Five Irish Films to Screens at Sundance


Five Screen Ireland funded films have been selected to have their World premiere at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival.

The line-up includes one new Irish feature, Lee Cronin’s The Hole in the Ground starring Irish actress Seana Kerslake; two international co-productions, Sophie Hyde’s Animals and Sacha Polak’s Dirty God; alongside two Irish documentaries, Garry Keane and Andrew McConnell’s Gaza and Kim Longinotto’s Shooting the Mafia.

Commenting on the Irish Sundance selections, Screen Ireland Chief Executive James Hickey said: “We are very proud to have five titles set to screen at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival and we would like to extend our congratulations to the filmmakers. The selection process is one of the most competitive in the world, so to have such a strong line-up 2019 edition festival is a fantastic achievement for our industry. Two out of the twelve documentaries in the international line-up, selected from all over the world, are Irish.”

From psychological horrors and harrowing portraits of social crises to celebratory and intimate tales of female friendship, these films act as exemplars of the diverse and varied slate Screen Ireland will present in 2019. Sundance is the largest independent film festival in North America and provides an invaluable platform to launch these films into the US market and beyond.


Brooklyn,The LobsterSing StreetCalvaryThe Guard,School Life and It’s Not Yet Dark comprise just some of the major Irish films of the last decade to have screened at Sundance, with the festival presenting a consistently strong line-up of Irish titles down through the years.


Speaking about The Hole in the Ground’s selection, director Lee Cronin: “It’s a privilege to bring The Hole in the Ground to the Sundance Film Festival for its World Premiere this January. A hell of a lot of extremely talented people worked tirelessly to make the movie a reality, so I’m delighted that its creators, funders and supporters can celebrate the perfect launch-pad in Utah. Personally, I’m excited to bring my horror story to the big screen, and I can’t wait for Irish audiences to see it when it’s released in cinemas in the new year.”


Co-Director of  GAZA, Garry Keane said: “On behalf of my co-director colleague Andrew McConnell and I, it is a huge honour for our filmGAZA to be selected for the Sundance Film Festival 2019 in the World Cinema Documentary Competition. This is not only a professional Everest for us both, but even more so, it is a clear testament to the resilience and bravery of our contributors who have shared their lives with us in this beautiful and much misunderstood place. It is a privilege to have spent time with them and to have had the chance to bring their stories of hope and survival in one of the most unique places on earth to the world’s most prestigious documentary festival.”




The Hole in the Ground

Trying to escape her broken past, Sarah O’Neill (Séana Kerslake) is building a new life on the fringes of a backwood rural town with her young son Chris (James Quinn Markey). A terrifying encounter with a mysterious neighbour shatters her fragile security, throwing Sarah into a spiralling nightmare of paranoia and mistrust, as she tries to uncover if the disturbing changes in her little boy are connected to an ominous sinkhole buried deep in the forest that borders their home.

The Hole in the Ground is directed by Lee Cronin and stars Seána Kerslake (A Date for Mad Mary) with the title produced by John Keville and Conor Barry for Savage Productions.


A fierce and unapologetic celebration of female friendship, Animals is an intimate, funny and bittersweet examination of the challenges of turning talent into action, and being a modern woman, with faults, longings and competing desires.

Animals is an Irish/Australian co-production, directed by Sophie Hyde, with Cormac Fox producing for Ireland’s Vico Films alongside Sarah Brocklehurst, Rebecca Summerton and Sophie Hyde. The film starsHolliday Grainger (My Cousin Rachel) and Alia Shawkat (Arrested Development).

Dirty God
Dirty God is a powerful film about motherhood, courage and self-acceptance. Jade is a young mother recovering from an acid attack that has left her with severe facial burns. Her face has been reconstructed, but her beauty is gone. Distanced from her daughter, Jade finds solace in the hidden world of online liaisons where she uncovers the passion and connection she’s craved. But when her life is turned upside down once more, those around can do little to halt her descent. As her family life and friendships start to crumble, Jade takes drastic action, finally finding the path back to her daughter and herself.

The film is an Irish/Dutch/UK/Belgian co-production, with Conor Barry and John Keville on board as Irish producers for Savage Productions, alongside Viking Film (NL), Emu Films (UK) and A Private View (BE).

This documentary brings together an eloquent, resilient, funny and courageous group of souls, on whose lives the world lens is often trained, without ever capturing their true essence; their struggle, survival, resilience and sense of family, which goes to the very heart of humanity and human nature. The film unfolds a portrait of the ordinary people of Gaza who attempt to lead meaningful lives beyond the rubble of perennial conflict. Free of the cliché of news reportage, GAZA reveals a complex land of intrigue and highlight the beauty of the human condition and the warmth and humour that lies bubbling beneath the surface of this truly remarkable place.

