9th April 2010 and membership of the Irish Pavilion is not Market or Festival Accreditation.

The Irish Pavilion is a Bord Scannán na hÉireann/ the Irish Film Board initiative.

Please note that there was an incorrect fax number listed on the official application form. All forms should be faxed to 091 561 405 (If have faxed your form to 01 6773394 you will need resend your application). The application form has now been amended and includes the correct fax number of 091 561 405.

Byrne New Cultural Ambassador

22nd March 2010 by Maura McHugh

On St. Patrick’s Day Taoiseach Brian Cowen announced that actor Gabriel Byrne had been appointed as Ireland’s new cultural ambassador.

The appointment grew in part from recommendations by the Global Irish Economic Forum at Farmleigh last autumn, and is rooted in the connection between culture and the economy, Mr Cowen said.

Mr Byrne’s appointment precedes what the Taoiseach called “an ambitious season of Irish arts in the US in 2011″, whose goal will be “showcasing the Irish creative imagination, showcasing world-class Irish artists and companies, and reinvesting in our unique cultural relationship with America”.

Byrne said American audiences had a “very limited view of Irish art. It’s Druid [theatre company], Brian Friel, the Anglo-Irish stew of Yeats . . . and there’s U2. There’s a whole other life – great young conceptual artists, film-making, people writing who wouldn’t have written 15 or 20 years ago. Right now, there are four major Broadway productions that are Irish.”

Lest Irish citizens begrudge funds devoted to the arts, Byrne reminded them that “America is a giant market for Irish culture. And it speaks English, and it receives us with tremendous good will. To a great extent, our culture is what defines us.”

Leaving a meeting with US secretary of state Hillary Clinton, Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin noted that Byrne “has already been very active on the cultural front, advancing the cause of Ireland”. He mentioned Byrne’s role in helping to develop the Irish Cultural Centre in New York, for which the city of New York is contributing $20 million (€14.5 million).

Mr Martin praised Niall Burgess, Ireland’s Consul General in New York, for involving Byrne, Liam Neeson and the writers Colum McCann and Colm Tóibín in so many events. “It’s extraordinary that two of the best contemporary novels about New York were written by Irish people,” Mr Martin said.

Martin Cullen, as Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism, is credited with making the biggest push for Byrne’s appointment to the unpaid position. Byrne will work closely with Eugene Downes, the chief executive of Culture Ireland. The role will not necessarily be limited to the US, Mr Downes said, predicting that Byrne “will develop an inclusive vision that reaches out from the Irish arts community internationally”.

Let’s hope this new zeal for the Arts from the Irish government translates into better funding in the coming years.

Discussion with Kavanagh

10th March 2010 by Maura McHugh

The IFI in Dublin is hosting an in-depth discussion with Irish director Ivan Kavanagh, and the cast of his new film, The Fading Light, at 4pm on Saturday 13th March.

The Fading Light, the fifth feature from fiercely independent up-and-coming Irish director Ivan Kavanagh, opens exclusively at the IFI on 12th March and we are delighted to host a conversation with the director and his cast at 4pm on Saturday 13th March. The emotionally visceral style that has become Kavanagh’s trademark springs from the rigorous background work on each character undertaken by his actors before the plot is revealed to them step-by-step during filming. His previous feature, Our Wonderful Home (2008), will also be screened earlier that day at 2.30pm.

The Q&A with Kavanagh and the cast is free but ticketed. Call the IFI Box Office on 01 679 3477 to reserve your tickets.