2018 was another bumper year for Irish films, with 40 being released in cinema and more playing festival home and abroad. 2019 looks set to continue the hot-streak as a cop of new filmmakers join existing talents and share their visions of Ireland and Irish stories with the world.
We have rounded up a collection of the films expected to hit Irish cinemas and festivals before the end of the year. Some of these have already played international and Irish film festivals, while more are awaiting their premiere in 2019.
The Favourite – Out Now
Greek director Yorgo Lanthimos’ Irish produced period comedy drama lays down an early marker for the year in Irish film with a superbly crafted tale set in early 18th century England and the court of Queen Anne. The Favourite stars Olivia Colman and Academy Award winners Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone and marks the third collaboration between Element Pictures and visionary director Lanthimos following award-winning films The Lobster and The Killing of a Sacred Deer.
Cellar Door – January 25th
Viko Nikci’s Magdalene laundry inspired mystery-drama tells the story of Aidie, a fighter inside and out – as she searches for her son while in the grip of the Church. The film boasts a potentially divisive non-linear narrative and boasts strong performances from lead Karen Hassan and support actors Mark O’Halloran and Catherine Walker. The film is Nikci’s debut feature drama and sees him take multiple roles as director, writer and editor. Cellar Dooris produced by David Collins (Once) for Samson Films with support from Fís Éireann / Screen Ireland.
The Hole in the Ground – March 1st
Seána Kerslake is given her most demanding physcial role in Lee Cronin’s creepy thriller The Hole in the Ground. Kerslake plays a young woman building a new life on the fringes of a backwood rural town with her young son Chris. She begins to start getting worried when she notices behavioural changes in her son that make her doubt him and herself. The film is Cronin’s feature debut,which he co-wrote with Stephen Shields, and stars Kerslake (A Date For Mad Mary), James Quinn Markey (Vikings), James Cosmo (T2 Trainspotting), Simone Kirby (Jimmy’s Hall), Steve Wall (An Klondike) and Kati Outinen (Le Havre).
Aithrí / Penance
Originally premiered at the Galway Film Fleadh in 2017, Tom Collins’ latest feature drama has been awaiting an Irish cinema release. The film sees Peter Coonan play Father Eoin O’ Donnell, a young firebrand priest, who uses his influence over his parishioners, and in particular a teenage boy called Antaine, to promote violence against the British in the lead-up to the 1916 Rising. O’Donnell and Antaine meet again in Derry in 1969 where both men are forced to re-examine their shared past and the deadly events that have been set in motion as a result. Funded by Northern Ireland Screen, Fís Éireann / Screen Ireland, TG4, and the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland.
Yorkshire, 1917. All the men in the isolated community of Ravensgill have left to join the allied fight in France. Their wives, meanwhile, remain behind to run the farms. At their disposal, an internment camp of German POWs, all too happy to offer up their services. Before long, affairs have begun and in some cases lust blossoms into love. But underneath it all, what these women have found is something far more powerful: independence. Sarah Rigg is the midwife and witch doctor at the heart of the village. She holds the power of life and death in her hands. So when the husbands return, brutalized by war, the women turn to Sarah to mix the potions that can save a life – or take it away. Written by Paul Billing, directed by Jon Amiel, and filmed in Northern Ireland.
An Irish/Australian co-production from Vico Films and Closer Productions, Animals is a feature adaptation of author-turned-screenwriter Emma Jane Unsworth’s best-selling novel of the same name, an unconventional female driven comedy starring Holliday Grainger (Tulip Fever, My Cousin Rachel) and Alia Shawkat (Arrested Development, Search Party). Grainger and Shawkat star as Laura and Tyler respectively, best friends and drinking buddies whose hedonistic existence falls under the creeping horror of adulthood when Laura gets engaged to Jim — an ambitious pianist who decides, unfathomably, to go teetotal. The film is supported by Fís Éireann / Screen Ireland.
Arracht is the debut feature of writer/director Tom Sullivan, best known for his acting work and his short films. The film is set at the beginning of the Great Hunger in 1845, and centres on a man (Dónall Ó Healaí) who loses everything and is accused of a murder. After being on the run for three years, he attempts to rebuild his life with the help of a mysterious girl. That is before his past comes back to haunt him. Funded by Screen Ireland, TG4, and the BAI, with support from Section 481 under the Cine4 scheme.
