Irish Abroad: Finola Geraghty’s Substrata heads to the 28th Holland Film Meeting

Next month (September 24th to 27th ) the Netherlands Film Festival takes place in Utrecht. Every year the festival hosts the Holland Film Meeting, an event aimed at stimulating co-production activity between many of Europe’s leading representatives from the Dutch, European and global finance, production, sales and distribution industries.

Irish interests at the event will be represented by Savage Productions and their newest film Substrata, to be directed by Finola Geraghty (Come on Eileen) from a script co-written with Glenn Montgomery (The Other Side of Sleep). Substrata is one of 20 films in development that have been chosen from all over Europe, which are all suitable for co-production, and ready to be presented to some of international cinema’s most important and influential financiers, distributors, sales agents and co-producers.

The film follows Joanne, a forty-year old English archaeologist, who on a remote Atlantic island, sees her life intertwine with a young hunter and a coastguard, in a maelstrom of love, hate and fear.

Writer/director Geraghty is an award winning playwright and actress, who won an RTS Award with her short film Big Daddy. Her debut feature film Come On Eileen was released in 2011 to critical acclaim. Substrata is being developed with the assistance of the Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board, and is to be produced by John Keville and Conor Barry for Savage Productions. Savage Productions are fast establishing themselves as one of Ireland’s premier production companies. They are currently in post-production on Brendan Muldowney’s Pilgrimage, having produced recent cinema release You’re Ugly Too from director Mark Noonan. Their next release will be Irish/UK co-production Brand New-U, from writer/director Simon Pummell, which is due out later this year,

The Holland Film Meeting is a focal point of the Netherlands Film Festival, providing a series of business-oriented events for attending international professionals. Since its inception in 1988, the Holland Film Meeting has established itself as one of Europe’s key stopping-off points for funding independent cinema.

The selected films that will form part of the Holland Film Meeting are Karin Jurschick’s Playing God (Bildersturm Filmproduktion – Germany), Jonathan Sagall’s The Man Disappeared (Gebrueder Beetz Filmproduktion – Germany)?, Jan and Raf Roosens’ Franco (Rococo – Flanders), Sylvestre Sbille’s Today We Live (Panache Productions – Wallonia), Yaron Shani’s Apple of My Eye (Black Sheep Film Productions – Israel), Katja Gauriloff’s Baby Jane (Oktober – Finland), Jenifer Malmqvist’s I Bet You Would (Chinema Film – Sweden), Ioseb Bliadze’s Otar’s Death (Color of May Imanov & Blondiau Filmproduktion – Georgia), Matyas Prikler’s Power (Mphilms – Slovakia), Rami Kodeih’s Sons of Sunday (Senorita Films – France), Finola Geraghty’s Substrata (Savage Films – Ireland), Carla Simón’s Summer 1993 (Inicia Films – Spain), Emre Akay’s The Hunt (JaguarProjects – Turkey), Stephan Komandarev’s The Other Man (Argo Film – Bulgaria), Erik de Bruyn’s Shards of Us (Submarine – The Netherlands), Bobby Boermans’ Waltzing Matilde (BosBros – The Netherlands), Mete Gümürhan’s MNK Boy (Kaliber Film – The Netherlands), Bea de Visser’s Turn (Pieter van Huystee Film – The Netherlands), Ron Termaat’s Unknown Family (Rinkel Film – The Netherlands) and Berend and Roel Boorsma’s Le Voyeur (Smarthouse Films – The Netherlands).

These 20 projects will compete for two prizes: The Cam-a-lot & Filmmore Cinema Emerging Talent Prize for the Best Project (valued at €10,000 in camera and post-production facilities), and The WarnierPosta Prize (valued at €5,000 in audio post-production facilities in one of the WarnierPosta studios).

Joanne, a forty-year old English archaeologist is drawn to a remote island off the West coast of Ireland, by an old historical document that hints at a past where bodies did not rot. She is taken to the island by Michael, an attractive and charismatic local coastguard who gently warns her to stay clear of the volatile cliff area as it is off limits.

While searching for buried monks she meets Lawrence, a young small-town hunter who is on the island hunting mink. Joanne and Lawrence meet, clash somewhat, and fall in love. There is a chemistry and intensity between them, which seems to adhere to formulae outside the conventional groundings of human relationships.

As Joanne digs deeper for ancient DNA, she unearths something that is more precious and more far reaching than the dead monks she is excavating…

But who does the discovery belong to? A moral conflict ensues that rapidly becomes a physical fight for survival that strikes to the very core of each character.