Film Ireland's New Year Offer


A subscription for Film Ireland magazine is the perfect way to start off the New Year. This January we have a special offer price of €20 for four issues posted anywhere in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland plus you will also receive a voucher for 2 for 1 tickets for Light House Cinema, Smithfield and 1 months free DVD or game rental when you sign up to www.!!

Film Ireland makes the ideal gift for secondary school and third level students or anyone interested in film with its comprehensive coverage of festivals, news, industry events, and feature articles on all aspects of film.

You can sign up for this special offer online here –  or by calling Gordon on (01) 8815106 or by email on


Sony PROduction Awards Competition


This year, Film Ireland and Filmbase have teamed up with Sony Professional to support the Sony PROduction Awards 2010 in Ireland. This increasingly influential competition is all about discovering new talent, celebrating creativity and giving filmmakers the opportunity to gain industry recognition.

The Sony PROduction Awards 2010 are open to both broadcast professionals and students studying to work in the industry. To enter, you need to make a short film (up to 3 minutes) on the theme of ‘fusion’ using a Sony camera.

The winners will each receive:

• Live-action experience with the Sony Professional team.
• An all-expenses paid trip to the NAB Show 2011 in Las Vegas.
• Professional exposure through Sony Professional publicity and promotional activity.

Entry is free and submissions are open until 16 January 2011, with the winners announced on 1 March 2011.

For more details and to download an Entry Pack, see


Cinemagic's Young Film Critic Competition


Congratulations to the three winners of the Cinemagic Dublin Young Film Critic of the Year competition, who were selected by Film Ireland’s editor Niamh Creely.

Lucy Richards-Smyrk won in the 10–12-year-old category, Adam Lawler in the 13–15-year-old category and Cian Tracey in the 15–18-year-old category. Each reviewer will recieve a pair of cinema tickets from Cineworld and a prize-pack from ‘Film Ireland’, including a one-year subscription to the magazine.

Read the reviews:

Lucy Richards-Smyrk reviews Tooth Fairy
Adam Lawler reviews From Time to Time
Cian Tracey reviews Fantastic Mr. Fox

Thanks to everyone who entered the competition – we had a tough time deciding because they was such a high standard of writing!


Film Ireland Interviews with Neil Jordan, Colin Farrell & Alicja Bachleda

Ondine goes on general release on Friday March 5th 2010 and is the story of an Irish fisherman (Farrell) who discovers a woman (Bachleda) in his fishing net, who he believes to be a mermaid.

Jordan talks about the genesis of the story and his collaborations with cinematographer Christopher Doyle (see Film Ireland 126 Jan/Feb 2009 for an interview with Doyle) and musician Kjartan Sveinsson of Sigur Rós on the score, while Farrell explores the background of his character, Syracuse. Bachleda reflects on her experiences of shooting the film on her first visit to Ireland.


The interview with Neil Jordan & Colin Farrell is approximately 10 minutes in length. To view, please click here:


The interview with Alicja Bachleda is approximately 7 minutes in length. To view, please click here:


Welcome to the New Film Ireland Website

Welcome to the new Film Ireland website. We hope you like it and we hope you will find it useful and entertaining.

The site is currently in Beta test mode and we will be continuing to improve and update it over the coming weeks and months (and please bear with us as we troubleshoot problems) . We’d like your feedback to help us in improving both this website and the print version of the magazine. With that in mind, we’d like to invite you to take part in our reader’s survey. The survey should take no more than a couple of minutes to complete, and your honest feedback would be invaluable to us.

Please click here to complete the Film Ireland survey.

If you leave us your email address at the end of the survey we will enter you into a draw for a a year’s free membership of Filmbase, including a year’s subscription to Film Ireland magazine.

Anyone looking for pages from the old version of the website will still be able to find it. The old homepage can be found by clicking here.


Irish Short Wins Grand Prix in Paris

Atlantic, a Short Short written and directed by Conor Ferguson and funded by BSÉ/IFB, has won the Grand Prix at the Festival international des trés courts (International Very Short Film Festival) in Paris. The festival is open to shorts of three minutes duration and less. Of 1,000 films entered, 51 were selected, representing 19 countries.

Atlantic is Ferguson’s second short. His first, The Wednesdays, has won 11 international awards to date.


