The Experimental Witch

UPDATE 12 – 22/10/2009

Rome Film Festival

In the Rome Film Festival, several participants walked the red carpet for the world premiere of the movie. It was a magical evening for everybody, and I would like to thank you all for participating.
The opening were news world wide, as you can see here.

Now we have to wait for distributors to show interest in the project, and we continue to wait for news from YouTube, Myspace and Facebook.

UPDATE 11 – 04/12/2008
From now on, the winners of the project will receive directly all the updates by mail, the first one before the end of next week.

UPDATE 10 – 05/11/2008
We are currently in conversations with a major European Festival. This means:

a] if we want to participate, the movie must be not shown in any place (Internet included) before it is shown in the Festival. Therefore, we need to postpone again the release date for Internet (in partnership with Myspace).

b] The version to be shown in Internet is already edited – we had to cut from 380′ to 214′, as Myspace told us that a 38 min episode ( x10) is far too long to be shown. At this moment, we had two choices: to keep the original version – and then limit the audience to people that visit Paulo’s social communities – or to accept Myspace suggestion, which will give the movie a far more broad audience world wide. This (and the same is valid for the item below) may oblige Betty Wrong to eventually to cut one or two characters – although the winner of this character will always be considered a winner. She is trying to avoid it, but we don’t know at this stage if this is possible (meaning, keep all the winners in the 214 min movie). That said, we decided to choose the second option, as it will benefit every participant.

c] The same is valid for the 100′ version, that will be submitted to the Festivals. This is, in fact, the version that will be shown in cinemas, if any distributor decides to buy (and be sure that we will do our best to sell). In this case, more cuts are need – including characters. But unless we accept the rules of the Festivals, which means again a broader audience and special recognition, the 214′ cut will be restricted to Internet alone. We decided to comply with the Festivals rules, to take a chance to show to an ever broader audience.

All that said, there is no guarantee that the movie will be approved by the Festivals. But we are crossing our fingers.
The Experimental Witch Team

UPDATE 9 – 24/10/2008

So far, there are still two selected movie makers who did not send all the authorizations we asked for, and two that only sent part of them. Both had been notified. This is implying in high costs from our part, as the editing team will have to change several times the final cut. Also, the final cut was postponed to the end of November – which made us loosing the Sundance Festival (our lawyer does not allow to submit a movie that we cannot be 100% sure that all the actors/location owners that appear agree in participate on it).

Therefore, as it was stated in the Update 3 , where we said that “these are the provisory results”, we will give Oct 30 as the deadline to receive these authorizations. If these authorizations that are lacking don’t arrive in Sant Jordi that date, the provisory winners will be automatically out of the movie. Betty Wrong, who has been working hard to have this final cut from 380 min down to 94 min, will then decide whether to substitute the characters – which will imply in another several months of work and expenses – or to simply reshape the movie without the provisory winners who did not send the required paperwork.

UPDATE 8 – 22/10/2008

Linda Van der Steen gets interviewed in Dutch TV. Congratulations!

UPDATE 7 – 20/10/2008

Dear readers,
here’s a little movie I did for you while receiving the Cinema for Peace Special Award for the Experimental Witch Project last week in Frankfurt.
I received this on behalf of the moviemakers that made this project possible.

P.S : if you speak German, you can watch the full laudatio by clicking here

UPDATE 6 – 29/09/2008

a] Reuters News put online tonight a video that is being send to their subscribers. I am glad that they mentioned The Experimental Witch, as this is going to create a momentum for the movie when it is released, probably by May next year. This will be the cinema version ( 140 min), that Betty Wrong will edit after finishing the unabridged version. To see Reuters video, please click the image below.


b] Betty Wrong decided to keep the original score chosen by the moviemakers who won, and will select a full soundtrack for the 140 min among the submissions that we had for “full soundtrack”.

c] If you read my comments, you will notice that Svenja mentions a prize for the movie. Today the original idea of having a movie in collaboration with the readers won “Cinema for Peace Special Award”. I was very pleased and surprised. I will receive on behalf of all the participants, in Frankfurt, on October 17.

d] I am doing another experiment: I will run six episodes of “My Transiberian Way” in my blog, from Oct 6 untill Oct 12. I will watch the statistics closely, because my intention is to run the full Experimental Witch ( 380 minutes) in 10 episodes, during the two final weeks of this year. Therefore, everybody can see everything. Let’s see how the Transiberian performs.

