Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Funding decisions

The IFB has posted the following funding decisions dated February 01.

Fiction Feature Films
The Other Side Of Sleep Rebecca Daly; Rebecca Daly & Glenn Montgomery; Fastnet Films €600,000
Earthbound Alan Brennan, Paper Dreams, €500,000
Love Eternal Brendan Muldowney, Fastnet Films, Provisional Offer of Commitment

Fiction Creative Co-production
Essence Of Killing Jerzy Skolimowski, Element Pictures, €250,000

Dreams Of A Life Carol Morley West Park Pictures West Provisional Offer of Commitment
The Polish Plumber Boris Despodov, Loopline Films, Provisional Offer of Commitment
King Of The Travellers Ian Palmer, Rise Films, Provisional Offer of Commitment
THILAFUSHI: Lost In Paradise Ciaran Deeney, El Zorro Films, €7,000
Stranger In A Strange Land Aisling Walsh, Subotica Limited, €10,000
On Bourbon Street Sinead O'Brien, Cadenza Films, €10,000
A Glacier Beneath Nick Ryan, Image Now Films, Provisional Offer of Commitment
Art Will Save The World Niall McCann, Happy Endings Productions, Provisional Offer of Commitment
The Night Dancers Emille Dineen, Still Films, €15,000
One Minute To Midnight Kim Bartley Crossing The Line Films €15,000

Completion Fund
Come On Eileen Finola Geraghty, Blinder Films €80,000

Short Film Schemes
Reality Bites
Collaboration Horizontale Ciaran Cassidy, Fastnet Films, €15,000
Blue Rinse Matt Leigh, Nodlag Houlihan, €15,000
Needle Exchange Colm Quinn, Venom Limited, €15,000
How Can I Play With What I Cannot Hear? Hilary Fennell, Wildfire Film & TV €15,000

Signatures (no amounts given)
Crossing Salween Brian O'Malley, Red Rage Films
Pentecost Peter McDonald, EMU Productions
This Is A Test Ruairí Robinson, Eoin Rogers, Image Now Films
The Christening Oonagh Kearney, Underground Films
Shoe Nick Kelly, Zanita Films

First Draft Loans
Future Fathers Conor Morrissey, €12,000
Confirmation Day Ian Fitzgibbon, Mark Doherty, €16,000
My Name Is Emily Simon Fitzmaurice, €12,000
The Canal Ivan Kavanagh, €12,000

Fiction Development Loans
My Kingdom Come Mary Kate O'Flanagan, Rubicon Films, €15,000
New Game Aisling Walsh, Mary Duffin, Fantastic Films, €10,000
Some Rain Must Fall Kirsten Sheridan, Sonya Supple Gildea, Blindside Films €10,000
Jericho David Timmons, Fastnet Films, €15,000
The Other Side Of Sleep Rebecca Daly, Rebecca Daly & Glenn Montgomery, Fastnet Films, €16,000
Mrs. Casey & The Ethnographer Steph Green, Ailbhe Keogan, Samson Films, €32,000
Siege Of Jadotville Richie Smyth, Kevin Brodbin, Russell Curran Productions, €50,000
Julia Here Sonya Supple Gildea, Newgrange Pictures, €15,000
Wayfaring Strangers Stephen Bradley, Rubicon Films, €30,000
The Ranger PJ Dillon, PJ Dillon & Eugene O'Brien, Fastnet Films, €26,000

Animation Development Loans
Oh Lii Lo Alan Shannon, Denis Bond, Jam Media, €45,000

Box office - weekend five

Avatar continued its blitz on the Irish market over last weekend. Its all-Ireland take on 3D is up to €6,547,510 while 2D has taken €1,142,939. Fifty-three 3D 'prints' took nine times the amount taken by forty-eight 2D prints over the weekend.

Only one of the openers made it into the top ten for the weekend, Mel Gibson's on-screen come-back, Edge of Darkness, which took the number two spot behind Avatar.

Released the previous weekend on sixty prints by Lionsgate, Jim Sheridan's Brothers slipped back by about 20% but held on to the number five position. However it hasn't made the top ten in the UK.

Precious opened with €19,100 from four prints, interesting to see if it picks up off the back of its Oscar nominations.

The Ian Dury biopic Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll opened with €6,936 from thirteen prints.

I don't yet have figures for the Irish title, 8.5 Hours, which opened at six sites.

I will update this post in a few day's time with the full top ten chart for weekend five.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Oscar noms

Congratulations to Tomm Moore and all at Cartoon Saloon; Juanita Wilson and James Flynn at Metro/Octagon, and Nicky Phelan and Darragh O'Connell at Brown Bag for their Oscar nominations.

