Director picks up the pace
Irish music videos and commercials director Richie Smyth is set to make his feature film debut with a New York thriller starring Channing Tatum from Stop-Loss and the Step Up movies. The film, which is as yet untitled, will revolve around parkour, the extreme sport of free running and jumping popularised in the exhilarating French thriller District 13 and prominently featured in the opening sequence of Casino Royale.
Smyth, who has directed music videos for U2, The Verve and The Corrs, is an avid extreme-sports practitioner. To pursue discussions on his feature film, Smyth reportedly had to cancel his plans to leap from a helicopter on to a mountaintop in Alaska and to snowboard to the bottom.
Ennio makes music in Belfast
Gifted Italian film composer Ennio Morricone will conduct a programme of his scores at the Waterfront Hall in Belfast on October 17th and 18th. The event, which opens the annual Belfast Festival at Queen’s, marks Morricone’s concert debut in Ireland and will feature more than 100 musicians from the Rome Sinfonietta Orchestra and the Belfast Philharmonic Choir.
The maestro, who turns 80 in November, has composed the music for close on 500 movies. He has been nominated for five Oscars (without ever winning) for Days of Heaven, The Mission, The Untouchables, Bugsy and Malèna. He was presented with an honorary Oscar last year. www.belfastfestival. com
Streetwise writer wired for success
David Simon, the writer and executive producer of the gritty, critically acclaimed TV series The Wire and Homicide: Life on the Street, will discuss his work in a public interview at the Irish Film Institute in Dublin on September 19th.
The event, which will feature a screening of an episode from The Wire, coincides with Canongate’s publication in the UK and Ireland of Simon’s book, Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets. The book is based on Simon’s experiences over the year he spent with the homicide unit of the Baltimore police force, which led to his creation of The Wire. www.irishfilm.ie
Irish shorts for Lithuania, Greece
Network Ireland Television, a Dublin-based distribution company and specialist in marketing short films, in association with the Irish Film Archive, has curated two retrospective programmes of Irish short films to be shown at European film festivals next month: 10 shorts at the Tinklai Film Festival in Vilnius, Lithuania and 16 at the Drama Film Festival in Greece. Films to be screened include such gems as Thirty Five Aside, The Sound of People, Yu Ming Is Ainm Dom, The Wednesdays, New Boy
Badly Drawn Roy.
Portman calls the shots
“What I really want to do is direct” has become a common refrain among actors. Joining their ranks is Natalie Portman, whose first outing in the director’s chair, Eve, has its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival next Monday night. The short film features Ben Gazzara and Lauren Bacall in what Portman describes as “a civilised comedy of amorous dalliances among the older generation.”
Portman will be seen next in Jim Sheridan’s US remake of the Danish drama Brothers, in which she stars with Jake Gyllenhaal and Tobey Maguire. firstname.lastname@example.org
David Simon, creator of the acclaimed TV series The Wire (above), will speak at the IFI