Competition: Win ‘The Drummer and the Keeper’ on DVD

Element Pictures Distribution have announced the DVD and ON DEMAND release of The Drummer and the Keeper on 17th November 2017

The film tells the story of Gabriel, a rock’n’roll party animal newly-diagnosed with mental health issues, and Christopher, a 17-year-old goalkeeper with Asperger Syndrome who yearns to fit in. When the young drummer is prescribed a weekly dose of therapeutic football, he’s forced into the company of the isolated Christopher who’s determined to make friends with the anarchic new arrival – whether Gabriel likes it or not. It’s a meeting that will change both their lives.

Hailed as “a small marvel with a heart the size of a whale” DVD stockists include: Supervalu, Golden Discs, Tower Records, Head, Eason, IFI, Light House, Amazon and ebuzz.ie. On demand viewing is available from: iTunes, Virgin Media, Volta, Google, BT, Vubiquity and Microsoft.

Written and directed by Nick Kelly, whose acclaimed short film SHOE was shortlisted for an Academy Award®, The Drummer and the Keeper was produced by Kate McColgan of Calico Pictures with support from the Irish Film Board. It stars an ensemble of Irish talent, including: Jacob McCarthy, Dermot Murphy, Charlie Kelly, Peter Coonan, Aoibhinn McGinnity and Annie Ryan.

Thanks to our friends at Element we have 3 copies of the film to give away on DVD. To be in with a chance of winning, simply email filmireland@gmail.com with The Drummer and the Keeper in the subject line before 2pm on Monday, 20th November when the Film Ireland hat will bongo out winners. Please include a postal address.

 

 

 

Nick Kelly, Writer/Director of ‘The Drummer and the Keeper’

 

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Nick Kelly, Writer/Director of ‘The Drummer and the Keeper’

 

Paul Farren talks to Nick Kelly, whose film The Drummer and the Keeper is in cinemas now. In his film, the drummer of a rock band recently diagnosed with bipolar disorder strikes up an unusual friendship with an institutionalized teen who is suffering from Asperger’s syndrome.

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Irish Film Review: The Drummer and the Keeper

 

 

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Irish Film Review: The Drummer and the Keeper

 

DIR/WRI: Nick Kelly  PRO: Kate McColgan • DOP: Tom Comerford • ED: Derek Holland  DES: Louise Mathews   MUS: John Gerard Walsh   CAST: Jacob McCarthy, Dermot Murphy, Aoibhinn McGinnity, Peter Coonan, Niamh Algar

The Drummer and the Keeper, written and directed by Nick Kelly, is a product of the IFB (Irish Film Board) ‘Catalyst’ scheme. Nick Kelly has an eclectic CV. He was once the leader singer in The Fat Lady Sings and he has a track record in award-winning short films dating back to 2003. In more recent years he directed the Irish Film Archive promo featuring Saoirse Ronan as well as the iconic Guinness commercial based on Tom Crean. On the evidence of such talent, one might ask why it has taken until now for him to nail down backing for a feature.

With The Drummer and the Keeper, he has not elected to play safe with his debut. Any film that takes on the issues of mental illness or Aspergers Syndrome involves risk. This film has the ambition to take on both issues in tandem. It might have been easier to make a film about a romantic relationship between two people with mental health issues. It is to the credit of Nick Kelly that he chose to eschew that approach.

The film is based on an unlikely friendship between Christopher, a teenage youth with Aspergers, and Gabriel, a drummer in a band in his mid-twenties who suffers from a mental illness. Having read the pitch, I felt the storyline might stretch credibility. I also feared the film might stray into cliché or that it might be deemed offensive.

I hoped not.

Gabriel, (played by Dermot Murphy), a talented drummer in a band, is struggling with addiction issues and trying to conceal his mental illness from his fellow band members. He attempts to mask his illness with a cocktail of drugs and alcohol, testing the patience of his fellow band members in the process.

Christopher (played by Jacob McCarthy), is a seventeen-year-old youth with Aspergers Syndrome who happens to be a very good goalie. He lives in an institution with occasional visits home to his family some of whom barely tolerate his presence. The dining table scenes make for difficult viewing.

One of the strengths of the film is that the characters of both of the leads are built up progressively and persuasively. While some of the supporting roles may be a little thinly sketched, the strength of the performance of the central characters carries the film.

