Irish Rom Com, ‘Poison Pen’, Screens on UTV

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The Eoin Colfer-penned romantic comedy Poison Pen will have its TV premiere on UTV Ireland on Saturday, March 26 2016 at 8:30pm.

The romantic comedy stars Lochlann O Mearáin (Pilgrimage/Outlander) alongside Aoibhinn McGinnity (Love/Hate) and follows washed-up author PC Molloy who is forced to write for April Devereaux’s gossip magazine Poison Pen. He becomes caught up in a world of stars and their secrets and is soon in danger of becoming a celebrity himself. With the spotlight turning to Molloy, he struggles to keep his own secrets off the front page.

Poison Pen was directed by Lorna Fitzsimons, Jennifer Shortall and Steven Benedict, and made as part of the Masters in Digital Feature Film Production at Filmbase, which places an emphasis on practical filmmaking to prepare students for a future in film production.

Poison Pen was filmed on location Ireland and London and premiered at The Galway Film Fleadh in 2104 to a sold out crowd. It went on to screen in over 20 film festivals across the world including The Virginia Film Festival, Cork Film Festival, Comedy Cluj International Film Festival and the Ojai Film Festival in LA where it picked up the award for Best Narrative Feature in November 2015.

 

Read an interview with Lorna Fitzsimons, co-director of Poison Pen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Audio Interview: Jennifer Shortall and Lorna Fitzsimons, co-directors of ‘Poison Pen’ at the London Irish Film Festival

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Poison Pen recently screened at the London Irish Film Festival. Cormac O’Brien was there and had a chat to 2 of the film’s 3 directors, Jennifer Shortall and Lorna Fitzsimons.

 

 

 

You can read Cormac’s report from the festival here

 

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Filmbase Students Win 2014 Green Film Making Competition for European Students

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The Masters Students of Filmbase were awarded first prize at the 2014 Green Film Making Competition for European Students for their films Poison Pen and The Light of Day. The decision was announced at The Netherlands Film Festival‘s masterclass ‘Green Filmmaking: The Future of Producing’

The Green Film Making Competition is an initiative that challenges filmmakers to rethink their production processes and encourages young filmmakers across Europe to produce their films as sustainably as possible, while coming up with new and innovative sustainable solutions for on-set: lighting, art departments, transportation, energy consumption, craft services, and overall production process.

John Gormley, Poison Pen’s Green Production Manager, outlined the students’ green filmmaking processes explaining how they “embraced the concept of green filmmaking, and that meant looking at all aspects of filmmaking. From costumes, which were in most cases, all recycled,  we looked at the energy provider, and we tried to use green electricity as much as possible. The scripts, which in fact were provided on iPads, we tried to avoid paper , we recycled as much as we could on set, and that was successful for the most part. We also had green transport, we had electric cars provided. Every aspect of this film we looked at, and in that way, we reduced our carbon footprint [ …] Overall the experience of green filmmaking has been very positive […] we learned some very valuable lessons, we got great assistance from some of the state agencies, and I think on the basis of what we learnt, there’s a great future for green filmmaking here in Ireland.”

Below is a short video showing the efforts of the MSc Digital Feature Film Production course at Filmbase to engage in Green Filmmaking practices while producing their feature films The Light of Day and Poison Pen, 2014.

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‘Poison Pen’ Screens at Virginia Film Festival

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The comedy feature Poison Pen, the first screenplay from international best seller Eoin Colfer, screens at the Virginia Film Festival  7:00 pm, Saturday, 8th November at Downtown Mall in the Regal 2.

The film co-stars Lochlann O Mearáin as a washed-up author, who is coerced into writing for a gossip magazine, alongside Aoibhinn McGinnity as his new boss. Set in London but shot almost entirely in Dublin, Poison Pen is a smart and discerning romantic comedy about the nature of celebrity and integrity.

Poison Pen was directed by Lorna Fitzsimons, Jennifer Shortall and Steven Benedict, and made as part of the Masters in Digital Feature Film Production at Filmbase, which places an emphasis on practical filmmaking to prepare students for a future in film production.

The Virginia Film Festival runs 6-9 November 2014

 

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IFI Ireland on Sunday Interview: Lorna Fitzsimons, co-director of ‘Poison Pen’

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The comedy feature Poison Pen, the first screenplay from international best seller Eoin Colfer, will screen this Sunday at the IFI as part of its monthly showcase for new Irish film.

