Best of Irish Film 2014

 

2014 was a strong year for Irish films released in the cinemas. Alongside a number of successful mainstream releases were some excellent independent features and documentaries. Our Top 5 of the year looks a little something like this:

 

Frank

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“…sharply-scripted, beautifully-shot…”

Read Ruairí Moore’s review here

 

Out of Here

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“Foreman’s direction is exceptional…”

Read Anthony Assad‘s review here

 

Love Eternal

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“…its ingenuity and freshness is something [to] be applauded…”

Read Stephen Totterdell’s review here

 

Calvary

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“Gleeson’s most compelling performance yet…”

Read Ruairí Moore’s review here

 

Jimmy’s Hall

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“…excellent pacing and rich cinematography…”

Read Stephen Totterdell’s review here

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‘Frank’ Receives 5 Nominations

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Lenny Abrahamson’s Frank led the way for Irish film with five nominations for this year’s British Independent Film Awards. Created in 1998 by Raindance founder Elliot Grove, The British Independent Film Awards set out to celebrate merit and achievement in independently funded filmmaking.

Frank was nominated in the following categories

·         Best Director – Lenny Abrahamson

·         Best Screenplay – Jon Ronson & Peter Straughan

·         Best Supporting Actor – Michael Fassbender

·         Best Supporting Actress – Maggie Gyllenhaal

·         Technical Achievement – Music (Stephen Rennicks)

Speaking today, Abrahamson commented that “I’m delighted for everyone involved in Frank that it’s getting such an endorsement from the BIFA and honored to be nominated for Best Director.”

John Michael McDonagh’s Calvary received 4 nominations for Best Film, Best Director, Best Screenplay and Best Actor. Other Irish nominations were Andrew Scott for Best Supporting Actor (Calvary)  and Robbie Ryan for Best Technical Achievement (Frank).

The winners will be announced at the much anticipated 17th awards ceremony to be held on Sunday 7th December in central London.

Frank is currently available on DVD and On-Demand.

 

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Film Ireland Podcast: Episode 01

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In this Film Ireland podcast, Ruairí Moore and Donnchadh Tiernan get together in a sulpher-ridden basement to chat about all things film. Pending their survival, we hope to bring you their regular thinkings and talkings in true film-loving fashion.

In this episode, Ruairí and Donnchadh give us their latest film news, salute H.R. Giger, who died last week, catch up on films they should’ve seen but haven’t, but have now (Punch-Drunk Love & Once Upon a Time in the West) and check out some current films playing in a cinema near you –  Frank, Blue Ruin and Transcendence.

 

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On The Reel at the Premiere of ‘Frank’

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Lenny Abrahamson’s latest film Frank is released in cinemas today. Gemma Creagh caught up with the director at the recent European premiere of the film at the Light House cinema in Dublin to find out more about the film for On The Reel in association with Film Ireland.

Gemma also had a chat to the man behind the papier-mâché head, Michael Fassbender, and spoke to Domhnall Gleeson about his role as Jon, a wannabe musician, who joins Frank’s band and embarks on a journey of delirious creativity and pursuit of fame.

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Cinema Review: Frank

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DIR: Lenny Abrahamson • WRIPeter Straughan PRO: Ed Guiney, Stevie Lee, Andrew Lowe • DOP: James Mather • MUS: Stephen Rennicks • DES: Richard Bullock • CAST: Michael Fassbender, Domhnall Gleeson, Maggie Gyllenhaal

Many films aiming to make a statement about art in conflict with commerciality must often contend with a similar push/pull arrangement in the execution of that statement itself. After all, original or groundbreaking as it might be, if an indie flick lands at Sundance with no-one there to live-tweet it, does it make a sound? Aiming to prop itself between these two stools of art and commerce by no more than one over-large paper mache head and a bucketful of ambition is director Lenny Abrahamson’s latest outing, Frank.

