Irish Abroad: 3 irish films head to New Zealand International Film Festival

Next month three Irish films travel to the New Zealand International Film Festival, a unique festival that sees films travel to cities across the islands. The Irish contingent is made up of Yorgos Lanthimos’ Cannes award-winning The Lobster, Cartoon Saloon’s IFTA award-winning Song of the Sea, and John Boorman’s Cannes selected Queen and Country.


Lanthimo’s imaginative romantic drama is has the high honour of opening the festival on July 16th. The film is a love story set in the near future where single people, according to the rules of The City, are arrested and transferred to The Hotel. There they are obliged to find a matching mate in 45 days.  If they fail, they are transformed into an animal of their choosing and released into The Woods. The Lobster stars Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz with a supporting cast including Léa Seydoux, Ben Whishaw, John C.Reilly, Olivia Colman and Ashley Jensen.

The Lobster is written by Yorgos Lanthimos and Efthimis Filippou and produced by Ed Guiney, Lee Magiday, Ceci Dempsey and Yorgos Lanthimos. Executive Producers are Andrew Lowe, Tessa Ross and Sam Lavender with financing from the BFI Film Fund and Irish Film Board. It will be released in Ireland by Element Pictures Distribution on 16 October 2015.

Directed by Tomm Moore, the IFTA award-winning, and Oscar nominated Song of the Sea follows Ben and his little sister Saoirse, the last selkie, who can transform from seals to people, and her journey to the sea, to find her voice and sing the “Song of the Sea” to save all of fairy kind from being lost forever.

An all-star voice cast features in the film, including Brendan Gleeson, Fionnula Flanagan, David Rawle, Lisa Hannigan, Pat Shortt, and Jon Kenny. The score comes from The Secret of Kells collaborators Bruno Coulais and the Irish band Kila. Song of the Sea premieres at the Galway Film Fleadh on July 9th, before Element Pictures release the film nationwide on July 10th.

Queen and Country is a semi-autobiographical feature which serves as the sequel to Boorman’s 1987 film Hope and Glory, which was nominated for five Academy Awards® including Best Picture and Best Director. The film follows John Boorman’s alter ego Bill Rohan ten years after the events of Hope and Glory, as he performs basic training for the Korean War.

The film, which stars Callum Turner, Vanessa Kirby, David Thewlis, and Richard E. Grant, recently opened in Irish cinemas to mainly positive reviews (including our own). The film has already received an IFTA Award for Best Original Score, for Stephen McKeon’s work

The New Zealand International Film Festival is a national event extending the cinematic options of audiences and filmmakers throughout New Zealand. A programme of between 150-170 features is presented in Auckland and Wellington, before a smaller programme then travels to twelve further cities.