The documentary is directed and produced by Garry Keane and Andrew McConnell for Real Films.

Shooting the Mafia
In sharp contrast to the all-pervasive romanticised and glamorised media image of the Sicilian Mafia, Kim Longinotto’s feature documentary Shooting the Mafia, unflinchingly explores the stark reality of life, and death, under the oppressive yoke of the Corleonesi Mafia. Photographer Letizia Battaglia stood up to the Mafia and it is through her lens that we enter this world of ritualised slaughter, omertà, semi-religious oppression and feudal control. The scale of the mafia’s brutality and power is revealed through a combination of rare archive footage, newsreel and personal photographs and memories. The power of Letizia’s photography and the bravery and dedication of people like her helped to finally bring to an end the brutal reign of a bunch of small town thugs who’s reign of fear reached as far as the Italian presidency.

The documentary is directed by Kim Longinotto and produced by Niamh Fagan for Lunar Pictures.

The 2019 Sundance Film Festival runs from 24 Jan – 3 Feb in Park City, Utah. 


‘Brooklyn’ and ‘The Hallow’ join Irish Films at Sundance


Brooklyn 230x240

The adaptation of Colm Tóbín’s novel Brooklyn (pictured), starring Saoirse Ronan  and Domhnall Gleeson will have its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival next month. This marks the fifth Irish project to screen at the festival. Brooklyn is directed by John Crowley and was filmed on location in Wexford, Dublin and Wicklow. The film was produced by Wildgaze Films, Finola Dwyer Productions, Parallel Films and Item 7. Brooklyn was co-financed by Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board.

The Irish co-production The Hallow, directed by Corin Hardy and filmed in Co. Galway, has also been selected to screen, as part of the Park City at Midnight section of the festival.

These films join the previously announced Irish films, Glassland, Strangerland and The Visit scheduled for the festival.


The Sundance Film Festival takes place from January 22 to February 1 in Park City, Utah. 


Irish Films at Sundance


3 Irish films have been announced to screen at next year’s Sundance Film Festival.

Gerard Barrett’s Glassland (pictured) was chosen for the World Cinema Dramatic Competition, which screens 12 films from emerging filmmakers around the world. Also competing is the Irish co-production Strangerland, co-scripted by Michael Kinirons and stars Nicole Kidman, Hugo Weaving and Joseph Fiennes. The film was developed by Fastnet Films.

Also screening at the festival is Michael Madsen’s documentary The Visit, a co-production between Ireland and four other European nations.

The Sundance Film Festival takes place from January 22 to February 1 in Park City, Utah. 


Irish Documentary Selected to Screen at Sundance Film Festival

Irish documentary The Summit has been officially selected to screen in competition at Sundance 2013.

Written by Academy Award winner Mark Monroe and executively produced by Academy Award winners John Battsek and Simon Chinn The Summit attempts to understand what happened on the day that became known as the most tragic in modern mountaineering history when 11 of the 22 climbers attempting to get to the summit of K2 were either killed or vanished within the space of 48 hours.

Directed by Nick Ryan, The Summit had its world premiere at the 56th BFI London Film Festival in October.


The Sundance Film Festival runs 17 – 27 January 2013


‘Shadow Dancer’ World Premiere at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival



Shadow Dancer World Premiere at the prestigious SUNDANCE Film Festival


It was anounced today that Shadow Dancer has been selected  to screen  at the Premier Section at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, 19 – 29 January. The Sundance Film Festival, which was originally founded by Robert Redford, is world-renowned as a showcase for the best in new independent cinema.

This is Element’s third year at Sundance with Five Minutes of Heaven winning the prestigious World Cinema Directing Award and World Cinema Screenwriting Award in 2009 and last year the Irish box-office smash The Guard was the opening film at the world dramatic competition.

Shadow Dancer is set in 1990s Belfast and is a heart-wrenching thriller about a woman forced to betray all she believes in for the sake of her son. It is directed by Oscar Winner James Marsh (Project Nim, Man on Wire) and has a stellar cast including Clive Owen (Children of Men, Inside Man), Gillian Anderson (The Last King of Scotland) and Andrea Riseborough (Never Let Me Go, W.E). Irish actors include Aidan Gillen (Love/Hate,The Wire) and Domhnall Gleeson (True Grit, Dredd).

