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Ground Breaking Advance Party Initiates eight new films ( 09/02/2009 )

Scotland's Sigma Films, Denmark's Zentropa and Ireland's Subotica are forming a partnership under the banner of Advance Party II to develop eight new films from some of the most exciting filmmaking talent emerging from the UK and Ireland.

The writer/directors taking part in Advance Party II which is backed by Scottish Screen, the Irish Film Board, Zentropa and the UK Film Council's Development Fund are Paul Wright, Adrian McDowall (Scotland), Esther May Campbell, Daniel Mulloy (England), Enda Hughes (Northern Ireland), Rory Bresnihan, Ciaran Foy (Ireland) and Steph Green (Ireland/ USA).

Gillian Berrie of Sigma Films says, "The combination of these talented filmmakers and the intriguing and challenging constraints of the Advance Party project is creating an environment for eight memorable and ground-breaking debut features."

"There is a highly creative, dynamic and diverse mix of talent on board this ground breaking project and it is the only first time director scheme of its kind," said Tristan Orpen Lynch, of Subotica Films.

Advance Party II (APII) builds on the success of Andrea Arnold's Red Road, and Morag Mackinnon's forthcoming Donkeys, which were produced under the innovative conditions of Advance Party I. Taking a lead from the competitive, creative community of the Dogme movement (which spawned films such as Festen and The Idiots), Advance Party I imposed new rules on its filmmakers. These primarily concerned the use of a pool of pre-determined characters, which had to be played by the same actors in all the films.

A new set of rules are central to the structure of APII, and will be given to the filmmakers in a workshop at the Berlin Film Festival on 7 February. The rules will reflect the creative challenges of Advance Party I and Dogme, but will also incorporate the filmmakers' tastes and wishes, tailored to both their strengths and their weaknesses.

Zentropa's Peter Aalbaek says, "We are very interested in the establishing collaboration between Ireland, Scotland and Scandinavia because we feel there is a mental solidarity between these countries. Advance Party is a great step in that direction."

The filmmakers will take part in a week-long series of workshops during the festival focussing on creating the 'Advance Party community' and the business elements of filmmaking. They will be working with visiting directors, writers and actors as well as lawyers, sales agents, distributors and development gurus, with the aim of arming the eight filmmakers with as much information and inspiration as possible.

The selected filmmakers have a wealth of experience in making distinctive and successful short films and between them have won more than 100 awards, and two are nominated for Oscar® and BAFTA awards.


Rory Bresnihan
Rory's work is unique and striking in its visual story telling techniques and ranges from live-action to stop-frame animation and special effects. His latest short The Man Inside was commissioned under the IFB's flagship scheme, Signatures, which showcases live action filmmaking, encouraging strong, original storytelling and visual flair. His previous films include The Butterfly Collector and Guy's Dog, both of which won Best Short at the Cork Film Festival.

Esther May Campbell
Named as a Screen International 'Star of Tomorrow, 2008', Esther's latest short September won the BAFTA for Best Short Film and is an Encounters Festival award winner. Esther's work is often noted for its compelling visual style and her fondness for outsider characters. She made three short films for the BBC's teen website Slink and her other shorts include Delilah and Poppy.

Ciarán Foy
A graduate of the National Film School of Ireland, many of Ciarán's college films such as The Puppet, Wired 03:36, and 1902 are award winners and have been shown at festivals around the world. The Puppet represented Ireland at the 2002 Student Academy Awards in Los Angeles. His latest short, The Faeries of Blackheath Woods has screened at over 35 festivals worldwide and won at festivals at Melbourne, Cork, Kerry, and Brest in France. It was also nominated for an IFTA and a Golden Méličs (European Fantasy Award).

Steph Green

Steph is an Irish-American writer/director. Her short films and commercials have been featured in the Cannes Lions Young Director's showcase, Young Guns Advertising Awards as well as noted film festivals around the world. Her recent short, New Boy, has been shown at more than 20 international festivals and is nominated for an Academy Award. Steph has had the privilege of working with mentors such as Spike Jonze, Vincent Landay, Fredrik Bond and Alan Poul.

Enda Hughes
Born in Northern Ireland, Enda has written and directed award-winning short fiction films including Flying Saucer Rock n Roll and Samuel Beckett's Act Without Words II. His documentary subjects have ranged from director Mike Figgis to Irish rock group U2. Enda's work has garnered attention around the world at major film festivals including Sundance, AFI Fest and Venice Biennale

Adrian McDowall
Scottish writer/director Adrian's graduation film Who's My Favourite Girl? was awarded a Best Short Film BAFTA and was included in the prestigious 'Cinema 16, Best of British' short film collection. Adrian made three further shorts films in Scotland under schemes such as Cineworks and Tartan Shorts. Recently he has been collaborating with the Scottish Documentary Institute on a series of alternative sports documentaries and has made One Track Mind, Slice, Ma Bar and Standing Start. Ma Bar was awarded the BAFTA (Scotland) Award for Best Short film in 2008 and has just screened in competition at the Sundance Film Festival.

Daniel Mulloy
Daniel has won more than 60 international awards for his films and has become known for his auteur vision and his ability to achieve powerful performances his cast, most of whom are non-actors. His 2006 short, Antonio's Breakfast, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and went on to win his third BAFTA award. In 2007 Daniel was the first British director to win an Imp at Les Lutins du court-métrage and his short films have won awards at Aspen, Kansas City, Newport, Brest, Sapporo and Melbourne International Film Festivals.

Paul Wright
Paul was named by Screen International as a 'Star of Tomorrow, 2007'. After graduating from the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow, his first short Hikikomori won Best New Work at the Scottish BAFTAs. Paul is currently in his final year of the directing programme at the National Film and Television School where he is the recipient of the 'David Lean Scholarship'. He has recently completed production on an independently funded short film Believe.

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