Best Before Death
The experimental documentary follows artist Bill Drummond over two years of his 12-year World Tour: At work in Kolkata, India, and in Lexington, North Carolina, doing his self-imposed ‘work’ – building beds, baking cakes, making soup, shining shoes – to the variously amused, perplexed or annoyed reactions of those around him. The film is directed by noted Irish filmmaker Paul Duane and is produced by Duane and Robert Gordon. Prolific British filmmaker Ben Wheatley is one of the executive producers, with Tony Cranstoun as editor, and Robbie Ryan and Patrick Jordan as DoPs. Supported by the Scottish Documentary Institute, the BFI, and Fís Éireann / Screen Ireland.
A Bump Along the Way
Written by Tess McGowan, directed by Shelly Love and produced by Louise Gallagher, the film centres on a fraught mother and daughter relationship after an unexpected pregnancy. The film stars Bronagh Gallagher in th elead, alongside Lola Petticrew, Dan Gordon, Paddy C. Courtney, Peter Young, Conor Torbitt, and Zara Devlin. Developed through Northern Ireland Screen’s New Talent Focus scheme with Lottery funding from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.
Calm With Horses
Ripper Street director Nick Rowland’s Irish-made drama Calm With Horses is set in rural Ireland, and follows ex-boxer Arm who has become the feared enforcer of the drug-dealing Devers family while trying to be a good father to his autistic five-year-old son. Irish stars Barry Keoghan (The Killing Of A Sacred Deer) and newly named Screen Star of Tomorrow Niamh Algar (The Drummer And The Keeper) feature alongside English actor Cosmo Jarvis (Lady Macbeth). The film is based on a novella from the acclaimed collection of short stories Young Skins by Irish writer Colin Barrett from Mayo. Finance comes from the Screen Ireland, Film4 and the WRAP Fund.
Lina Luzyte’s second feature The Castle sees Lithuanian-born Monika (15) and her mother as struggling musicians in Dublin when they’re invited to play in a Galway Castle. To get money together, Monika kidnaps her Granny for ransom. But what looked like a big break turns out to be a hotel dinner gig. Heartbroken, Monika plays – until finally realizes she needs no stage to shine. Produced by Kęstutis Drazdauskas for Artbox Productions and David Collins for Samson Films, with support from the Lithuanian Film Board and Screen Ireland.
Caught in the Crossfire
In 2002, 79 people died when The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – People’s Army (FARC) launched a homemade mortar onto a church where many were hiding from crossfire between the FARC and the Paramilitaries. Leyner Palacios survived, but 28 of his family members did not. When peace between the government and the FARC was signed in 2016, after 50 years of conflict, Leyner made it his mission to ensure the peace deal was implemented to his people’s benefit, receiving a Nobel Peace Prize in the process. But, as the FARC demobilise, other armed groups seek to fill the power vacuum, and political pressure through presidential elections puts Leyner’s work, and life, at risk. Will this poster boy of peace be able to protect his family from another wave of violence? Caught In The Crossfire follows Leyner as he faces this fresh challenge. The film is directed by Oisin Kearney and produced by Loretta van der Horst for Fine Point Films.
Dark Lies The Island
Ian FitzGibbon’s is a deliciously dark comedy that rips with violent tension. Set in a small Irish town and unfolding over the course of one week, a long-standing family feud comes to a head and forces the men to face the truth. Dark Lies the Island has a script from Kevin Barry, based on characters from his short story collection of the same name. The cast includes Peter Coonan (Penance, Love/Hate), Pat Shortt (The Flag, Twice Shy), Moe Dunford (Handsome Devil, Patrick’s Day), Charlie Murphy (Philomena, Rebellion), Tommy Tiernan (Derry Girls, Father Ted), John Quinn (Black ’47, Michael Inside) and Jana Mohieden. A Grand Pictures production, supported by Screen Ireland, RTÉ, the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, Quickfire (UK), Egg Studios Ltd, and Section 481.
Death of a Ladies Man
Matt Bissonnette’s Irish/Canadian co-production Death Of A Ladies’ Man sees Irish actor Gabriel Byrne as a hard-drinking, womanising, university poetry professor. He discovers he has a brain tumour, which may be the cause of his strange visions, and he enters a more reflective period of his life, moving to his family’s remote shack, where he embarks on the novel he has been meaning to write all his adult life and unexpectedly falls in love with a local woman. The title is inspired by the work of Canadian musican Leonard Cohen and his 1977 album of the same name. Cohen was supportive of the project prior to his death in 2016, and his management continue that support. Produced by Martina Niland (Float Like a Butterfly) for Port Pictures, Corey Marr for Corey Marr Productions, and Marie-Claude Poulin for MCP Productions, with finance from Monte Rosso Productions, Bell Media’s The Harold Greenberg Fund and The Movie Network (TMN), and The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC).
