Thankfully, then, there was good news to report for IFTN from the SEFF’s awards announcements, with Irish / Dutch co-production ‘Nothing Personal’ bagging second prize in the Official Selection competition.
Irish / Dutch co-production ‘Nothing Personal’ took home the Silver Giraldillo award at last week’s Seville European Film Festival. The film, from first-time Dutch director Urszula Antoniak, was recognised by the Nicolas Roeg chaired jury and received €25,000 in prize money.
‘Nothing Personal’ was co-produced by Fastnet Films’ Macdara Kelleher and Morgan Bushe, and filmed on location in Connemara. It follows a growing intimacy between a young runaway played by Dutch actress Lotte Verbeek and Stephen Rea’s reclusive wax-jacket clad loner in the Galway drizzle. The low-budget feature has already won the Best First Film and Best Actress awards at this year’s Locarno Film Festival and five prizes including Best Film at the 2009 Dutch Film Festival.
This year’s SEFF featured a heavy Irish presence. The festival opened with a gala screening of Danis Tanovic’s new 1980’s Dublin set ‘Triage’ and the film’s lead Colin Farrell and producer Alan Moloney took to the red carpet alongside co-stars Paz Vega and Christopher Lee. Lance Daly’s low-budget Dublin fable ‘Kisses’ screened in the European Film Academy Selection, while Irish director Ken Wardrop’s short ‘The Herd’ was part of the European Film Academy selected Short Matters! ’09 selection. ‘Fish Tank’, starring Irish actor Michael Fassbender and directed by British helmer Andrea Arnold, competed in the festival’s Official Selection.
To read the rest of the article on the IFTN.ie website, click here.
Blogging the Seville European Film Festival for Filmandfestivals.com wasn’t easy, but I really enjoyed it. Taking in 28 films over nine days was challenging enough, but obviously well worth it.
Highlights included British / Chinese feature ‘She, a Chinese’, a kind of melancholy road movie where a young Chinese girl travels man by man from her small village in rural China to London, intelligent Corsican-set prison movie ‘Un Prophete’ from French director Jacques Audiard and ‘Brothers’ – a Swiss film about internal strife in Israeli society. Two documentaries also stood out – ‘Kill the Referee’, a fly on the wall insight into refereeing at the 2008 European football championship and ‘The Matador’, a fairly balanced look at bullfighting, that most Spanish form of sport / artistic endeavour / animal cruelty .
Not so much fun were Colin Farrell as a 1980′s Dublin war-photographer in Triage, the ludicrous Wild Grass from Alain Resnais and the just frankly bad L’ultimo Pulcinella from Italian director Maurizio Scaparro.
There were also plenty of most interesting and exciting side events to attend. There were press conferences with the likes of Nicolas Roeg, Ben Kingsley and John Hurt at the top table, an enthralling masterclass on indie cinema in a globalised world with ‘She, a Chinese’ director and force of nature Xiaolu Guo and a number of nice free drink / networking opportunities throughout the week.
So, all in all, I can’t complain. To read all eight (read ‘em) blog posts – click here to access the filmandfestivals.com festivals blog. Or you can wait until I get them all nicely arranged into a suitable section of this website. Hmm, I should do that soon.
For the record the SEFF’s top award – the Giraldillo de Oro Seccion Oficial – went to Austrian director Jessica Hausner’s ‘Lourdes’, a thought provoker of a film about a miracle which I saw and liked, but was not blown away by. The runner up was Connemara set and Stephen Rea starring ‘Nothing Personal’, which I unfortunately was unable to attend, while third came British director Malcolm Venville’s cockney noir ’44″ Chest’, which I thought was very very good. ‘Un Prophete’ picked up the audience award, while Hungarian director Roland Vranik won best director for the dystopic ‘Transmission’ and Spanish documentary ‘Garbo, the man who saved the world’ won the Eurodocs section. A full list of prizes / winners etc is through here on the SEFF official site.
As hinted at in the post title I’m blogging the Seville European Film Festival, which started yesterday and runs until 14th of the month.
The blog is for UK film website www.filmandfestivals.com, and should be running daily between now and Sunday week. The first post went up yesterday – it’s a preview of the event and taster of what’s to come.