 

Jon (Domhnall Gleeson) is a serial-tweeting office drone plagued by dreams of international stardom but rather lacking in the creative drive to see them realized. Enter the Soronprfbs, an eclectic musical outfit whose disdain for vowels is matched only by the eccentricity of frontman Frank (Fassbender), who lives his life enclosed in a huge, cartoonish prop head. Brought into the fold when the band find suddenly find themselves short a keyboardist, Jon sees his chance for stardom and resolves to take it – along the way contending with the bile of acerbic bandmate Clara  (Gyllenhal), his own tragic lack of inspiration and fundamental doubts as to whether he’s crossed paths with a musical messiah or a plain old madman.

 

Frank quickly found an eager audience during its debut at Sundance, and it’s no real surprise why. Charming, funny and bright – starkly so in contrast to Abrahamson’s earlier work – the film delivers consistent belly-laughs while still managing to hit quieter, sombre notes about a genuinely troubled masked man to whom the microphone may as well be an umbilical cord. By turns hilarious and tragic are Jon’s fumbling attempts at inspiration relayed through banal sing-along internal monologues and a Twitter feed constantly appearing on screen but increasingly at odds with the reality of his situation.

 

Unsurprisingly, Fassbender exhibits impressive range beneath the mask, and the near-violent chemistry between Gylenhaal and Gleeson is crackling. It is likely the latter who delivers the anchoring performance of the film, slipping from wide-eyed to cut-throat as Jon slowly begins to realize that while the sparsely-populated pub gigs and mish-mash of recording techniques are a means to and end for him, for the rest of the band they act as a strange sort of therapy.

 

However, while certainly interesting as an examination of the notion of celebrity, it is difficult to escape the feeling that Frank is, strangely, Abrahamson’s most conventional effort to date. While ostensibly hiding the film’s most marketable feature behind a paper mache mask, it is likely that this very choice to take one of the world’s most sought-after faces and hide it in plain sight has drawn quite so much of the buzz that would class Frank as unique.

 

“You’re just going to have to go with this,” Jon is told by the band’s manager rather early on, but in truth there is little enough to go with that truly strays from the beaten path. A typical three act structure put together with bright, agreeable colour tones and a titular character who can’t help but be endearing, the overriding sense is of an unconventional idea packaged in its most marketable form, where “quirky” is a buzzword thrown out for poster by-lines as opposed to any real indication of divergence.

 

With subject matter wrestling with the idea of art vs commerciality, it ultimately leans towards the latter – but this is nothing to mourn. Frank is sharply-scripted, beautifully-shot and suitably suspicious of the entire vague notion of celebrity. However, while likely bound for success and justifiably so, one is simply left with the entirely unreasonable but nonetheless niggling feeling that this very message might be lost in the scramble to fit statues with tiny paper mache heads come awards season.

Ruairí Moore

15A (See IFCO for details)
94 mins

Frank is released on 9th May 2014

Frank – Official Website

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‘Frank’ Official Film Trailer

Frank

Lenny Abrahamson’s offbeat comedy Frank is set for the cinemas on the 9th of May. The film follows about a young wannabe musician, Jon (Domhnall Gleeson), who finds himself out of his depth when he joins an avant-garde pop band led by the mysterious and enigmatic Frank (Michael Fassbender), a musical genius who hides himself inside a large fake head, and his terrifying bandmate Clara (Maggie Gyllenhaal).

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‘Frank’ to Screen at SXSW

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Following on from its world premiere, US Distribution deal  and huge critical acclaim last month at the Sundance Film Festival, Frank is now Austin bound to play at the SXSW festival in March. Frank will screen as part of the Festival Favorites strand, which showcases acclaimed standouts and previous premieres. The South by SouthWest Festival (SXSW) presents the best in new independent music and film every year in Austin, Texas.  It  is now considered the destination for the game-changing buzz every filmmaker dreams of.

Frank is a comedy about a young wannabe musician, Jon (Domhnall Gleeson), who discovers he’s bitten off more than he can chew when he joins a band of eccentric pop musicians led by the mysterious and enigmatic Frank (Michael Fassbender) and his terrifying sidekick Clara (Maggie Gyllenhaal).

