Irish Films in Cinema 2016

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Keep an eye on the Irish films scheduled for release in cinemas in 2016.

 I Am Not a Serial Killer (Billy O’Brien)

9th December

A troubled teen with homicidal tendencies has to hunt down and destroy a supernatural killer while suppressing his own inner demons.


Crash & Burn (Seán Ó Cualáin)

2nd December

Crash & Burn tells the story of Dundalk-born Tommy Byrne, who, for a fleeting moment in the early ’80s, was the world’s greatest driver


Moscow Never Sleeps (Johnny O’Reilly)

11th November

The lives of six very different people mix in the most exciting and drammatic ways in today’s Moscow

 


The Land of the Enlightened (Pieter-Jan De Pue)

11th November

A gang of Afghan kids from the Kuchi tribe dig out old Soviet mines and sell the explosives to children working in a lapis lazuli mine. When not dreaming of the time when American troops finally withdraw from their land, another gang of children keeps tight control on the caravans smuggling the blue gemstones through the arid mountains of Pamir.


Further Beyond (Christine Molloy, & Joe Lawlor)

21st October

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A deconstructed biopic of the extraordinary Ambrosio O’Higgins, who left Ireland to become the captain general of Chile in the Spanish Empire.


The Flag (Declan Recks)

14th October

Irish Londoner Harry Hambridge comes across an extraordinary testimony from his Grandfather, claiming that it was he who hoisted the Irish flag on top of the GPO during the 1916 rising and that the self same flag was hung upside-down in an army barracks in Hampshire, Harry knows his long awaited call in life has arrived.


Mattress Men (Colm Quinn)

7th October

A bittersweet and moving tale of friendship and the struggles of two men that is sure to delight audiences everywhere.


Dare to Be Wild (Vivienne De Courcy)

23rd September

Irishwoman Mary Reynolds goes from an outsider to a champion at the Chelsea Flower Show.


The Young Offenders (Peter Foott)

16th September

Two teenage boys from Cork steal bicycles and ride off on a quest to find a missing bale of cocaine worth 7,000,000 euros.


A Date for Mad Mary (Darren Thornton)

2nd September

‘Mad’ Mary McArdle returning to Drogheda after a short spell in prison – for something she’d rather forget. Back home, everything and everyone has changed. Her best friend, Charlene, is about to get married and Mary is maid of honour. When Charlene refuses Mary a ‘plus one’ on the grounds that she probably couldn’t find a date, Mary becomes determined to prove her wrong. But her attempts at dating are a disaster and she winds up feeling more alone… until she meets Jess and everything changes.


Strange Occurrences in a Small Irish Village (Aoife Kelleher)

12th August

Explores the big question of faith, in a small Irish village.


Viva (Paddy Breathnach)

19th August

Viva follows Jesus, an eighteen-year-old Cuban who is lost and struggling to realize his true identity. Unsure of himself or his future direction, he works at a local Havana drag club where he entertains dreams of becoming a performer whilst earning his money through hustling. At home he finds solace listening to the records his mother and grandmother left him. Into his life, however, comes a force to challenge his direction and free


Bobby Sands: 66 Days (Brendan J. Byrne)

5th August

A cinematic portrait of the Irish Republican martyr’s epic 66day hunger strike that grabbed the worlds attention in the early 1980s.


Mom and Me (Ken Wardrop) 

15th July

A creative documentary that delicately challenges the familiar love story shared between a son and his mother. It is a story that reveals comedy in the everyday and misery on some other days.


The Price of Desire (Mary McGuckian)

25th May

The Price Of Desire is the controversial story of how Eileen Gray’s influential contribution to 20th century architecture and design was almost entirely wiped from history by the egotistical ‘Father of Modernism’ Le Corbusier, and of how her relationship with philanderer Jean Badovici (Le Corbusier’s promoter by way of his influential architectural publication L’Architecture Vivante) further fuelled the rift between the two architects, both personally and professionally, consigning her legacy to a century of neglect and long-overdue recognition.


Who is Dervla Murphy? (Garret Daly)

23rd April

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A profile of Ireland’s most prolific travel writer who has written twenty four books, been on countless journeys, and has a worldwide fan base and massive critical success.


