Friday, 27 March 2015

BBC's Poet in New York competes for Torc Award at Celtic Media Festival 2015

A Poet in New York
The BBC film A Poet in New York, in which Tom Hollander plays Dylan Thomas, is among the productions competing for the feature prize at the 2015 Torc Awards for Excellence, which will revealed at the 36th Celtic Media Festival, which will be held at Eden Court Inverness from 22-24 April. 

The Celtic Media Festival celebrates filmmaking and broadcasting from across the Celtic nations – Ireland, Wales, Scotland, Cornwall, Galicia and Brittany.

A total of 118 nominees from 78 production companies and broadcasters will compete across 20 award categories, including animation, entertainment, sport, factual and feature length drama. 

The organisers received with a record-breaking 500 entries for the 2015 Awards, exceeding 2013 entries by 28% and 2014 by 30%.

The Drama Series category features six productions from Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Galicia. Hailed by The Guardian as “a powerful and compelling show”, RTÉ One’s critically acclaimed crime drama Love/Hate revolves around the lives of fictional Dublin criminals in a world steeped in modern-day Irish culture.

Ireland’s TG4/Magamedia’s Corp + Anam won the Spirit of the Festival award at Celtic Media Festival 2012, an award bestowed upon a film or television programme wholly or substantially in a Celtic language that encapsulates the spirit of the festival each year. The show, broadcast on TG4, chronicles the professional and personal life of a TV crime reporter.

Gaelic drama Bannan tells the story of a young woman returning to the island from which she escaped eight years before. Created by Young Films, the independent film and television company behind the hit comedy The Inbetweeners, the first series aired on BBC ALBA in 2014.

BBC/Hartwood Films’ Sherlock, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman is also nominated. Sherlock is Hartwood Films’ first Cardiff-based production and has  been a successful one at that, garnering critical acclaim for it’s amalgamation of previous big-screen and small-screen adaptations of Sherlock Holmes, as well as Conan Doyle’s original stories.

Torc Awards: Key nominations

Feature length drama
  • Patrick’s Day (Ireland)
  • A Poet in New York (Wales)
  • Y Syrcras (Wales)

Short drama
  • Latha Eile, Saoghal Eile (Scotland)  
  • Sínte (Ireland)
  • Turn On (Wales)
Drama series
  • Bannan (Scotland)
  • Corp + Anam (Ireland)
  • Love/Hate (Ireland)
  • Serramoura (Galicia)
  • Sherlock (Wales)
  • Shetland (Scotland

  • Andrew Marr’s Great Scots: The Writers Who Shaped a Nation (Scotland)
  • Dolores Keane: A Storm in the Heart (Ireland)
  • I Grombil Cyfandir Pell: American Interior (Wales)
  • Leonard Fuller: A Sympathetic Eye (Cornwall)
  • Under Milk Wood (Wales) 

  • Five Fables (Ireland)
  • The Hunchback in the Park (Wales)
  • Mackay’s Memoirs (Scotland)
  • O Apostolo (Galicia)

This year’s festival host nation Scotland produced a number of entries including Factual Single nominee, The Bridge: Fifty Years Across the Forth. The documentary traces the memories of the people who built the Forth Road Bridge. It includes the first televised use of an amateur film shot across the entire six years of the build by a local man.

Other Scottish competitors include: the documentary Sir Chris Hoy: How To Win Gold, which celebrates the career of the most decorated Olympic cyclist of all time and his journey to success; BBC Radio Scotland’s celebration of the nations taking part in the Commonwealth Games, Commonwealth Connections; and The Scots Who Took Golf to America, a three-part documentary series on BBC Radio Scotland telling the story of the pioneering Scot John Reid and the lives of the hundreds, if not thousands, of Scots who followed in his wake and built the game in America.
Other sporting documentaries include Big John – The John Hartson Story, Avanti Media’s conversation with John Hartson that sees the Welsh sporting legend reflect on his remarkable career from his record signing to Arsenal as a teenager to his time at Celtic.

The Hunchback in the Park
Five Fables is an Irish animated series depicting Aesop's classic fables in a modern translation, written by the late Irish poet Seamus Heaney and narrated by Scottish comedian, musician, presenter and actor Billy Connolly. Created by Northern Irish animation studio FlickerPix the series is nominated in Animation and its accompanying app has gained a Best App nomination.

Cornwall, the festival’s home in 2014, also received multiple nominations for productions including Mazed, a transmedia community project designed to invigorate traditional ‘Droll Telling’ in South East Cornwall and reimagine it for the digital age. Nominated for the Kieran Hegarty Award for Innovation, the project aimed to remind people of the Cornish droll storytelling tradition using selected tales retold as animations, available free online, in an app and more.