As it’s the Seville European Film Festival there’s a huge variety of films being screened in and out of competition from all over the continent, and just outside. The Official Selection competition features, among many others, a Czech World War II film, Danish/Spanish romance set in Seville and a Hebrew language film set among intermingled Israeli and Palestinian families. There’s also a heavy British flavour to this year’s festival, including a selection of Nicolas Roeg’s finest work and a ‘Treasures of the British Institute’ presentation. The lastest offerings from top Euro-directors Michael Haneke (The White Ribbon), Ken Loach (Looking for Eric), Alain Resnais (Wild Grass), Pedro Almodóvar (Los Abrazos Rotos) and Andrzej Wajda (Sweet Rush) are also all lined up.
Some of the other stand-out films I’m hoping to see (and then blog about) over the course of the next nine days include the interestingly titled new Shane Meadows pic Le Donk & Scor-zay-zee, a Dutch-Irish co-production with my favourite Irish actor Stephen Rea (Nothing Personal from Urszula Antoniak), a bullfighting double-bill, Men on the Bridge (a German / Turkish co-production telling the story of three men working on the Bosphorus Bridge in Istanbul, starring real-life protagonists) and documentaries about Italian democracy (Videocracy from Erik Gandini) and the loneliness of being an international football referee (Kill the Referee by Yves Hinant). I am definitely looking forward to the week’s work.
To read the full post, follow the following link to the filmandfestivals festival blog. And keep an eye there, as daily posts will follow.
I’ve a piece on the Irish Film & Television network (IFTN.ie) today, previewing the Seville European Film Festival which starts on Friday, and bigging up the quite considerable Irish presence.
As the piece says:
‘Triage’, produced by Alan Moloney’s Parallel Films, supported by the Irish Film Board, and starring Colin Farrell as a war photographer trying to overcome his recent experiences in Kurdistan, opens the festival and is included in the festival’s Official Selection competition. Triage is written and directed by acclaimed Bosnian filmmaker Danis Tanovic, and also stars Seville born actress Paz Vega alongside Sandra Ni Bhroin, Ian McElhinney and Eileen Walsh.
Also competing for the Offical Selection award is the Dutch / Irish feature Nothing Personal, which is directed by Urszula Antoniak and stars Lotte Verbeek as a rebellious Dutch youngster who moves to Connemara where she befriends a wise and ironic Stephen Rea.
Lance Daly’s low-budget Dublin fable ‘Kisses’ is included in the European Film Academy Selection, alongside the latest offerings by such notables as Michael Haneke (The White Ribbon), Ken Loach (Looking for Eric) and Andrzej Wajda (Sweet Rush). Daly will be hoping to follow his ‘best director’ award at the 2009 Irish Film & Television Awards with another prize.
Irish director Ken Wardrop’s short ‘The Herd’ is one of 13 films competing for the Best European Short Film of the Year award, presented by the European Film Academy, in the festival’s Short Matters! ’09 selection.
Read the whole article at the IFTN.ie website here.
The Seville European Film Festival starts on Friday. It’s got over 150 films from all 29 countries over nine days. Guests lined up to attend include John Hurt, Nicolas Roeg, Jeremy Thomas, Armando Ianucci, Sören Staermose, Vittorio Storaro and (hopefully) Seville’s own Paz Vega.
It’s even more exciting for me as I plan to blog daily from the festival – giving my thoughts and impressions from as many different films and events as I can manage, as well as hopefully grabbing some of the directors and organisers for quick comments here and there. The blog should be appearing on www.filmandfestivals.com and I’m also hopefully filing reports and features for various other publications in Spain, Ireland and further afield (TBC).
Should be fun. Check back soon.
For more on the Seville European Film Festival festival, including full film schedule and guests and events lined up – try its official website.
Sunday Business Post – Done Deal page – Jun 14 2009
Read the article on the Sunday Business Post website by clicking here.
The Irish Film Institute (IFI) has announced plans to invest €1.7 million in the redevelopment of its premises in Dublin’s Temple Bar.
As part of the project, said IFI director Sarah Glennie, the Eustace Street facility will get a new 60-seat cinema to screen films and documentaries. The institute already has two cinemas as well as onsite retail, pub and restaurant facilities.
‘‘This is much-needed work for the IFI. We are very tight at the moment, with two screens. This will really let us expand our activities and show new films for longer, as well as different seasons and sorts of programmes,” said Glennie.
