Preview of Irish Films @ Dublin International Film Festival 2020

 

The Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival (26 February – 8th March) returns for its 2020 edition, bringing with it 12 days of the best of  world cinema to Dublin alongside an exciting range of new Irish films. You can see the full programme here.

Below we preview the Irish films on offer.

 

Vivarium

DIR: Lorcan Finnegan • WRI: Garret Shanley, Lorcan Finnegan

 
A sci-fi suspense thriller, steeped in satire on suburbia and parenthood. A young couple looking for a starter home. Persuaded by a strange real estate agent, they decide to visit a brand-new development of homes on the outskirts of the city. The picture-perfect estate laid out under a sunny sky is attractive, but the couple gradually start to realise they are trapped in a scenario of nightmarish proportions. The estate appears to expand and all efforts to escape bring them back to the same house – then a baby boy appears.

CAST: Imogen Poots, Jesse Eisenberg

Filmmakers in attendance.

Tickets


Arracht

DIR: Tom Sullivan • WRI: Tom Sullivan, Tomás Ó Súilleabháin

Told in the Irish language, and set on the eve of The Great Hunger, Arract (meaning Monster) tells of a fisherman who takes in a stranger on the request of a priest. Events that follow lead to tragic personal struggles, but hope may come in the form of a young girl who needs his help.

CAST: Dónall Ó Healaí, Michael McElhatton,Saise Ní Chuinn

Filmmakers in attendance.

Tickets


Broken Law

DIR/WRI:  Paddy Slattery

28th Feb @ 20.45, Cineworld

A respected Garda finds his loyalties tested to the absolute limit in this crime thriller which tells the story of two estranged brothers on opposite sides of the law.

CAST: Ally Ni Chairain, Gary Lydon, Gemma-Leah Devereux, Graham Earley, John Connors, Ryan Lincoln, Tristan Heanue

Filmmakers in attendance. 

Tickets


Innocent Boy

DIR: John Connors • WRI: John Connors, Tiernan Williams

An all-Traveller cast stars in this drama about a young boy who uses the power of his imagination to cope with some tough realities in his life. Jack lost his mum at a young age, has a hearing impairment and is misunderstood and bullied at school. But joy and escape come in the fantasy world he has created with his best friend and beloved mare, Queenie. Innocent Boy was the winner of the 2019 Virgin Media Discovers Competition, chosen from over 600 submissions. Virgin Media Discovers is a short film competition to discover and support the very best filmmakers in Ireland.

Filmmakers in attendance.

Tickets


Rose Plays Julie

DIR/WRI: Christine Molloy, Joe Lawlor

A veterinary student who has a loving relationship with her adoptive parents but is determined to track down her birth mother – and now has a name and number. Initially rejected, she is undaunted, even if it means uncovering troubling truths.

CAST: Aiden Gillen, Ann Skelly, Orla Brady

Filmmakers in attendance.

Tickets


Screen Ireland Shorts #1

A selection of Screen Ireland shorts curated by Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival.

Tickets


New York Our Time

DIR: Vivienne Dick

Celebrated filmmaker and artist Vivienne Dick weaves a personal and philosophical documentary remembering 1970s New York in its heyday for bohemian artists and musicians. Featuring contributions from many of her contemporaries at that time, the film also contrasts the “No Wave” movement with contemporary culture amid present-day concerns.

Filmmakers in attendance.

Tickets


Skin+Soul

DIR: Ciara Nic Chormaic

Acclaimed photographer Perry Ogden returns to his fashion photography roots for his latest documentary. Told through the eyes – and the lens – of the photographer, the profound images that emerge onscreen have the effect of blurring the lines between the world of fashion and the real world.

Filmmakers in attendance.

Tickets


Violet Gibson

DIR: Barrie Dowdall • WRI: Barrie Dowdall, Siobhán Lynam

The extraordinary true story of the Irish woman who shot Mussolini is brought to life in Barrie Dowdall’s documentary. Violet Gibson, daughter of the Lord Chancellor to Ireland, shot the dictator at point-blank range as she faced a Fascist mob in Rome in 1926. The film looks at how she almost changed the course of history and the enormous personal price she paid.

CAST: Olwen Fouéré, Paraic Cullen, Susan Barrett, Laura Kelly

Filmmakers in attendance.

Tickets


Calm With Horses

DIR:  Nick Rowland • WRI: Joseph Murtagh.

Set in rural Ireland, it tells the story of exboxer Douglas ‘Arm’ Armstrong, who has become a feared enforcer for powerful local drug-dealing family the Devers. He’s also trying to be a good and supportive dad to his five-year-old son, Jack, who has autism. Already torn between criminal dealings and family obligations, Arm’s loyalties are truly tested when he is asked to kill for the first time.

Filmmakers in attendance.

Tickets


Anne Devlin

DIR/WRI: Pat Murphy

Pat Murphy’s groundbreaking, remastered drama about the woman commonly known as Robert Emmet’s housekeeper feels timely in the ongoing conversation about forgotten women in Irish history. Brid Brennan shines as Devlin, a woman of principles who refuses to be broken or betray her beliefs amid temptation, punishment and great suffering.

CAST: Bosco Hogan, Brid Brennen, Des McAleer

Pat Murphy in attendance

Tickets


Rialto

DIR:  Peter Mackie Burns • WRI: Mark O’Halloran

CAST: Tom Glynn-Carney, Tom Vaughan-Lawlor
 
Filmmakers in attendance.

