Collective aims to raise morale of audiences

The guidelines for the second round of Advance Party — the film collective teaming Scotland’s Sigma Films, Denmark’s Zentropa and Ireland’s Subotica Entertainment — have been announced with a clear emphasis on raising the morale of auds during these troubling times.

The eight rules include the stipulations that the various projects to come out of the initiative must be made for a budget less than 1.5 million Euros ($1.9 million), the script must be a maximum of 88 pages, must contain no more than eight characters and that all the scenes must be shot within an eight mile radius of each other.

Most intriguing of all is the rule that “the stories must make the audience laugh, make them cry and give them an uplifting ending.”

That’s a tall order for an initiative that has previously produced critically acclaimed if harrowing fare such as Andrea Arnold’s “Red Road.”

The eight filmmakers selected for Advance II are: Rory Bresnihan, Esther May Campbell, Ciaran Foy, Steph Green, Enda Hughes, Adrian McDowell, Daniel Mulloy and Paul Wright.

The scheme is backed by Scottish Screen, the Irish Film Board, Zentropa and the U.K. Film Council’s Development Fund.

“Rules imposed from ‘the outside-in’ can be daunting, but the eight filmmakers created these rules to push themselves and each other on, to signal a navigable route towards a first feature,” said Sigma Films’ Gillian Berrie. “Rule-making is mischievous, yes, but we all quickly realized that creating boundaries actually focuses rather than limits the creative process.”

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