Ravencrest Films wins 15 Minutes of Fame Award

Paul Gosker of Ravencrest Films has won the Best Drama Award for Mooney at the inaugural 15 Minutes of Fame Award in Florida.

Mooney was chosen amongst 120 short films, of which 44 were shortlisted to be shown at the festival. 13 Films were chosen to receive awards in vaious categories.

Mooney is the first production by Ravencrest Films. Partly based on real events, the film tells the story about a heroin addict who constantly makes wrong choices, and how these choices effect his life.

10 Jobs Lost at Fóinse

The Irish language newspaper, Fóinse, published weekly is to cease publication at Carraroe with the loss of ten jobs. Staff received notifice of redundancy yesterday (25th June 2009). This weekend’s addition is set to be the last.

The newspaper has closed due to falling revenue and disagreements with grants from its main funder, Foras na Gaeilge, The CEO of Foras na Gaeilge, Ferdie Mac an Fhailigh express he was shocked at the announcement.

Copy of Poetry Manuscript Lost

The only copy of a new collection by Irish poet, Desmond O’Grady was lost at the Spancihill Horse Fair in Clare this week.

Barney Sheehan (75) from Limerick had the only copy and is appealing to the public for the return of the unpublished manuscript.

My Limerick City, the title of the publication was due at the printers this weekend for publishing. A reward of several hundred Euros is being offered for the return of the draft.

RTÉ has dismissed calls give free ads to state bodies

City Channel boss, David Harvey, told the Communications Minister, Eamon Ryan, he should compel RTÉ to use unsold ad airtime ‘for practical purposes which are in the national interest’ and that the ad slots should be given to state bodies which have had their advertising budgets cut.

The minister has yet to respond to the request, whilst RTÉ dismissed supporting the RSA campaigns in such was as invidious as RTÉ supports the RSA editorially.

…On Writing

A book should depict a landscape of heavenly souls in a dreamscape; a mysterious beauty that’s clear and foggy.

It should be clear in the sense that I see the sun shining in the Maldives, Spain or Italy as it highlights the clean clarity of the sand. …And the sun shone sea; a clear deep beautiful blue that the sun also permeates so you can see the sea swishing waves and the sand happily glancing in the bottom of the sea as the sky is blue and that God sends his smile to show that nature is beautiful and happy.

I hear the sparrows, robins and thrushes; the songbirds whistling about their happiness and their love of life and for their love of their lives. I hear the waves swishing gently towards the shore; and also the gulls; to some they are cacophonous, but to me there is a beauty to its song, because they are associates of the sea and I want to be there; to escape there and be with them.

But there’s more to that then the cover of the book or indeed its pages; it should also be foggy for the above reasons; we want to lie on the sand sunning ourselves and worshipping the god; that is the book. We want to hear those waves, hear those birds; their clarity, their cleanliness takes us away to another dimension to heaven to within the pages of the book.

We want to let our sun-kissed bodies dive into the blue sea not knowing what’s in the fathomous depths of the blue yonder; the blue that is the sky and the blue that is the sea; we don’t know where it ends, or where it begins.

This is so strange; the sea and sky are so clear, but its clarity is also foggy. We want to ask ourselves ‘why does it contradict itself?’ That’s what makes it so beautiful and mysterious; I want to dive into the sea of the book and find what mysteries it has for me.

Claire Keegan collects Davy Byrne’s Award

Irish novelist Claire Keegan has won €25,000 the Davy Byrne’s Award at the eponymous Dublin pub that James Joyce made famous in Ulysses.

Keegan’s short story, Foster, was chosen from a list of six by Richard Ford, the American novelist. As Ford was not present, The Irish Times literary editor Caroline Walsh recited Ford’s speech praising Keegan’s gift for writing.

Organised by The Stinging Fly Press, administered by Declan Meade, in association with The Irish Times, and sponsored by Davy Byrne’s, Walsh presented the award to Keegan.

The runners-up, Mary Leland, Molly McCloskey, Eoin McNamee, and Susan Stairs each collected €1,000. The competition attracted over eight hundred entries, and was longlisted to thirty for Ford to adjudicate.

Is copyright under threat?

I was never happy with Google’s ‘duplication’ of writer’s works without their permission, or e-reader software and hardware that allows consumers read books off computer screens. This allows for easy simulation and distribution of material without consent of the owners of that material.

Unfortunately, a Swedish group have founded a ‘political’ party to break down copyright laws, and to make ‘information’ open to the public. It is sad to see that Ireland is forming new ‘political’ party much like that of their Swedish founders. I am not going to give them the ignominy of an advertisement, as this party is going to campaign for the dismissal of copyright laws and thus will ruin the lives of struggling musicians, writers trying to make a living from their works.

