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#Industry: Irish Film Board announces latest round of successful funding applicants

Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board (IFB) has announced the funding awards made by the IFB Board for the second quarter of 2016 across film, documentary and animation, in the categories of development, production and distribution.

A high-level breakdown of the figures sees €5,980,800 allocated for the period, with 37 projects sharing development funding of €620,300, 27 projects sharing production funding of €5,227,500 (including 3 non-defined commitment offers), and 5 projects sharing distribution funding of €133,000.

Last November the Irish Film Board outlined a 6 point strategy aimed at increasingly female represent in the Irish film industry and moving towards gender equality in funding and other decisions. This latest round of funding sees 22 of the 69 projects financed with either a female writer or director or both.

As always production funding represents the largest outlay for the IFB. The largest single recipient of this round of funding is the Fastnet Films produced Black 47, which has been granted €750,000. The film, which will be directed by Lance Daly (Kisses) is a western set during the Irish Famine. This feature adaptation of PJ Dillon and Pierce Ryan’s award-winning short An Ranger has had a long gestation, having previously been offered production funding of €900,000 before an abortive attempt in 2013. The film received a commitment for development funding of €12,000 at the start of 2015, before receiving a Provisional Offer of Commitment later in 2015.

The second feature from Let Us Prey director Brian O’Malley, The Lodgers, received €600,000. The film, which is scripted by David Turpin, is a ghost story of orphaned twins Rachel and Edward who share their crumbling stately home with unseen sinister forces – known as “The Lodgers”. The film is produced by Julianne Forde and Ruth Treacy for Tailored Films.

An untitled film from Academy Award-nominated writer/director Kirsten Sheridan, based on the life of Amy Winehouse, received €540,000. The film, which is being produced Justin Maurer and Alixandre Witlin of City Entertainment and Tristan Orpen Lynch of Subotica Films, is set to star Noomi Rapace as the tragic singer-songwriter.

Seeing Chris, which is written and directed by Northern Irish filmmaker Tom Cairns, received a commitment of €500,000. My Name is Emily producers Newgrange Films are behind the project, which is based on a short story by Deborah Eisenberg. Seeing Chris is a coming of age story about a young girl who is fearful of losing her sight, right at the point when she begins to fall for an older man. The film had previously been offered Production funding at a similar level in 2013 and 2015.

Mammal director Rebecca Daly received backing for her third feature film, Good Favour. The film will be produced by SP Films,a nd was co-written with Daly’s writing partner Glenn Montgomery. The film sees a young man walk out of an immense forest and into the lives of a strictly devout Christian community carving out a remote existence in central Europe. An apparent nobody, the only physical sign of his life before is the wound on his torso that refuses to heal. The IFB has backed Daly’s previous two films and has been supportive of Good Favour since 2012, offering script development and fiction development funding.

One of Ireland’s most promising filmmakers, I Used to Live Here writer/director Frank Berry, has received backing for his new feature, Michael Inside, to the tune of €450,000. Another film looking at the impacts of a societal issues, Michael Inside centres on a young man who spends a short term in prison, and the impact that imprisonment has on him. The film is produced by Berry and his wife Donna Eperon via Write Direction Films.

Shooting soon is writer/director Alexandra McGuinness’ new film Highway, which received backing of €235,000 from the IFB. The film sees a young girl go on a search across the desert, digging up secrets and encountering the violence of life on the road, after her best friend goes missing at a rodeo. The film is produced by Ripple World Pictures, TW Films and Smaller Biggie Productions.

Two films received Fiction Creative Co-Production backing. The first is In Darkness which is directed by Anthony Byrne, and co-written by Byrne and Game of Thrones star Nathalie Dormer. Dormer is set to feature in the film, which is a thriller that sees a blind musician get pulled into London’s dark underbelly when she hears a murder take place in the apartment above her. The second is Return to Montauk, from Academy Award-winning director Volker Schlondorff. The film is based on a script by Colm Toibin, and sees an author meet and falls in love with a young woman while on a book tour in the US. Many years later, he returns to the United States, hoping to reunite with his young lover. The film is being produced by F&ME, Gaumont Film Company, Volksfilm, and Ziegler Film, with SP Films as Irish co-producers.