The film co-stars Lochlann O Mearáin as a washed-up author, who is coerced into writing for a gossip magazine, alongside Aoibhinn McGinnity as his new boss. Set in London but shot almost entirely in Dublin, Poison Pen is a smart and discerning romantic comedy about the nature of celebrity and integrity.

Poison Pen was directed by Lorna Fitzsimons, Jennifer Shortall and Steven Benedict, and made as part of the Masters in Digital Feature Film Production at Filmbase, which places an emphasis on practical filmmaking to prepare students for a future in film production.

“Anyone who’s made one can tell you what it’s like to make a feature film, but you only really learn when you do it yourself,” explains Lorna Fitzsimons, one of the co-directors and students on the course. “We did classes in everything: script writing, pre-production, casting, camera, sound recording, marketing, funding, etc. Directors, producers, writers, a really impressive list of industry experts came to see us, which was great preparation.”

As one of three directors, Lorna explains how they divided up Eoin Colfer’s script and how artistic continuity was retained. “Essentially we divided the script by locations or ‘worlds’. Steven (Benedict) took the old world, mainly based around Molloy’s apartment and his daughter Sally, I took his new world, mainly based around the magazine offices and London, and Jenny (Shortall) took the Celebrity world which, as you can imagine, was based in hotels, clubs and glamorous places.

“This division worked well, people act differently in different company and places. For example, Molloy is used to his writer’s block while he is at home, it’s comfortable, he owns it. When he gets to the Poison Pen offices, it’s different, he’s different. The influence of a different director is easily worked out this way. We spoke so much about character and story and motivation in preproduction that I don’t think anything was left to chance.”

In addition to the two lead actors, the film boasts an impressive support cast that includes Paul Ronan, Mary Murray, Susan Loughnane, Gemma-Leah Devereux, Aaron Heffernan and Lauryn Canny. Lorna discusses how they acquired the acting talent. “Our producers, Áine Coady and Sharon Cronin, did an amazing job of negotiating with agents and getting people in the room with us. Sometimes we did readings, sometimes we didn’t. I think that the guidance we got from Filmbase on casting was one of the best things about the course. There are no hard-and-fast rules, you have to meet actors and look for the characters; some people surprised us when we looked at the tapes and that was a learning curve, it’s all on the tape, not necessarily in the room.

“Having actors with experience on set is really important but there is such a fine balance, they need to want to be there and be challenged too.”

With over 30 locations and an extremely tight shooting schedule, managing time while getting good performances in the can was another balancing act. The film premiered at the Galway Film Fleadh in July which, with principal photography starting in April, gave the filmmakers a tight deadline to aim for.

“Getting to the finish was a challenge. All the little niggly bits that can take months, but because we had this deadline we had to get them done. This is where many people new to filmmaking get lost I think, in the soup that is completing the film”.

Lorna also puts an emphasis on preparation. “Directing on set was the highlight for me. It’s difficult to get practice doing that, so I tried to appreciate every moment. Preparation is necessary and really stands to you. I like being on set with my homework done, observing what it is everyone is doing, answering their questions and giving the actor the right words just when they are needed.”

After the rush to get the film finished for its premiere down in Galway, Lorna is looking forward to its screening at the IFI this weekend. “I feel like we were all a little shell shocked standing on the stage at the Fleadh. It’s been 6 weeks now, so this time I’m looking forward to watching the film with friends and family, seeing how they react.”

Poison Pen screens on Sunday, 31st August 2014 at 18.00 as part of the IFI’s Ireland on Sunday monthly showcase for new Irish film.

The cast and crew will participate in a post-screening Q&A.

Tickets for Poison Pen are available now from the IFI Box Office on 01 679 3477 or online at www.ifi.ie

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‘Poison Pen’ Screens at IFI

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Poison Pen, a new feature film based on a screenplay by internationally renowned author Eoin Colfer (Artemis Fowl), is set to follow up its premiere at the Galway Film Fleadh with an exclusive screening in Dublin at the IFI as part of its Ireland on Sunday season.

P.C. Molloy (Lochlann Ó Mearáin), a Booker-prize-winning author, is coerced into writing for a tabloid gossip magazine. Cultures clash and sparks fly as the cerebral Molloy finds himself immersed in the world of vain celebrities and he begins to fall for his boss (Aoibhinn McGinnity). A smart and savvy romantic comedy, Poison Pen asks questions about the nature of celebrity, integrity and deception.

