Film Ireland 136 Spring 2011: Best of Both Worlds ‘Citadel’ and ‘Outcast’

(Aneurin Barnard in Citadel)

With Ciarán Foy’s Citadel gaining rave reviews stateside after its premiere at the SXSW festival, we revisit our ‘Best of Both Worlds’ article from Film Ireland 136 Spring 2011.


Luke McManus talks to some Irish directors who are forging ahead with Irish-Scottish co-productions. 


Two countries divided by a narrow stretch of water that share a Celtic heritage, a love of strong whiskey and an embattled native tongue called Gaelic – if Ireland and Scotland are not quite sibling nations, they surely must be close cousins.


The combination of geographical proximity and cultural synergy, as well as a lively historical spider’s web of migration, plantation, exile and return means that there is a natural affinity between the nations. It’s a relationship that has rich potential for creative expression, and there appears to be a growing trend for producers and creative talent from both countries to band together.


There have been four feature co-productions between Scotland and Ireland in the past four years, including feature debuts from Ciarán Foy and Colm McCarthy.


Outcast is an outstanding urban horror starring James Nesbitt (Bloody Sunday) and Kate Dickie (Red Road) and was directed by Hiberno-Scottish filmmaker Colm McCarthy. The film was a co-production between John McDonnell and Brendan McCarthy of Dublin’s Fantastic Films and Eddie Dick (True North) of Makar Productions in Edinburgh.


Director Colm McCarthy embodies the intertwining dna of the two countries. ‘I’m a Scottish-Irish coproduction myself, as is my brother who wrote Outcast with me. My dad is from Cork, my mum is from Edinburgh. I was born in Scotland, spent five years of my childhood there, and most of my adult life in Dublin.’


Producer Brendan McCarthy instantly fell for Colm’s richly detailed vision. ‘I loved it. We started to see how we could pull it together. I’d met Eddie Dick through David Collins [managing director of Samson Films] and we got on well so I sent him the script. I thought he might not like it, but he actually loved it so we started to work together on it.’


Shooting in Edinburgh had always been a key aspect of director Colm McCarthy’s vision for Outcast. ‘I always wanted to shoot in Scotland, in a particular location in Edinburgh, where I lived as a teenager.’ The production then moved to Studio Solas, the former Roger Corman facility in Connemara.



Ciarán Foy’s Citadel is a feature that is now in editing after a shoot split between Dublin and Glasgow. Developed by Katie Holly at Blinder Films, the production was shared with Glasgow’s Sigma Films, who have produced some of the best Scottish films of recent years (Red Road, Hallam Foe)


The young Dublindirector has been working on the project since the completion of his award-winning short film The Faeries of Blackheath Woods.


Citadel is about a chronic agoraphobic trapped in the council estate from hell. The decision to shoot in Scotland was not necessarily derived from the script. Foy took a look at his native city before opting to head across the water. ‘We considered shooting in Dublin and in Glasgow. In the end, Glasgow had the necessary tower blocks for the script and it was also going to be cheaper to shoot there.’


Of course, support from public bodies is an important factor in the financing of independent features. In the case of Outcast, Scottish Screen didn’t come on board immediately and were keen on further rewrites to the script before they would commit. In the end, their creative input proved very useful to the production.


Producer Brendan McCarthy joined the chorus of praise for the Scottish equivalent of the Film Board and also noted the strong contribution from the Irish Film Board. ‘Alan Maher was brilliant to work with as well, he got it instinctively and he had confidence in Colm and the team around him.’


‘There has to be a rapport between the producers, an understanding about the creative journey to be undertaken as well as a responsibility to deliver on budget,’ says Emma Scott of the Irish Film Board. While she admits that co-production brings its own challenges, ‘the advantages of co-producing generally far outweigh the downsides.’


Citadel’s producer, Katie Holly (Sensation) also felt that the cross-channel collaboration was essential to the viability of Citadel.


‘It is an ambitious project and couldn’t have been financed out of what we could raise in Ireland alone. Sigma Films were a natural fit as production partners: they’ve produced many films that I have greatly admired, would be quite similar in ethos to Blinder and Ciarán Foy was already working with them on another project.’


The advantages of co-production are that every source of money is doubled up, from the funding bodies, the Irish Film Board and Creative Scotland, to the tax incentive schemes – Section 481 in Ireland and its uk equivalent.


‘Of course, the disadvantage is that you are doubling up the administration, but that’s unavoidable. You are getting significantly more money, so that’s good’.


Katie Holly’s experience on Citadel was a good one, though a few issues proved problematic, including the euro-sterling exchange rate, and the fact that the uk is not part of the Eurimages production support fund.