The Devil’s Doorway
Northern Irish writer/director Aislinn Clarke goes back in time to 1960’s Northern Ireland to see Father Thomas Riley and Father John Thornton dispatched by the Vatican to investigate reports of a miracle, a statue of the Virgin Mary weeping blood, at a remote Catholic asylum for immoral women. Armed with 16mm film cameras to record their findings, the priests instead discover a depraved horror show of sadistic nuns, satanism and demonic possession. Supernatural forces are at work here, but they are not the doing of God. This found-footage style horror was distributed in the US by IFC Midnight last year but general Irish audiences are yet to see it away from the festivals. The film stars Lalor Roddy, Ciaran Flynn, Helena Bereen, and Lauren Coe. It is produced by Martin Brennan, Michael B. Jackson, and Katy Jackson for 23ten, with support from Northern Ireland Screen’s New Talent Focus. The film is available now from iTunes and Sky Store.
The Dig sees a murderer return home to help the victim’s father find closure…and the body. The film stars Moe Dunford (Patrick’s Day, Vikings), Emily Taaffe (Beast, Paula), Francis Magee (Jimmy’s Hall, Rogue One) and Lorcan Cranitch (The Legend of Longwood, Love, Rosie). The screenplay, written by Belfast native Stuart Drennan, was developed through Northern Ireland Screen’s New Talent Focus scheme with Lottery funding from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. Brothers Ryan and Andrew Tohill direct while Brian J. Falconer produces for Out of Orbit. The Tohill Brothers have directed several short films together. Their most recent short, Insulin, was a prequel for the critically acclaimed The Survivalist. The Digis their first feature-length film as directors.
Dirty God is a powerful film about motherhood, courage and self-acceptance. Jade is a young mother recovering from an acid attack that has left her with severe facial burns. Her face has been reconstructed, but her beauty is gone. Distanced from her daughter, Jade finds solace in the hidden world of online liaisons where she uncovers the passion and connection she’s craved. But when her life is turned upside down once more, those around can do little to halt her descent. As her family life and friendships start to crumble, Jade takes drastic action, finally finding the path back to her daughter and herself. Dirty God is an Irish/Dutch/UK/Belgian co-production, with Conor Barry and John Keville as Irish producers for Savage Productions, alongside Viking Film (NL), Emu Films (UK) and A Private View (BE).
A Dog Called Money
A Dog Called Money is a uniquely intimate journey through the inspiration, writing and recording of a PJ Harvey record. Writer and musician Harvey and award-winning photographer Seamus Murphy, hatched a collaboration. Seeking first-hand experience of the countries she wanted to write about, Harvey accompanied Murphy on some of his worldwide reporting trips, joining him in Afghanistan, Kosovo, and Washington DC. Harvey collected words, Murphy collected images. Back home, the words become poems, songs, then an album, which is recorded in an unprecedented art experiment in Somerset House, London. In a specially constructed room behind one-way glass, the public – all cameras surrendered – are invited to watch the five-week process as a live sound-sculpture. Murphy exclusively documents the experiment with the same forensic vision and private access as their travels. A Dog Called Money is produced by Pulse Films’ Isabel Davis, JW Films’ James Wilson, Blinder Films’ Katie Holly and Seamus Murphy. Thomas Benski, Marisa Clifford, Tim O’Shea, Jim Reeves, Laura Macara, Brian Message, Sumit Bothra, Celine Haddad, Sebastian Gollek, Kieron J. Walsh are attached as Executive Producers. Evan Horan of Blinder Films will act as Co-Producer.
Don’t Go is the story of a man who, following the tragic loss of his daughter, convinces himself he can bring her back if only he can hold onto her hand in a recurring dream. The script was written by Ronan Blaney (Boogaloo and Graham) and Gleeson. The cast is led by international stars Stephen Dorff (Blade) and Melissa George (The Slap, Grey’s Anatomy), with support from a host of Irish actors including Simon Delaney (The Conjuring 2, The Good Wife), Aoibhinn McGinnity (Poison Pen, Love/Hate), Gavin O’Connor (Charlie, The Tudors), Lalor Roddy (Michael Inside, Rebellion), Luke Griffin (Noble, Pure Mule), Charlotte Bradley (Veronica Guerin, An Bronntanas), and Laurence O’Fuarain (The Limit Of, Can’t Cope, Won’t Cope). Nathalie Lichtenthaeler (As If I’m Not There) produces for Wide Eye Films, with Dorff, Michael Helfant and Bradley Gallo as executive producers for Amasia Entertainment. Financing comes from the Fís Éireann / Screen Ireland, Amasia Entertainment, Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, and Northern Ireland Screen.