Issue 128 – Film Ireland – May/June 2009 (The Bargain Issue)

The Bargain Issue! Guest edited by Ken Wardrop and Andrew Freedman

Cover Issue 128

Yes, Minister
The Minister for Arts, sport and Tourism, Martin Cullen, sheds light on what the most recent budget means for the Irish Film industry. Sheena Sweeney interviews. Read more here

Shoots & Roots
Gavin Burke reports on the Catalyst Project, a scheme set up to nurture budding filmmakers. Read more here

How Do They Do It?
Liz Gill looks at the highly successful Danish film industry and wonders: could we learn a thing or two? Read more here

8 Is the Magic Number
8 features, 8 directors, 8 rules. Gavin Burke investigates the octically-obsessed Advance Party II. Read more here

Mind Games
If you want your movie seen, it’s not enough to target a specific audience: you have to play marketing mind games with them too, writes Niall Kitson. Read more here

Take a Chance
Always wanted to work in the film industry but were afraid to try? Tara Brady talks to a few brave souls who followed their hearts and filled their pockets. Kind of. Read more here

Friend or Foe
Adam Lacey asks whether Irish critics are doing Irish film any favours. Read more here

Extra, Extra, Read All About It
Adam Lacey explores the extraordinary world of the extra. Read more here

Waging Bull
Jamie Hannigan talks to SIPTU/Equity representative Des Courtney and Sean Stokes from Screen Producers Ireland. Read more here

Pets on Sets
Michael Freeman on the last great untapped income source. Read more here

You Won’t Be Able To Look Away
Ross Whitaker talks to Brendan Muldowney and Conor Barry about their low-budget feature Savage. Read more here


Issue 128 – Yes, Minister

The Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism, Martin Cullen, sheds light on what the most recent budget means for the Irish Film industry. Sheena Sweeney interviews.


Sheena Sweeney: You must be tired after all that [the morning Dáil session].

Martin Cullen: Sure, I’m at it all morning, honest to God.

And how long will you go on now?

’Til half ten or eleven tonight.

Well, I’ll get on with it so… In the current climate some people might consider that film and the arts in general are unimportant. How would you answer that?

Well, obviously I wouldn’t agree with that assessment. I think there’s a lot of evidence to demonstrate that the arts in general, film, all of that, is hugely important in terms of marketing Ireland throughout the world. It’s quite obvious from the research we’ve done on the tourism side that films or television programmes with some location in Ireland play an enormous part in drawing people into the country. So there’s no doubt that the film industry as such, in all its different guises, is a crucial aspect. And it’s a business. It’s not just an added extra; I don’t see it in that sense. I see it as a very important economic driver for promoting Ireland and for doing business in Ireland, and for representing, if you like, the digital side of Ireland as well. People in the film industry are recognised as very talented. And they’re doing very well.

You’re talking there about why you think film is important. In terms of policy then, how is policy formed at government level?

Well, policy is formed… I mean, obviously we get reports done, we look at what’s happening in the industry, we look at what the competition is doing internationally, we look at how we can stay ahead of the game. An obvious outcome of that was extending Section 481. We were the first many years ago to incentivise through the tax system, in order to attract major films into Ireland. Other countries copied it, in effect, and some exceeded it – so where we were the world leader, it put us back a lot. But I suppose imitation is the highest form of flattery; it’s quite clear that the policies we implemented worked extremely well. So we took the opportunity this year to put us back in a very competitive position and I think already there’s evidence that it’s working and Ireland is back at the forefront.

Absolutely. Just sticking with policy though: what exactly is the policy? Just in a sentence or two, if you had to say what it was…

The policy is obviously to nurture the talent here in Ireland. We’ve gone from a thousand people employed in the early years of this decade to now over six thousand people. So it’s based on employment, it’s high end, it’s very creative and it’s very much part of the digital sector. It’s not isolated – it plays into this whole image of Ireland as digitally able and creative and at the cutting edge.

So what do you do then? You develop all the skills, you develop television programmes, you develop small films, you develop cultural films about Ireland, and then you make sure you’re in a position to attract the third element – international films and international investment into Ireland. This sustains Ardmore studios, sustains the high level of employment, and then gives a good quality product in return, which hopefully then leads to further investment in Ireland.

The full article is printed in Film Ireland 128.


Issue 128 – Take a Chance

Always wanted to work in the film industry but were afraid to try? Tara Brady talks to a few brave souls who followed their hearts and filled their pockets. Kind of.

Take a chance

We are told, over and over and over again, that film is the new gold, a copper-fastened sector for topsy-turvy financial times. You may have lost your job, your home and your sit-in lawnmower but take heart, if it’s recession for you then a Golden Age for cinema can’t be very far behind.

Just look at those lucky folks back in the thirties. When they weren’t driving across America with only cardboard boxes and breast milk for sustenance, they were rolling in the aisles as the Marx Brothers went to the races.