 

The film is directed by Ireland’s critically acclaimed Lenny Abrahamson (Adam & Paul, Garage, What Richard Did).  Frank is written by Jon Ronson (The Men Who Stare At Goats) and Peter Straughan (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, The Men Who Stare At Goats). Frank is based on the memoir by Jon Ronson and is a fictional story loosely inspired by Frank Sidebottom, the persona of cult musician and comedy legend Chris Sievey, as well as outsider musicians like Daniel Johnston and Captain Beefheart.    The director of photography is James Mather (Adam & Paul), production designer Richard Bullock (StreetDance 3D, Spike Island). Music is by regular Abrahamson collaborator, Stephen Rennicks.

Frank was produced by Ed Guiney, David Barron and Stevie Lee, and executive producers are Tessa Ross, Katherine Butler, Andrew Lowe and Nigel Williams. FRANK is an Element Pictures/Runaway Fridge production for Film4, BFI, Protagonist Pictures and the Irish Film Board. Frank was filmed in Ireland and the USA and utilised the tax incentive Section 481 in addition to Irish Film Board investment.

 

Frank will be released in Ireland May 2014

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‘Frank’ secures US distribution at Sundance

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Element Pictures have announced  that Magnolia Pictures have acquired North American rights to Lenny Abrahamson’s offbeat comedy Frank following intense distributor interest after its world premiere to critical acclaim at the Sundance Film Festival.

Directed by Lenny Abrahamson (What Richard DidGarageAdam & Paul), the film was written by Jon Ronson (The Men Who Stare At Goats) and Peter Straughan (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy).  Frank stars Domhnall Gleeson, Maggie Gylenhaal, Scoot McNairy and Michael Fassbender as the titular character, a brilliant and eccentric musician who wears a giant fake head at all times.

Frank was produced by Ed Guiney, David Barron and Stevie Lee, and executive producers are Tessa Ross, Katherine Butler, Andrew Lowe and Nigel Williams. FRANK is an Element Pictures/Runaway Fridge production for Film4, BFI, Protagonist Pictures and the Irish Film Board. FRANK was filmed in Ireland and the USA and utilised the tax incentive Section 481 in addition to Irish Film Board investment.

Gleeson plays Jon, a wannabe musician who finds himself out of his depth when he joins a maverick pop band led by the enigmatic Frank (Fassbender)—a musical genius who hides himself inside a large fake head—and his terrifying sidekick Clara (Gyllenhaal). It is a fictional story loosely inspired by Frank Sidebottom, the persona of cult musician and comedy legend Chris Sievey, as well as other outsider musicians like Daniel Johnston and Captain Beefheart.

Speaking from Park City Lenny Abrahamson said: “I’m delighted that Frank has found a home in the US with Magnolia. I know that the team there has a genuine passion for Frank. Along with their skill and experience this makes them the right partners to bring the film to its audience there.”

Producer Ed Guiney said “Magnolia is an incredibly innovative and exciting company and we have long wanted to work with them. They are the perfect partners for FRANK and we could not be happier that we have landed with them and we are very excited about their plans for the US.”

James Hickey, Chief Executive, Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board “We are delighted that FRANK has received such a positive international reaction after its World Premiere at Sundance. Lenny Abrahamson is one of Ireland’s leading directors and FRANK showcases a host of Irish talent including Irish actors Domhnall Gleeson and Michael Fassbender. We hope this US sale will be the first of many international  deals signed for this film.”

 

Frank will be released in Ireland in May.

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From the Archive: Lenny Abrahamson

Frank

With the news that Lenny Abrahamson’s much anticipated Frank has been selected to screen as part of the Premiere’s section at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, we publish online Ross Whitaker’s interview with Lenny Abrahamson, which appeared in Film Ireland magazine earlier this year.

Read on to find out about Abrahamson’s evolution as a filmmaker and his latest film Frank.

 

What Richard Did, Lenny Abrahamson’s new film, fully five weeks into its theatrical run in the Screen Cinema in Dublin and was surprised to find a packed house.

It’s so rare these days to see a film run and run but word of mouth had propelled Richard forward week after week and punters were still going in their droves long after the initial release. The film had touched a nerve and there’s something about the intergenerational dilemmas of the film that confronts all members of the audience regardless of age.

Abrahamson expertly drops us into the world of Richard Karlsen – his rugby buddies, pretty girlfriend and loving family – before his perfect existence is ruptured by one out-of-character but violent act. As a viewer, I was so enthralled by the drama that I could have sat there for many more hours in this world, so the ending was like being woken from a sleep.