End of Sentence
Elfar Adalsteins’ directorial debut End of Sentence is a road movie, that sees Logan Lerman play an ex-con and son of John Hawkes’ uptight, but well-intentioned, father. Together the pair embark on a road trip from Alabama to Ireland to scatter the ashes of their late mother and wife. Sarah Bolger plays a hitchhiker they pick up along the way. The film is written by Michael Armbruster. David Collins produces from Samson Films, with Adalsteins and Gudrun Edda Thorhannesdottir for Berserk Films, and Joni Sighvatsson for Palomar Pictures. Eva Maria Daniels and Olga Segura will serve as executive producers.
An Engineer Imagines
An Engineer Imagines is a cinematic homage to the life and ideas of Peter Rice, a man widely regarded as the most distinguished structural engineer of the late twentieth century. Without his innovations and collaborations with the leading architects of his time, some of the most recognisable buildings in the world, including the Sydney Opera House, the Centre Pompidou and the Louvre Pyramid, would not have been possible. This documentary feature traces Rice’s extraordinary life from his native Ireland, through London, Sydney and Paris, to his untimely and tragic death in 1992. Through a series of interviews with his family, friends and former colleagues, interwoven with stunning time-lapse photography, we begin to understand the workings of one of the great minds and unsung heroes of the twentieth century. This is the story of a man who pushed the boundaries of art. Produced by Brendan J. Byrne (Elián, No Stone Unturned) and Brian Willis for Fine Point Films.
Mike Ahern and Enda Loughman (a.k.a. Team D.A.D.D.Y.)’s new comedy Extra Ordinary tells the story of a driving instructor who must use her other-wordly gifts to save a lonely man’s daughter from a rock star looking to use her for Satanic purposes. Irish comedian Maeve Higgins has the lead, with support from Barry Ward, U.S. actor Will Forte, and Australian actress, writer, and comedian Claudia O’Doherty. The film is the debut feature of writer-directors Ahern and Loughman. Extra Ordinary is produced by Katie Holly (Love & Friendship), Mary McCarthy (Mr Foley, Six Shooter), Yvonne Donohoe, and Ailish Bracken (The Queen of Ireland) for Blinder Films, in co-production with Umedia with funding from Fís Éireann / Screen Ireland, UMedia, and Inevitable Pictures.
An Klondike director Dathaí Keane returns to Irish language feature drama with a psychological drama that tells the story of Micí Phincí Ó Foghlú (Dara Devaney), a young musician with a tragic past who is crippled in a car accident and given a chance at redemption when he is recruited by a violent, avant-garde circus. Keane wrote the script with Diarmuid de Faoite, and the film is produced by Eileen Seoighe and Pierce Boyce for Abú Media Film Productions. Funded by Screen Ireland, TG4, and the BAI, with support from Section 481 under the Cine4 scheme.
Float Like A Butterfly
Filmed on location in West Cork, Float Like a Butterfly is a powerful and timely story of a girl’s fight for freedom and belonging. In a gender-reversal of classic film Billy Elliot, 15-year-old Frances (played by up-and-coming Irish actress Hazel Doupe) has to fight for the right to fight back. Raised in roadside camps in rural Ireland, Frances wants to champion her people inside the boxing ring and out, like her idol Muhammad Ali, but society is determined to break her spirit and destroy her way of life. Float Like a Butterfly is produced by Martina Niland (Sing Street) for Port Films and David Collins (A Dark Song) for Samson Films. The film won the International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI) for the Discovery programme at the Toronto International Film Festival late last year.
Gaza brings together an eloquent, resilient, funny and courageous group of souls, on whose lives the world lens is often trained, without ever capturing their true essence; their struggle, survival, resilience and sense of family, which goes to the very heart of humanity and human nature. The film unfolds a portrait of the ordinary people of Gaza who attempt to lead meaningful lives beyond the rubble of perennial conflict. Free of the cliché of news reportage, Gaza reveals a complex land of intrigue and highlight the beauty of the human condition and the warmth and humour that lies bubbling beneath the surface of this truly remarkable place. The documentary is directed and produced by Garry Keane and Andrew McConnell for Real Films.
