Wednesday, January 2, 2008

The Experimental Witch

The author Paulo Coelho is doing something interesting with his latest novel, The Witch of Portobello. Instead of selling the film rights to Hollywood he is inviting his readers and filmmakers to participate in making the movie. The plan is as simple as it is cutting edge. It takes advantage of all things internet and I am sure it is a great piece of publicity for the book and author.

Here are the broad strokes.

1) You select a character and chapter you want to make a short film about. The synopsis from Publishers Weekly (via Amazon) is below.

2) You register on his website. The first 200 valid filmmakers get chosen to submit a short film.

3) You post the film to You Tube and the winning chapters will be selected. Each winning filmmaker gets a 3,ooo Euro prize.

I think it's a great idea and will sign up just to be part of it. If I get selected all the better. But mostly I think it is a great way to for an artist to share his work with others. I hope many (i.e. student readers) filmmakers register.


From Publishers Weekly
Multimillion-seller Coelho (The Devil and Miss Prym, etc.) returns with another uncanny fusion of philosophy, religious miracle and moral parable. The Portobello of the title is London's Portobello Road, where Sherine Khalil, aka Athena, finds the worship meeting she's leading—where she becomes an omniscient goddess named Hagia Sophia—disrupted by a Protestant protest. Framed as a set of interviews conducted with those who knew Athena, who is dead as the book opens, the story recounts her birth in Transylvania to a Gypsy mother, her adoption by wealthy Lebanese Christians; her short, early marriage to a man she meets at a London college (one of the interviewees); her son Viorel's birth; and her stint selling real estate in Dubai. Back in London in the book's second half, Athena learns to harness the powers that have been present but inchoate within her, and the story picks up as she acquires a "teacher" (Deidre O'Neill, aka Edda, another interviewee), then disciples (also interviewed), and speeds toward a spectacular end. Coelho veers between his signature criticism of modern life and the hydra-headed alternative that Athena taps into. Athena's earliest years don't end up having much plot, but the second half's intrigue sustains the book. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Paula said...

Dear Peter,

my name is Paula Braconnot and I work with Paulo Coelho on the internet front.
Thank you so much for spreading the word about the project and talking to your students about it!

Have a great day!
Paulo Coelho's blog

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.