Another strength is that Nick Kelly appears to have engaged in substantial research on mental illness and Aspergers Syndrome before embarking on the screenplay. This added depth to the plot and credibility to events along the way which might otherwise have appeared unlikely.

The initial meeting of Gabriel and Christopher on a football field is very funny indeed. This is not only because of  the interaction between the two lead characters but also the performance of the referee, who we later discover is one of the carers in the institution where Christopher is residing. This film is not a comedy, but there are many richly comic moments. The humour was organic to the story and never appeared contrived.

There were some impressive performances among the supporting cast including Aoibhinn McGinnity as Gabriel’s sister and Peter Coonan as a reserved band member.

I wondered if someone with mental illness and addiction issues who is passionately  committed to being a drummer in a band would have the capacity to sustain a friendship with a teenage youth who he doesn’t understand or accept initially. I grew to believe it to be possible in the course of the film – though I wasn’t sure the friendship would last. That challenge is at the heart of a film that packs a strong emotional punch.

There are other things to admire in this film. Credit to Maureen Hughes for the casting which is very well judged all round. As one might expect in a plot that involes Gabriel’s band, the soundtrack is an important element of the film. The music by John Gerard Walsh is very good indeed.

The Drummer and the Keeper heralds the arrival of a very impressive new talent. We are already looking forward to what Nick will do next.

 

Brian Ó Tiomáin

15A (See IFCO for details)

93 minutes

The Drummer and the Keeper is released 8th September 2017

 

 

 

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Trailer: The Drummer and The Keeper

 

The Drummer and The Keeper tells the story of the unlikely friendship formed between two young men; Gabriel, a reckless young drummer with bipolar disorder, who revels in rejecting society’s rules and Christopher, a 17 year old with Asperger’s Syndrome, who yearns to fit in. This heartwarming story, shows the strength of the human bond, in the face of adversity.

Written and directed by Nick Kelly, whose short film Shoe was shortlisted for an Academy Award, The Drummer and The Keeper was produced by Kate McColgan for Calico Pictures, with support from the Irish Film Board.

 

The Drummer and The Keeper is in cinemas from 8th September 2017

 

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Review of Irish Film @ Galway Film Fleadh: The Drummer And The Keeper

 

Stephen Burke tips his hi-hat to Nick Kelly’s debut feature film, The Drummer And The Keeper, which screened at the the 2017 Galway Film Fleadh.

Having sold out a week before its Friday evening screening at the 2017 Galway Film Fleadh, it’s fair to say there was both excitement and expectation in the Town Hall Theatre ahead of the world premiere of Nick Kelly’s debut feature film – The Drummer And The Keeper. Not too long ago, it seemed that films exploring mental health issues were few and far between. Over the past few years though, they’ve almost become dangerously in vogue.

While it is, of course, important that these films are being made, they’re not of great value if the issues are not tackled accurately and appropriately. Not an easy thing to do. It’s even more difficult to make a film that handles the subject matter truthfully and sensitively while also being entertaining and containing moments of genuine humour. It’s a huge credit to Nick Kelly that The Drummer And The Keeper manages to do all of this successfully. The judges at the Fleadh seemed to think so too as the film scooped the award for Best Irish First Feature.

The main publicity photo released in advance of this screening was a striking image of a young man walking away from a burning vehicle. The film itself opens on an image which is just as striking – a close-up of the bare posterior of that same character. The character in question is Gabriel (played by Dermot Murphy), a 24 year-old bipolar rock drummer living in Dublin. He’s also experiencing psychotic and delusional episodes. When we first meet Gabriel, he is setting fire to a sofa on a beach sans his trousers. Setting fire to things is one of the many out-of-control activities that Gabriel seems to engage in when going through a manic period. We soon learn that his mother also suffered from the same condition and eventually took her own life. Gabriel’s only family of note is his sister Alice (Aoibhinn McGinnity). She’s worried that his life is spiraling out of control. His band mates Toss and Pearse (Peter Coonan and Charlie Kelly) do show a degree of concern regarding Gabriel’s well-being but they seem to be more anxious to ensure that his behavior doesn’t derail any opportunities the band may have at hitting the big time.