The new cinema would have digital projection technology enhancing historical and independent screenings from the Irish Film Archive and emerging Irish filmmakers, Glennie said.
‘‘We are the home of the Irish Film Archive, which is an incredible resource of Irish heritage. We will be able to really expand the amount of material for people to experience. We will also look at more education programmes and courses,” she said.
The design for the revamp, by O’Donnell & Tuomey Architects, follows an earlier upgrade to the Eustace Street facility by the same architects, dating back to 1992.
‘‘The feeling of the merging of the modern with the old listed building will remain, but the experience will be better,” said Glennie. ‘‘On entering the building, you will come into a dedicated film and bookshop, which will really signal what the IFI is about. The bar, which is a very important source of income for us, will have a much-needed facelift, and there will be new washroom, box office and information facilities.”
Glennie said that funding for the €1.7 million project had come from a mix of public and private sources.
‘‘We were awarded an access to capital grant of €1.2million from the Department of Arts, Sports and Tourism in 2007. We then had to secure matched funding. We got an anonymous private donation, and the remaining amount came from ourselves,” she said.
“Building work will commence on the site on July 6.The cinema will remain open for the duration of the project. We will be open throughout the summer in the evenings and all weekend. The build work will be revealed in stages and finally complete by the end of October,” said Glennie.
The IFI’s most recent published accounts, for the 12 months of 2007, show turnover of €1.7 million. It employs 60 staff.
The IFI is preparing to host the ‘Stranger than Fiction’ documentary festival, which opens on June 18.
‘‘There is a very strong programme of new international and Irish documentary films. The highlights include the Irish premiere of the Michael Moore-style corporate infiltration documentary, The Yes Men Fix The World,” said Glennie. ‘‘It will also mark the world premiere of a very interesting film called ‘The Liberties’ by young Irish film-makers, which looks at the history and key characters of Dublin’s Liberties area.”
IFTN.ie – News Story – Jan 14 2009
Read this story online at the iftn.ie website by clicking here.
It is not the first place you might expect to stumble across an extensive programme of Irish animated films, but audiences at last month’s PAF animated film festival in Olomouc, Czech Republic were treated to a season of 50 plus Irish animations running to a total of over eight hours.
Film-makers whose work was shown ranged from established figures such as Aidan Hickey and Deane Taylor to newer directors like Rory Bresnihan and Jason Tammemägi, while animations from studios Cartoon Saloon, Monster Films, Boulder Media, Brown Bag, JAM Media and many others also featured.
PAF’s programme manager, Kateřina Surmanová, said the festival’s Irish season had been warmly received by the local audiences.
“We were very happy with the Irish programme,” Surmanová told IFTN. “During the festival many people told me that they were surprised by the high quality of Irish animation and asked us where they could get copies of the films we showed. PAF wants to introduce national animations that are not widely known here in the Czech Republic and Irish cinema is almost unknown here.”
Ross Murray, Ross Stewart and Tom Moore from Cartoon Saloon were guests of the festival. Stewart and Murray gave a presentation outlining the genesis of their new Disney-distributed animated feature ‘Brendan and the Secret of Kells’ (on general release in Ireland from March 6th), while Murray talked about the practicalities of competing on an international stage from a smallish studio in Kilkenny. Diarmuid O’Brien and Mathew Lloyd from the Irish School of Animation at Ballyfermot College of Further Education also attended.
PAF ran from December 11th to 14th in Olomouc, a city 300 kms east of Prague. Austrian filmmaker and film theorist Peter Kubelka was another special guest, giving two energetic lectures on animation history and practice. Japanese composer and visual artist Ryoji Ikeda and Czech improvisation trio Mikroloops both contributed to the festival’s ‘Live Animation’ strand, where film-makers or audience members used the ‘Polyekran’ technique to animate in real time using fractured images on multiple screens.
The festival also featured an ‘Adult Animation’ season, built around the work of US auteur Ralph Bakshi and included a screening of his X-rated ‘Fritz the Cat’ (1972). Czech film-maker Miloš Tomić ran a pixilation technique workshop, while young Czech director Martin Kohout won the PAF ‘Other Visions’ award for his YouTube inspired short ‘Moonwalk’.