My Name is Emily (Simon Fitzmaurice)

April (8th April)

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After her mother dies and her father is institutionalized, Emily is placed in a foster home and in a new school where she is ostracized. When her father’s annual card fails to arrive on her 16th birthday, Emily knows something’s wrong. She decides to take matters into her own hands and, enlisting her only friend at school, Arden, sets off on a road trip to break her father out of the psych ward. As their journey progresses Emily and Arden become close, and both come to realize important truths about the nature of relationships, both to their parents and to each other.


Mammal (Rebecca Daly)

1st April

A love story between a woman who has lost her son in tragic circumstances and the relationship she develops with a homeless youth.


Atlantic (Risteard O’Domhnaill)

29th April 

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Atlantic is the latest film from the makers of the multi-award-winning documentary, The Pipe (2010). This film follows the fortunes of three small fishing communities – in Ireland, Norway and Newfoundland – which are at turns united and divided by the Atlantic Ocean. In recent times, mounting challenges within their own industries, the fragile environment, and the lure of high wages for young fishermen on the oil rigs have seen these fishing communities struggle to maintain their traditional way of life. As the oil majors push into deeper water and further into the Arctic, and the world’s largest fishing companies chase the last great Atlantic shoals, the impact on coastal communities and the ecosystems they rely on is reaching a tipping point. Atlantic tells three very personal stories of those who face the devastating prospect of having their livelihoods taken from them, and their communities destroyed both environmentally and economically.

Sing Street (John Carney)

18th March

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Having experienced a tough time at home, a young boy strikes out on his own and forms a band.


Traders (Rachael Moriarty, Peter Murphy)

11th March

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Harry is offered a new business proposition. Two people convert all their assets to cash, arrange to meet, dig one grave and fight to the death. Winner buries the loser and instantly doubles his value.


The Truth Commissioner (Declan Recks)

26th February

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Set in a post-troubles Northern Ireland, The Truth Commissioner follows the fictional story of Henry Stanfield, a career diplomat who has just been appointed as Truth Commissioner to Northern Ireland. The story revolves around the lives of three men who are directly or indirectly involved in the disappearance, 20 years earlier, of the 15-year-old Connor Roche. Though Stanfield starts bravely, he quickly uncovers some bloody and inconvenient truths about those now running the country; truths which none of those in power are prepared to have revealed. Everyone claims to want the truth, but what is it going to cost, and who is going to pay for it?


The Survivalist (Stephen Fingleton)

12th February

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He was one of those people who thought the end was coming. What if he was right?


Strangerland (Kim Farrant)

5th  February 

The Parker family, new to the remote desert town of Nathgari, are thrown into crisis when parents Catherine and Matthew discover that their two teenage kids have mysteriously disappeared just before a massive dust storm hits the town. With the town now eerily smothered in red dust and darkness, the locals join the search led by local cop David Rae. But scorching temperatures mean the chances of survival are plummeting with each passing day and Catherine and Matthew find themselves pushed to the brink as they struggle to survive the uncertainty of their children’s fate.


Room (Lenny Abrahamson)

15th January

To Jack, Room is the world…. It’s where he was born, it’s where he and his Ma eat and sleep and play and learn. But while it’s home to Jack, to Ma it’s a prison. Through her fierce love for her son, Ma has managed to create a childhood for him in their ten-by-ten-foot space. But as Jack’s curiosity is building alongside Ma’s own desperation – she knows that Room cannot contain either indefinitely.


Shem the Penman Sings Again (Pádraig Trehy)

8th January

Shem The Penman Sings Again is an experimental feature film that provides a way into James Joyce’s creative imagination and the conception of “Finnegans Wake”.


Last Hijack (Tommy Pallotta and Femke Wolting)

8th January

A true tale of survival in Somalia told from the pirate’s perspective.  The film takes an innovative hybrid approach to explore how one Somali pirate – Mohamed – came to live such a brutal and dangerous existence.


dom – his long-lost father Angel, once a celebrated boxer and newly released from a 15-year prison term..