Three projects received a Provisional Offer of Commitment, the placeholder designation that means that the IFB will back the project but that the amount has yet to be worked out. The first of those three is writer/director David Freyne’s zombie horror-drama The Third Wave, which recently cast Ellen Page in the lead role and is produced by Tilted Pictures. The story is set following the outbreak of an aggressive virus, and sees a young woman wake in a hospital bed. As the horrifying events that led her there are revealed, it becomes clear that the cure is just the beginning. Society has divided into those who were once infected, and committed terrible violent acts, and those who never contracted the virus. In the backdrop, the rise of a terrorist movement, fuelled by the deep divisions, threatens to plunge the region into chaos again.

It is joined by David Gleeson’s supernatural thriller Don’t Let Go, which is scripted by Gleeson and Ronan Blaney, and is produced by Wide Eye Films. The film 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 film has previously received Development funding from both Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board and Northern Ireland Screen.

The third and final POC recipient is Trish McAdam’s The End Of Romance, which is written by McAdam, and produced by Fleming Creative. The film is based on the life of Maud Gonne and WB Yeats in the period 1916-1918, and centres on the Bohemian revolutionary Maud Gonne, the visionary poet WB Yeats, and Maud’s impulsive 21 year old daughter, Iseult, in an artistic and politically eccentric mother-daughter triangle of romance. In addition to the IFB the film has received funding from Creative Europe/Media Funding.

Away from fiction the IFB encourages Irish documentary filmmaking and animation. On the documentary front it has committed €740,000 in Production funding to eight documentaries; Keepers Of The Flame from Nuala O’Connor, The Venice Of The North from Tom Burke, A Spell In Power from Caroline Campbell, Haunted from Maurice Sweeney, Condemned To Remember from Gerry Gregg, All The Numbers from Ross Whitaker, and Jihad Jane: Dangerously Seeking Marriage from Ciaran Cassidy, and Butterfly City from Olga Cernovaite.

The IFB also supported a large number of animation projects through development and production this quarter with funding awards going to MyaGo to be produced by Piranha Bar, and Monster Entertainment’s I’m A Fish. Development awards include a TV series for Two by Two the Ark has Gone, based on the feature film which was a major box office success last year to be produced by Moetion Films, as well as new projects including Alva & The Trolls, Peek Zoo, Creepers and The Mooneys who will present at Cartoon Forum in September.

The IFB have awarded a total of €620.3K for development funding this quarter, again supporting a diverse range of content. Feature film projects in receipt of IFB development support include Benjamin Black adaptation The Black-Eyed Blonde to be directed by John Crowley (Brooklyn), Bolt written by Amy Huberman and John Butler (The Stag), A Girl from Mogadishu to be written and directed by Mary McGuckian (The Price of Desire), The Voyage Of The Triton Crusader written by Will Collins (Song of the Sea), The Undertaking written and to be directed by Gerard Barrett (Glassland), and Epos Films’s adaptation Stolen written by Lisa Mulcahy and Eoin O’Connor.

New Irish films that received distribution support from the IFB include the recently released period drama Love and Friendship, from director Whit Stillman, and Risteard Ó Domhnaill’s documentary Atlantic. Also supported are the forthcoming Galway Film Fleadh joint-winner The Young Offenders directed by Peter Foott, and Irish documentaries Bobby Sands: 66 Days directed by Brendan Byrne, and Mom and Me directed by Ken Wardrop.

The IFB is keen to stress that these decisions reflect applications processed and approved in the second quarter, and do not reflect applications received during this period.

Visit the IFB website for a full list of projects in receipt of funding.