A Girl From Mogadishu
A Girl from Mogadishu is a true story based on the testimony of Ifrah Ahmed, who – having escaped war-torn Somalia – emerged as one of the world’s foremost international activists against Gender Based Violence. Born into a refugee camp in war-torn Somalia, Ifrah is trafficked to Ireland as a teenager. Recounting her traumatic childhood experiences of Female Genital Mutilation / Cutting (FGM/C) when applying for refugee status, she is re-traumatized and vows to devote her life to the eradication of the practice. Taking her campaign all the way to the President of Ireland and finally to the European Parliament and United Nations. A Girl from Mogadishu stars Aja Naomi King (How to Get Away with Murder, Birth of a Nation) as Ifrah, Martha Canga Antonio (Black) and Barkhad Abdi (Blade Runner 2049, Eye of the Storm, Captain Phillips) as well as Somali icon, Maryam Mursals. Produced by director Mary McGuckian and Adrian Politowski, Headgear & Metrol Technology present in association with Premier Picture and The Exchange, a co-production with U Media and Screen Brussels, produced in association with Screen Ireland.
Directed by Academy Award®-winning Irish director Neil Jordan (The Crying Game) and comprising an impressive Irish and international cast including Stephen Rea (The Crying Game), Isabelle Huppert (Elle) and Chloë Grace Moretz (Carrie) , Greta is a contemporary psychological thriller. After discovering a handbag on a New York subway train, Frances McCullen (Moretz), a young woman bereaved by her mother’s death, sets about returning it to its rightful owner. Frances subsequently strikes up an unusual friendship with enigmatic widow Greta Hideg, however Greta’s motives may be more sinister than they initially seem. Stephen Rea, a frequent collaborator of Jordan’s features as a private detective, in the film which sees the streets of Dublin double-up as New York. Greta is produced by James Flynn (Calvary) for Metropolitan Films alongside Lawrence Bender, Sidney Kimmel and John Penotti, with Academy Award®-nominated Seamus McGarvey (Nocturnal Animals) serving as DOP, forming part of an Irish-led team which includes multiple Emmy Award-winning costume designer Joan Bergin, production designer Anna Rackard and editor Nick Emerson.
Here Are the Young Men
Here Are the Young Men is directed by Eoin Macken, from a screenplay by Macken and Rob Doyle. It is based upon the novel of the same name by Doyle. Set in the summer of 2003, it sees aimless teenager Matthew yearn after his childhood sweetheart, Jen, an independent girl on her own trajectory. Matthew is soon pulled into a world of nihilistic, toxic masculinity by a charismatic friend, while another precocious friend starts to succumb to paranoia. The film stars Dean-Charles Chapman, Finn Cole, Anya Taylor-Joy, and Ferdia Walsh-Peelo. Here Are the Young Men is produced by Richard Bolger (Cardboard Gangsters) for Irish production company TYM Productions and Noah Haeussner for Union Entertainment Group, with support from Screen Ireland.
Highway is a road movie, shot on location in New Mexico, and follows Heidi and Jane who live in a small desert town which has been bypassed by a bigger brighter world. Whilst Heidi is happy to daydream her time away in between shifts at the local diner, Jane strives for a life she thinks she deserves. After Jane suddenly disappears, Heidi is forced to take control and set out to find her friend, only to discover a world where reality and the borderless expanses of the desert intertwine. The film stars Eiza Gonzalez (From Dusk to Dawn, Baby Driver) and Lucy Fry (Wolf Creek, Vampire Academy) in the lead roles, with support from Sheila Vand (Argo, 24: Legacy), Josh Hartnett (Pearl Harbour, Penny Dreadful), Christian Camargo (The Hurt Locker, Twilight), Christopher Jordan Wallace (Everything Must Go), and Irish actress Antonia Campbell Hughes (Albert Nobbs, The Canal). Produced by Anna O’Malley and Eamonn Cleary of TW Films and Dominic Wright for Ripple World Pictures, with Ripple World’s Jacqueline Kerrin as executive producer with Adam Stanhope and Graham Appleby for GCI Film. Financing comes from GCI Film, Screen Ireland, and French film and TV lender Cofiloisirs, as well as the Section 481 and New Mexico tax credits.