What advice does Brendan McCarthy have for producers who are interested in co-productions?You need to find someone with a practical relationship that you can talk honestly to. You are going to have to share everything with them, you have to accept that. They won’t deliver for nothing, the deal has to be good for them too.’

This article originally appeared in Film Ireland 136 Spring 2011.

Luke McManus


‘One Hundred Mornings’ in cinemas nationwide

Blinder Films are delighted to announce a successful first week for One Hundred Mornings finishing up in The Irish Film Institute yesterday, 12th May, One Hundred Mornings can still be seen by cinemagoers in Movies @ Dundrum, Movies @ Swords, IMC Dun Laoghaire and the Eye Galway for another week!


Rave reviews describe the film as ‘cleverly constructed and surprisingly gripping drama, and the best Irish film so far this year.’ [5***** Paul Whitington, The Independent], ‘one of the very best Irish films of the last decade’
[Donald Clark, The Irish Times] and ‘One Hundred Mornings is much more than a genre Piece, what it achieves within the confines of the “post-apocalyptic” header is a highly original take on a premise we have seen many times before, and the result is an extremely human film that will stay with you for days’ [ 4**** The Dubliner Magazine].


In addition to the film being released in cinemas Director Conor Horgan and Producer Katie Holly took part in a sell out master class hosted by Filmbase: ‘One Hundred Mornings: A case study in Digital feature film production and distribution’.


One Hundred Mornings will continue on around the country on its nationwide release opening:


• Wednesday 18th May The Model Arts Centre Sligo – Q&A with director to be held on the 19th

• Friday 20th Queens Film Theatre Belfast – director Conor Horgan and actor Ciaran McMenamin will be for an opening night Q&A

• Also opening on Friday 20th Carrick Cinema Roscommon, Century Cinema Letterkenny and Park Cinema Clonakilty.


The film was produced by Katie Holly at Bl!inder films as part of Project Catalyst and the much anticipated Irish release on 6th May is being supported by the Irish Film Board/Bord Scannán na hÉireann.


To view the trailer and see further info, visit

Follow the film on Facebook and on twitter @100mornings.








IFI new film club: The Critical Take

This April the IFI is launching a new film discussion club that brings audiences together with critics, filmmakers and programmers to discuss new releases, seasons, and re-releases of classic films from the IFI programme. Each month three films to be discussed at The Critical Take will be selected and listed in the monthly programme. A panel of three (normally an IFI programmer, a filmmaker and a film critic) will kick things off followed by a very informal and open discussion with everyone present who’d like to discuss and compare notes on their recent film experiences.

The films selected for April are a varied selection that takes in The Cave of Forgotten Dreams, Werner Herzog’s eccentric documentary about the Chauvet Cave paintings; Before the Revolution (1964), Bernardo Bertolucci’s early work that covers youth, politics and sensuality; and Jerzy Skolimowski’s Essential Killing, the second film since his return to filmmaking and notable for a wordless performance from Vincent Gallo.

This month’s panel features the IFI’s Cinemas Manager and key programmer Peter Walsh, film critic Paul Lynch, and producer Katie Holly of Blinder films whose new film One Hundred Mornings will be released on 6th May.

This event is free but ticketed. Contact Box Office on 01 679 3477 to book a seat.


Filming has begun on 'Citadel'

Principal photography has begun in Glasgow on horror film Citadel, an Irish/UK co-production directed by new writer-director Ciarán Foy. The film features Aneurin Barnard (Ironclad, Hunky Dory, Guinea Pigs) in the lead role of Tommy, alongside Scotland’s finest, James Cosmo (Braveheart, Troy, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, The Runway) in the role of The Priest, and Wunmi Mosuka (I am Slave, One Night in Emergency) as Marie. Co-stars include Ingrid Craigie and Amy Shiels.

Citadel is produced by Katie Holly (Blinder Films) and Brian Coffey (Sigma Films). Executive Producers are Kieron J. Walsh, Gillian Berrie and David Mackenzie.

Packs of feral children prowl the dark urban landscape of Edenstown, the council estate from hell. Concealed beneath hooded tops, they attack innocent adults with septic syringes to harvest their blood and abduct small children to swell their ranks.

Citadel is shooting for 4 weeks, 3 weeks on location/studio in Glasgow and 1 week on location in Dublin.

A graduate from the National Film School of Ireland, Citadel is Ciarán Foy’s debut feature film. Ciarán’s short film The Faeries of Blackheath Woods won nine best short film awards at international festivals. Citadel is based partly on his own experiences of unprovoked urban attack and the resulting agoraphobia.

A Blinder Films and Sigma Films Co-Production, Citadel is funded by the Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board, Creative Scotland, Section 481 and UK Tax Credit.