UPDATE 5 – 15/09/2008

Betty Wrong will deliver the 380 min version of the movie by the end of the month. As for myspace musicians, some of you already received requests – that means that you are shortlisted. To the ones that did not receive any request from the Experimental Witch team: I hope we will collaborate again in the future.

UPDATE 4 – 27/08/2008

If you want to see the selected videos (taking in to consideration all that is stated in Update 3) please click here


Dear friends,

As promised, I am publishing today the provisory results of The Experimental Witch movie. We had over 6.000 subscribers. I would like to thank you all who participated and put the best of your efforts to transform my book into a movie.


There are some items here that I want to single out (that is why I call it “provisory”);

a) the participants selected (see the list below) still have to send us the material release forms (letters that all the casting and places have to sign, allowing us to use their images or music for the movie). They should send also the agreement confirming the terms of use of their materials, but this is essentially based on the general terms of use that are posted on my blog;

b) we still did not get all the high definition copies of all the selected users below. And Elisabetta Sgarbi, the director, cannot edit the movie without having first received the materials in that format;

c) if we do not receive these documents and materials till the end of September, the second place will substitute the currently selected winners. Therefore, if you got a letter from the Experimental Witch Team asking for some technical stuff, please keep an eye in this updating. If by the end of September you don’t hear from my team, that means that we got all we need.


The total length of the movie, so far, is 380 minutes, which makes impossible to be distributed commercially (the distributors need 52 minutes for TV or 90 minutes for festivals and movie theaters). The terms of use allows us to edit, but before we go to a major festival, I want to show the full version in internet.


Some of you already included the soundtrack in their materials, using music that was submitted to us (meaning: they had a kind or agreement with the musicians). Elisabetta believes that people who choose “full soundtrack” stands a better chance. On the other hand, she is still listening to all submissions, and we are still in the first phase – in other words: a full movie, but without a final soundtrack. We shall get back to you once a final selection of the soundtrack has been made.


If you are among the winners, and you complied with the items listed in “Provisory”, please feel free to talk about it. From our part, we will start the real promotion of the movie as soon as we have the final cut (meaning, a movie that can be handed over to the distributors).


The list below is the Jury’s first choice. Congratulations! Now please provide the material release forms and executed agreement (that will be forwarded to you during the first week of September) along with the HD material (if you still did not send it).



When you send all the material required in “Provisory”, please provide us with your SWIFT and bank details so as to allow us to make the payment of the Prize.

UPDATE 2 (12th of August 2008): we had already asked for 3 finalists of each narrator to send their material to Betty Wrong following certain technical specifications. If you were not contacted by our Team to send you material this means that – despite further collaborations that will arise in the future – your project was not chosen for the Experimental Witch Contest, but I want to thank you very much for participating.

I want to stress here that I was particularly impressed with the quality of the sent material that was shortlisted. The producer is now waiting for the material sent accordingly to certain technical criteria.

This means that if your material won after their perusal in Youtube and Myspace but does not correspond to the criteria set forth by the producers (for instance you are unable to send the soundtrack separated from the video), we may give the priority to the second finalist in the same category, or ask you to record again the soundtrack.

What do I mean with this? That the results will be given on the 24th of August but that certain technical necessities may disqualify certain winners further on in the editing process.

In regards to the music submitted: we noticed that some of the songs submitted where sometimes written specifically for the project whilst others were already produced and submitted to us. We will thus give priority to original material composed specially for the project. The producer may also select the option “full soundtrack”.

Also, given that we need to have the full movie selected – we are forced to only reveal the winners in the music category later on – by the end of September. In any case the participants will be informed via email of this change.

UPDATE 1 (28th of July 2008) : The Jury is composed of the following people

Director: Elisabetta Sgarbi
Publisher: Eugenio Lio
Reader: Clara Belen Gomez

The Jury has already shortlisted some filmmakers so some will be receiving in the following weeks a letter from the Experimental Witch Team asking for their high definition material.

As you know, we closed on the 25th of August 2008 the Experimental Witch Contest.

For the past year we have been receiving your inestimable support to which I thank you dearly.

Now we move towards a new phase of the contest – a moment where the readers’ views will be pieced together. After the subscription of almost 6 000 people, we now have enough material to make this experiment come true and I must say that I’m extremely pleased to announce that the material sent to us was in its majority of a very good quality.

I’m also very happy to see that the message reached the people that had to be reached and now it’s only a question of time to see the film emerge from the plurality of views.