The nominations for Radio Presenter/Personality span Ireland, Scotland and Wales, with RTÉ Raidio na Gaeltachta’s Michelle Nic Grianna, BBC Radio Cymru’s Dei Tomos and BBC Radio Scotland’s Vic Galloway on the road to potentially winning a prestigious Torc Award for Excellence.

Festival producer Catriona Logan said: “We’re thrilled to announce the nominees for this year’s Torc Awards for Excellence, and what a shortlist it is! This year’s record breaking amount of entries was whittled down by our dedicated national juries who, in all, watched and listened to over 318 hours of top quality submissions from across the Celtic nations and regions. We’re absolutely delighted that Celtic Media Festival is just around the corner and we’re looking forward to revealing the winners at the festival in Inverness in April”

The 2015 festival is supported by the Highland Council, VisitScotland Conference Bid Fund, Inverness Common Good Fund and Creative Scotland as well as broadcasters and broadcast authorities from the Celtic nations and regions.

The Sky Arts Amplify session, which takes place Thursday 23 April, will be a “speed dating” session, allowing delegates the opportunity to meet with arts organisations, invited by Sky Arts, to brainstorm initial ideas.

Delegate registration for Celtic Media Festival has opened at:

Errol Flynn Filmhouse to host Film Northants festival
Film Northants has teamed up with the Errol Flynn Filmhouse in Northamptonsh to expand its annual filmmaking competition into a weekend long festival featuring horror, thriller, drama, family and community shorts plus feature length films.

The event, which will take place 10-11 October, will include the established awards ceremony for the Film Northants competition of five-minute short films.

Dr Lily Canter, festival chair, said: “We are now in our eighth year and can see that the appetite for making and watching films in the county is growing and growing. We are responding to the filmmaking community which is making a diverse range of short, not-so-short and feature length films and giving all of these films an opportunity to shine, rather than just the under five minute films.

“Errol Flynn Filmhouse have been a fantastic support and have provided us with a state of the art, luxurious cinema and the freedom to put together an eclectic but impressive two day programme of films.”

Martin Sutherland, chief executive of the Errol Flynn Filmhouse, added: “We’re delighted to be hosting the Film Northants Festival and awards ceremony for a second year, and look forward to seeing it expanded into a whole weekend of screenings, celebrating the wealth of local talent there is in film-making.”

The new event will be a mixture of competition and out-of-competition films to be screened over the weekend.

The deadline for competition films is 2 August and the dead line for out-of-competition films is 28 June. There are categories for the Under-16s and Over-16s.

Dr Canter added: “Each year we have responded to filmmakers by adding more categories and adjusting our criteria whilst maintaining our objective to promote filmmaking talent in the county. We are always open to new ideas and are delighted that filmmakers and audiences have so warmly embraced what we are trying to achieve."

One of this year’s guest judges and previous contestant, Alex Motlhabane of The Rest, said: "I'm pretty excited to see how it has all grown. The expansion is a good step forward for Film Northants because it gives the competition another leg. It will be great as a festival."

To find out more or enter online visit

The Tales of Hoffman dance back onto the screen

The Tales of Hoffman
A newly restored version of Michael Powell and Emerich Pressburger’s cinematic opera The Tales of Hoffman (1951) is released on Blur-ray and DVD this week.

Powell and Pressburger had been examining the relationship between image, music and drama in films such as Black Narcissus (1947) and The Red Shoes (1948). The Tales Of Hoffmann, based on Jacques Offenbach's opera of the stories of romantic poet ETA Hoffmann, gave the regular collaborators another opportunity to eschew realism and celebrate artifice and creativity.

Robert Helpmann and
Ludmilla Tchérina
A lavish cinematic fantasy of technicolor, music and dance, the entire film is shaped around Offenbach’s original score, pre-recorded by The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, under the baton of the legendary conductor Sir Thomas Beecham. The film went on to win the Special Award at the 1951 Cannes Film Festival. 

The Tales Of Hoffmann has been restored in 4K by The Film Foundation, supervised by Powell’s friend, the film director Martin Scorsese, and his widow, editor Thelma Schoonmaker. The new version features newly discovered sequences from Act Three and the Epilogue, missing from previously releases of the film, were found in the nitrate material held at the BFI and put back into the film as the directors.

Metropolitan opera star Robert Rounseville plays Hoffmann, a university student who is spectacularly unlucky in affairs of the heart. Each of his love affairs with Olympia (Moira Shearer), an animated doll, Venetian courtesan Giulietta (Ludmilla Tchérina) and soprano Antonia (Ann Ayars) is doomed to failure due to circumstances far beyond our hero's control.

The Tales of Hoffmann was released on DVD and Blu-ray as part of StudioCanal's Vintage Classic Collection on 23 March.