The mighty post-classical seventies film furthers this idea – the rule that says movies are always at their very best when the going is getting tough. In the tea-leaf and animal innards world of box-office boffins, Peter Biskind’s favourite historical stomping ground proves the maxim: poor people = better movies = cha-ching.

Is it a gross unscientific over-simplification? Too right. Is it way off the mark? Hell, no. True, some may take issue with the ‘better movies’ part of the equation; only a certified lunatic might have glanced at this year’s coterie of lacklustre Oscar® contenders and felt moved to run down the street shouting ‘I have seen the future of cinema’. On the other hand, can any 18-month period featuring films like There Will Be Blood, WALL-E and Let the Right One In not represent some sort of Golden Age?

Indie pay dirt
Even a novice film geek could tell you that interesting things are afoot. Despite the collective wail at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, Fox Searchlight have hit pay dirt with smaller, smarter indie-schmindie smashes such as Juno, Once and Slumdog Millionaire. Repertory cinema, which as recently as 2006 was figuratively dying in a puddle of its own monochrome sick, is currently enjoying a mini-boom. Indeed, last year Hibernian film buffs enjoyed more choice than ever with a record number of theatrical releases, 33% of which were foreign-language titles.

The full article is printed in Film Ireland 128


Issue 128 – Extra, Extra, Read All About It

Adam Lacey explores the extraordinary world of the extra.


In an age where the economy is collapsing around us like a paper house in the rain, some jobs will always be around.

Step forward the extras. Behind every arse on Braveheart, behind every flowing coat and hat combo in Michael Collins, behind every background smock in The Tudors lies the beating, expectant heart of the extra, some waiting patiently for their big break, some just happy to be working in a jovial environment free from the shackles of an office cubicle.

So is it fun? ‘Yes’ seems to be the answer.

Glenn Gannon gushes: ‘Working alongside Derek Jacobi on The Old Curiosity Shop was special. Laws of Attraction with Pierce Brosnan and Julianne Moore was brilliant but head and shoulders above those is my role as Mr Radcliffe in Becoming Jane. Just four of us in a scene together: Anne Hathaway, James McAvoy, Helen McCrory and myself. That only happens when they want a special extra or an up-and-coming actor for a specific scene.’

Nigel Davey finds it tough to pick a favourite role: ‘I guess if I had to choose a favourite job, it would be playing a police constable in the bbc drama George Gently. I was on set every week for the last five months and got to hang out with the main actors, Martin Shaw and Lee Ingleby.’

The full article is printed in Film Ireland 128


Issue 125 – November/December 2008 – (The Documentary Issue)

Film Ireland Issue 125

Nick Fraser on the current state of documentary filmmaking • Mint Productions on the Bertie documentary series • Pitching training event at the STF doc festival • Interview with documentary filmmaker Liz Mermin • Roundtable: The future of creative documentary • Pat Collins interview • Steve McQueen on Hunger • Gideon Koppel interview on Sleep Furiously • Loopline Film’s doc courses • A doctor for docs • Nino Troppiano on Chippers

Film Reviews: Kisses and Hunger
Books: Better Location Shooting Techniques for Video Production by Paul Martingell


Issue 124 – September/October 2008 – Guest edited by Michael Dwyer

Film Ireland 124Alan Parker’s handy tips on a career in film • Damien O’Donnell and short film form • John Boyne and The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas • Michael Dwyer interviews Robert Redford • Donald Clarke interviews the organisers of Ireland’s three majors film festivals • Alan Moloney: The producer • The craft of film editing • Why are there so few female film critics? • George Morrison retrospective • John Carney editing his latest feature: Zonad

Film Reviews: 32A and Summer of the Flying Saucer • Books: Alternative Worlds in Hollywood Cinema by James Walters


Issue 123 – Film Ireland – July/August 2008 – Guest edited by Kevin Moriarty

Film Ireland Issue 124

The art and the origin of the studio • 50 years of Ardmore Studios • TV vs Big Screen • How can Irish film find an audience: Creativity • Robert Walpole on finding and distributing a quality film • AGM of the Federation of European Film Directors • Martin Duffy and the cameraman’s three-legged best friend • Ruppert Wyatt on The Escapist • Cannes Film Festival 2008 • Of Best Intentions: it couldn’t have been done without a studio

Film Reviews: Eden • Books: Lights, Camera, Dynamite: The Adventures of a Special Effects Director