Tickets


Windmill Lane

DIR: Alan Moloney

Director Alan Moloney’s film shows how a grimy warehouse in an inconsequential part of Dublin’s docklands became one of Ireland’s most important cultural cornerstones. Windmill Lane would become a mecca for music and the arts, with its output inspiring many at a time of remarkable cultural and social change in Ireland.

Filmmakers in attendance.

Tickets


Sea Fever

DIR/WRI: Neasa Hardiman

A young marine biology student is struggling with life among the closely-knit crew of a fishing trawler. But when many of them are struck down by a strange and lethal infection, they must work together if they are to survive.

CAT: Connie Nielsen, Dougray Scott, Hermione Corfield

Neasa Hardiman in attendance.

Tickets


Herself

DIR: Phyllida Lloyd • WRI: Clare Dunne, Malcolm Campbell

The story of Sandra who has parted ways with her possessive and domineering ex-partner. Sandra sets out to rebuild her life from scratch in order to provide a happy and peaceful home for her two young daughters.

But she finds herself struggling to fight back against a shattered housing system in the movie, which is set in and was filmed in Dublin. Undaunted, she sets about building her own place to call home, as she is determined to rebuild her and her family’s lives.

CAST: Clare Dunne, Ian Lloyd-Anderson, Conleth Hill, Harriet Walter.

Tickets

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Get into Film: Training, Courses, Workshops & Masterclasses

 

Looking to get into film? Want to start out or upskill? Here’s some upcoming training programmes to help you make that move. 

If you are running a training course and would like to be listed, email filmireland@gmail.com

 

Film Studies 101. Now that the list of films for the Leaving Cert 2020 have been released, filmmaker and film scholar Natasha Waugh will be available for film studies tutorials, for students who wish to learn a bit more about how to think about film in an academic context. The tutorials will cover: Basic terminology; Scene Analysis; Film Style & Aesthetic; Genre studies. For information on booking tutorials, please feel free to contact Natasha at Natasha.waugh@ucdconnect.ie

Genre Writing with Ferdia Mac Anna  9th March 2020. An Droichead Arts Centre. 2020. Have you ever wanted to write a Thriller, Horror tale or Comedy? This 1 day course is aimed at emerging writers and will focus upon Thrillers, Comedy and Horror to explore character, storyline, structure and more. A lively and informative introduction to writing for genre.

Writing for Animation with Kristina Yee 3rd March 2020. Irish Writers Centre, Dublin.This is a practical 6-week course for writers looking to break into the animation industry. There will be a focus on writing for children’s television, while exploring the industry in the UK and Ireland.

Filmmaking  Basics  18th February 2020. Cork Film Centre. A hands-on course for entry-level filmmakers. Over six evening classes plus one day-long shooting session, participants will acquire the basic skills to devise and shoot films.

Write or Rewrite YOUR Short Film with Eilish Kent 12th February 2020. Dublin, TBC. Want to write a short film that will get noticed? Over four weeks you will get continuous feedback on your script and learn the dos of short scripts that get made.

Writing Female Centered Films 10th February 2020. Dublin, TBC. In this eight-week course you will explore the fundamentals of writing feature film, with special emphasis on stories about and for women. How to give agency to female protagonists who frequently don’t fit the role of active hero. Explore the narrative risks worth taking and the rules to break.

Creating Screenplays for Short Films with Stephen Walsh 3rd February 2020. Irish Writers Centre, Dublin. A 10-week introduction to visual narrative and the screenplay form which is also a workshop in which participants can develop their ideas into short scripts.

Managing Mentoring Workshop 1st February 2020. Dublin TBC. This workshop looks at mentoring, how to manage this as part of your overall role and how, if done effectively it can have a positive impact on individuals and the industry as a whole.

Full-Time Professional Actor Training Programme 31st January2020. Gaiety School of Acting. The intensive two-year actor training programme is designed to prepare participants for work as an actor in Ireland and internationally

Leading Successful Teams  Dublin TBC, 25th January 2020. This course is the second in a number of three workshops run for people working in the screen industry.  It is ideal for department heads, those managing people in the industry, and people who are about to step up to this role.

The Lir Audition Workshop Cork, 25th January 2020. At this acting audition workshop, one of the core acting teachers at The Lir Academy, will guide participants through preparing for auditions, through careful selection of monologues and developing characterisation.

Abel Ferrara Masterclass Trinity College Dublin, 23rd January 2020. This inspiring masterclass will focus on the director’s work, style & creation of films including working with non actors discussing films to date. It will feature open discussion, allowing for interactive questions & answers, and will be of particular interest to directors, writers, cinematographers, actors, and producers.

Assistant Editing for Non-Fiction in Association with Irish Screen Editors 24th January 2020. In this course participants will gain a full insight into the role and responsibilities of the assistant editor.

In The Writers Room III 20th January 2020. MICHAEL ZAM was co-creator, writer and co-producer on the FX miniseries, Feud: Bette & Joan, which was nominated for 18 Emmys, including two for Zam, which was based on his Black-Listed screenplay, Best Actress. Jessica Lange and Susan Sarandon starred in the 2017 series

BAME/Afro Hairstyling Workshop 19th January 2020. This one-day workshop, run in partnership with the Hairstylist Guild of Ireland and Image Skillnet, is the first in a suite of courses aimed at upskilling hairstylists working with BAME hair (Black Asian Minority and Ethnic), focusing on Afro Hair.