As you know, the results will be known by the 24th of August 2008, the date of my birthday.
A jury made up of a movie producer, an Italian publisher and a reader will be making this choice.

You will be able to see the results here in my blog : as well as in my MySpace profile : You will also be able to follow up the updates that I will post here whenever I have any news.

After the 24th of August my team and I will commit ourselves in giving a maximum of visibility for this film : releasing this common enterprise in the Internet as well as screaning it in festivals around the globe. However, it must be stressed that the final cut, according to the first glimpse of the minutes of the material we received for each character, will take longer than expected – close to 3 1/2 hrs. That may lead to a problem in distribution (they are used to 52 minutes for TV and 90 minutes for theaters), but I prefer to maintain the integrity of the submitted material at this stage, and divide the movie in two parts. Later on, based on professional comments and on the final product, I will discuss with the selected directors what to do.

As we had many submissions, we will have to choose – and some excellent works may be left aside. I am not the one who is making the final decision; if I could, I would select all, as the simple fact you spent time and money to put a project like this together is an invaluable gift to the readers. But my intention is, as soon as we have the final cut, to put the movies that were not selected in several social communities, so you can see by yourselves the excellence of the work submitted.

The current stage, selection/first draft/editing/sound, etc. may take three to four months minimum.

Some directors may receive a letter from the team, asking for a high definition copy.

Thank you for participating and bringing The Witch of Portobello to the screens.


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Press Contact ( [email protected] )



  2. pienso que es necesario arrepentirnos del mal que les hemos hecho a los demas en el camino de nuestra vida y el mal que nos hemos hecho anosotros mismos ,

  3. Antonio says:

    Gloria, muchos de nosotros no entendemos como el mundo es ni que es tampoco para que estamos aqui , definitivamente este mundo no es el paraiso ni hemos venido a gozar, es solo un pasaje el cual aprendemos maduramos y nos volvemos mas fuertes y buenos para la siguiente vida , en ese trayecto tenemos que pasarla lo mejor posible y definitivamente como somos seres materiales nos enfocamos unicamente en lo material y ese es nuestro error mas aya de lo material existe mucho mas por descubrir el cual nos dara paz tranquilidad y talvez lo podremos llamar alegria , todo el sufrimiento que pasamos son solo pruevas de Dios para volvernos mas fuertes ante las adversidades para poder ensenar a otros y para la siguiente vida pero los seres humanos mayormente siempre escojemos los caminos mas faciles para aplacar los dolores como tomar pastillas y contaminarnos a la larga volvernos dependiente y destruirnos eso no es de Dios es solo culpa nuestra por nuestras malas desiciones , pienso que todo mayormente lo que nos pasa es consecuencia de nuestros actos y nuestros errores que habeces no queremos ni pensarlos pero debemos analisar todo eso y mejorar a diario y pensar que cada dia es una nueva oportunidad de cambiar las cosas y tomar mas tiempo para lo espiritual y tratar de despegarnos almenos por unos momentos al dia de lo material y filosofar mas y talvez alli podremos encontrar unos momentos de felicidad

  4. meu cher paulo gosto muito de seus dizeres e me faz muito reflexir sou vitma de racismo na franca tinha uma grande reussite mas os franceses descobriran e tentaran pegar o meu lugar me seguiran filmaran minha vida sexual para me discredibilizar era uma grande mensagens de la lumiere mas os franceses me fizeran de condenada eu nunca disse que ia mudar o mondo isso e doidera porque a vizinha me jogou taro ela conhecia meu trabalho artistico mas as cartas deu cete vezes a mesma resposta que eu ia brilhar mas que o sol do meio dia infelismente nao tinha carte de sejour na franca ela falou para o disgracado do portugues que eu estava na casa dele sabendo da minha reussite me jogou na rua no dia seguinte dai fui seguida et tive prejudice moral ele nao era homen suficiente para ter uma mulher tentei sair da casa dele mas ele me empedia et eu nao sabia que ele filmava dentro de casa tudo foi muito planejado quando me jogou na rua disse que so sou uma negra e que nao sou ninguen por isso ele quis pegar o meu lugar tento procurar a midia para dizer a verdade mas eles nao me deixan caso a franca jogou merda partout et agora estao con vergonha da verdade caso so eu estava preparada espiritualmente para esta batalha tenho vergonha de dizer que sou brasileira pois nenhun me defendeu pendant la guerre eu estive so con deus dela eu tiro a force pra viver

  5. Salve Mestre, TUDO ISSO, o Nome da musica q Fiz los SUA Homenagem.
    no link musicas do meu site .
    obrigado, namaste …

  6. Whale watching tours says:

    Awesome post!!!
    Hopefully Next time we will definitely meet here.