Issue 122 – Film Ireland – May/June 2008 – Guest edited by Declan Recks

Film Ireland Issue 122Shimmy Marcus on self-distribution • Filmmakers and digital distribution • Ed Guiney and Audrey Sheils: Element Pictures’ distribution arm • Interview with Maretta Dillon and Neil Connolly about the new Light House • Thinking in 3D: Interview with Catherine Owens, co-director of U23D, and Tom Krueger, co-DOP of U23D • Declan Recks talks to Roddy Doyle, Pat McCabe and Eugene O’Brien about the art of adaptation • Making comic books into moving pictures • Vintage Irish movie posters • Supervisor sound editor Patrick Drummond remembers the digital revolution • Using the Genesis in Of Best Intentions

Film Reviews: Garage (DVD) • Books: Dark Carnival: The Cinema of Neil Jordan by Carole Zucker


Issue 121 – Film Ireland – Mar/Apr 2008 – Guest edited by Martina Niland

Film Ireland Issue 121Irish cinema relationship with Hollywood • Interview with Tony Safford • Lost in Translation: the doubled-edged sword of Hiberno-English • The Irish film industry: roundtable with John Carney, David Collins, Martina Niland, Mark O’Halloran and Kirsten Sheridan • Irish cinema’s evolution of the genre film • Eugene O’Brien remembers the Westerns • How the economics has shaped the perception of national and international cinema • Interview with Simon Perry, CEO of the BSÉ/IFB, as the Board reaches its 15th year • An Irish director working in Hollywood: Kirsten Sheridan

Film Reviews: In Bruges • Books: Film, Media and Popular Culture in Ireland by Martin McLoone


Competition Winners Film Ireland Sept/Oct

The winners of the Film Ireland Sept/Oct issue competition were: Alma Keane, Fiachra Trench, Adam O’Shea, Michael Keane, Eoin Moynihan, and Helena O’Connor.

All six winners will receive a copy of Michael Dwyer’s Film Quiz Book and a pair of tickets to a movie of their choice at Light House Cinema, Smithfield (Dublin).

The question asked was: What profession links the roles played by these actors in the following movies? Maggie Gyllenhal (Stranger than Fiction), Lyle Lovett (Short Cuts), Colin Farrell (A Home at the End of the World)

Answer: Bakers

For another chance to win Light House tickets simply answer the following question:

Which film documenting the events surrounding the rumble in the jungle heavyweight boxing clash of Mohammad Ali and George Foreman won the 1996 Best Documentary Oscar®?

Email your answer along with your name and phone number to Closing date: Friday, 12th December 2008.


114 – Jan/Feb 2007

Cover 114The economics of the Irish Film Industry • Kelly Reichardt interview (Old Joy) • John Huston retrospective • Making films in the Irish language • Tribute to the eccentric genius Alastair Sim • Western Plumbers interview • The ‘Krasznahorkai Trilogy’ of Béla Tarr • Taiwanese Cinema in the 21st Century • Kerry Film Festival and Foyle Film Festival report.

DVD Reviews: The Complete Bergman Film Library, Wong Kar-Wai Collection, I Am Cuba, Lie with Me
Books: Fifty Years Behind the Lens at RTÉ


Issue 114 – The Uses of Enchantment

Taiwanese Cinema
Taiwanese Cinema

The homeland of Hou Hsiao-hsien is looking at new ways to enchant cineplex audiences, and turn them from Hollywood fare to local film. John Orr reports on the current state of Taiwanese cinema, and profiles some of the new talent on display at the Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival.

The Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival is always a showcase for new Asian film, but recently has confirmed a new direction for Taiwanese cinema – exploring the textures of contemporary life with a sense of enchantment. This goes beyond thought-provoking documentary – an attraction everywhere for low-budget projects in the digital age – and gives us a new aesthetic in which the camera is critically observant but highly self-conscious, and often blurs the boundaries of fiction and reality. This does not mean a reaction against the arthouse films of Hou Hsiao-hsien, Edward Yang and Tsai Ming-liang by which Taiwanese cinema has been defined for so many years. Rather it takes their artistic advance into a documentary idiom all the while enhancing their trademarks – location shooting, rejection of Hollywood studio practices, honing the camera as an observing instrument, and using non-professionals in key roles.

