THE IRISH FILM Board launched its latest slate of productions for 2016 earlier this week, and one thing is clear – it’ll be a solid year of great Irish film.
The big hope, of course, is that this week’s Oscar and Golden Globe success can be replicated. It’s too early to tell now, but it is the time to look forward to sussing out up-and-coming and established directors’ work.
We’ve had a look through the Irish Film Board’s programme for 2016 and picked out some highlights. Here’s what you should keep your eye out for this year on the big screen and at film festivals.
- The Secret Scripture
Jim Sheridan is no stranger to the Oscars, and it’s thanks to his success with films like My Left Foot that Ireland’s film industry leapt onto the international stage.
This forthcoming film (due in ‘early 2016’) is based on Sebastian Barry’s book of the same name. It’s about an elderly woman, Lady Rose, who has lived in a hospital for 40 years, but who tells her story to a Dr Grene. Starring Jack Reynor and Rooney Mara, along with Vanessa Redgrave, Theo James, Aidan Turner and Tom Vaughn Lawlor, this will be a big one.
- Handsome Devil
John Butler (The Stag) directs this film set in a boarding school in Ireland. It centres on two young students – a loner and a rugby-mad guy – who strike up an unlikely friendship. It was shot in Cork and stars Moe Dunford, Andrew Scott, Amy Huberman and Hugh O’Conor. Butler’s The Stag got a lot of overseas interest, so there will be many eyes on this follow-up.
- I Am Not A Serial Killer
Billy O’Brien directs this film about a series of mysterious murders which occur in the small mid-west town of Clayton. A local serial-killer-obsessed teen sets out to trap the murderer, but others may die in the process. Due out early this year.
Brendan Muldowney directs this film set in Ireland in 1209AD, following monks who are transporting a mythical relic to Rome. A co-production between Ireland and Belgium, it’s due out in early 2016.
- Tomato Red
A smalltown drifter named Sammy Barlach is the focus of this Juanita Wilson-directed film. Due out early this year, it follows what happens when Sammy meets Jamalee and her brother Jason.
As Octagon Films puts it:
Jamelee’s dreams are made in Hollywood, among tuxedos and palm trees. Jason, blessed with drop-dead good looks, is the local object of female obsession and their ticket out of town. However the hills and hollows of the Ozarks can be a very dangerous place. Sammy is meant to be the muscle Jamalee and Jason need to get out, but not even he can protect them from everything.
This feature film has a range of actors with intellectual disabilities, who are from the Blue Teapot Theatre Company in Galway. It’s a film version of the play of the same name, about a young couple who get some alone time in a hotel.
Filmed in Toronto, Canada, Alan Gilsenan’s film stars Catherine Keener as a woman whose daughter starts pan-handling on a street corner. It’s based on the novel by Canadian author Carol Shields.
- A Dark Song
Liam Gavin directs this film about a ‘determined young woman and a damaged occultist’ who ‘risk their lives and souls to perform a dangerous ritual that will grant them what they want’. Due out early this year. Catherine Walker and Steve Oram star – details are scant but we do know it involves black magic.
- The Young Offenders
Filmed in Cork, this is directed by Peter Foott and stars Chris Walley, Alex Murphy and Hilary Rose. It follows two teenage lads who go to find a bale of cocaine that’s said to have washed up on the West Cork coast. Follow the movie here on Facebook. To be released early this year.
- The Truth Commissioner
Those who love a political thriller will be looking forward to this – a drama directed by Declan Recks (Pure Mule, The Clinic) about Northern Ireland in the post-Troubles times. It’s based on David Park’s novel and follows Henry Stanfield, a fictional diplomat who is appointed as Truth Commissioner.
Eager to make good as a peacemaker, the Prime Minster urges a commission following the South African model of Truth and Reconciliation. But, though Stanfield starts bravely, he quickly uncovers some bloody and inconvenient truths about those now running the country; truths which none of those in power are prepared to have revealed.
- Without Name
Winner of The IFB’s Catalyst Project initiative, Lorcan Finnegan directs this story about:
a systematic land surveyor who loses his reason in a supernatural environment that defies all boundaries.
Expect to see it in film festivals this year.
- Lost in the Living
Source: Robert Manson/Vimeo
Written and directed by Robert Manson, this follows an Irish musician called Oisín who travels to Berlin with his band. There, he meets a young woman called Sabine who shows him a new side to the city, but things aren’t as simple as they seem. The film won the Best Director award at the Achtung Berlin Film Festival.