Speaking on the selection, producer Ed Guiney said that ‘After a brilliant experience at Sundance last year with The Guard we are looking forward to launching James’ wonderful film to the world at the festival this year’

Shadow Dancer is a Unanimous Entertainment, Element Pictures and Wild Bunch Production in association with LipSync Productions with the participation of the Irish Film Board.


‘Grabbers’ Selected to Screen at Sundance Film Festival 2012

Sundance Institute announced the films selected to screen in the 2012 Sundance Film Festival out-of-competition sections. New comedy horror feature Grabbers, which filmed on location in Belfast and Donegal made the selection for Park City At Midnight.

The Park City at Midnight selection features everything from horror flicks to comedies to works that defy any genre, these unruly films will keep you edge-seated and wide awake. Each is a world premiere.

Grabbers follows residents of an idyllic Irish fishing village are attacked by mysterious, blood-sucking sea creatures, a high blood alcohol content could be the only thing that gets them through the night. Grabbers was directed by Jon Wright (Tormented, Fancy Dress) and written by Kevin Lehane (The Fourth Wall, Gonnabes), it stars Richard Coyle, Ruth Bradley, Russell Tovey and Bronagh Gallagher.

Grabbers filmed on location in Belfast in December 2010 and was financed through the Northern Ireland Screen Fund supported by Invest NI and part funded by the European Regional Development Fund.

Originally setup by American actor Robert Redford, Sundance Film Festival takes place from 19th to 29th January in Park City, Utah. It is one of the biggest dates in the international film festival calender, as both Hollywood and the international film industry at large take a keen interest in the new emerging talent featured at the festival.

The film was produced by Forward Films in the UK, Samson Films in Dublin, in association with High Treason Productions, Nvizible and The Salt Company with finance from Bord Scannán na hÉireann/ Irish Film Board, the UK Film Council, High Treason, LimeLight and Northern Ireland Screen.

International sales are being handled by The Salt Company whilst Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has acquired UK rights to the project.


'The Guard' receives marketing support from EFP

The Guard by John Michael McDonagh is one of 11 European films that have been confirmed by European Film Promotion’s members to receive Film Sales Support at North America’s prestigious Sundance Film Festival.

With the continuous financial support of the MEDIA Programme of the European Union, FSS has been influential in helping bring European cinema to audiences around the world, in particular to North and South America.

Seven feature films and four documentaries are at the receiving end of the marketing support which covers up to 50% of costs for a publicist, the production of publicity material or ads in the trades. The films are being represented by seven different European sales agents and three production companies.

UK sales agent Metropolis International sales are new to FSS and will be representing The Guard at the festival.

For more details on the programme visit


Irish Short to Screen at Sundance

Karen Nora Jane-Noone

Small Change, a short graduate film from the National Film School (NFS) at IADT Dun Laoghaire, starring Irish actress Nora Jane Noone (The Magdalene Sisters, Savage), has been officially selected to feature at this years Sundance Film Festival in the USA.

Written and directed by Cathy Brady and produced by Tommy Fitzpatrick, the film recently featured at this year’s Galway Film Fleadh, and also at the Cork Film Festival, where its director, Cathy Brady, won the the Claire Lynch Award for Best First-Time Irish Director.

Small Change was also screened at the Encounters Film Festival in the UK, where it was presented with the NAHEMI/KODAK Prize for Cinematography.

The film is a bittersweet story about Karen (Nora-Jane Noone), a young single mother who has become bored with routine. Slot machines have become her secret thrill and addiction. With Christmas looming, a desperate hope for a big win sees her life spiral out of control.

Tommy Fitzpatrick, the short films producer has said, ‘Of the original 6400 applicants for the International Short Film section of Sundance, for Small Change to be selected for the final programme says an awful lot about the quality of filmmaking talent emerging from both the NFS at IADT Dun Laoghaire, and the Irish film industry as a whole at this time.’

Originally setup by well known American actor Robert Redford, this year’s Sundance Film Festival takes place on 20–30 January in Park City in Utah. It’s one of the biggest dates in the international film festival calender, as both Hollywood and the international film industry at large take a keen interest in the new emerging acting and filmmaking talent featured at the festival.

Cathy Brady, was also recently selected to take part in the Channel 4 Coming Up scheme where emerging filmmakers have the opportunity to make authored drama with a guaranteed network broadcast.

Tommy Fitzpatrick, has recently completed directing/producing a short documentary about the life of the little known hermit of the Comeragh Mountains in Waterford called Lackendarra. He is currently producing a short film entitled Every Second Sunday, directed by Simon Hubbard and starring Simon Delaney, Vivienne Connolly and Craig Conway amongst others.

The films website can be found at