How To Fake a War
The film takes place in the lead up to a global charity concert that is due to take place led by the vain and arrogant rock star, Harry Hope and his over-confident PR consultant, Kate. When notorious war monger, Boris the Butcher, decides to call a cease-fire four days before the big event, Kate knows that she absolutely has to make this event happen or her career will be over. She embarks on a mission to Georgia to create a fake news story letting the world know that the war is back on. Assisted by her naïve new intern, Peggy, the two quickly discover that they have taken on more than they can handle and as events spiral out of their control, all hell quickly breaks loose. The film is the fiction feature film debut of leading international documentary director Rudolph Herzog and stars American actor, stand-up comedian, and musician Jay Pharaoh, Katherine Parkinson, and face of Chanel Lily Newmark. The film was developed by Creative England, Film and Music Entertainment (UK) Ltd, Finnish financing house IPR.VC and is produced by Samantha Taylor and Mike Downey via their Dublin-based Film and Music Entertainment (IRE) and Kinomedia in Poland, with key financing from the UK’s Quickfire and Helsinki-based IPR.VC.
The Last Right
Directed by Aoife Crehan based on her own script, which was highlighted on the 2016 Brit List. The film sees a reluctant man drive a stranger’s corpse across Ireland against the wishes of the police, finding love, and mending family relations along the way. Michiel Huisman takes the lead alongside Niamh Algar, Samuel Bottomley, Brian Cox, and Colm Meaney. Irish producers are Deadpan Films. The film is supported by Screen Ireland.
A beautifully sweet coming-of-age- story, Hugh O’Conor’s directorial debut is a dramatic-comedy about a self-conscious goth Emma, and her beautiful, confident, twin sister Chantal. When their parents go away for the summer and the mysterious stranger next door moves in, their sibling rivalry threatens to boil over. The film stars Jordanne Jones, Leah McNamara, Moe Dunford, Seán Doyle, and Alan Heffernan. Written by Paul Murray and produced by Claire McCaughley, Rebecca O’Flanagan, and Robert Walpole for Treasure Entertainment, with support of Screen Ireland.
Never Grow Old
Set in the harsh American frontier landscape of 1849 Never Grow Old is about greed and its consequences. It is a Faustian tale of outsider Patrick Tate who lives with his young family on the outskirts of a relatively peaceful frontier town until outlaws take over and kill all those who challenge them. Patrick plays a dangerous game befriending and profiting from the outlaws mayhem and it is only a matter of time before he must protect his own from the bloodshed. The film stars John Cusack, Emile Hirsch, Déborah François, Antonia Campbell-Hughes, and Danny Webb. Produced by Jacqueline Kerrin, Marie-Claire Kerrin and Dominic Wright for Irish-based Ripple World Pictures, alongside Italian producers Interlinea Films, Germany’s Heimatfilm, and Luxembourg’s Iris Productions. The film was developed with the assistance of Screen Ireland and MEDIA.
Lisa Barros D’Sa and Glenn Leyburn’s drama Normal People stars Irish acting legend Liam Neeson and Phantom Thread‘s Lesley Manville in the lead roles with a script by celebrated Irish playwright Owen McCafferty. Joan and Tom have been married for many years. There is an ease to their relationship which only comes from spending a life time together and a depth of love which expresses itself through tenderness and humour in equal part. When Joan is unexpectedly diagnosed with breast cancer, the course of her treatment shines a light on their relationship as they are faced with the challenges that lie ahead and the prospect of what might happen if something were to happen to her. Normal People is the third feature from Lisa Barros D’Sa and Glenn Leyburn, who previously gave us Good Vibrations and Cherrybomb. The film is a Canderblinks Films and Out of Orbit production, produced by the BAFTA award-winner Brian J. Falconer for Out of Orbit, David Holmes for Canderblinks Films, and Piers Tempest for Tempo Productions. Natascha Wharton is executive producer for the BFI, alongside Stephen Kelliher for Bankside Films, Jo Bamford for Tempo Productions, Phil Hunt and Compton Ross for Head Gear Films/Metrol Technology, and Mark Huffam.
One Million American Dreams
Less than 16 miles from central Manhattan lies Hart Island, a 101-acre cemetery and the final resting place of over 1 million New Yorkers. But this is no ordinary cemetery. This is the last stop on the journey of the city’s unclaimed dead. Hart Island is strictly off limits to the public. It is run by the city’s Department of Correction, which employs inmates from nearby Rikers Island to carry out weekly interments: poor and forgotten prisoners burying poor and forgotten people for 50 cents an hour. From the brief lives of babies who died in hospital, to the lost lives of parents who drifted into poverty and oblivion, One Million American Dreams follows four families trying to reconcile themselves to the tragic stories of their loved ones who ended up in a cheap pine box at the bottom of a Hart Island trench. Directed and produced by Brendan J. Byrne and produced by Trevor Birney for Fine Point Films. Financed by Screen Ireland and Northern Ireland Screen.
