BFI London Film Festival 2018

#IrishAbroad: Four Irish features and two shorts head to the 2018 BFI London Film Festival

The BFI London Film Festival this morning announced its full lineup for the 2018 festival. Ireland will be represented by 4 feature films, Dublin Oldschool, The Favourite, Papi Chulo, and Rosie, and two shorts Boy Saint and Catcalls. The 62nd edition of the festival, which runs October 10th to 21st will feature a selection where 38% of directors are women. Irish director Lenny Abrahamson will chair the jury.

Dublin Oldschool
Dublin Oldschool

Dave Tynan’s feature debut will play in the Thrill strand at the BFI London Film Festival. Dublin Oldschool tells the story of Jason, a wannabe DJ, on a drug-fuelled trip through the streets of Dublin as he stumbles from one session to another. Somewhere between the DJs, decks, and drug busts he stumbles across a familiar face from the past, his brother Daniel.  Daniel, an educated heroin addict, is living on the streets. The brothers haven’t seen or spoken to each other in years but over a lost weekend they reconnect and reminisce over raves, tunes and their troubled past. Two brothers living very different lives might have more in common than they think.

The film is directed and co-written by Tynan (Heartbreak, Just Sayin’) and stars co-writer Emmet Kirwan (’71, Heartbreak), Ian Lloyd Anderson (Love/Hate, Game of Thrones), Seana Kerslake (A Date for Mad Mary, Can’t Cope, Won’t Cope) and Sarah Greene (Noble, Rebellion).

Dublin Oldschool is produced by Mike Donnelly, Dave Leahy with Liam Ryan as associate producer, Rory Gilmartin serving as executive producer for Element Pictures and Lesley McKimm as executive producer for the Irish Film Board. Production support for the project came from Fís Éireann / Screen Ireland and Windmill Lane Pictures.

I’m over the moon that we’re showing Dublin Oldschool to an international audience for the first time at BFI London Film Festival. The festival is a showcase for work by so many directors I admire. Screening our film alongside theirs is a privilege.
Dave Tynan, Director – Dublin Oldschool

Papi Chulo
Papi Chulo

John Butler’s third feature, Papi Chulo, is his first filmed outside of Ireland. It plays in the Love strand. 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). Papi Chulo is John Butler’s third feature film, having previously written and directed The Stag and Handsome Devil, both of which premiered at TIFF. 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.


Rosie, directed by Paddy Breathnach (Viva, I Went Down) and written by award-winning Irish novelist Roddy Doyle (The Commitments, When Brendan Met Trudy), plays as part of the Debate strandRosie tells the story of a mother trying to protect her family after their landlord sells their rented home and they become homeless. Finding a room, even for a night, is a tough job and finding somewhere permanent to live is even harder. Within the confines of their car, Rosie and John Paul strive to maintain a loving home while shielding their young family from the reality of the situation around them. ROSIE examines how even in times of crises; the love and strength of a family can endure.

Rosie stars Sarah Greene (Noble, Rebellion) in the title role, alongside Moe Dunford (Vikings, Handsome Devil) as her partner John Paul. The pair also appear in Lance Daly’s forthcoming Black 47. It is Roddy Doyle’s first original screenplay in 18 years and is a direct response to the current housing crisis in Ireland. Rosie is produced by Emma Norton, Rory Gilmartin and Juliette Bonass. Ed Guiney and Andrew Lowe are Executive Producers for Element Pictures and Dearbhla Regan is the Screen Ireland Executive Producer.

Boy Saint
Boy Saint

These three join Yorgos Lanthimo’s The Favourite, which was already announced as a Gala screening at the festival. Two Irish shorts will also feature; Boy Saint, screening in the short films programme What’s My Age Again?, and Catcalls, screening in the short films programme Real Horrorshow. Boy Saint, directed by Tom Speers, is the story of two adolescent boys who become aware of their budding sexuality. It is based on a poem by Peter LaBerge.


Catcalls, directed by Kate Dolan, follows two women, for whom an ordinary night on the town turns into a killer one. Catcalls explores the themes of street harassment and the idea of women being made victims in safe spaces like their own communities. In this fictional horror, the power is shifted and the predator becomes the prey.

The film stars Sarah Kinlen, Edel Murphy, Martin O’Sullivan, and Cesca Saunders. Catcalls was made under Screen Ireland’s Focus Shorts Scheme last year. It was produced by Aoife Kelly (The Queen of Ireland), with Piers McGrail (Without Name) as DoP, Steve Lynch (Let Us Prey) as Composer, and John Cutler as Editor.

There will be 21 world premieres in London and 29 European premieres, including Steve McQueen’s Widows, adapted from the Lynda La Plante TV series; Jason Reitman’s The Front Runner, chronicling the rise and fall of the would-be 1988 Democrat presidential candidate Gary Hart; the Coen brothers’ new film The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, an anthology of six mini-westerns; Alfonso Cuarón’s black and white Roma, David Mackenzie’s Robert the Bruce biopic for Netflix, Outlaw King; Matthew Heineman’s A Private War, starring Rosamund Pike as Sunday Times foreign correspondent Marie Colvin; and Marielle Heller’s Can You Ever Forgive Me? the true story of celebrity biographer and letter forger Lee Israel, starring Melissa McCarthy.

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