Irish Film: Bumper Year for Irish Films Screening and Selling at the Cannes Film Festival

As the Cannes Film Festival and market open this week, the Irish film industry will be well represented at the world’s most famous film event, with two films in official selection and a host of films selling in the market.

Jimmy’s Hall, directed by Ken Loach, will have its world premiere in Official Competition at the festival. The film shot for seven weeks in Co. Leitrim and Co. Sligo last summer and stars Irish actors Barry Ward (The Family), Simone Kirby (Pure Mule) and Andrew Scott (The Stag, Sherlock), along with a strong supporting cast of Irish talent. Jimmy’s Hall tells the story of Jimmy Gralton, who set up a dance hall on a rural crossroads in an Ireland on the brink of civil war. The film will premiere on May 22nd.

John Boorman’s latest film Queen and Country, a sequel to his Oscar-nominated film “Hope and Glory”, produced with support from Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board has been chosen for the prestigious Directors’ Fortnight selection and will have its world premiere on March 20th.

Set in 1952, Queen and Country stars Caleb Landry Jones as an 18-year-old British man who joins the National Service and meets an amoral prankster who becomes his friend. They are assigned as instructors in a training camp while others are shipped out to fight in the Korean War. The film also stars Pat Short, Sinead Cusack, Callum Turner, David Thewlis and Richard E. Grant.

It is expected that a host of the Irish film industry’s leading professionals will also travel to the market to finance and sell their films.  Films selling at the market including Standby starring Brian Gleeson (Love/Hate) and Jessica Pare (Madmen), The Canal starring Antonia Campbell which recently Premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and sold in the US, the award winning horror film Let Us Prey starring Liam Cunningham and Lenny Abrahamson’s Frank which is currently on release in Ireland.

James Hickey, CEO of Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board, commented: “Cannes is arguably one of the most important film festivals and film markets in the world. Ireland will be well represented there with two World Premieres, Queen and Country in Directors Fortnight, and Jimmy’s Hall in Official Competition. Irish producers will be at the market, raising finance for future productions and looking for international co-productions to film on location in Ireland.”

The Festival de Cannes is the most important film festival in the world, with more than 30,000 professionals accredited each year at the Festival and Marché du Film (Film Market). In 2013, over 1,200 writers and filmmakers, 4,500 distributors, 5,000 producers and 4,000 journalists attended.

The Irish Pavilion in Cannes is the focal point for the Irish industry and is set up to promote Irish film to the international community, to market Ireland as a destination for large international film projects and to provide business support for the Irish industry.

Previous Irish films to have been selected for the Directors Fortnight in Cannes include Lenny Abrahamson’s Garage starring Pat Shortt, Ruairí Robinson’s sci-fi Last Days on Mars, All Good Children directed by Alicia Duffy and The Other Side of Sleep directed by Rebecca Daly.