The Lir Audition Workshop Dublin, 18th January 2020. At this acting audition workshop, one of the core acting teachers at The Lir Academy, will guide participants through preparing for auditions, through careful selection of monologues and developing characterisation.

Jeb Stuart Masterclass IFI, 19th January 2020. Join award-winning screenwriter Jeb Stuart (Die HardThe Fugitive) for a masterclass in writing action movies. Using clips from his blockbusting classics, he will explore the process of mapping twists, creating charismatic characters and crafting memorable lines.

Write that Script! – Screenwriting Workshop with Lindsay J. Sedgwick Dublin, 18th January 2020. This workshop will look at how to adapt an idea for the screen, from developing characters and writing powerful scenes, through to structuring stories, creating worlds and everything in between. The goal: that you will know what you need to have the confidence to write a compelling and visual screenplay. Cancelled.

Building Resilience and Time Management Skills 18th January 2020. This course is the first of three workshops run for people working in the screen industry. This course will focus on helping attendees manage their time and remain resilient in this fast-paced and ever-changing industry.

 

 

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Film Festivals 2020 – Here & Abroad

 

Keep an eye on film festivals here and Irish film festivals abroad.

This list will be updated throughout the year as festival dates are announced.

If there’s a festival you are involved with or know of that we haven’t listed, please do let us know at filmireland@gmail.com

Film Festivals in Ireland:

Dublin Smartphone Film Festival (25 January 2020)

Silk Road Film Festival Dublin ( 21 – 25 January 2020)

Psychoanalytic Film Festival (31 January – 1 February 2020)

Rathmullan Film Fest Donegal (20 – 23 February 2020)

Dublin International Film Festival (26 February– 8 March 2020)

Irish Adventure Film Festival  Westport, Co. Mayo (29th February  2020)

Cork French Film Festival (TBA)

First Cut! Youth Film Festival (11 – 14 March 2020)

The Catalyst Film Festival Limerick (20 – 21 March 2020)

Animation Dingle (20 – 21 March 2020)

Killarney Mountain Festival  (27 29 March 2020)

See You Next Thursday Festival  Dublin (TBA)

Dingle International Film Festival (TBA)

Fresh Film Festival Limerick (23  28 March 2020)

International Student Documentary Festival  Cork (TBA)

East Asia Film Festival Ireland Dublin (TBA)

Belfast Film Festival (1 – 9 April 2020)

Japanese Film Festival (TBA)

Cinemagic International Film and Television Festival Dublin (TBA)

Corona Fastnet Short Film Festival Cork (20 – 24 May 2020)

Korean Film Festival Ireland (TBA)

China Ireland International Film Festival (TBA)

Beara Film Fest (TBA)

Galway Film Fleadh (7 – 12 July 2020)

IFI Family Festival Dublin (TBA)

Radical Film Network Conference Dublin (TBA)

GAZE International LGBT Film Festival Dublin (30 July – 3 August)

Still Voices Short Film Festival Longford (13 – 16 August 2020)

Dublin Feminist Film Festival Dublin (TBA)

Charlie Chaplin Comedy Festival Kerry  (TBA)

Ireland Wildlife Film Festival Cork (TBA)

Underground Cinema Festival Dublin  (TBA)

Clare Island Film Festival (TBA)

Guth Gafa Meath (TBA)

IFI Documentary Festival  Dublin (TBA)

Disappear Here Film Festival Donegal (TBA)

Spook Scene Cork  (TBA)

Cinemagic International Film and Television Festival Belfast TBA)

Dublin International Short Film and Music Festival (TBA)

Dublin Arabic Film Festival (TBA)

Kilkenny Animated (TBA)

IndieCork (4 – 11 October 2020)

OFFline Offaly (TBA)

Dublin Greek Film Festival  (TBA)

Dublin Animation Film Festival (October TBC)

Kerry Film Festival (15 – 18 October 2020)

The Clones Film Festival (TBA)

Richard Harris International Film Festival Limerick (TBA)

IFI Horrorthon Dublin (TBA)

Light Moves Festival (TBA)

Dublin Independent Film Festival (TBA)

Cork Film Festival (12 – 22 November 2020)

Carlow International Film Festival (14 – 17 November 2020)

Iffy Short Film Festival Dublin (November 2020 TBC)

Waterford Film Festival (TBA)

Subtitle European Film Festival (23 – 29 Nov 2020)

Luminous Void Experimental Film Festival Cork (TBA)

Junior Galway Film Fleadh (10 – 14 November 2020)

Foyle Film Festival Derry (TBA)

IFI French Film Festival Dublin (TBA)

KINOPOLIS Polish Film Festival Dublin (TBA)


Irish Film Festivals Abroad:

Irish Film Festival New Jersey (1st February 2020)

Capital Irish Film Festival Washington (27th February – 1st March 2020)

Chicago Irish Film Festival (27th February – 1st March 2020)

Toronto Irish Film Festival (28th February – 1st March 2020)

Irish Film Festival Boston (22 – 24 March 2020)

Irish Film Festa Rome (March 2020)

Irish Film Festival Ottawa (3 – 5 April 2020)

Irish Film Festival Sydney (13 – 17 May), Melbourne (21 – 24 May 2020)

Irish Reels Film Festival Seattle (TBA)

Celtic Media Festival  Quimper  (2 – 4 June 2020)

Baton Rouge Irish Film Festival (TBA)

British & Irish Film Festival (TBA)

Syracuse Contemporary Irish Film Festival (TBA)

Festival of Irish Cinema Warsaw (TBA)

San Francisco Irish Film Festival(TBA)

The Irish American Movie Hooley   (TBA)

Irish Reels Film Festival Seattle (TBA)

Irish Screen America Los Angeles(TBA)

Irish Screen America New York  (TBA)

Irish Film Festival London(TBA)

Vancouver Irish Film Festival (TBA)

This list will be updated throughout the year as festival dates are announced.

