‘Without Name’ Receives Irish & UK On Demand release

From IFTA-winning filmmaker Lorcan Finnegan, Element Pictures Distribution have announced the Irish & UK On Demand release for Without Name on June 2nd.

Without Name tells the story of Eric (Alan McKenna), a land surveyor hired by a private contractor to assess an isolated woodland location.  Leaving behind his wife and child, Eric is joined in the remote countryside by a younger female research assistant (Niamh Algar) with whom he shares a complicated history.  Beguiled by the forest, the pair go about their work all the while sensing an ominous presence lurking amongst the trees.

Are there really external and sinister elements at play here or is Eric becoming a prisoner of his own thoughts, in this place Without Name?

Directed by Lorcan Finnegan, written by Garret Shanley and produced by Brunella Cocchiglia of Lovely Productions, Without Name was funded by the Irish Film Board Catalyst Project scheme.

 

Without Name is available ON DEMAND June 2nd, platforms include:  iTunes, Volta, Virgin Media, Eir, Amazon Video,

Sky Store, BT, Microsoft, Sony, TalkTalk, Google Play, Wuaki TV

WITHOUT NAME is also available to pre-order on DVD from Amazon.co.uk

 

 

Podcast: Interview with Niamh Algar

 

 

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Irish Film Review: Without Name

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DIR: Lorcan Finnegan • WRI: Garret Shanley • PRO: Brunella Cocchiglia • DOP: Piers McGrail • ED: Tony Cranstoun • DES: Jeannie O’Brien • MUS: Gavin O’Brien, Neil O’Connor • CAST: Alan McKenna, Niamh Algar, James Browne

Without Name is the hallucinogenic feature debut of Irish director Lorcan Finnegan.  Finnegan comes from a seasoned background in commercial work and shorts, including the acclaimed short film FoxesWithout Name is an Irish psychological horror with strong ecological undercurrents running throughout.

Eric is a surveyor, who strives for order and structure and is highly disciplined and meticulous in certain domains of his life, such as his work. But his personal life is a far more chaotic affair, his marriage is strained; he’s got a lover Olivia (Niamh Algar). As Eric pushes the boundaries of his personal life further, his perceived sense of order is breaking at the seams and into the chaos and uncontrollability of nature, a theme which is at the heart of the film. In this regard, the film is somewhat reminiscent of Ben Wheatley’s historical mind fuck A Field in England, or Lars von Triers Antichrist.

We follow Eric into the forest as he descends from order going on an acidic voyage into the unconscious realm that lurks beneath the surface of waking reality burrowing through the poisonous shrubbery and toxic foliage, down in the dirt. He hovers through the astral plains of his own psyche, and into an abyss of paranoia, a twilight zone of self-loathing and doubt.

Finnegan is clearly a filmmaker of tremendous capacity and vision, and even when it doesn’t entirely work, he doesn’t fail in teasing the promise of his visionary talent. He creates a potent voyeuristic atmosphere which seems to have a stranglehold on the viewer, luring them in, overdosing them with tension. Piers McGrail’s cinematography is a key binding ingredient in the mix. McGrail is on a steady path to mastery, his work gets more refined with each picture, it’s no surprise he’s one of the country’s most sought after cinematographers. McGrail is Finnegan’s brother in arms in helping to serve up the hellish palette of a world that visibly shifts from poisonous to toxic in a heartbeat.

Alan McKenna offers a haunting nerve-wrenching turn as Eric, which makes his trip into the forest all the more traumatic. Niamh Algar shapes Olivia with beautiful subtlety, crafting a performance ripe with portent. The cast is further complimented by Olga Wherly as Eric’s wife and Brandon Maher as his teenage son, who both provide intricately grounded performances.

Without Name was written by Garrett Shanley, and the script is loaded with a treasure trove of heady ideas and images, but for me, one of the biggest drawbacks is that these aren’t always motivated through character and lack the emotional richness which perhaps could have elevated their significance. Without Name, seems to operate by means of tribal mechanics, which at times defy logical explanation but which ultimately seem to leave you pulsating with a never ending fear.