The reaction in the cinema was astonishing. There was a palpable tension in the room, a silence, and as the credits rolled a spat in the cinema began between an older woman sitting behind us and a group of south Dublin teenagers on the other side of the room. There were shouts and jeers.

They had seen the same film but had experienced the world they encountered from two different perspectives but rather than exit normally they felt the need to act and react. The film had pushed them to the edge and they couldn’t leave quietly.

Abrahamson does endings well. All three of his films engage the audience but also leave them with plenty to think about. It’s a powerful mix that challenges us and is an antidote to mainstream Hollywood fare. He’s not afraid to leave a few loose ends.

Now that he has made three films, it’s fascinating to look at his body of work. He has convincingly made films about very different worlds; in these worlds, he presents powerful archetypes with great sensitivity, managing to avoid the stereotypes that we encounter too often in film. I put it to him that he perhaps has a variant on the bullshit-ometer, a kind of instinctive cliché-ometer.

‘I’ve had that from the very beginning. I used to talk about off-the-shelf scenes and you see that all the time in films – you feel that you’ve seen the same scene a thousand times with a slight variation. It’s not always bad. You can use patterns very creatively and, for example, the Coen brothers often play with scene shapes and always find something interesting to do with them. I think even before I made a film it struck me how different real life is from what you see in films, how different having a real conversation is from the standard shots you see in films. It comes down to that, how you temper the dramatic with the banal and yet you owe it to the audience to try to engage their interest; to me that’s the greatest challenge.’

His films are consistently minimalist and never outstay their welcome. They have a starkness, a distinctive style and yet they manage to avoid alienating the audience.

‘I think those things can go hand in hand but it’s important not to be patronizing towards the audience, to say, “well I’d like to do something more adventurous but the audience would never understand it.” I want to communicate so I make work for myself but I also think of my work as something that is going to be watched. I think about it as an object, that is flowing, that I can shape and has a pattern and I want it to be balanced and interesting and my faith really is that they will be the same for anyone else that watches it. At the same time, it’s not like I have a massive audience compared to something like The Guard. I don’t have a magic formula but I don’t technically separate myself from the audience; I want their experience of the film to be along similar lines to my own experience. I was really surprised by the reception of What Richard Did because I thought of my three films is was the most challenging in a way and I was really quite surprised that it took off.’

While they could hardly be called blockbusters, all three of Abrahamson’s films have done well at the box office. It can be said sometimes that Irish audiences don’t want to attend Irish films, particularly more challenging work, but the success of his films gives lie to that assertion. His style is distinctive – not what most would consider commercial – and there is a consistency of approach across his work. This isn’t, he says, something that he set out to do.

‘There was no kind of plan really. One of the interesting things for me was that despite the fact that I didn’t work with Mark [O’Halloran, writer of Garage and Adam & Paul] this time, What Richard Did still felt so much like one of my films. With this film I tried to do what I always do, which was to immerse myself in a world and in a central character and take that as a starting point and then, along with the screenwriter Malcolm Campbell, let my impulses direct me.

‘I think what I bring to my work is a certain kind of non-sentimental empathy. I can find the human dimension in the central character. I had done that with characters that had been reviled or dismissed in my previous films but with Richard you had a guy who was at the opposite end of the social spectrum. What I’m interested in is how easily we like to stereotype people and caricature them, so in that sense there is a continuity to the three films. If I consistently approach characters like that then that’s the flavour that carries from film to film.’

So, does he have a system or approach that he employs with drawing his characters?

‘It’s really just through my own mulling and pondering that I feel myself getting closer to the character and then in the case of What Richard Did it was casting a character and then building the film around that person. I hadn’t done that before and we did a lot of reworking of the script from talking to the actors to try to make it feel more real.

‘What I did on What Richard Did was a little different to what I had done on previous films in that I was consciously going for something a bit more immediately real or more overtly natural. To achieve that, I wanted to immerse myself in a literal way in those characters and that’s why we cast the film so early. It was too long since I had been in that world and this film was different from the other two in that the other characters were less overtly archetypal, they were greyer characters. So we cast it early and we spent time having conversations with the characters but not improv. Having those conversations made me feel confident that we weren’t just making it up.’

