Irish Abroad: Song of the Sea and Strangerland to play at Sydney Film Festival

Two Irish films will play as part of the 2015 Sydney Film Festival. The first is Irish/Australian co-production Strangerland, which plays in competition at the festival. The second is Cartoon Saloon’s Song of the Sea, which plays as part of a new family strand.

Strangerland tells the story of Catherine and Matthew Parker, whose two teenage kids disappear into the remote Australian desert, and sees the couple’s relationship is pushed to the brink as they confront the mystery of their children’s fate.

The film is directed by Kim Farrant, and stars Nicole Kidman, Joseph Fiennes, Hugo Weaving, Lisa Flanagan, Meyne Wyatt, and Maddison Brown. Irish writer Michael Kinirons co-wrote the script with Fiona Seres.

Strangerland premiered in the World Cinema Dramatic Competition at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year, where it is drew good notices for the work of Irish cinematographer PJ Dillon. It is co-produced by Macdara Kelleher for Fastnet Films, with funding from the Irish Film Board.

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 marks Moore and Cartoon Saloon’s first feature length animation since he and they were Academy Award nominated for The Secret of Kells, making them two for two on the Oscar nomination front. The Secret of Kells also played at the Sydney Film Festival in 2009. Cartoon Saloon’s next feature, The Breadwinner, starts production later this year.

The 2015 Sydney Film Festival runs from June 3rd to the 14th.