While Toss’ advice to “cut back on the booze and spliff” seems like a good starting point, Gabriel requires more stringent treatment. This is despite his insistence that “rock and roll is supposed to be out of control”. Medication is the order of the day and to combat the strong fatigue, which accompanies it as a side effect, Gabriel is instructed to partake in regular exercise and sent along to participate in a weekly game of football with a mixed ability group. This is where he encounters the goalkeeping-obsessed Christopher (Jacob McCarthy), a 17 year old with Asperger’s syndrome who is living in institutionalized accommodation.

After a rocky beginning, it’s not long before Christopher is showing up at Gabriel’s band’s gigs and slowly but surely a friendship and understanding develops between them. They may not have much in common but the mental health issues that each of them deal with allow them to identify and bond with one another more than either would have expected. As Kelly noted in the post screening Q & A – “When you have a moment of crisis, the people who are helpful to you are usually completely not the people who you thought were supposed to be helpful”.

With this type of film, it’s always going to be of the utmost importance that the audience finds the relationship between Gabriel and Christopher to be believable. Their friendship is the core of The Drummer and The Keeper. Due to an impressively crafted script (also written by director Kelly), the authenticity of this relationship never wavers or becomes forced. According to Kelly, a great deal of research into both conditions was carried out (all the extras featuring in scenes at the institute Christopher resides in are actually people who have autism) and this can be seen on the screen, both when Gabriel and Christopher interact with each other and with supporting characters. In the post-screening Q & A, there were several comments from mental health workers praising the film for its realistic depiction of both Bipolar disorder and Asperger’s. While Kelly was no doubt proud of the standing ovation the film received, comments like this may have meant even more to him.

Following the screening, Kelly explained that the casting process of the film took a long time. It’s unclear whether or not he was including the casting of Murphy and McCarthy in that statement. Both of them were inspired choices though. While Murphy and McCarthy have credits prior to this, they are still fresh faces on a cinema screen and The Drummer And The Keeper boasts what feel like star making turns from each of them. Both actors deserve all the plaudits they will undoubtedly get. Murphy is especially impressive and his Gabriel emotes as powerfully in the character’s quieter and more introspective moments as in his more explosive one’s. Little room is left to develop supporting characters and this is very much a film about the drummer and the keeper of the title. However, Gabriel and Christopher are such well written characters that few viewers are likely to complain that the central focus consistently remains on them.

Kelly’s directorial ability is extremely confident and one would be very hard-pressed to guess that this is his first feature. It certainly won’t be his last. There are a few parts of the film, particularly near the end, where it feels like credibility is being stretched but by then viewers are likely to be too engaged and invested in the characters to be put off. This is an impressive, moving and often funny debut feature that deserves to find a wide audience. As Kelly said afterwards, “Even if you aren’t currently mentally ill, I think, hopefully there’s something in it for you”. Recommended – An Irish film to be proud of.

 

The Drummer and The Keeper screened on Friday, 14th July as part of the 2017 Galway Film Fleadh (11 – 16 July).

 

 

 

 

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Galway Film Fleadh Announce Award Winners 2017

 

On Sunday July 16, 2017 the 29th Galway Film Fleadh came to a close, following another outstanding year of Irish and international film premieres, screenings, workshops and discussions. The annual awards ceremony took place after the Irish Premiere of Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk.

Award winners listed below.

SHORT FILM AWARDS

The Galway Film Fleadh is a qualifying festival for the Academy Awards, recipients of the James Horgan Award for Best Animation and Tiernan MacBride Award for Best Short Drama will qualify for Oscar nomination.

THE BEST FIRST SHORT ANIMATION AWARD

WINNER: An Béal Bocht

DIRECTED BY: Tom Collins

Accepted on their behalf

 

THE BEST FIRST SHORT DRAMA IN ASSOCIATION WITH MAZARS 

PRESENTED BY:  Austin Salmon

WINNER: The Date

DIRECTED BY: Selina Cartmell

THE DON QUIJOTE AWARD FOR ANIMATION IN A SHORT FILM 

PRESENTED BY:  Mr. Stein R. Bjerkely from Norway

WINNER: An Béal Bocht

DIRECTED BY: Tom Collins

Liz Quinn will accepts on their behalf

 

 

THE DONAL GILLIGAN AWARD FOR BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY IN A SHORT FILM IN ASSOCIATION WITH THE IRISH SOCIETY OF CINEMATOGRAPHERS (ISC)

WINNER: Burschi Wojner for WAVE

 