If there’s a festival you are involved with or know of that we haven’t listed, please do let us know at filmireland@gmail.com

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One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest – 45th Anniversary Screening @ First Fortnite

This year is the 45th anniversary of the release of One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest.  Writer and broadcaster Ann Marie Hourihan tells us why the film is still relevant today.  The film screens in Donegal, Leitrim and Kildare as part of First Fortnight Festival, which makes the beginning of each year synonymous with mental health awareness, challenging prejudice and ending stigma.

One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest still feels fresh.  The film was released in 1975, it  was based on the novel written by Ken Kesey, published in 1962. But  its theme is eternal. One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest is about control, that is social control. And it is also about the insanity of sanity.

When it first appeared the book – which also became a successful Broadway play-  was recognised  as a portrait of the individual against the system, of the fight between the old culture of conformity against the new alternative counter culture of which Ken Kesey was a enthusiastic member. He had also worked nights at the Palo Alto Veterans’ Hospital.

The film  is about mental illness as a form of protest against the madness of the world, and as a shelter from the world, and also as a punishment meted out by the world.   One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest is set in  a mental hospital that functions because both sides – the staff and the patients – agree on this view and conform to it: “Medication time!”

Into this calm and desolate system comes R.P McMurphy who wants  to be incarcerated in a mental hospital rather than face time in jail. He has been convicted of statutory rape for having sex with a fifteen year old girl. McMurphy is unrepentant : “She was fifteen going on thirty five and she was very willing… no man could resist that.”

In fact throughout the film sex  (for men) is regarded as the cure for most things. Several of the patients have been  incarcerated precisely because the outside world does not allow them to have sex. Both Billy’s mother and Mr Hardy’s wife have forbidden their men sex and therefore, by implication, consigned them to the madhouse . On their hospital ward  they are dominated and patronised by Nurse Ratched, whom McMurphy quickly identifies as the enemy.

There are no female patients in this  hospital and there is only one non-white male on McMurphy’s ward : Chief, a Native American, played by Will Sampson. The male orderlies are all African-Americans. So  McMurphy has a group of white men to play with, and to bring pleasure to.  He cleans up at their card games, takes them fishing, tries to sharpen up their basket ball, and petitions for them to watch the World Series: “Come on, be good Americans”.

One of the greatest scenes in the film is when, although Nurse Ratched has forbidden patients to watch the World Series, R.P. McMurphy sits them down in front of a blank television screen and has them cheering at an imaginary baseball game whilst he provides a running commentary.

Most of the time though his fellow inmates are shy, obedient and terribly afraid. They don’t want any trouble and, as McMurphy discovers to his horror, the majority of them are voluntary inmates, free to leave whenever they want but reluctant to even try for liberty.

The film is brought to greatness by the actors portraying these patients. The stuttering Billy ( Brad Dourif), Danny DeVito as Martini, who eats the Monopoly pieces, and Cheswick, played by Sydney Lassick. Cheswick is full of despair as he protests at Nurse Ratched’s withholding of his cigarettes by sobbing “ I ain’t no little kid.”

The punishment for Cheswick’s outburst is swift and terrible, and we see clearly what McMurphy is only beginning to understand: that the relative calm of Nurse Ratched’s ward is based on a ruthless penal system just as bad as any prison’s.

In the book the story of One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest is narrated by the Chief – its title comes from a nursery rhyme from his childhood. At the end of the film McMurphy’s anarchy gives the Chief courage to start living again, although the system at the hospital remains  unchanged.

The director of  the film, Milos Foreman, had escaped to America from the Soviet totalitarianism in his native Czechoslavakia. He was determined that the film, before anything else, had to feel real. He and many of the film’s actors stayed at the Oregon State Mental Hospital where it was filmed. In fact Dr Spivey, who interviews McMurphy on his arrival, was played by Dr Dean Brooks, who was the director of the hospital. Other parts in the film were taken by real patients and staff. Even at the time of filming the mental health system’s attitude to incarceration was changing:   the population of Oregon State Mental Hospital had been fallen to just 600 patients. Some of the  film’s attitudes would not be tolerated now. But some things do not change and anyone with experience of the modern mental health system will identify with it. One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest still feels all too real.

 

One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest screens

04 January @ 20:00 Amharclann Ghaoth Dobhair, Donegal
14 January @ 20:00 The Dock, Leitrim
16 January @ 20:00 The Riverbank , Kildare

 

First Fortnight utilises arts and culture to challenge mental health stigma while supporting some of Ireland’s most vulnerable people through creative therapies. 

In Ireland, one in four people are predicted to struggle with their mental health at some point in their lives.