All of his films feel like very complete, confident works and I wonder does he feel that he is evolving as a director?

‘I worked in different ways on What Richard Did than I had in the past. I did much more work with the actors in particular, including a little bit of improv in the film though I’m generally quite careful about improv. I think it almost never works unless it is used very carefully and usually in advance. We didn’t just say, “we’re in a room, start talking,” we knew what they were going to talk about in, for example, that scene the night after the pub. We had done it lots and lots in rehearsal and they became fluent at being in the moment but also managing it, some part of the film being outside of them, and knowing where the scene should go. It wasn’t that kind of unstructured improv that sometimes isn’t so good.’

With three strong films under his belt, Abrahamson feels that he has developed as a filmmaker.

‘I think I was much more confident in this film about throwing stuff away on the day and changing it and rewriting with actors on the day. I was confident enough to be able to say, ‘this isn’t working, let’s try it a different way,’ so being responsive but still being fast enough to stay in the schedule. Those are really practical things that you gain through experience and confidence. I’ve gotten better at working with a tight budget and a tight schedule. I’d like to not have to do it but it’s important to be able to do it.

‘I had done a lot of commercials before I did my first film but at the very beginning so much of your energy is directed internally at your own anxiety and worrying about how it will work, how you’re being perceived and whether you’re any good. Those kinds of things don’t go away at all but getting to the point where you can actually focus on what you’re doing and not the peripheral elements is a really great thing. I think as well there is an energy on set and there is a lot at stake and the pressure that comes from having limited money and many people to manage and it’s very easy for that to turn into panic and the wheels can come off very easily. If the director can be calm and confident then that just allows the energy to be directed in a constructive way.’

His next film, Frank, is a comedy set mostly in the United States about a young wannabe musician, Jon (Domhnall Gleeson), who discovers he has bitten off more than he can chew when he joins an eccentric pop band led by the mysterious and enigmatic Frank (Michael Fassbender) and also stars Maggie Gyllenhaal and Scoot McNairy. However, he explains that this doesn’t mean he is leaving his roots behind.

‘A lot of the film does happen in Ireland, so there is a connection to home but its origin and its ultimate place isn’t Irish. I’ve been involved in it for a couple of years and I’ve moved it very much towards what I want it to be. It feels like a film of mine. I’ve always had an interest in a certain kind of comedy, traditional slapstick but in a very arty form. Kaurismäki is a very big influence on me and Frank plays to that element of my style. It’s a much more expansive, much more playful film. It’s different because it’s a comedy and nobody dies at the end but it’s still a left-field, stylized film. If I had an overall plan it would be to continue making the films I’ve been making here in Ireland but also to sometimes do other things as well and some bigger projects. I want to keep making films here and I don’t want to make them too much bigger because part of the pleasure of doing films here in my own country is that I don’t have to compromise too much.’

 

This article originally appeared in Film Ireland magazine, Issue 144, Spring 2013

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‘Frank’ World Premiere at Sundance

 

Frank

 

Element Pictures have announced that Lenny Abrahamson’s much anticipated Frank has been selected to screen as part of the prestigious Premiere’s section at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, January 16-26, which showcases the very best of independent cinema.

 

Frank is an offbeat comedy about a wannabe musician who finds himself out of his depth when he joins a maverick rock band led by the enigmatic Frank – a musical genius who hides himself inside a large fake head.

 

Frank stars Domhnall Gleeson, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Scoot McNairy and Michael Fassbender and is directed by Lenny Abrahamson (Adam & Paul, Garage, What Richard Did).  Written by Jon Ronson (The Men Who Stare At Goats) and Peter Straughan (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, The Men Who Stare At Goats), Frank is a fictional story based on the memoir by Jon Ronson and loosely inspired by Frank Sidebottom (the persona of cult musician and comedy legend Chris Sievey), as well as outsider musicians like Daniel Johnston, Captain Beefheart and Harry Partch.