The directors will participate in a Q&A and Eoin Colfer and the film’s cast and crew will be in attendance. Poison Pen is a production of the Filmbase/Staffordshire University MSc Digital Feature Film Production Course.

Poison Pen screens on Sunday, 31st August 2014 at 18.00

Tickets are on sale here

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Poison Pen – Review of Irish Film at the Galway Film Fleadh


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Diarmaid Blehein gives us the juicy gossip on Poison Pen, the first feature film script by Artemis Fowl author Eoin Colfer. The film premiered at this year’s Galway Film Fleadh.

PC Molloy (Lochlann O’Mearain) is a Booker Prize-winning author who hasn’t published a book in fifteen years. He spends his days teaching classic poetry to uninterested college students and avoiding completion of his second novel. However, his circumstances change suddenly when his publisher is bought by the owners of a celebrity gossip magazine, Poison Pen, a genre of writing he openly despises. Much to his indignation, the magazine’s boss, the beautiful and ruthless April Devereaux (Aoibhinn McGinnity), hires him to interview celebrities for a column she hopes will add a touch of class to the scandalous rag. Facing legal action if he refuses, Molloy grudgingly takes on the job and sets about trying to get fired. But he soon finds himself becoming very involved on both sides of the game.

Eoin Colfer, famed author of the Artemis Fowl  book series, turns his hand to screenwriting and creates a quirky comedy that sucks us in to the grizzly world of magazine journalism, while at the same time entertains us immensely. It is very refreshing to see a film set in London which has an Irishman as the central character who doesn’t fall victim to any kind of stereotype. He is a man who just happens to be Irish.

O’ Mearain gives a delightful performance as the bookish, snobbish, tweed- wearing Molloy, whose cynicism of his new workplace and its members proves for some genuinely amusing moments. McGinnity is equally convincing as the ambitious, gossip-hungry boss, who gradually melts once Molloy starts to deliver the dirt. The film also features a strong supporting cast. Ryan O’ Shaughnessy is hilarious as one of Molloy’s loud-mouthed students whose ambition to be a famous rapper makes him stop at nothing to attract media attention including posing as his teacher’s gay partner. Lauryn Canny of Amber fame also holds her own as Molloy’s daughter, Sally, who aspires to be a model just like her deceased mother, much to her father’s dismay.

What’s most impressive about the film is its ability to be funny without resorting to awful crassness, which sadly seems to be what many contemporary comedies are doing in order to generate a laugh. The subject matter is strikingly relevant with the power and freedom of the British press being currently under scrutiny in light of the Leveson Inquiry. Indeed, despite the many laughs the film succeeds in conjuring, there is a deeper message trying to get through, particularly through the character of Shona, a famous singer with whom Molloy finds himself confiding in during an interview.

With Poison Pen, directors Jennifer Shortall, Lorna Fitzsimons and Steven Benedict have delivered a clever, quirky, thought-provoking film which succeeds in revealing the human side to the people we read about on a daily basis as well as that of those who set out to exploit them.

Click here for our coverage of Irish Film at the 26th Galway Film Fleadh  (8 – 13 July, 2014)

 

 

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Poison Pen: Preview of Irish Film at the Galway Film Fleadh

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The 26th Galway Film Fleadh (8 – 13 July, 2014)

Poison Pen

Fri 11th July

Town Hall Theatre

16.00

Poison Pen, the first feature film script by Artemis Fowl author, Eoin Colfer, will premiere at this year’s Galway Film Fleadh. The film stars Lochlann O’Mearain (The O’Briens, King Arthur) as a Man Booker-winning author who is coerced into writing for a tabloid gossip magazine. A smart and savvy romantic comedy, Poison Pen asks questions about the nature of celebrity, integrity and deception.

Sharon Cronin, one of the producers of the film, told Film Ireland, “I think Poison Pen is an intelligent film, it has a lot to say and it’s very relevant. The film has some phenomenal performances, which I think will surprise people. We are all really proud to be premiering the film at The Fleadh, Galway has such a rich history of screening the very best of Irish cinema, I think we found a really good home for the first screening.”