THE AWARD FOR BEST ANIMATED SEQUENCE IN A SHORT FILM IN ASSOCIATION WITH BROWN BAG FILMS

WINNER: Late Afternoon

ANIMATED BY: Cartoon Saloon

THE BEST SHORT DOCUMENTARY AWARD

There is a joint winner for this award. The winners are:

 

WINNER: Throwline                                                   WINNER: Tit for Tatt

DIRECTED BY: Mia Mullarkey                                     DIRECTED BY: Mairéad Ní Thréinir

 

 

WINNER OF THE ONE MINUTE FILM FESTIVAL 

WINNER: Tempo

DIRECTED BY: ARJAN BRENTJES

THE JAMES HORGAN AWARD FOR BEST ANIMATION

WINNER: An Island

DIRECTED BY: Rory Byrne

 

 

THE TIERNAN McBRIDE AWARD FOR BEST SHORT DRAMA IN ASSOCIATION WITH NETWORK IRELAND TELEVISION

PRESENTED BY: Derry O’ Brien

WINNER: Wave

DIRECTED BY: Benjamin Cleary and TJ O’Grady Peyton

 

FEATURE FILM AUDIENCE AWARDS

BEST HUMAN RIGHTS FEATURE IN ASSOCIATION WITH AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL

PRESENTED BY:          Siddhi Joshi

WINNER: City of Ghosts

DIRECTED BY: Matthew Heineman

PRODUCED BY: Matthew Heineman

BEST INTERNATIONAL FIRST FEATURE

WINNER:  God’s Own Country

DIRECTED BY: Francis Lee

WRITTEN BY: Francis Lee

PRODUCED BY: Manon Ardisson & Jack Tarling

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BEST INTERNATIONAL FEATURE

WINNER: Mad to be Normal

DIRECTED BY: Robert Mullan

WRITTEN BY: Robert Mullan and Tracy Moreton

PRODUCED BY: Phin Glynn, Alan Letham and Charlotte Arden

 

BEST INTERNATIONAL FEATURE DOCUMENTARY

WINNER: All the Wild Horses

DIRECTED BY: Ivo Marloh

PRODUCED BY: Ivo Marloh and Darcia Martin

 

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY IN AN IRISH FEATURE IN ASSOCIATION WITH TEACH SOLAIS

PRESENTED BY: Cian de Butleir

WINNER: Richard Kendrick for SONG OF GRANITE

 

BEST IRISH FIRST FEATURE

WINNER: The Drummer and the Keeper

DIRECTED BY: Nick Kelly

WRITTEN BY: Nick Kelly

PRODUCED BY: Kate McColgan

 

 

 

 

BEST IRISH FEATURE DOCUMENTARY

WINNER: Rocky Ros Muc

DIRECTED BY: Michael Fanning

PRODUCED BY: Michael Fanning and Maire Bhreathnach

 

BEST IRISH FEATURE IN ASSOCIATION WITH VOLTA

PRESENTED BY: Charlene Lydon

WINNER: Michael Inside

DIRECTED BY: Frank Berry

WRITTEN BY: Frank Berry

PRODUCED BY: Donna Eperon, Tristan Orpan-Lynch & Aoife O’ Sullivan

 

THE GALWAY FILM FLEADH PITCHING AWARD

The Galway Film Fleadh emphasises the important foundation of good story and scriptwriting in the audiovisual industry though this award in which feature films are pitched to a panel of industry professionals and awarded a cash prize for development of their scripts.

WINNER: Michelle Lehane for her project AGAINST THE TIDE

The jury felt this was a perfectly pitched project – a true story that doesn’t feel like a documentary because it has great emotional depth and truth.

THE BINGHAM RAY NEW TALENT AWARD IN ASSOCIATION WITH MAGNOLIA PICTURES

This award recognises the breakthrough talent of Irish filmmakers and is named in recognition of the contribution and help of our departed friend and supporter Bingham Ray.

 

THE NOMINEES ARE:

 

DAFHYD FLYNN – ACTOR – MICHAEL INSIDE

CHRIS BAUGH – DIRECTOR – BAD DAY FOR THE CUT

COLM SEOIGHE – ACTOR – SONG OF GRANITE

DONNA EPERON – PRODUCER – MICHAEL INSIDE

KATE MC COLGAN – PRODCUER – THE DRUMMER AND THE KEEPER

 

WINNER: DAFHYD FLYNN

 

 

 

 

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