 

www.firstfortnight.ie/

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Áine Stapleton, director of ‘Horrible Creature’

'Horrible Creature', Aine Stapleton

Áine Stapleton introduces us to her film Horrible Creaturewhich screens on Wednesday, 8th January 2020  at 18.30 at the IFI as part of IFI & First Fortnight January 2020.

Horrible Creature is the second part of a proposed trilogy of films about Lucia Joyce. It examines her life between 1915 and 1950 and is filmed at locations where she spent time in Switzerland. The first film, Medicated Milk, was inspired by Lucia’s diaries which she wrote at a psychiatric hospital in Northampton, England, between the 1960s and 1980s. 

Whereas Medicated Milk offers a more disembodied and fluid exploration of Lucia’s memories and dreams, Horrible Creature brings the body to the forefront and follows a linear structure of events. It meets Lucia during her earlier formative years and examines her education, dissension between her parents, childhood friendships, romantic relationships, her professional dance training, and ill-treatment suffered whilst in psychiatric care. It also looks at how memories of traumatic experiences can become clouded, repressed, and stored away in the body, but ultimately these subconscious and unconscious energies find expression through our feelings, dreams, and actions.

I began working on Horrible Creature directly after finishing Medicated Milk in 2015. I moved to Zurich, Switzerland, for one year and researched part-time at the Zurich James Joyce Foundation, which is directed by the legendary Fritz Senn. The Joyce family moved from Italy to Zurich in 1915, to escape the turmoil of WW1. Lucia later trained as a professional dancer in France and performed throughout Europe. She returned to Switzerland for psychiatric treatment in the 1930s, most famously with Carl Jung.

Unfortunately, there aren’t many firsthand accounts by Lucia from this time period. I revised the letters and diaries that I had gathered for Medicated Milk and searched various archives for earlier writings and letters of communication by Lucia, her friends, family, and doctors. I edited these texts to create a film script and a choreographic score. A choreographic score is a detailed language score, that is interpreted by performers through movements and vocalisations. For example, this score was filmed in the church at the Madonna Del Sasso monastery in Locarno – ‘She goes to the garden where she remains inaccessible. The garden is rather sad, but there are some beautiful colours and stained glass inside. She sits in the green like flowers on a grave, and is in sympathy with the present. The light here is wonderful so she can sing at last, and her bird song is a little monotonous. Her song is a reminder of a lifeless place.’

Horrible Creature is a retelling of Lucia’s life through the art form which was her passion and explores the transformative nature of dance. I was grateful to work with a cast of three diverse and outstanding dance artists from different countries – Michelle Boulé (USA), Sarah Ryan (IRE), and Céline Larrére (FR). We began our process by rehearsing in-studio at Dance Ireland, Dublin, and Culture D’arbois, located in the Jura mountains close to Geneva. Over a number of weeks, the performers embodied and reinterpreted the details of the language score. The score was also layered with experimental movement practices, that aim to cultivate present moment awareness. A separate voiceover was performed beautifully by Dublin based actresses Aenne Barr and Rebecca Warner. 

I acted as producer and searched for locations in Switzerland where Lucia spent time. I was provided with some archival materials including Swiss German school books from Lucia’s school years, and an old treatment machine from her psychiatric hospital. The school books contained lesson plans about war and nature. I combined these texts with imagery of mountainous landscapes and the dancers’ bodies, to further reference the effects of violence and human destruction of the natural world.

Lucia’s own dancing was also inspired by nature. She created a stunning fish costume for a performance in Paris, as well as playing the role of a tropical vine in a ballet. I worked with a fantastic Dublin-based Italian designer Ivan Moreno Bonica, to redesign these original costumes and other clothing from Lucia’s early life. 

Director of Photography was Will Humphris from England. Will is an extremely experienced cinematographer and I was thrilled to have an opportunity to work with him – plus massive thanks to Zoe at My Management for her support. It was Will’s first time working with dancers, but he remained constantly alert to the changeability of their movements and fully embraced the style of the project. The nature of the choreographic practice meant that both the dancers’ movements and their use of space altered with each take, so the performers and Will had to be extremely creative in their collaborations during the filming process. 

All of the venues, such as hospitals and schools, are still functioning in their original forms. Due to privacy and access limitations, as well as budget constraints, we filmed with a small crew of myself as director, DOP, and the three dance artists, over a nine-day shoot. We began at Lucia’s psychiatric hospital near Geneva, then drove across to Simplon Pass, a mountainous area where the Joyce’s crossed from Italy to Switzerland, Ticino, and finally up to Zurich and the surrounding districts. We filmed in early February, so both travel and filming conditions were a bit extreme at times. The dancers were exposed to varying weather conditions and environments – as well as my driving skills!. They worked diligently to practice the language score whilst remaining present and open to the energetic textures and histories present at each location. 

It was never my intention to create a solely historical account of Lucia’s life, so I didn’t alter the design of the locations much at all. I wanted to allow for a sense of connection between then and now. The buildings are all really stunning in their present conditions, and at Lucia’s school, for example, there was a beautiful display of student’s artwork from modern-day combined with 100-year-old science posters from Lucia’s school years. 

In post-production, I decided to first structure the entire film as a purely visual piece. I wanted each element of the production to have its own creative space and rhythm, before layering everything at the final stages. For me, this way of working adds a layer of tension to the work, which helps to sustain my interest as a viewer. This was quite a slow working process, and I spent a lot of time picking apart the footage before post-production. I worked on the edit with a good friend and wonderful editor / filmmaker José Miguel Jiménez, who I had worked with previously on Medicated Milk. 

