Straight out of film school at the University of Southern California, the director Jeff Blitz chose to make a low-budget documentary about the bizarre American phenomenon of the 'spelling bee', a really tough spelling competition for children. Made with the financial help of his friends, 'Spellbound' has already won numerous prizes and was nominated for this year's Best Documentary Oscar. The documentary concentrates on the 1999 Scripps-Howard National Spelling Bee, which saw 9m kids in local heats whittled down to just 249 for the finals in Washington.
Paul Clancy, Anne Enright and Charlie McCarthy discuss 'Spellbound'
The Show: Giselle
The choreographer Michael Keegan Dolan was born in Dublin and trained at the Central School of Ballet in London. Since then he has choreographed for the Royal Opera Ballet and many other major companies in Britain and further afield. He founded Fabulous Beast Dance Theatre in Ireland six years ago. And for this year's Dublin Theatre Festival, Fabulous Beast has a new show, 'Giselle' - a pretty
radical reshaping of the classical ballet.
The Panel discusses Fabulous Beast Dance Theatre's production of 'Giselle'
The Play: The Shape of Metal
Playwright Thomas Kilroy's new work, 'The Shape of Metal', is currently running at the Abbey. Kilroy has been writing his own plays and adapting classics of the European theatre since the 1960s, and his novel, 'The Big Chapel', won the Guardian Fiction Prize in 1971. Currently Emeritus Professor of Modern English at
NUI Galway, he has a long association with the Abbey Theatre. Directed by Lynne Parker, 'The Shape of Metal' concerns an ageing sculptor, Nell Jeffrey, and her two daughters, Judith and the unstable Grace.
The Panel discusses Thomas Kilroy's 'The Shape of Metal'
The Book: Stay
The writer Aislinn Hunter lived in Dublin for a few years before returning to her native Canada. Her first two books, 'What's Left Us' and 'Into the Early Hours', got her a fair bit of attention there, but it's her debut novel, 'Stay', that we consider. It is nominated for the Amazon Books in Canada First Novel Award, the winner of which is to be announced on 8 October. 'Stay' is about a young Canadian woman,
on the run from her past and living in Ireland with a self-destructive academic old enough to be her father.
The Panel discusses Aislinn Hunter's 'Stay'
The Preview: The Cork Film Festival
The 48th Cork Film Festival begins on 12 October and runs for eight days. It features a range of independent and more mainstream work, a short film section and competition and over 30 documentaries. The Festival is also showcasing writer/director Simon Pummell's new feature, 'Bodysong', created simultaneously as a website, exhibition and film. It's an epic movie about the story of a human life, and uses found footage from the 100 years of Cinema's history including material from medical photographers, war correspondents and amateur film-makers, and is scored by Johnny Greenwood of Radiohead.
Watch the preview and excerpt from Simon Pummell's 'Bodysong'