Monday, February 1, 2010

3% right... 97% wrong

I am told that producer/union talks have irretrievably broken down - or crawled to a halt, depending how one interprets things. 'Partnership' negotiations between the various unions and producers have been underway for (has it really been) at least three years. Now a base rate increase of 3% is being demanded by some of the workforce.

Meanwhile, the bad-mouthing of Irish union practices has become even more common in the UK, and it was always a bitter susurration in the background. Despite the numbers of Irish crew members working regularly in the UK (the East is East sequel is a good example) there is still a strange antipathy to the Irish industry in the most chauvinistic corners of the UK film and TV industry.

Some of this is plain jealousy, and the rest comes of a belief among some British producers that they are shanghaied by Irish crews at every opportunity. The production deal, they say, always works out more expensive than initially quoted. This is why it was so important to set down a rate for the job, to which all the technicians and craft workers would adhere.

As an observer it seems to me that each side of the table bears some of the blame for the failure to settle the matter. Mutual distrust is legendary in the industry and it isn't helpful that there is a lack of transparency around the workings of Section 481.

Many technicians and craft workers believe that this lack of transparency hides considerable financial activity, and fee income, which does not appear on a budget sheet. Producers maintain that this activity cannot appear on a budget sheet, that the regulations forbid it since, strictly speaking, it is not production activity.

Needless to say, where a project is a low/no budget indigenous film these issues do not arise. The outcome is a stand-off, i.e. a continuation of the uneasy working environment, but with disputes and stoppages becoming ever more likely. It is the folly of self-interest (on all sides) taken to ludicrous extremes and it gives competitors a stick with which to beat the Irish film and independent TV production sector.

In an ideal world the Film Board and DAST would have had this issue successfully arbitrated long ago. However, since the Board has contracted with producers (effectively as a partner) for so many years it has lost the critical distance from which it could have knocked everyone's heads together.

Dublin Film Festival

Looks like a strong programme for the Dublin Intl. Film Festival which kicks off on February 18 with Neil Jordan's Ondine. I've not seen the film yet but I've heard a bit of negative chatter about it since it was finished last year.

The chatter may just be a case of the devil making words for idle mouths. Or it may be expressing a perception that the film is not 'commercial', which wouldn't be the first time one heard that about a new Jordan film. Similar mutterings were heard before The Good Thief was widely seen, although in my opinion they underestimated the quality of the film.

Ondine received mixed reviews from Toronto where it had its world premiere in September but a distribution deal for North American has been sealed with Magnolia in recent weeks. It'll be interesting to see how they market it there and what the audience reaction is to it at home.

Trade publications have reported that Magnolia plan to put the film out on the VOD platform one month before the theatrical release in early Summer. Sounds like they are either hedging their bets or that they reckon the picture needs some positive advance word-of-mouth before it hits the big screen.

I look forward to seeing Ivan Kavanagh's The Fading Light and Mark O'Connor's Between the Canals both of which were made for little more than the IFB makes available for the Signature shorts scheme. That said, I think Between the Canals had started production before the IFB made its decision to fund the project in July 2009.

Two of the IFB's creative co-productions - Foxes and Nothing Personal - are being screened in the festival's Irish Cinema programme strand with the two titles mentioned above, alongside two films I saw in Galway last July - One Hundred Mornings and Savage.

I was disappointed by One Hundred Mornings but thought a lot of Savage, particularly (and this is not faint praise) its cinematography. Dublin has seldom been photographed so well.

I'm wondering why it is that the Irish-originated films, with the exception of Ondine, all seem to have been made on budgets of less than €200,000 from the IFB (this is also true of the documentaries His and Hers, Colony, et al), whereas many of the co-production projects originated elsewhere were better funded. For instance, Nothing Personal received €326,000 from the IFB. Incidentally, while I think of it, the festival programme should have included the Irish documentaries in the Irish cinema strand.

I suppose the simple answer to the funding question is that the films originated elsewhere have bigger budgets, and therefore attract more money. This may be true, but it follows that non-indigenous projects - including those not filmed in Ireland - frequently attract bigger sums from the IFB than locally developed and produced films.

A number of new Irish films seem notable by their absence from the programme - Perrier's Bounty, Seaside Stories, The Wake Wood, Five Day Shelter - as do several other co-productions backed by the IFB. Perhaps one of them will turn up as the surprise film.

Box office - Weekend 4

Box office for the fourth weekend of the year.

Click to enlarge