A very beautiful and haunting soundtrack was created by Ed Chivers and David Best, two members of the British band Fujiya and Miyagi. The duo worked from extracts of Lucia’s writings and gained further inspiration from songs that she would have sung or played on the piano. As a choreographer, I’m not particularly interested in dance following music or vice versa, so Ed and David didn’t watch any of the footage until the last stages of their creation process. 

Horrible Creature premiered at the IFI in June 2019, and I’m delighted to present it again as part of the First Fortnight Festival. I’ve had an exciting and ongoing relationship with the First Fortnight team since they presented Medicated Milk at the IFI in 2016. I’m also curating a series of dance and wellness workshops in partnership with First Fortnight, Dance Ireland, and Galway Dance Project for the festival in 2020.

Horrible Creature is kindly funded by The Arts Council of Ireland, The Embassy of Ireland in Switzerland, with additional support from Arts & Disability Ireland, Dance Ireland, The James Joyce Centre, The Ticino Film Commission, Zurich James Joyce Foundation, Tanzarchiv Zurich, and FringeLab. Thanks to everyone who offered advice and support during the making of the work. I’d also like to say a big thank you to Sunniva O’ Flynn and the IFI team for their ongoing support of my film work. 

 

The screening will be followed by a Q&A with director Áine Stapleton.

Book tickets here.

 

 

 

Interview: Áine Stapleton, director of ‘Medicated Milk’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Irish Films to Look Out For in 2020

We take a look at some of the Irish films making their way to screens in 2020. We’ll update films, premieres and release dates  and add reviews and interviews as they come in.

 

Vivarium

DIR: Lorcan Finnegan WRI: Garret Shanley

Premiere @ Cannes 2019

In cinema 27th March 2020

A couple looking for the perfect home, find themselves trapped in a mysterious labyrinth-like neighbourhood of identical houses.

CAST: Imogen Poots, Jesse Eisenberg, Jonathan Aris, Jack Hudson


Jihad Jane

DIR: Ciarán Cassidy

Premiere at Galway Film Fleadh 2019

In cinemas 14th February

In March 2010, two American women, including one who named herself ‘Jihad Jane’, were arrested in a number of high-profile arrests in Waterford, Ireland, which were trumpeted by the US attorney’s office as ‘the new face of terrorism’. Facing huge jail sentences, the two women pleaded guilty but now for the first time ever, with unprecedented access, Jihad Jane tells the story of the most absurd terror cell ever to come together.

Jihad Jane tells of the online world and the damaged people who made plans to murder a Swedish cartoonist but reality comes crashing in when they actually meet for the first time. The film captures post 9/11 America and what emerges is a touching and haunting portrait of not only a damaged terror cell but the country and world that they emerged from.


Calm With Horses

DIR: Nick Rowland WRI: Joe Murtagh

Premiere @ Toronto International Film Festival 2019

13th March 2020

In darkest rural Ireland, ex-boxer Arm has become the feared enforcer for the drug dealing Devers family, whilst also trying to be a good father to his autistic five year-old son, Jack. Torn between these two families, Arm is asked to kill for the first time, and his attempt to do the right thing endangers everyone he holds dear.

CAST: Barry Keoghan, Niamh Algar, Ned Dennehy, Cosmo Jarvis, Hazel Doupe

“outstanding performances from Barry Keoghan and Ned Dennehy”

Irish Film Review: ‘Calm with Horses’ @ Toronto International Film Festival 2019 

 


Sea Fever

DIR/WRI: Neasa Hardiman

Premiere @ Toronto International Film Festival 2019

 March 2020

The crew of a West of Ireland trawler, marooned at sea, struggle for their lives against a growing parasite in their water supply.

CAST: Connie Nielsen, Hermione Corfield, Dougray Scott.


Rialto

DIR: Peter Mackie Burns WRI: Mark O’Halloran

Premiere @ Venice International Film Festival 2019

8th May 2020

In the wake of his father’s death, Colm must come to terms with his actions and find the resolve to halt the crumbing facade of his home, his family, and everything he has built.

CAST: Tom Vaughan-Lawlor, Tom Glynn-Carney, Monica Dolan

 


When All Is Ruin Once Again 

DIR: Keith Walsh

Spring 2020

2010: a new motorway ploughs through a community in the west of Ireland, a glaring symbol of our modern age. Over the next 7 years the film weaves an epic tapestry of reflections from bog-lands, fire-sides, race tracks and hurling pitches; all while the country is hit by the worst economic crisis it has ever faced and the realisation that the way we are living on the planet is no longer sustainable dawns.


Skin+Soul

DIR: Ciara Nic Chormaic

Acclaimed photographer Perry Ogden returns to his fashion photography roots for his latest documentary. Told through the eyes – and the lens – of the photographer, the profound images that emerge onscreen have the effect of blurring the lines between the world of fashion and the real world.


New York Our Time

DIR: Vivienne Dick

Celebrated filmmaker and artist Vivienne Dick weaves a personal and philosophical documentary remembering 1970s New York in its heyday for bohemian artists and musicians. Featuring contributions from many of her contemporaries at that time, the film also contrasts the “No Wave” movement with contemporary culture amid present-day concerns.


