The 14th edition of Melbourne Underground Film Festival (MUFF 14) continues its support of Irish independent, genre and cult cinema with The Late Men, starring Don Baker (In The Name of the Father), Stephen Cromwell (Love/Hate) and Tony Murphy (Charlie Casanova), premiering in competition at this year’s event. Baker also provides the strong but sparingly used harmonica soundtrack to the “apocalyptic crime thriller” – the feature debut of director and co-writer Van Poynton. The mostly black and white nightmare vision already received a nomination earlier this year in South by Southwest (SXSW), Texas, for Excellence in Title Design.
Festival director Richard Wolstencroft – who showcased a raft of Irish cinema at last year’s festival, including Charlie Casanova, which took three top awards – describes The Late Men as “really fantastic” and revealed his excitement about local filmmakers to Melbourne’s Beat Magazine, commenting: “I’ve been connecting with a lot of Irish filmmakers, there’s something really interesting going on in Ireland at the moment, as it is in Melbourne, in independent guerrilla cinema.”
The Late Men premieres on Thursday, September 12th, which director Poynton sees as apt: “I reckon every filmmaker selected for MUFF wanted to play on Friday the 13th, 2013. But ours is a cautionary tale set in the near future, so prescience, prophecy, maybe even prayer, are its thing, a bit like with MUFF. What I’m really chuffed about is The Late Men following Ivan Kavanagh’s Tin Can Man [which played MUFF 2008 and brought home three awards], one of the greatest horror pictures ever. That’s the highest honour for us, and personally makes my 2013.”
The Late Men was produced by Ciarán Fogarty, Luke Page, and Poynton, and co-written by Poynton with partner Matthew J. Keats, who are together known by nom de guerre The Executive Branch. MUFF 14 will also show the pair’s respective debut shorts: Poynton’s award-winning 2008 horror Where the Monsters Go, and the world premiere of Keats’s unsettling thriller Flesh/Blood.