John Butler’s third feature, Papi Chulo, is his first filmed outside of Ireland. Cast adrift in Los Angeles, Sean — a lonely TV weatherman — drives past a middle-aged Latino migrant worker standing outside Home Depot looking for work. He decides to hire this kind-looking man — to be his friend. Sean is young, gay and white; Ernesto, portly, straight and married. Despite having nothing in common, they build a sort of friendship based on sign language, until Sean becomes consumed by a deep and obsessional attraction. U.S. star Matt Bomer, who played the lead in USA Network’s White Collar and who won a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Series, Miniseries or Television Film in 2014 for The Normal Heart, takes the lead alongside Alejandro Patiño (The Runaways). Rob Walpole and Rebecca O’Flanagan produce for Treasure Entertainment, with financing by Screen Ireland, Head Gear Films, RTE and Windmill Lane. Head Gear Films’ Phil Hunt and Compton Ross are executive producing together with Bankside’s Hilary Davis and Stephen Kelliher.
The Rhythm Section
The Rhythm Section is an international spy thriller that follows the story of Stephanie Patrick, a woman who seeks to uncover the truth behind a plane crash that killed her family. Patrick was also meant to be on the flight. After she discovers that the crash was not accidental, she embarks on a mission to track down those responsible by assuming the identity of an assassin. The film is directed by Reed Morano and written by Mark Burnell, based on his novel of the same name. The film stars Blake Lively and Jude Law. Filmed in Ireland and produced by EON productions.
Set in present day Dublin, Colm is married, with two teenage children. We meet him at a crisis point, he is grieving the death of his father, a destructive figure in Colm’s life. Unable to articulate his pain Colm is repeating similar mistakes with his own son. In the midst of this crisis, a brief sexual encounter with a young rent-boy called Jay has a deep affect on Colm. The struggle to be moral and the urge to satisfy his own needs starts to corrode his spirit. Rialto is adapted by Mark O’Halloran from his own play Trade and is directed by Peter Mackie Burns. It stars Tom Vaughan-Lawlor (Citizen Lane, Maze, Avenger: Infinity War) in the lead role, with Paul Kealyn (The Man Who Invented Christmas, Vikings) in support. Rialto is produced by Alan Maher (Song of Granite, Being A.P.) for Marcie Films and Tristan Goligher (Lean on Pete, 45 Years) for The Bureau.
Rose Plays Julie
Joe Lawlor and Christine Molloy a.k.a Desperate Optimists’ Rose Plays Julie tells the tale of an adopted girl who seeks out her birth mother only to be told her mother has no desire to meet her. Undeterred she sets out from Dublin to London in an effort to confront her birth mother, and face her own identity. The film stars Ann Skelly (Kissing Candice) in the lead, with support from Orla Brady and Aidan Gillen. Produced by David Collins for Samson Films, with support from Screen Ireland.
Written and directed by Neasa Hardiman (Jessica Jones, Happy Valley), Sea Fever sees a marine biology student find herself isolated from her superstitious trawler crew as they struggle to overcome a deadly parasite in their water supply. Connie Nielsen plays the Captain, with Hermione Corfied (Star Wars: The Last Jedi) as the student. Ardalan Esmaili, Jack Hickey, Olwen Fouéré, and newcomer Elie Bouakaze also feature. DoP on Sea Fever is Ruairí O’Brien, best known for Line of Duty, Humans, and The Fall. Brendan McCarthy and John McDonnell of Dublin-based Fantastic Films produce, with Belgium’s Frakas Productions and Sweden’s Bright Pictures. Epic Pictures Group executive produce and co-finance, with financial support also coming from Fís Éireann / Screen Ireland, the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, Wallimage, and Film i Väst, as well as from the Creative Europe MEDIA programme.
Shooting the Mafia
In sharp contrast to the all-pervasive romanticised and glamorised media image of the Sicilian Mafia, Kim Longinotto’s feature documentary Shooting the Mafia, unflinchingly explores the stark reality of life, and death, under the oppressive yoke of the Corleonesi Mafia. Photographer Letizia Battaglia stood up to the Mafia and it is through her lens that we enter this world of ritualised slaughter, omertà, semi-religious oppression and feudal control. The scale of the mafia’s brutality and power is revealed through a combination of rare archive footage, newsreel and personal photographs and memories. The power of Letizia’s photography and the bravery and dedication of people like her helped to finally bring to an end the brutal reign of a bunch of small town thugs who’s reign of fear reached as far as the Italian presidency. The documentary is directed by Kim Longinotto and produced by Niamh Fagan for Lunar Pictures.