For more info on the festival check out www.pifpaf.cz, and click on the English icon in the top right hand corner of the screen.
The reason I wrote about this for IFTN is that I travelled to the festival to give a talk about the history of Irish animation to give some context for the films being shown. Here’s the proof.
Sunday Business Post – Media & Marketing – April 8 2007
Eamon Dunphy, George Hook and Tom Dunne have all answered the call of the networks and are starring in television shows produced specially for mobile phones, writes Dermot Corrigan
Irish mobile phone networks are now offering a variety of original TV content that users can watch on the latest mobile handsets. However, opinions differ across the sector as to how the dedicated ‘made-for-mobile’ content space will develop.
O2, Vodafone and 3 have all produced and broadcasted dedicated mobile TV content for their users in the recent past. Most of these shows are fronted by well known personalities, and they generally feature entertainment or sports content.
David Riley, Head of Entertainment with 3 in Ireland, said: “We see a gap in the marketplace particuarly for compelling personality-driven TV content, Football and music are two of the strongest content areas.”
3′s dedicated mobile TV programming includes music show The Hive with Today FM presenter Tom Dunne and Eamon Dunphy’s Last Word on Football. The Hive is a fortnightly music magazine-style show, featuring live performances and interviews from Irish and international bands, gig guides, album reviews, and a download music chart.
Dunphy’s Last Word on Football is a twice-weekly programme where the controversial pundit gives his characteristically forthright views and predictions on English Premiership developments and the other football news of the day. It is filmed on Thursdays and a preview is available for download on Fridays. The actual 15-minute TV show comes out on Monday, when it is streamed.
O2’s TV mobile specific TV programming continues the sporting theme. Rod O’Callaghan, Head of Entertainment Services with O2 Ireland, said the company launched The Snug with George Hook and Brent Pope in the run up to the Six Nations rugby championship. This was a pre and post-match analysis programme for rugby fans available on I-Mode handsets and also on O2.ie.
“We also offered Brian O’Driscoll’s Six Nations diary which was available on I-Mode and O2.ie exclusively,” said O’Callaghan.
Vodafone is not as confident about the potential success of made for mobile TV content in the Irish market. When they launched their 3G service in November, 2004, it included a free-to-view TV show called Access Music TV with Dave Fanning.
This was a 15 minute package of highlights from Fanning’s back catalogue of music television programming, with the RTE DJ providing a linking voiceover.
“We tried it and it worked very well initially for us,” said Sarah Chapman, Head of Content Services with Vodafone Ireland. “But when we added access to music TV channels such as The Box we found that customers prefer the usability and variety of programming that was available within that mobile TV offering, so we did not continue with the service.”
Chapman said that Vodafone have no plans at present to produce any more original content for distribution over their mobile network.
“We try and play to our core strengths,” she said. “We have found mobile TV customers want a large channel line-up, and partnering with somebody like Sky makes the overall customer proposition the best it can be.”
Vodafone’s mobile TV packages include the Sky News & Sports Pack, Sky Entertainment Pack and Sky Music packs, as well as Premiership football highlights. O2 and 3 also provide a variety of existing television programming, which is adapted in-house for viewing on a mobile phone screen, including news, sport, weather and comedy shows. Meteor do not currently offer any made for mobile or existing TV content.
O’Callaghan said that O2 were observing the market closely to see if customers prefer made for mobile content over conventional TV programmes.
“We believe there is scope for both original and existing TV content,” he said. “We are currently conducting a mobile TV trial in the greater Dublin area. This is broadcast TV on mobile, as you would see it on TV at home. 350 customers are trialling it at the moment on the Nokia N92. We will be in a position to compare the results at the end of this trial.”
The networks declined to give out specific information on the download numbers of their made for mobile TV offerings, however both 3 and O2 said they were happy with the take-up from users.
“Usage figures are commercially sensitive however the demand we have seen so far for these services is extremely encouraging and it continues to grow as customers become more familiar with these services,” said O’Callaghan.
Riley said that more than half of 3′s Irish customers watch TV content on their mobiles.
Both O2 and 3 are happy to press on and continue to commission and offer made for mobile TV programming.