 

The film is produced by Ed Guiney (What Richard Did, The Guard), David Barron (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 and Part 2, Jack Ryan) and Stevie Lee (The Making of a Lady). The director of photography is James Mather (Adam & Paul), the production designer is Richard Bullock (StreetDance 3D, Spike Island) and music is by regular Abrahamson collaborator, Stephen Rennicks. Tessa Ross, Katherine Butler, Andrew Lowe and Nigel Williams are executive producers.

 

This is Element Picture’s fifth film in official selection at Sundance in recent years;  in 2009 Five Minutes of Heaven won the World Cinema Screenwriting Award for Guy Hibbert and the World Cinema Directing Award for Oliver Hirschbiegel. The Guard opened the festival in 2011 to a rapturous reception and in 2012 both James Marsh’s Shadow Dancer and Paolo Sorrentino’s This Must be the Place played to great acclaim at the Festival.

 

Speaking on the selection, Director Abrahamson said “It’s wonderful news that Frank has been selected for Sundance. I can’t think of a better place for this film to begin its life. “

 

Producer Ed Guiney said “Sundance is the perfect place to launch the worldwide campaign of this great new film from Lenny Abrahamson. And its great to be there with fellow Irishmen and collaborators, Michael Fassbender and Domhnall Gleeson.”

 

Frank  is an Element Pictures / Runaway Fridge Production for Film4 and the British Film Institute in association with Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board and Protagonist Pictures.

 

Irish audiences will get an opportunity to see Frank in cinemas when it goes on theatrical release on May 2 2014

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First Look at Lenny Abrahamson’s ‘Frank’

Pictured on set in New Mexico where filming started this week: Maggie Gyllenhaal (The Dark Knight, Donnie Darko) as Clara, Michael Fassbender  (Prometheus, Shame) as Frank and Domhnall Gleeson  (Anna Karenina, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II) as Jon.

 

Also starring (but not pictured) are Scoot McNairy (Argo, Killing Me Softly) and musician Carla Azar (most recently drummer on Jack White’s Blunderbuss) and French actor/musician Francois Civil.

 

FRANK is a comedy about a young wannabe musician, Jon (Gleeson), who discovers he’s bitten off more than he can chew when he joins a band of eccentric pop musicians led by the mysterious and enigmatic Frank (Fassbender) and his terrifying sidekick Clara (Gyllenhaal).

 

The film is directed by Ireland’s critically acclaimed Lenny Abrahamson (Adam & Paul, Garage, What Richard Did).  FRANK is written by Jon Ronson (The Men Who Stare At Goats) and Peter Straughan  (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, The Men Who Stare At Goats). FRANK is based on the memoir by Jon Ronson and is a fictional story loosely inspired by Frank Sidebottom, the persona of cult musician and comedy legend Chris Sievey, as well as outsider musicians like Daniel Johnston and Captain Beefheart.    The director of photography is James Mather (Adam & Paul), production designer Richard Bullock (StreetDance 3D, Spike Island). Music is by regular Abrahamson collaborator, Stephen Rennicks.

 

FRANK is an Element Pictures and Runaway Fridge production.   Ed Guiney (What Richard Did, The Guard) produces for Element Pictures with David Barron (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows: part 1 and part  2, Jack Ryan) and Stevie Lee (The Making of a Lady) producing for Runaway Fridge. Executive producers are Tessa Ross, Katherine Butler and Andrew Lowe.

 

The film was developed by Film4 and is being financed by Film4, the BFI, The Irish Film Board as well as tax breaks in New Mexico and Ireland.

 

Protagonist Pictures are handling international sales.

 

Pictured on set in New Mexico where filming started this week: Maggie Gyllenhaal (The Dark Knight, Donnie Darko) as Clara, Michael Fassbender  (Prometheus, Shame) as Frank and Domhnall Gleeson  (Anna Karenina, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II) as Jon.

 

Also starring (but not pictured) are Scoot McNairy (Argo, Killing Me Softly) and musician Carla Azar (most recently drummer on Jack White’s Blunderbuss) and French actor/musician Francois Civil.

 

FRANK is a comedy about a young wannabe musician, Jon (Gleeson), who discovers he’s bitten off more than he can chew when he joins a band of eccentric pop musicians led by the mysterious and enigmatic Frank (Fassbender) and his terrifying sidekick Clara (Gyllenhaal).