Sweetness In Belly
Zeresenay Berhane Mehari’s refuge drama Sweetness In The Belly centres on a woman caught between two worlds. Orphaned in Africa as a child, she escapes to England as a refugee, fleeing civil war. Lost in this cold new world, Lilly embraces the immigrant community in London, attempting to reunite people with their scattered families. But as her friend Amina discovers, Lilly’s mission isn’t purely selfless: A passionate lost love affair is revealed between Lilly and Aziz, an idealistic doctor. But can Lilly let go of the past? Laura Phillips adapted the script from Camilla Gibb’s novel of the same name. The film is produced by Alan Moloney and Susan Mullen for Parallel Films, and Jennifer Kawaja and Julia Sereny for Sienna Films. Mehret Mandefro,Adrian Sturges, Laura Bickford, and Fiona Druckenmiller are executive producers. The film is backed by Fís Éireann/Screen Ireland, Telefilm Canada, the Ontario Media Development Corporation, and Eurimages.
Vita and Virginia
Chanya Button’s Vita & Virginia comes from a script by Dame Eileen Atkins based on her play of the same name. The film follows the romance and friendship between authors Virginia Woolf and Vita Sackville-West. Sackville-West is best known for her pastoral epic, The Land (1927), and as the inspiration for the androgynous protagonist in Woolf’s novel Orlando (1928). Elizabeth Debicki stars as Virginia Woolf, with Gemma Arterton playing Vita Sackville-West. The film also features Isabella Rossellini, Rupert Penry-Jones and Peter Ferdinando. Vita & Virginia is produced by Katie Holly for Blinder Films and Evangelo Kioussis of Mirror Productions, with Arterton, Simon Baxter, Christopher Figg, Nicolas Sampson, Norman Merry, and Dave Bishop as executive producers. Finance comes from Fís Éireann / Screen Ireland, Piccadilly Pictures, Sampsonic Media and Lipsync Productions.
Lorcan Finnegan’s new Irish thriller feature Vivarium, stars Imogen Poots and Jesse Eisenberg, The film focuses on a young couple who follow a strange estate agent into a new development to look at a house. The development is brand new but completely devoid of life, and when they attempt to leave they soon find that they can’t find their way out of the maze of houses. Vivarium is produced by Brendan McCarthy and John McDonnell for Fantastic Films, with Belgium’s Frakas Productions and Denmark’s PingPong Film as co-producers.
What Time is Death?
The Justified Ancients of Mu Mu return, but now they’re no longer a pop group, they’re undertakers building a People’s Pyramid out of bricks made from the ashes of the dead. The film is directed by Paul Duane and backed by the Arts Council’s Reel Art scheme. It should premiere at the Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival in February.
While You Live, Shine
Paul Duane directs this mesmerising film that uses its swirling music & beautifully choreographed camerawork to delve into the human need for communal experience through music and dance, as shown in the ancient ‘panegyri’ of Epirus in Northern Greece, a three-day festival of ecstatic music & dancing. It’s the story of how musicologist Chris King had his life changed by the oldest surviving European music, preserved in the mountains of Greece.
Cathy Brady’s debut feature Wildfire sees Nora-Jane Noone and Nika McGuigan play two sisters who grew up in the shadow of the Irish/Northern Irish border. When one of them, who has been missing, finally returns home, the intense bond with her sister is reignited. Together they unearth their mother’s past but uncovered secrets and resentments which have been buried deep threaten to overwhelm them. Wildfireis produced by Carlo Cresto-Dina for Tempesta Films, Charles Steel for Cowboy Films, and David Collins for Samson Films. Lizzie Francke, Celine Haddad, Lauren Dark, Emma Duffy, Robert Halmi and Jim Reeve are executive producers, with support coming from the BFI, Screen Ireland, Northern Ireland Screen and the Wellcome Trust, with Film4, Sulcata Productions, Illium and Lexis Media as co-financiers.
Ireland at the turn of the millennium. A grimy warehouse in a corner of Dublin’s docklands becomes a mecca for music and the arts. This is the story of a group of extraordinary people who were brave, bold and groundbreaking enough to leave their mark on an incredible time of change in Ireland and the world. Directed by Aisling Walsh, and produced by Alan Moloney and Ruth Coady for Parallel Films.