“We have seen a significant increase in the uptake of these services and this has been encouraging,” said O’Callaghan. “As technology evolves more applications will become available. We will continue to explore the area of content and will assess further opportunities as they arise.”
“3 is looking at a number of different opportunities at the moment,” said Riley. “I think the entertainment space on mobiles is going to develop greatly. TV made for mobile is a strong success story.”
At present most mobile TV in Ireland is viewed 3G handsets (3, O2 and Vodafone) or I-Mode enabled handsets (O2). Last September ComReg awarded special licenses to O2 and 3 to broadcast television over a competing technology to 3G called Digital Video Broadcasting over Handhelds (DVB-H).
Made for mobile TV content is generally offered at no extra charge to both bill pay and pre-pay subscribers. Users can be asked to pay for existing content. For example a weekly subscription to Vodafone’s Sky News Channel costs €1.99, while watching a Little Britain or Fr Ted clip on a 3 mobile costs 49c.
The mobile providers typically use small independent production houses to produce their made for mobile TV content.
For example the Dunphy football and Hook rugby shows are produced by Random Thoughts Media, a Dublin based digital media company. Ballywire Media and Videos On The Net are two other independents who provide televisual content for O2.
Sunday Business Post – Agenda Section – 11 Mar 2007
Outlaw opens with Gene Dekker (Danny Dyer) and his fiancé being physically attacked by a group of chavvish youths. The next scene shows a bloodied and battered Dekker confront the assailants with a gun, but he cannot bring himself to pull the trigger. This turns out to be a dream, however he is soon beaten up in an uncannily similar incident.
Dekker decides he must do something about the random violence, injustice and corruption that appears to dominate his world, and he teams up with an unlikely assortment of similarly disenfranchised angry young men.
They decide to take the law into their own hands, and wreak revenge on criminal elements who have hurt them and are dragging society down.
The leader of the gang is Bryant (Sean Bean), who returns from army service in Afghanistan to find his wife living with another man. Hillier (Sean Harris), is a scrawny security guard whose previous convictions for football hooliganism meant he was unable to follow his army dreams.
Monroe (Lennie James) is a barrister whose pregnant wife is murdered by associates of the gangland boss he is attempting to prosecute, while Sandy (Rupert Friend) is a floppy haired Cambridge university student recently hospitalised after a random street attack.
Following a rousing speech by Bryant, they all agree to stand up for themselves, as nobody else – not the corrupt police, not pompous politicians – seems to care.
This unlikely vigilante group are assisted by Lewis (Bob Hoskins), a straight cop whose years of loyal service have been spent watching less principled colleagues regularly promoted ahead of him. Lewis supplies names and addresses, which allows them to locate and punish the low-lifes who have done so much to damage the lives of ordinary British people.
Given quasi-military discipline and training from Bryant, even the quieter characters grow increasingly savage and vicious.
Director Nick Love, whose previous films include the brutal crime pics Football Factory and The Business, sets most of the action takes place in grim, rainswept London streets. Love has added a socially relevant theme and quality cast members to his trademark films about violent young men out of control. The contradiction in this film’s message – that the only way we can combat violence and disorder on our streets is to grab a shotgun and knife to confront the attackers – is quite glaring.
The soundtrack grinds and thumps menacingly and the photography is so grey and steely that it almost blends seamlessly with the CCTV footage which features prominently throughout. The action-laden plot progresses quickly and directly, with little call for back-story or nuance.
None of the actors are seriously challenged by these roles. Bean is characterstically tough and uncompromising, while Hoskins gives a convincing performance of a good man driven to act immorally by circumstances beyond his control.
As the vigilantes grow more confident and bloodthirsty, the tabloid press dub them ‘The Outlaws’.
Sympathy with the band is quickly lost as we is horrific detail what happens when grown men live out their adolescent revenge fantasies.
Sunday Business Post – Media and Marketing – 28th January 2007
Last year, more music tracks were purchased as downloads in Ireland than were bought in CD-single format, writes Dermot Corrigan…
Last year, more music tracks were purchased as downloads in Ireland than were bought in CD-single format.
In 2006, there were 1.3 million physical singles bought and two million tracks downloaded.This total includes album tracks as well as specially released and marketed singles.