 

The film is directed by Ireland’s critically acclaimed Lenny Abrahamson (Adam & Paul, Garage, What Richard Did).  FRANK is written by Jon Ronson (The Men Who Stare At Goats) and Peter Straughan  (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, The Men Who Stare At Goats). FRANK is based on the memoir by Jon Ronson and is a fictional story loosely inspired by Frank Sidebottom, the persona of cult musician and comedy legend Chris Sievey, as well as outsider musicians like Daniel Johnston and Captain Beefheart.    The director of photography is James Mather (Adam & Paul), production designer Richard Bullock (StreetDance 3D, Spike Island). Music is by regular Abrahamson collaborator, Stephen Rennicks.

 

FRANK is an Element Pictures and Runaway Fridge production.   Ed Guiney (What Richard Did, The Guard) produces for Element Pictures with David Barron (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows: part 1 and part  2, Jack Ryan) and Stevie Lee (The Making of a Lady) producing for Runaway Fridge. Executive producers are Tessa Ross, Katherine Butler and Andrew Lowe.

 

The film was developed by Film4 and is being financed by Film4, the BFI, The Irish Film Board as well as tax breaks in New Mexico and Ireland.

 

Protagonist Pictures are handling international sales.

 

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Michael Fassbender and Domhnall Gleeson to star in Lenny Abrahamson film ‘Frank’

Michael Fassbender (12 Years A Slave, Prometheus, Shame) and Domhnall Gleeson (True Grit, Harry Potter, Anna Karenina) are attached to star in Lenny Abrahamson’s next project Frank.

Frank is written by Jon Ronson (The Men Who Stare at Goats) and Peter Straughan (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, The Men Who Stare At Goats) and has been developed by Film4 who will also co-finance the film with the Irish Film Board.

Frank is a comedy about a young wannabe musician, Jon (Gleeson), who discovers he’s bitten off more than he can chew when he joins an eccentric pop band led by the mysterious and enigmatic Frank (Fassbender).

Speaking on the announcement, producer Ed Guiney of Element Pictures commented that: ‘Frank is a wonderfully funny script which brings together Michael Fassbender, Domhnall Gleeson and Lenny Abrahamson three of the most exciting Irish talents working in cinema today’.

James Hickey, Chief Executive, Bord Scannán na hÉireann/The Irish Film Board (IFB) added ‘We are delighted to be working with Element Pictures and Film4 on this exciting project. Lenny is a great Irish filmmaker while Michael and Domhnall are exceptional world class Irish actors making this project a wonderful opportunity for the Irish Film Board to support Irish talent on the world stage.’

Fassbender, who won Best Actor in Venice in 2011 for his performance in Steve McQueen’s Shame, is currently shooting Ridley Scott’s The Counselor alongside Brad Pitt and Cameron Diaz, while Domhnall Gleeson recently finished shooting Richard Curtis’ new comedy About Time, and was recently named as one of Variety’s ’10 Actors to Watch’.

Frank will mark the fourth feature film collaboration between Abrahamson and Element Pictures. Past features include Garage, which won the CICAE Prize in Cannes 2007, and Adam & Paul which won Best Director award at the Irish Film and TV Awards. Abrahamson’s current film What Richard Did will premiere at the Toronto Film festival in mid-September and is being released in Irish cinemas on 5th October  through Element Pictures Distribution.

Frank is a co-production between Runaway Fridge and Element Pictures and will be produced by David Barron, Ed Guiney and Stevie Lee. Exec producers for Film4 are Tessa Ross and Katherine Butler and for Element Pictures, Andrew Lowe. Protagonist Pictures are handling international sales. Frank is scheduled to commence principal photography late 2012.

 

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New BBC Northern Ireland Brand

Belfast design consultancy Frank have completed work on a new brand identity for BBC Northern Ireland.

Frank developed an extensive package of onscreen tools revolving around a principle animation – a malleable organic logo resolve, designed to reflect BBC Northern Ireland’s values and forms the cornerstone of the new on–screen identity.

Frank delivered a programme opening tag, trail openers, in–house programme end boards, endboard for independent productions and a string of other on–screen elements.

The new brand is set to air in February.

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