Wildfire

DIR/WRI: Cathy Brady

TBA

The story of two sisters who grew up on the fractious Irish border. When one of them, who has gone missing, finally returns home, the intense bond with her sister is re-ignited. Together they unearth their mother’s past, but as they uncover the secrets and resentments that have been buried deep down, it all threatens to overwhelm them.

CAST: Nika McGuigan, Nora-Jane Noone


Beards

DIR/WRI: David Freyne

TBA

Set in Ireland during the mid-90s, two closeted teenagers decide to stage a relationship in order to stop everyone speculating about their sexuality.

CAST: Fionn O’Shea, Lola Petticrew, Barry Ward, Sharon Horgan


A Girl From Mogadishu

Mary McGuckian

Premiere at Dublin International Film Festival 2019

March/April 2020 

Based on the real life story of Ifrah Ahmed – youth leader and advocate against Female Genital Mutilation in Somalia and Horn of Africa.


Wolfwalkers

DIR: Tomm Moore, Ross Stewart WRI: Will Collins

TBA

 

Robyn Goodfellowe has come from England with her father Bill, who has been tasked by the Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell to wipe out the last wolf pack. She befriends Mebh MacTire, a native Irish girl, one of a fading pagan tribe rumoured to have the gift to be able to transform into wolves by night.  Mebh is searching for her missing mother MOLL, who has been captured in her wolf form by the Lord Protector and Robyn vows to help her. But when Robyn realises she too is transforming into a Wolfwalker, she is faced with a very difficult decision. Will she turn her back on her friend in favour of the world her father wants for her – a Puritan life in the city where she must suppress her true nature, or will she become the very thing her father is tasked to destroy?

CAST:  Sean Bean


She’s Missing

DIR/WRI: Alexandra McGuinness

Premiere @ Dublin International Film Festival 2019

TBA

When her best friend goes missing at a rodeo, Heidi goes on a search across the desert, digging up secrets and encountering the violence of life on the road.

CAST: Lucy Fry, Eiza González, Christian Camargo


Here Are the Young Men

DIR/WRI: Eoin Macken

TBA

Dublin teenagers Matthew, nihilistic Rez, and the deranged Kearney, leave school to a social vacuum of drinking and drugs, falling into shocking acts of transgression.

CAST: Anya Taylor-Joy, Ralph Ineson, Ferdia Walsh-Peelo

 


Green Knight

DIR/WRI: David Lowery

TBA

A retelling of the 14th Century tale, ‘Sir Gawain and the Green Knight’. Sir Gawain, King Arthur’s cousin, beheads the Green Knight easily. His opponent survives, however, and the Green Knight demands that Sir Gawain uphold his half of the oath and return in one year to be beheaded. Gawain leaves the court to spend the year traveling.

CAST: Barry Keoghan joins Dev Patel, Alicia Vikander

 


The Castle

DIR: Lina Lužytė

TBA

Set in Dublin, Monika has a dream to play a one in a lifetime concert. Her mother is sceptical and reluctant to support her daughter’s dreams, and so she sells their keyboard and forbids Monika from attending the concert. However, Monika stops at nothing to pursue her dream.

CAST: Barbora Bareikyte, Gabija Jaraminaite,  Jurate Onaityte


End of Sentence

DIR: Elfar Adalsteins WRI: Michael Armbruster

Premiere at Edinburgh International Film Festival 2019

TBA

After being widowed, Frank Fogle reluctantly embarks on a journey to honor his wife’s last wish of spreading her ashes in a remote lake in her native Ireland and a promise of taking his estranged son, Sean, along for the trip. As Sean steps out of prison the last thing on his mind is a foreign road trip with his alienated father.

CAST: John Hawkes, Logan Lerman, Sarah Bolger


Rose Plays Julie

DIR/WRI: Joe Lawlor, Christine Molloy

Premiere @ BFI London Film Festival 2019

May 2020 

Rose  is at university studying veterinary science. An only child, she has enjoyed a loving relationship with her adoptive parents. However, for as long as Rose can remember she has wanted to know who her biological parents are and the facts of her true identity. After years trying to trace her birth mother, Rose now has a name and a number. All she has to do is pick up the phone and call. When she does it quickly becomes clear that her birth mother has no wish to have any contact. Rose is shattered. A renewed and deepened sense of rejection compels her to keep going. Rose travels from Dublin to London in an effort to confront her birth mother, Ellen and learns a secret that has been kept hidden for over 20 years.

CAST: Ann Skelly, Orla Brady, Aidan Gillen, Annabell Rickerby


Arracht

DIR/WRI: Tom Sullivan

Premiered at Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival 2019

March 2020 

Set during the famine, a man loses everything and is accused of a murder. On the run for three years and with the help of a mysterious girl he attempts to rebuild his life. However, his past however comes back to haunt him.

CAST: Dónall Ó Héalaí, Saise Ní Chuinn, Michael McElhatton, Peter Coonan


Broken Law 

DIR/WRI: Paddy Slattery

Dave Connolly is a respected member of the Garda Síochána but his loyalty to the law gets tested by his ex-convict brother Joe who is in desperate need of his help following a botched robbery. Dave finds himself embroiled in a cover-up that somehow leads to a secret relationship with Amia, an unhappily married woman who also happens to be the victim of his brother’s crime.

 

CAST: Tristan Heanue, Graham Earley, John Connors, Gemma Leah Devereux, Ryan Lincoln, Ally Ni Chiarain, Gary Lydon


Pure Grit

DIR: Kim Bartley

A documentary set against the captivating backdrop of the Wyoming wilderness, Pure Grit follows Sharmaine, a Native American bareback racer, and her girlfriend Savannah, as they strive to overcome the ghosts of past abuse.