When PC Molloy (O’Mearain) gets blackmailed into writing for the celebrity gossip magazine, ‘Poison Pen’, he begins to fall for his new boss, April Devereaux (Aoibhinn McGinnity). Soon the spotlight is turning on Molloy and he struggles to keep his own secrets off the front page. This heart-warming romantic comedy is enhanced by a talented supporting cast that includes Paul Ronan (One Hundred Mornings), Aaron Heffernan (Obama Mia!, Love/Rosie), Susan Loughnane (The Food Guide To Love, Love/Hate), Lauryn Canny (A Thousand Times Goodnight, Amber), Gemma-Leah Devereux (Get Up and Go, How to be Happy) and Mary Murray (Stalker, Love/Hate).

Poison Pen was made by students on the Filmbase/Staffordshire University MSc Digital Feature Film Production Course. For further details on the course, click here.

Tickets are available to book from the Town Hall Theatre on 091 569777, or at www.tht.ie

Cast and Crew will attend.

Directors: Steven Benedict, Lorna Fitzsimons, Jennifer Shortall
Cast: Lochlann Ó Mearáin, Aoibhinn McGinnity, Lauryn Canny, Gemma-Leah Devereux, Susan Loughnane, Paul Ronan
Script: Eoin Colfer & Graham Cantwell
Producers: Aine Coady, Sharon Cronin
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‘Poison Pen’ Wraps

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Shooting on the second feature from this year’s Filmbase/Staffordshire University MSc Digital Feature Film Production Course students wraps production in Dublin this weekend.

Poison Pen stars Lochlann O Mearain (The O’Briens /King Arthur) alongside Aoibhinn McGinnity (Love/Hate) in the leading roles. Produced by Áine Coady and Sharon Cronin, the film is directed by Jennifer Shortall, Lorna Fitzsimons and Steven Benedict, and is the first feature film script written by Eoin Colfer, author of the international best-selling Artemis Fowl.

When high-brow author PC Molloy is forced to write for April Devereaux’s gossip magazine, Poison Pen, he is not only caught up in a world of stars and their secrets he is also in danger of becoming a celebrity himself. Soon the spotlight is turning on Molloy and he struggles to keep his own secrets off the front page. But when he finds himself falling for his boss will he be able to find the right words?

Filmed on location in Dublin over three weeks, with further key scenes scheduled to shoot in London this summer, Poison Pen is a heart-warming romantic comedy dealing with love, vanity and deception.

More information on the MSc Digital Feature Film Production course is available at www.filmmasters.ie

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Filmbase Filmrace

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The  talented crew of the MSc class in Digital Feature Film Production at Filmbase are busy working away on two incredible projects and are looking for some help from you to make them happen.

Poison Pen is a romantic comedy that deals with love, vanity and deception. Written by the acclaimed international best-selling author of the Artemis Fowl books, Eoin Colfer, it’s the story of a has-been literary master, PC Molloy, who is blackmailed into working for a tabloid gossip magazine. Cultures clash and sparks fly as the cerebral Molloy reluctantly becomes the celebrity interviewer for vain celebrities. Will Molloy be seduced by the trappings of fame or will he just be seduced April Devereux, the fiery editor of Poison Pen?

Light of Day is a hilarious mocumentary set against the backdrop of low-budget horror filmmaking. Written by Filmbase graduate, Chris Brennan, Light of Day follows the doomed crew of First Bite is The Deepest – a cheap vampire flick as they struggle to make their film. With an inept director, world-weary producer, meddlesome writer, star with a peanut allergy and the worst product placement deals in history there’s more horror behind the scenes than in the film. The only hope their film will ever see the light of day rests in the hands of Michael and Sarah, the only two sane people on the production.

Both these films are being made as part of the Filmbase MSc Digital Feature Film Production course. Practical production is a cornerstone of this Masters course and the two films being made this year will challenge the crew in very different ways. The goal is to produce two industry-standard feature films capable of propelling everyone involved into careers in feature filmmaking.

Previous films produced by Filmbase through the MSc programme (Keys to the City, How To Be Happy) have sold out festival screenings worldwide and are securing distribution.

If you are interested in supporting their project, please visit http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/filmbase-filmrace. There are great rewards for anyone wishing to help out and more will be added to the list as the campaign goes on. Even the minimum donation of €10 will help a lot.

If you’d like to support the project but would prefer to help out in other ways, please contact Alan Fitzpatrick at Filmbase (masters@filmbase.ie).

 

 

Follow the campaign on social media:

https://twitter.com/filmrace

https://www.facebook.com/filmbasefilmrace

 

 

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