 

 

 

 

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Irish Celebrate Oscar Wins

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Actor Jacob Tremblay (Room), producer Shan Christopher Ogilvie with writer/director Benjamin Cleary (Stutterer) and actor Abraham Attah (Beasts of No Nation).

 

Irish short filmmaker Benjamin Cleary won the Academy Award for Best Short Film for Stutterer and actor Brie Larson won the Academy Award for Actress in a Leading Role for her performance in the Irish film Room, directed by Lenny Abrahamson. There was also an Oscar for Catherine Biggs who was part of the team that won an Academy Award for Makeup and Hairstyling for Mad Max: Fury Road.

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Another Look at ‘Room’

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James Phelan takes another look inside Lenny Abrahamson’s Room.

 

Who faces the biggest challenge in Room? The audience or Lenny Abrahamson and his creative team? The prospect of depicting such an intrinsically horrifying situation and making it palpable to any audience was a massive ask of all concerned. The covert imprisonment of a mother and child in a cramped suburban shed seems like the uneasy intersection of much too real real-life horrors and the tasteless end of exploitation cinema.

Thankfully, through a combination of inspired casting, sensitive direction and masterful writing, the end result is a powerful testament to the endurance of the human spirit. Without crucially ever being an endurance test for the audience.

In fairness, when faced with the constraints of depicting life within a small unadorned space, every department nearly to be firing to maintain both the overall conceit and viewer interest. And this supreme collective effort is expertly marshalled by the singular vision of Lenny. He is studiously unshowy within the creative restriction the ‘Room’ imposes but his steadiness and confidence seeps into the texture of the film. The bravery to hold a shot. To eschew swift edits and any sense of sensationalism.  Here is a film that breathes and where we care about every breath the two principals take. There is no Fincher-esque drifting through air ducts or following cables through walls. This world is a solid, relentless island of isolation. Yet there are deep reservoirs of defiance, heart and even humour on this island too.

Room never shies away from being claustrophobic but neither does it shy away from warmth and humanity. The palpable love and resilience emanating from within Brie Larson’s character (initially known as Ma) is a wondrous beacon for the audience and for her child Jack. Brie’s performance is a beautifully calibrated feat. We glimpse her fragility. Her profound uncertainty. Her underlying growing dread. We literally see her swallow or swat away momentarily flickers of fear to protect her child from even their startlingly obvious and overwhelming proximity to real evil. The scope, complexity and nuance of this role is an acting Everest that Larson scales with both incredible effort and incredible ease.

Clearly guided by the overall warmth of Emma Donoghue’s initial prose and her own skilful adaptation of her novel, Room is actually at its best in the period of confinement. In less capable hands, Jack’s rituals of addressing inanimate objects might have been too cutesy but we witness all these routines as vital structures for survival. Ma’s imaginative use of the space for exercise, education and entertainment is that of a mother determined to fight stagnation and apathy at any cost. Her impassioned promises to Jack of a world outside the room are imbued with increased rising urgency as an escape plan is hatched to fool their captor known only as Old Nick.

I better flag some major spoilers from here on. I was shamefully unfamiliar with the novel and so didn’t know if the escape gamble would be successful. It certainly fed the tension of a sequence that is both uplifting and nerve shredding. However implausible the plan, it literally unfurls in a manner that will have audiences having heart palpitations. Jack’s first foray into the wider world is so unbearably fraught while still laced with a wondrous sense of liberation. Small details within this sequence are casually haunting. Personally, I found the lack of fight in Old Nick’s character when challenged to be both truthful and chilling. His willingness to walk away revealed so much in even his cowardly retreat.

Which brings us to the second half of the film where we witness Ma reclaiming her original name Joy while struggling to explain this new overwhelming reality to Jack. The initial sense of wonderment in the outside world is again filled with sublime specific moments. The depiction of the media interest in their plight seems a logical organic progression of the story but it moved the film into familiar ground. To be honest, this part of the film couldn’t help but naturally lack the focus of the first half. And oddly, I wasn’t the only one missing the ‘Room’. The script and film dares to circle round to the almost unimaginable truth that humans sometimes crave for a life they know above the unfamiliar and alien.