Tricolour of War

Tricolour of War
(For the Irish who fought in wars)

By the fire of my living room, I
turn on the TV to RTE’s
ninetieth anniversary of
the Armistice of World War I.

Three hundred and fifty thousand of
Irish men bravely fought not knowing
that thirty thousand would not return.
My uncomforting chair sucked into

trenches of dank mud, ghost white soldiers
ensconced in pro-logic sounds of death –
rat-tat-tat of machine gun fire and
drones of propellers like bumblebees

swatting overhead. A shouted
command urges frightened faces to
fight. You run past me not noticing
the cold fire in my room now nothing

but a light. This cannot echo the
fires You experienced – the raging
torment of gods of war, gods of death
and much more. Young men fight far away

from family and friends who don’t know
if this war will ever end. They wait
in hope for safe return but see their
sons framed as lonely silhouettes.

My ignorant hand slaps the TV
to rid the jaundiced interference –
Your interference, not mine. Frozen,
I see young men die in front of

my eyes – harrowing for me, but for
You – I can’t envisage the pain You
felt, when Your friends dropped dead right
at Your feet as you can’t pause or find

that button to mute or rewind. But
Your life will be forever etched in
history. My memories of this war
are always seen in black, white and red.

Decrease in Independent TV Production in Ireland

RTÉ’s €68 million shortfall may represent bad news also for independent productions as TV bosses cut budgets. RTÉ however suggest that business is still open, but the 2007 spend of €79.5 million is unlikely to be repeated.

Ben Frow of TV3 admits he can’t afford independent TV unless it wins funding from the Broadcasting Commission Sound and Vision Fund, of which 3 of 26 got funding. A one-hour drama costs the station €150,000, but could get 40 hours of in-house production for the same amount. Consequently, Frow stated he was not going to back new ideas in the next round in July although projects will be re-submitted.

Michael O’Keeffe, Chief Executive of the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland, stated that funds were limited but hoped that ‘the pot would be bigger next year, but we’re still going to be turning a lot of people down’.

There were as many as 200 independent production companies three years ago, but estimates that there are as many as 170, The Irish Independent (11th June 2009) reports. These figures seem to be taken directly from the Screen Producers of Ireland website (SPI), the lobbyists for Independent Production companies in Ireland. This figure does not account for the many which are not fee paying members of the SPI. Although Sean Stokes, head of the SPI, confirmed that recession reticence is typical as ‘bigger businesses have let go of 50% of staff’ and that some are ‘pooling resources’.

Sideline’s Billy McGrath of The Model Agent fame is however upbeat as a ‘second revenue stream are online DVD sales outlet’, confirming that one revenue stream could lead independent producers to trouble.

Screentime ShinAwiL’s Larry Bass lost You’re a Star before the recession, but has concentrated his efforts on Dragon’s Den and The Apprentice. His company did not get funding from the Broadcasting Commission, but has attracted corporate sponsorship for Dragon’s Den and The Apprentice. Wider use of sponsorship is inevitable and independent producers have to find ways to give ‘better value’ to broadcasters.

At the end of the chain are screenwriters who will need to be more inventive, take these considerations on board to try to keep independent production companies interested but there is the danger that screenwriters may be forced abroad.

RTÉ Fights €68 Million Shortfall

Cathal Goan appeared at the Joint Commission of on Communications, Energy, and National Resources to discuss RTÉ’s financial position. RTÉ faces a €68 million shortfall for the 2009 figures, but Goan denies that the station is close to bankruptcy.

Cathal Goan appeared at the Joint Commission of on Communications, Energy, and National Resources to discuss RTÉ’s financial position. RTÉ faces a €68 million shortfall for the 2009 figures, but Goan denies that the station is close to bankruptcy.

In RTÉ, 249 employees pull in €12 million each year, 148 of whom earn more than €100K, The Irish Independent reports. There is a push to curb the salaries of high paying individuals in RTÉ as Goan is looking for more pay cuts from his staff. The Labour TD, Liz McManus suggested that RTÉ should follow BBC’s Director General, Mark Thompson’s suit in curtailing top presenters wages by 25% to 40%.

RTÉ’s unionised employees represent half of the Dublin 4 company and are members of NUJ and SIPTU balloted on pay cuts proposed that would see staff who earn less than €25,000 take a 2.6% cut, and those who earn in excess of €255,000 take a 12.5 reduction in their salary. The members accepted the paycuts by a margin of 57.4 to 43.3%. These cuts, according to The Irish Times (17th June 2009) are voluntary which may protract this saga further due to the procrastinated episodes with a few of their stars.

Mary Curtin, Trade Union Group secretary warned management that the strong no vote resulted from ‘high executive pay and remuneration’ and ‘extravagant bonus system’ at RTÉ. NUJ secretary, Séamus Dooley suggested that the yes voters were a reluctant yes.