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#IrishFilm: The end of 2016 sees multiple new IFB-backed projects in production

The last two months have been incredibly busy for production activity on films supported by Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board, with a host of films both beginning and finishing principal photography.

David Freyne’s The Third Wave and Lance Daly’s Black ’47 began filming in Ireland and Luxembourg respectively whilst Frank Berry’s Michael Inside finished principal photography in Cork following a five-week shoot.  Farhad Safinia’s The Professor and the Madman is also currently filming on location in Dublin and Wicklow alongside Morgan Bushe’s The Belly of the Whale.  Mark O’Rowe’s Delinquent Season began filming in Dublin while Bharat Nalluri’s The Man Who Invented Christmas is currently filming on location in Dublin and Wicklow.

The Third Wave, directed by David Freyne and produced by Rory Dungan and Rachael O’Kane for Tilted Pictures tells the story of a deadly virus that has devastated Europe for six years, transforming people into zombie-like monsters. When a cure is found with a 75% success rate, the infected people are restored to full physical health, remembering everything they did when infected. Three years into this great hope, the third wave of cured are ready for release in Ireland. Redefining the zombie genre and starring Ellen Page, Sam Keeley and Tom Vaughan-Lawlor, The Third Wave is financed by the Irish Film Board, Northern Ireland Screen, Bac Films, BAI and Yellow Moon.

Lance Daly’s Black ’47 stars Oscar® winner Jim Broadbent and Hugo Weaving alongside an all-star Irish cast including Stephen Rea, Sarah Greene and Moe Dunford. The film is written by PJ Dillon, Pierce Ryan with additional material by Eugene O’Brien and Lance Daly.  Set in 1847, the year of The Great Famine in Ireland, Black ’47 follows Feeney — a hardened Irish Ranger who has been fighting for the British Army abroad — as he abandons his post to return home and reunite with his estranged family only to find his mother starved and his brother hanged at the hands of the English. The film charts Feeney as he sets out on a destructive path to avenge his family but as Hannah, an ageing British soldier is sent in to stoke the fires of revolution, both men question their motives, as they are tested to the limit by the hellish landscape of ‘The Great Hunger’. The film is financed by Primemeridian Entertainment, the Irish Film Board, the Luxembourg Film Fund, Wildcard Distribution, BAI, TV3, Eurimages, Umedia, Samsa Films and Fastnet Films.

Following a shoot in both the recently decommissioned Cork Prison and Dublin, the Frank Berry-directed Michael Inside tells the story of Michael McCrea, a young and impressionable teenager who is sentenced to three months in prison after being caught holding a bag of drugs for his friend’s older brother. Inside, Michael is exposed to violence and intimidation and when he is released the film looks at how prison has affected his thinking and his behaviour. Produced by Subotica and financed by IFB, Michael Inside sees Dafhyd Flynn starring alongside Lalor Roddy and Moe Dunford.

The Professor and the Madman is based on Simon Winchester’s best-selling historical novel about the creation of the Oxford English Dictionary. Directed by Farhad Safinia, it stars Mel Gibson as Professor James Murray, who, in 1857 undertook the creation of the famed dictionary. Sean Penn plays Doctor W.C. Minor, an associate of Murray’s who was responsible for over 10,000 entries in the dictionary, whilst also living as an inmate in Broadmoor insane asylum. The film will showcase up-and-coming local Irish talent Rob McCormack, Abigail Coburn, Zoe Moran, Phonsie Wardell, and Nora Cooper alongside English actress, Natalie Dormer. The Professor and the Madman received creative co-production funding from IFB.

Morgan Bushe’s The Belly of the Whale also went in November, starring Pat Shortt and Michael Smiley. Bushe’s film follows two down-and-out drifters as they attempt to alter their circumstances by teaming together to hold up a small-town amusement arcade. The Belly of the Whale is funded by the Irish Film Board, RTÉ and Filmbase.

Starring Cillian Murphy and Eva Birthistle, Mark O’Rowe’s Delinquent Season tells a story of marital disharmony as Jim and Danielle witness their good friends Yvonne and Chris’ relationship growing factions and soon both couples are soon forced to re-evaluate their lives and their respective marriages and friendships. Produced by Parallel Films, the film is funded by the Irish Film Board, BFI, RTÉ and Ingenious Media.

Bharat Nalluri’s The Man Who Invented Christmas offers an insight into how Charles Dickens brought A Christmas Carol to life with Dan Stevens playing the role of the famous author. He is joined by Christopher Plummer playing Scrooge, with Jonathan Pryce will play Dickens’ father.  The film is produced by Parallel Films with support from the Irish Film Board.