It’s also in the latter half that the casting became slightly problematic for me. Hands down, Joan Allen and William H Macy are superb actors and I’m always pleased to see them show up in anything. Apart from here. It’s weird but they feel too starry for the film. The second you see Joan Allen walk down a hospital corridor, the connotations of Bourne can’t help but kick in. It was no surprise to hear Lenny speak of Allen as one of his favourite actors and he has every right to work with her. Yet in a film where not recognising the cast was so pivotal to creating an imposing compelling reality, the spell was broken for me.

That idiosyncratic gripe aside, Room is a powerful raw rumination on the nature of family. It’s naturally not flawless but it is honest, unflinchingly and hopeful. I’d advise that you make some room in your life for Room .

And frankly, I found it funnier than Frank.

 

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Irish Film Review: Room

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DIR: Lenny Abrahamson • WRI: Emma Donoghue • PRO: David Gross, Ed Guiney • DOP: Danny Cohen • ED: Nathan Nugent • DES: Ethan Tobman • MUS: Stephen Rennicks • CAST: Brie Larson, Jacob Tremblay, Sean Bridgers

 

Four walls, of what can be no bigger than a small garden shed, have never felt so vast. But this is the limitless scope of Jack’s 5 year old imagination. For Jack, ‘Room’ is the world. Looking up through a skylight, outside is sky, and space, and aliens. Jack and Ma try shouting at the aliens, but they don’t hear them today. Room’s borders are everything. Room… Room… Room. This is all Jack knows, having no concept that a world outside exists. There are cats and dogs and people on TV, but they’re not real. At least that’s what Ma says. But now Ma says she lied.

Ma’s protected Jack from the truth. She’s kept him strong psychologically, built him emotionally from the ground up, carefully preparing him for his eventual escape. Inside Room, Ma has created a rich and spacious world for her child’s imagination, free from the literal reality. The literal reality is that Jack and Ma are caged up like wild animals, in a meagerly furnished Zoo pen. Ma was captured by mean old Nick, and hasn’t left Room in 7 years. But in the inhumanity of this situation, director Lenny Abrahamson finds a breeding ground for warmth, love and affection. There’s no artifice to the story’s structure, which is propelled along by an intoxicating earnestness. At the narrative’s core is this maternal bond between a mother and child.

Emma Donoghue adapted the script from her Man Booker-nominated novel of the same name. Donoghue is anything but a one trick pony, and shows masterful dexterity as a writer, as she jumps ship from novel to screenplay. She’s dived head first into the material, and fearlessly pares her novel down to its core. The most profound difference is that the movie works on its own terms. It makes no attempt to imitate the novel, or try to suggest Jack’s magical thinking with ham-handed visual trickery. According to Abrahamson, the movie’s all about Jack’s face, and the film is grounded with a rich cinematic naturalism. His face is our key to a rich inner world. This more naturalistic quality towards the visual approach of the film was something Abrahamson knew from the get-go; and a point he even used to woo author Emma Donoghue in his initial pitch.

Over and over, Irish director Lenny Abrahamson has proved himself a talent to watch. He’s made a successful career with intimate, character-driven dramas (Adam & Paul, What Richard Did). So in one sense Room is similar territory; in another sense Room elevates the intimate character drama to a more epic scale, while never losing sight of its simple humanity. It’s a fine line, and Abrahamson walks it expertly. This is a director in his absolute element, and at the peak of his powers.

Since winning the audience award at the Toronto film festival, Room has unsurprisingly generated healthy awards buzz. And this is hardly surprising, since Room offers the highest calibre of craftsmanship in virtually every department; though the performances take centre stage. Brie Larson deserves every accolade on the table and it still wouldn’t be enough; she endlessly radiates compassion and affection, making everyone in the audience with anything of a soul, wish she was their Ma. And Jacob Tremblay’s performance glows with the simple honesty that surely paves the way for a powerful acting talent. The story is further reinforced by Danny Cohen’s masterfully unimposing cinematography and Stephen Rennicks’ earthy score, which is at times both ethereal and euphoric.

