Press Releases

RTÉ announces winners of StoryLand competition to develop drama series for the web

RTÉ today announced the 10 drama pilots commissioned for StoryLand, an innovative initiative in which drama series made specifically for the web lets the public decide which series they would like to see more of. Aspiring and experienced programme makers were invited to make pitches for a 6-part drama series to be webcast from March 2009. A panel chaired by Irish scriptwriter and actor Mark O’Halloran (Adam & Paul, Garage) chose 10 new drama series pilots to be webcast on www.rte.ie/storyland from Friday 13 March. The viewer will decide through an online vote which series should be re-commissioned for second and subsequent episodes.

Jane Gogan, Commissioning Editor, RTÉ TV Drama said: ”This is the first time that RTÉ Drama has commissioned series specifically for the web and we were really pleased with the standard and variety of entries which combine a high level of creative, technical and entrepreneurial talents. The web as a platform gives programme makers a particular creative and production freedom and we’re delighted that so many newcomers as well as experienced writers and producers entered some fantastically creative and exciting projects. It will bring a whole new wave of talent to RTÉ Drama and to RTÉ’s audience. Of the 10 series chosen, there is a mix of industry newcomers, emerging talents from stage and screen as well as more seasoned players involved offering a truly diverse range of dramas for the public to engage with. I look forward to the 13 March when the public will be able to log-on and decide which drama series they would like to see more of”.

Mark O’Halloran said, “This competition was open to aspiring and experienced programme makers and it was very exciting to see so much talent. The variety and breadth of the projects chosen will also make for very exciting viewing for the audience”.

The winning entries are:

JENNY WAS A FRIEND OF MINE

Written by Thomas Martin (Screenworks)

Thomas is a 26 year old Dublin writer. He studied English at UCD and completed a masters at Trinity College. He was short listed for three Hennessey new Irish writing awards and wrote the script ‘Danger High Voltage’, starring Charlene McKenna, which won the best first short at the Galway Film Fleadh. Thomas has a feature film in development with South African production company RogueStar Films and his script ‘Falling Man’ was short listed for the last round of the RTÉ/FilmBase short film awards.

Steven Byrne is a writer & director. He has worked as a researcher on a number of documentaries and is the editor of satirical website ‘The poppycock review’ which launched in Dec 2008.

HAPPY SLAPPER

Written by Gary Duggan (Screenworks)

Gary was raised in north Dublin. His first full length play, ‘Monged’, was produced in 2005 and won the Stewart Parker trust award for best debut play in 2006. He has directed several plays and short films, including the digital feature ‘Crimson Underworld’. He was recently chosen as one of the Irish playwrights who took part in ‘20: Love’, the National theatre’s new writing initiative. The Mill Theatre also premiered his new play recently, ‘Trans Euro Express’.

MORBID & SONS

Written by Patrick Kavanagh, idea Nicholas Kavanagh (Moocow Productions)

Waterford based brothers Patrick and Nicholas Kavanagh are the founders of MooCow Theatre Company. Their aim is to produce unusual and unique entertainment for theatre, film and television. Joining forces with actor Eoin Lynch and animator Rory Thompson, Morbid and Sons aims to be gothic camp tale.

HARDY BUCKS

Written by Martin Maloney & Chris Tordoff (Hardy Productions)

Hardy Bucks follows the lives of four lazy but likable lads from Castletown, Co Mayo as they try and make enough money to make a fresh start in the ‘big shmoke’ – Galway. The team behind the hapless foursome are relative newcomers to the industry but have been producing short dramas for the web.

CHEZ SPUDS

Written by Pat McCabe & Johnny Ferguson (Igloo Films)

A surreal comedy set around an Irish kitchen inhabited by Mrs Spuds and her son Shay. In each episode a well known figure will turn up at the door and kick start the story. The door is a strange portal in which step the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Gengis Khan and the 1966 English world cup squad!

Pat McCabe is the highly successful author of ‘The Butcher Boy’, ‘Breakfast on Pluto’ and many more. Johnny Ferguson has worked most recently on ‘Gangster no.1’ for Filmfour, and ‘Fallout’ for RTÉ/Frontier Films. IFTA winning Brian Willis is attached as producer.

PSYCH WARD

Written by Luke & Sam McManus (Blinder Films)

Set in an emergency ward, Danny O’Donovan is a man under pressure. As a young psychiatrist in an inner city hospital, his overworked stressful life brings about a bad decision which in turn sees him clinging on to his job and sanity.

Luke McManus is a freelance director and producer. His series ‘Sampler’ won an IFTA in 2003, his second debut short ‘Danger High Voltage’ won best short film at the Galway Film Fleadh in 2008. Director of Photography Ruairi O’Brien has shot numerous short features and is currently Director of Photography for ‘Father and Son’ (ITV/RTÉ). Lead actor Hugh O’Conor came to international acclaim playing a young Christy Brown in the Oscar winning film ‘My Left Foot’. He has just finished shooting ‘Wild Decembers’ for RTÉ, as well as directing ‘Spacemen Three’, a short film starring Pat Shortt, Michael McElhatton and Peter McDonald. Sam McManus is a doctor who has worked as a psychiatrist in an inner city hospital in Dublin.

WHAT DOES JOE KNOW?

This is not a conspiracy theory...

By Fastnet Films.

RENTAL BOYS

Written by Gemma Creagh (Mixed Bag Media)

This story follows the working days of Brian, a lethargic asst manager of a video store, and his long serving Polish manager. Envisioned as a cross between ‘Spaced’ and ‘Clerks’, it promises to be a well written gem. Mixed Bag Media was established in 2001. The company has produced factual documentaries and the short drama ‘Hoodwink’, screened as part of RTÉ’s Shortscreen series. Gemma Creagh is new to television, having recently graduated from a media college course.

RUNNING LOW

Written by Diarmuid O’Brien (Happy Endings Productions)

What happens when the oil runs out and civilisation as we know it comes to an end? ‘Running Low’ explores a future hit by global meltdown through the lives of Tom and Bala Weldon, two Tipperary slackers manning the last petrol station in Ireland. When motorist Polly Clerkin arrives, after escaping the fallen city of Dublin, she inadvertently brings a gang of ‘green’ extremists with her. Suddenly all three have to work together to make it out alive.

Produced by Seamus Cassidy and directed by PJ Dillon, this aims to be a tongue in cheek drama with a nod to contemporary concerns.

SULLYBAGS

Written by Patrick O’Driscoll (Vico Pictures & Sound Ltd)

Sullybags is a Cork based crime comedy caper – but deep down, beneath the grit and grime, it’s a bit of a love story. Packed with twists and turns, this offers strong character from a new upcoming writer.

The first episodes of all 10 dramas will be available on RTÉ.ie/storyland from Friday 13 March. Voting will take place online for two weeks with the viewers deciding which series they would like to see more of.

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