  7. Great website. Plenty of helpful info here. I am sending it to several friends ans also sharing in delicious. And certainly, thank you for your sweat!

  8. Bom dia.

    Paulo é com grande alegria e espero que chegue ate vc.
    Meus agradeciemntos por me encianar atraves do seus livros
    um caminho melhor de vida e aprendizado em busca da espada

    Muitooooo devo a vc pelas palavras contidas em todos seus
    livros e poder ainda saber que vc escreve textos Biblicos.
    Muitas religiao dizem que vc é um bruxo.
    Más eu digo um mestre.


    Que Deus continua lhe propocionado a Arte de escrever p/
    nós ensinar.

  9. Hey Paul…awesome article :) So jealous…I wish I could attend the Rome Festival!

  10. Thank you, friends, for your sharing your ideas


  1. […] sue opere, Cosí¬ è successo, ad esempio, per La Strega di Portobello, il cui film è stato poi realizzato nell’ottobre 2009  cucendo insieme vari spezzoni creati da utenti diversi, selezionati attraverso un concorso […]

  2. […] hat außerdem sein neuestes Buch, »Die Hexe«, von Fans gemeinsam Verfilmen lassen anstatt sich Hollywood […]

  3. […] that he was ushering in a new era of filmmaking and distribution, Paul Coelho is apparently re-thinking the distribution plans  for  Experimental […]

  4. […] Coelho ha annunciato l’avvio del progetto di un film, The Experimental Witch, in collaborazione con MySpace, interamente basato sul suo libro “La Strega di […]

  5. […] Proiect experimental bazat pe cartea “Vrăjitoarea din Portobello” Scriitorul brazilian Paulo Coelho a lansat o competiÅ£ie inedită, constí¢nd í®n ecranizarea de către cititori a celei mai recente dintre cărÅ£ile sale, “Vrăjitoarea din Portobello“, povestea unei fascinante tinere din Transilvania. Astfel, romanul a fost í®mpărÅ£it í®n 15 părÅ£i, fiecare urmí¢nd să fie atribuită pentru realizare celor 15 cí¢ÅŸtigători, í®n calitate de regizori. Cei care doresc să participe, pot citi toate detaliile pe pagina proiectului: The Experimental Witch. […]

  6. […] o escritor Paulo Coelho firmou parceria com a rede social MySpace para criar seu primeiro filme, baseado no seu livro mais recente, “A Bruxa de Portobello”. O filme, “The Experimental […]

  7. […] escritor Paulo Coelho firmou parceria com a rede social MySpace para criar seu primeiro filme, baseado no seu livro mais recente, “A Bruxa de […]

  8. […] Read more about it at Paulo’s website. […]

  9. […] recently started a new experiment, as he encouraged his readers to make a movie based on one of his books. When “The Witch of Portobello” was released, Hollywood came rushing in with movie […]

  10. […] example, rather than selling the movie rights to one of his books, he’s running an experiment to have fans make a movie out of the book, dividing up the work. Since the book involves multiple perspectives, each person […]

  11. […] example, rather than selling the movie rights to one of his books, he’s running an experiment to have fans make a movie out of the book, dividing up the work. Since the book involves multiple perspectives, each person […]

  12. […] example, rather than selling the movie rights to one of his books, he’s running an experiment to have fans make a movie out of the book, dividing up the work. Since the book involves multiple perspectives, each person […]

  13. […] example, rather than selling the movie rights to one of his books, he’s running an experiment to have fans make a movie out of the book, dividing up the work. Since the book involves multiple perspectives, each person […]

  14. […] Der 61-jährige brasilianische Schriftsteller Paulo Coelho lässt sein neuestes Roman-Projekt «Die Hexe von Portobello» verfilmen. Hierzu lädt der (im Internet überhaupt äußerst präsente) Autor seine Leser ein, die Geschichte der Athena – erzählt aus der Perspektive von 15 verschiedenen Personen – in einem Filmprojekt umzusetzen. Die 15 besten Projekte werden prämiert und in einen einzigen Film umgearbeitet. Die Details über die geplante Story sowie die technischen Einzelheiten finden sich hier. […]