In Room, Abrahamson has created a masterful oddity; a world that’s spatially confined, but emotionally limitless and arresting. Abrahamson works within the scope of narrative and cinematic limits, and yet somehow in the end, exceeds those limits tenfold. Room is one of those unique films, that by way of what must be magic or osmosis, excels beyond the sum of its parts. It’s the kind of estranged logic that lets two plus two equal five, when it should only equal four.

Michael Lee

15A
117 minutes (See IFCO for details)

Room is released 15th January 2016

Room – Official Website

 

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Irish Nominations for Golden Globes

 

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The nominations for the 73rd Golden Globe Awards have been announced with a number of Irish featured amongst the nominations. Lenny Abrahamson’s Room was nominated in the category of Best Motion Picture. Emma Donoghue was nominated for Best Screenplay for Room, which she adapted from her own award-winning book. And Brie Larson made it a hat trick of nominations for Room with her nomination in the category of Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture.

Saoirse Ronan was also nominated in the category of Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture alongside Larson for her performance in Brooklyn.

Michael Fassbender was nominated in the category of Best Actor in a Motion Picture for his performance in Danny Boyle’s Steve Jobs. Caitriona Balfe received a nomination in the category of Best Actress in a TV series for Outlander. Also in this category is Eva Green, nominated for her role in Penny Dreadful, which was shot on location in Dublin.

The 73rd Golden Globe Awards will take place on January 10th 2016 in Beverly Hills California.

 

The full list of 2016 Golden Globe award nominations:

Best Motion Picture, Drama
Carol
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Revenant
Room
Spotlight

Best Motion Picture, Comedy
The Big Short
Joy
The Martian
Spy
Trainwreck

Best Director – Motion Picture
Todd Haynes, Carol
Alejandro Iñárritu, The Revenant
Tom McCarthy, Spotlight
George Miller, Mad Max
Ridley Scott, The Martian

Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Drama
Cate Blanchett, Carol
Brie Larson, Room
Rooney Mara, Carol
Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn
Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl

Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Comedy
Jennifer Lawrence, Joy
Melissa McCarthy, Spy
Amy Schumer, Trainwreck
Maggie Smith, Lady in the Van
Lily Tomlin, Grandma

Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture
Jane Fonda, Youth
Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight
Helen Mirren, Trumbo
Alicia Vikander, Ex Machina
Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs

Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Drama
Bryan Cranston, Trumbo
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant
Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs
Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl
Will Smith, Concussion

Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy
Christian Bale, The Big Short
Steve Carell, The Big Short
Matt Damon, The Martian
Al Pacino, Danny Collins
Mark Ruffalo, Infinitely Polar Bear

Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture
Paul Dano, Love & Mercy
Idris Elba, Beasts of No Nation
Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies
Michael Shannon, 99 Homes
Sylvester Stallone, Creed

Best TV Series, Drama

Empire
Game of Thrones
Mr. Robot
Narcos
Outlander

Best TV Series, Comedy
Casual
Mozart in the Jungle
Orange Is the New Black
Silicon Valley
Transparent
Veep

Best TV Movie or Limited-Series
American Crime
American Horror Story: Hotel
Fargo
Flesh and Bone
Wolf Hall

Best Actor in a TV Series, Drama
Jon Hamm, Mad Men
Rami Malek, Mr. Robot
Wagner Moura, Narcos
Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul
Liev Schreiber, Ray Donovan

Best Screenplay – Motion Picture
Emma Donoghue, Room
Tom McCarthy, Josh Singer, Spotlight
Charles Randolph, Adam McKay, The Big Short
Aaron Sorkin, Steve Jobs
Quentin Tarantino, The Hateful Eight

Best Animated Feature Film
Anomalisa
The Good Dinosaur
Inside Out
The Peanuts Movie
Shaun the Sheep Movie

Best Supporting Actress in a Series, Limited-Series, or TV Movie
Uzo Aduba, Orange is the New Black
Joanne Froggatt, Downton Abbey
Regina King, American Crime
Judith Light, Transparent
Maura Tierney, The Affair

