Turn my witch novel into a magical film, author tells fans by Thomas Catan

One of the world’s bestselling authors has turned to his readers for help in bringing his latest book to the silver screen.
 
On his internet blog, Paulo Coelho said that he had been impressed by the efforts of his fans to interpret his works and decided to harness their talents to make the film of The Witch of Portobello, a story set in London.
 
“I’ve been visiting the pages of readers this last year and I’ve seen excellent works by actresses & actors, musicians, directors,” Coelho wrote. “That’s why I thought: why not make a movie together?”
 
The Witch of Portobello is the story of a young Romanian orphan who is adopted by a Lebanese couple. She opens her heart, gains intoxicating powers and becomes a controversial spiritual leader in London. In the book Athena’s life story is told in the form of interviews with the other characters. So Coelho has asked aspiring film-makers to tell the tale from the point of view of one of the 13 characters in the book that interact with Athena “” or through the eyes of a narrator. The Brazilian-born writer told fans to post their entry for the collaborative screenplay on the internet site YouTube. A winner will be chosen for each category.
 
In addition to a €3,000 (£2,000) prize, each winner will have the film edited by professionals and screened at film festivals around the world.
 
Musicians are also being asked to use MySpace, the internet site popular with aspiring pop stars, to send ideas for the soundtrack. The winners will be given a prize of €1,500 and must sign away the rights for the film, though not the record rights. MySpace is owned by News Corp, the parent company of The Times.
 
“From my point of view, while retaining authorship rights, I’ll be diving into a new experience and seeing beforehand the plurality of views about my book,” wrote Coelho.
 
“From the contestant’s perspective, if we manage to close the deal with big festivals and/or distributors, they will acquire a wider visibility. Last but not least, we would be doing a bit of cinematographic history together: a film directed by its narrators!”
 
Those interested must sign up by March 19, 2008. The results will be announced by July 25, 2008.
 
Best known for The Alchemist, the prolific 60-year-old author has penned eight novels, two memoirs and several other volumes. He has sold nearly 100 million books, and his works have been translated into 64 languages. Coelho’s fans admire his easy prose style, complex characters and inspirational stories; his detractors dismiss his works as treacly New Age self-help manuals.
 
This article is written by Thomas Catan @ TimesOnline