Meanwhile, annual digital music sales worldwide almost doubled toUS$2 billion.Inevitably, this change is having an impact on music charts. As of January 1, 2007, the Irish music singles’ charts now takes into account all music sold online, as well as the physical releases available in traditional bricks and mortar retailers.
‘‘The dramatic change in the way the charts are compiled is that you now don’t need a physical release to count in the charts,” said Dick Doyle, managing director of IRMA, the Irish Recording Music Association.
Online downloads were first counted in July last year, however for the first six months distributors were required to have a physical release in the shops within two weeks to be considered for the charts. From the start of this year, all music sold, whether over the internet or over the counter, is counted by ChartTrack, which compiles the sales figures for IRMA.
‘‘It has not had a massive impact, but some new things have come in,” said John Pinder, the managing director of ChartTrack.
Chasing Cars from Snow Patrol had stopped selling physically as the stock had run out, but it was still selling online and re-entered the charts.Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody also entered on the strength of just downloads. While Chasing Cars was first released in August last year, Bohemian Rhapsody dates from October 1975.
The Christmas Number One in Ireland was X-Factor winner Leona Lewis with A Moment Like This. This song remained on top of the pile for the first two weeks of the new compilation system.
ChartTrack measure sales traffic at nine Irish downloading sites. These include large industry players such as the Apple’s iTunes and Sony Connect sites, smaller independent start-ups such as downloadmusic.ie, as well as downloads to mobile phones from 3 Music and Vodafone.This combination covers over 90 per cent of the total music bought online in Ireland.IRMA have been involved in promoting the official Irish singles and albums charts, based on consumer sales, since 1992, when Gallup were awarded the contract to compile the sales information.
ChartTrack have been providing the statistics since a management buy-out from Gallup in 1996. Both ChartTrack and IRMA are eager to make sure that the charts remain relevant in the 21st century.
‘‘The charts are there to reflect what the consumer is doing. The customer has been adapting more and more to the digital delivery services, whether through mobile downloads or to their computers. So it is up to us to reflect what the consumer wants, and what the consumer is buying,” said Doyle.
The new method of determining the singles charts opens up a number of different possibilities, including the prospect of one band filling all the spots in the top ten.
‘‘For example, if the new U2 album comes and all the tracks sell enough they could all get in the singles chart. It is really now a songs chart rather than a singles chart as such, said Pinder.
It also means the potential to see more golden-oldie or independent songs making surprise appearances in the singles charts.
Until recently if an old or previously unknown song came to prominence (for example after appearing on a Levi’s Jeans television advertisement or in a Quentin Tarantino movie) fans had to wait for distributors to react, whereas now they can go online in seconds to purchase the track.
‘‘People are going to hear things and then buy them,” said Pinder. ‘‘A big advert, using an old song can fire that back into the charts, or use of the song in a soap opera or on a film soundtrack. Different influences will push different songs.”
Another advantage for consumers is that the cost of downloading songs online is typically lower than purchasing a CD. For example, A Moment Like This costs €4.99 in HMV in Dublin, stg£3.99 on Amazon.co.uk and 99cent from iTunes.
There are now over four million songs available for immediate purchase online from approximately 500 online music services in 40 countries worldwide, however, due to Vat restrictions Irish consumers must buy only from Irish sites.This obviously poses a threat to the business model of high-street music retailers, who are being forced to adapt to the new reality. HMV recently installed booths in their stores where customers can purchase and download music on site.
‘‘I think traditional bricks and mortar retailers are going to have to offer both the physical disk and the online side,” said Doyle.Doyle predicts that we will see more independent acts represented in the Irish charts in the future.
‘‘A lot of independent acts – who for some reason haven’t been signed by a big label or do not want to be signed by a big label – will produce their own digital tracks and will sell them online,” he said.
‘‘It should mean more independent type acts will make it into the charts, and much more quickly,” said Doyle.
The four major global music distributors Universal, Sony BMG, Warner Music Group and EMI have also moved quickly to ensure their presence in the online market.
‘‘The download market, as well as the physical market, is still dominated by the four major labels,” said Pinder.
Dave Pennefather, managing director of Universal Music Ireland, said that he welcomed the step.‘‘It is wonderful that there are so many platforms out there where people can go and legitimately get access to the music available,” he said.
Universal was adapting well to the new reality, and despite the vexatious problem of illegal downloading, its sales were remaining constant.