Finky

DIR: Dathai Keane, Pierce Boyce WRI: Dathai Keane, Diarmuid de Faoite

Premiere @ Galway Film Fleadh 2019

TBA 

Micí Phincí Ó Foghlú is a young musician with a tragic past who is crippled in a car accident and given a chance at redemption when he is recruited by a violent, avant-garde circus.


Ooops! Back In The Deep End
DIR/WRI: Toby Genkel, Sean McCormack
TBA

 


Herself 

DIR: Phyllida Lloyd  • WRI:  Clare Dunne, Malcolm Campbell 

Premiere at Sundance Film Festival 2020 

TBA

The story of Sandra (Clare Dunne), who on the surface of it, is a young Mum struggling to provide her two young daughters with a warm, safe, happy home to grow up in. Beneath the surface, Sandra has a steely determination to change their lives for the better and when it becomes clear that there are no other options left to her, she decides to build it herself from scratch.

CAST: Clare Dunne, Harriet Walter, Conleth Hill


The Nest

DIE/WRI:Sean Durkin

Premiere at Sundance Film Festival 2020 

TBA

Charismatic entrepreneur Rory relocates his wife Allison and their children Sam and Ben from suburban America to his native England with ambitious dreams of profiting from booming 1980’s London. While Rory thrives chasing lofty deals in the city, Allison and the kids struggle to adapt. Once a businesswoman in her own right, Allison finds herself idle and resuming the role of housewife in a run-down mansion they can’t afford to furnish. As the eerie isolation of their new home drives the family further apart, and the promise of a lucrative new beginning starts to unravel, Rory and Allison have to face the unwelcome truths lying beneath the surface of their marriage.

CAST: Jude Law, Carrie Coon


Dirty God

DIR: Sacha Polak WRI: Sacha Polak, Susie Farrell

Premiere @ Sundance Film Festival 2019

A young woman rebuilds her life after an acid attack leaves her with severe facial burns.

CAST: Vicky Knight, Katherine Kelly, Rebecca Stone, Bluey Robinson, Dana Marineci

“Sacha Polack, as director and producer of this truly beautiful film has wrought a stunning piece of cinematic mastery”

Review of Irish Film @ DIFF 2019: Dirty God


Borderland

DIR: Brian Kirk WRI: Ronan Bennett

TBA

An IRA member hunts for his wife’s murderer, while also being tracked by the same killer.

CAST: Jamie Dornan, Sam Claflin

 


Irish Films To Look Out For in 2019

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Dates for Your Diary: Upcoming Events of Interest

We want to keep you up to date with film-related events happening around the country that may be of interest. We’ll update the list as events come in.

If you have an event that you think would be of interest to our readers, please let us know at filmireland@gmail.com.

 

Doing Women’s Film and Television History V: Forming Histories/Histories in Formation  Maynooth University, 20 – 22 May 2020

The fifth biennial Doing Women’s Film & Television History conference invites proposals from researchers and practitioners engaged in the exploration, uncovering, archiving and dissemination of women’s roles in film and television, as well as wider media, both in the past and today.

The 16th Irish Screen Studies Seminar Ulster University, 6 – 7 may 2020 

The Irish Screen Studies Seminar provides a unique platform for the presentation of new work – research, practice, and research through practice – by scholars and filmmakers from third-level institutions in Ireland, as well as those working on Irish screen-related topics in other universities and colleges worldwide.

The seminar is aimed at academic researchers and practitioners in film and screen cultures in the broadest sense, touching on audio, film, television, digital media, transmedia, gaming and related interdisciplinary activity. The ISSS actively promotes the exchange of ideas and offers postgraduate and early career researchers and practitioners an ideal opportunity to present evolving screen-related research and practice in a constructive and encouraging forum. Conference papers will be archived on the Irish Screen Studies website.

FÍS TV Summit  Galway, 23rd Jan 2020

The 2020 edition will focus on Developing TV Drama as its theme and promises a host of case studies, panels and key-note interviews tackling this crucial phase in the genesis of any project.

Artists Information Clinic Wicklow, 18th January 2020 

Wicklow County Arts Office invites artists of all disciplines to an Information Clinic on Funding to advise and support artists about the practicalities and requirements of making quality funding applications both locally and in competing for funding nationally

FilmParlour: Grey Gardens free screening Bray,  18th Jan 2020

Albert and David Maysles’ fascinating documentary made in 1975 about an upper class mother and daughter who end up living in poverty in the derelict Grey Gardens mansion.

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Film Ireland Podcast: Episode 39 – Farewell 2019!

 

Richard Drumm and Sarah Cullen cast an eye over 2019 and reveal some of their high and lows of the year. Also under the hammer of discussion in this pod is

  • the adequately anti-capitalist agenda of Knives Out
  • how American horror is black horror
  • tree motifs in The Souvenir you may not have twigged
  • weird sex stuff in High Life and The Lighthouse
  • manufactured misfortune in Gwen 
  • a naked Mads Mikkelsen firing guns in flagrante
  • Charlie’s Angels crushing Richard’s soul
  • Ari Aster’s reductive filmmaking
  • environmental activism v parenting in Woman at War

 

 

Film Ireland Podcasts

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