Best Actress in a TV Series, Comedy
Rachel Bloom, Crazy Ex Girlfriend
Jamie Lee Curtis, Scream Queens
Julia Louis Dreyfus, Veep
Gina Rodriguez, Jane the Virgin
Lilly Tomlin, Grace & Frankie

Best Supporting Actor in a Series, Limited-Series or TV Movie
Alan Cumming, The Good Wife
Damian Lewis, Wolf Hall
Ben Mendelson, Bloodline
Tobias Menzies, Outlander
Christian Slater, Mr. Robot

Best Original Song – Motion Picture
“Love Me Like You Do” 50 Shades of Grey
“One Kind of Love” Love and Mercy
“See You Again” Furious 7
“Simple Song No. 3” Youth
“Writing’s on the Wall” Spectre

 

 

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Trailer: Lenny Abrahamson’s ‘Room’

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The trailer for Room is available to watch online. From acclaimed director Lenny Abrahamson and based on the best-selling novel by Emma Donoghue, Room stars Brie Larson and a breakout performance from Jacob Tremblay, with three-time Academy Award® nominee Joan Allen.

Room is released in Irish cinemas on 15th January 2016.

 

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‘Room’ Wins People’s Choice Award at Toronto

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Lenny Abrahamson’s latest film Room won the People’s Choice Award at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). Abrahamson said, ‘I am so honoured that Room has been chosen by the TIFF audience to win the Grolsch People’s choice award. The program this year was full of extraordinary films, and for such a knowledgeable, film-loving audience to choose ours as their film of the festival is something of which I will always be hugely proud. It is a testament to the incredible talent and passion of all who made this film; cast and crew and those who backed us and had faith in us from the beginning.”

Room stars Brie Larson (Short Term 12, The Spectacular Now), Jacob Tremblay (The Smurfs 2, Somnia), Joan Allen (The Bourne Supremacy, Nixon) and William H. Macy (Shameless, Magnolia). Emma Donoghue adapted the screenplay from her book, the award-winning international phenomenon,  .

Told through the eyes of five-year-old-Jack (Tremblay), Room is a thrilling and emotional tale that celebrates the resilience and power of the human spirit. To Jack, Room is the world…. It’s where he was born, it’s where he and his Ma (Larson) eat and sleep and play and learn. But while it’s home to Jack, to Ma it’s a prison.  Through her fierce love for her son, Ma has managed to create a childhood for him in their ten-by-ten-foot space. But as Jack’s curiosity is building alongside Ma’s own desperation – she knows that Room cannot contain either indefinitely.

 

Room will be released in Irish cinemas on 29th January

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Shooting Begins on Lenny Abrahamson’s ‘Room’

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Lenny Abrahamson has begun principal photography on the feature film Room, produced by Element Pictures and No Trace Camping. Emma Donoghue adapted the screenplay from her book, the award-winning international phenomenon, Room.

The film stars Brie Larson (Short Term 12, The Spectacular Now), Jacob Tremblay (The Smurfs 2, Somnia), Joan Allen (The Bourne Supremacy, Nixon) and William H. Macy (Shameless, Magnolia). Also joining the cast are Sean Bridgers (Rectify), Tom McCamus (The Samaritan) and Megan Park (What If).

Told through the eyes of five-year-old-Jack (Tremblay), Room is a thrilling and emotional tale that celebrates the resilience and power of the human spirit. To Jack, Room is the world…. It’s where he was born, it’s where he and his Ma (Larson) eat and sleep and play and learn. But while it’s home to Jack, to Ma it’s a prison. Through her fierce love for her son, Ma has managed to create a childhood for him in their ten-by-ten-foot space. But as Jack’s curiosity is building alongside Ma’s own desperation – she knows that Room cannot contain either indefinitely.

Room is being filmed at Pinewood Studios and on location in Toronto, and will be post produced at Screen Scene in Dublin.

Room is an Element Pictures and No Trace Camping production, in association with Telefilm Canada, Film4, and the Irish Film Board. A24 has acquired rights to the film in the US, and Elevation Pictures is distributing the film in Canada. UTA handled the domestic sale. FilmNation Entertainment is handling international sales.

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