Archive for November, 2009
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.
While I was busy running from screening to screening in Seville last week, there was also some more serious stuff to be keeping doing for the SBP. I had two pieces in Sunday’s paper.
The first was a recruitment page interview with Cathal Grogan, md of new IT recruitment company Verify. Verify’s angle is that it uses a panel of senior IT executives to help with the sourcing and assessment of candidates.
‘‘The pace of change, both in terms of technology and business acumen, is increasing all the time. If you are not out there in the middle of it every day, it is hard for you as a recruiter to identify people for a role,” he said. ‘‘Recruitment professionals do not necessarily have the skills or experiences themselves to recognise when a candidate has a suitable profile for the role they are looking to fill.
‘‘I have visited the headhunters and senior appointment divisions of other recruitment companies, but typically I was talking to people who did not have the same achievements or experience as I did. I felt that I might not be truly represented to any potential employer out there, or my experiences would not be matched correctly.”
Interesting stuff if you’re one of the more than a few IT executives looking for work at the moment. Read the rest of the piece on the SBP site by clicking here.
The other piece was about Belfast aerospace company Nacelle Systems Consultancy (NSC), who are creating 13 new jobs by investing the guts of €1 million in a new facility. NSC works with large aerospace companies to build the high tech equipment that connects wings and engines in aircraft. The company’s managing director Tom Mallon told me that he has big plans for the future:
‘‘There is definitely an opportunity for us. The aerospace sector is stratifying into a small number of groups. We are closely aligned with one of these, and we would expect our relationships with Parker and BAE Systems to be to our benefit in the future. That is not to say that we could not also look to China or Russia or possibly other markets in future.”
Again, the full article is through here on thepost.ie.
It’s busy enough at the moment. Although I’m here in Spain attending plenty of films and events at the Seville European Film Festival for the filmandfestivals.com blog, I’m also working away doing some of my more usual stuff.
I had some pieces in yesterday’s Sunday Business Post. One was for the recruitment page, look at how the jobs news in the Irish IT sector might just have picked up in recent weeks. Choice quote:
‘‘The current market has provided an opportunity for astute employers to acquire key talent in areas that were historically candidate-short. Larger multinationals, particularly in the areas of gaming, telecoms, pharmaceuticals and online services, are hiring IT staff as they strive to gain advantages,” said Gough.
Read the whole article on the SBP website by clicking through here.
Another was for the SBP’s Done Deal page, about how Headland Archaeology has been awarded a contract to see what may lie beneath Dublin’s new Metro North line:
‘‘This involves thousands and thousands of metres of test trenches to identify if archaeology – whether structures, deposits, artefacts or eco facts – is present, the extent of it, and its age and significance. We will then provide proposals for dealing with the archaeology before construction,” said Moloney.
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.
I had an interview piece in the recruitment section of yesterday’s Sunday Business Post. It was an interview with recently announced Ernst & Young Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year – Mike Fitzgerald, of Kerry based telecoms firm Altobridge.
Mike’s take was that the recession means that some very talented and qualified people are going to be looking for work, and that this could turn out to be very useful for companies that are able to recruit at present.
Employers with positions to fill have access to talent unseen in recent years, Fitzgerald said.
‘‘We would love to grab some of the incredibly experienced people who are on the market at the moment, but we are not hiring significantly right now. From a telecoms perspective, you will have some very experienced Ericsson people coming onto the market next year. These will be phenomenal resources steeped in experience,” he said.
Also interesting to me, but not of particular use for yesterday’s HR-themed story is that while Altobridge was originally a developer of mobile satellite communications for the aeronautical and maritime industries, the Kerry company is now moving into the provision of wireless services to communities in hard-to reach parts of the globe. They have a pilot projects going with various mobile telecoms operators across Africa, Asia and the Far East. It’s pretty interesting work – here’s more details on it.