Taiwanese Godfather
Without doubt, Hou remains the Godfather of Taiwanese cinema, encouraging young filmmakers through his film school and preserving an executive role to oversee new projects through his company 3H Productions. One of the festival events this year was the FIFA award to Hou (following those to Scorsese, Oliveira and Bergman) for his devotion to film preservation in Taiwan: partly with his prompting, the government has now made a decision to invest in a massive film restoration archive for the island. And in the new Taiwanese features he was also here by proxy. While away in Paris filming Orsay, a quartet project with Olivier Assayas, Raúl Ruiz and Jim Jarmusch, two of his ex-assistant directors were putting finishing touches to their features for this year’s festival. En Chen’s Island Étudeand Hung-i Yao’s Reflections show Hou’s legacy in different ways, yet have a life and look very much of their own.

Hou’s dilemma now is easily put. Earlier classics like City of Sadness and A Time to Live and a Time to Die are still admired; they had signalled for many Taiwanese the role and dramas of ordinary people in the tragic birth of a nation that escaped its Japanese colonists in 1945 only to find itself subject to the bloody Kuomintang dictatorship forged by Chiang Kai-shek and his mainland exiles. Yet while Hou’s global reputation has soared, the mood in Taiwan has changed. The austere formalisms of Hou and Tsai, their precise long-shot staging and meticulous long takes that enthral critics worldwide, leave many local audiences cold. The new films are hungry to return to the spirit of early Hou, though not so much to explore the country’s past as to investigste the varieties of contemporary living; and not through long takes either, but through faster, more fluid films that attract younger audiences of the MTV generation. The new audiences consist not only of students but, more optimistically, Cineplex-goers who give themselves over week after week in Taipei to the seductions of Hollywood and ignore what comes out of their own country.

The full article is printed in Film Ireland 114.


The Naked Truth

Western Plumbers
Western Plumbers

If you’ve been to the right kind of festivals (or the right kind of parties) you may have seen the cult short films Jennie Balfe, The Confession Sessions or The Day It Rained Sweets. Sometimes collaborator Jamie Hannigan spoke to the filmmakers responsible – the collective of pranksters and documentarists formerly known as Dogmedia.

Dogmedia, aka Western Plumbers, are Gary Bermingham, Tim Hood, Andrew Keogh, Ger Staunton, and Andrew Travers. All but Tim Hood (a freelance cameraman) are graduates of the National College of Art & Design, Dublin. Since leaving college in 2001, they have – as Dogmedia Productions – made a number of short films that have attracted a growing cult fanbase, whilst treading an increasingly blurred line between scripted comedy and documentary. Following a previous collaboration with the Ballymun-based Axis group (which resulted in the short film Bag of Bags), they are participating in a 10-week filmmaking workshop for transition year students at the Trinity Comprehensive, Ballymun.

Jamie: Why did you change the name from ‘Dogmedia’ to ‘Western Plumbers’?

Ger: You know the way Prince isn’t called Prince anymore, but you know who I’m on about? (laughter)
Andy: It’s just a bit of fun, y’know? I suppose, for me, it’s just not to be precious about things like that… We’re still making the films and it doesn’t matter what name we go under.
Ger: It was just to get a name on the end of the film.
Andy: Ah yeah, we needed a name to get Jenni Balfe into festivals and things like that, yeah. That was it. But we knew nothing about films.

Were you surprised at how Jenni Balfe took off?

Ger: It’s good for house parties. That’s where you see it popping up. If you just want to have a laugh… Most of the stuff we do, that’s where it gets shown, isn’t it? Besides film festivals?
Gary: It is, yeah, yeah. Usually people having a drink, having a smoke.
Andy: It’s just we were showing it to people and then someone wanted a copy, and someone else wanted a copy and… So we kinda just fed that a little, I suppose.

You all seem to switch around roles from film to film. Gary was hosting Jenni Balfe and then doing camera on The Kilo.

Ger: It’s like the Dutch with the Total Football. Everyone should be able to play in every position if you’re all thinking along the same lines.
Andy: It just depends on the writing, really, y’know? Like whatever idea we want to go with, just seeing who’s best-suited for it, if there’s role-playing in it or something like that, we kinda get an idea who’s the best person to play it.
Gary: The funniest bit in The Excuses was when we came up with the idea.
Andy: Yeah, it’s always that way. There’s like three or four meetings where it’s just coming up with the idea and writing it. That’s the funniest part, after that it’s just hard work.
Ger: Even when you get to the point of delivering the line in front of the camera during the excuse, you’ve still heard it so many times that it’s just a chore.
Andy: So with The Excuses, that whole kind of funny part of writing half of a script and not knowing what’s going to happen, y’know, we get a lot of kicks out of that.
Ger: A running theme for us seems to be, we’ll write our half of the script and we predict their half.
Andy (laughs): Basically, yeah. But that’s good fun, that’s what keeps it kind of lively.

The full article is printed in Film Ireland 114.