Michael Lee

93 minutes
15A (See IFCO for details)

Without Name is released 5th May 2017

 

 

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Podcast: Interview with Niamh Algar

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Actor Niamh Algar joined Jonathan Victory to talk about 3 films she features in at this year’s Audi Dublin International Film Festival as well as her nomination for the 2017 ADIFF Discovery Award.

In Lorcan Finnegan’s debut feature Without Name, Niamh plays Olivia, the  apprentice to a middle-aged land surveyor, who takes up a job in a remote forest. Deep in the woods, he becomes aware of a malevolent presence, an intelligence of sorts. A silhouette flits between trees. The place fascinates the fragmenting Eric  as much as it disturbs him. Is his mind playing tricks on him or is there some ancient horror wishing him harm?

Niamh also talks about the short films she appears in, Gone and Pebbles, which are also screening at ADIFF.

In Patrick Maxwell’s Gone, Paul returns to his hometown to find that his ex-lover has a child with another man. As old sparks reignite, jealousy and revenge lead to fatal consequences.

In Jonathan Shaw’s Pebbles, on her 50th wedding anniversary, Ruby returns to the hotel where she spent her Honeymoon. Will her estranged husband return to honour a promise?

Niamh also talks to Jonathan about the craft of acting, the industry and loads of other lovely stuff, including Niamh’s favourite curse word (spoiler – it’s “bejinges”)

 

Without Name screens on Saturday, 18th Feb 2017 at 6:00pm at the Light House Cinema.

Gone and Pebbles screen as part of ADIFF Shorts 3 on Saturday, 25th February 2017 at 6:15pm at the Light House Cinema.

Without Name is released in Irish cinemas in April.

Check out our preview of all the Irish films screening at this year’s festival.

The Audi Dublin International Film Festival runs 16 – 26 February 2017

Check out the full programme here

 

 

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ADIFF 2017 Irish Film Review: Without Name

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Richard Drumm enters the woods of Lorcan Finnegan’s Without Name, which screened at Audi Dublin International Film Festival 2017.

Set mainly in and around the titular woods of the name-lacking variety, Without Name follows Eric (Alan McKenna), a surveyor sent to evaluate said stretch of land on the quiet for a shady developer type. Noting an increased detachment at home from his wife and child, not to mention an overall mood of technology taking over his life, Eric heads into the wild. While nominally there for work, he’s also trying to escape his worries and is looking forward to some isolated alone time with his mistress, Olivia (the ever reliable Niamh Algar), who’s assisting him with the survey.

Things quickly begin to turn strange; apparitions in the foggy wood, tales of madness regarding the previous tenant of the cottage (whose manuscript Eric’s been reading and slowly letting creep into his psyche) and the obligatory unnerving locals, in this case one with a penchant for substances of the mind-altering variety. The fog thickens, paranoia grows and tensions rise as Eric seems set to repeat the descent into catatonia that befell the previous inhabitant of the cottage. Is it all in his (increasingly drug-addled) mind or is there something sinister afoot?

Despite very much being marketed as a horror, the film itself is more of a psychological thriller; big on mood-building but unconcerned with delivering any real scares. Its commitment to this atmosphere-crafting is quite laudable given that it avoids the temptation to cash in on a lazy jump-scare during any of its quieter moments. The pacing is intentionally slow; reflective of the overall ’70s-throwback feel it has both tonally and in terms of how it was shot; with its heavy use of fog machines and other in-camera effects for the horror elements. There’s also a nice attempt at some Lynchian abstract creepiness with the occasional extended shot slowly zooming in on the woods while the soundscape gets increasing claustrophobic with the noise of wind and creaking trees accompanied with droning score. Said score is one of the highlights, doing a lot of the heavy lifting when it comes to the atmosphere and effectively externalising Eric’s gradual breakdown, at least until the visuals can take over once the drugs get involved.

There’s an interesting idea brought in early on, implying a sort of ‘Silent Hill’-esque scenario at play whereby the woods don’t exist as a fixed location but rather have multiple plains that can shift around you without you realising, at least until people start disappearing in front of you or you start seeing your own body and creepy shadow men. It’s a neat idea that does get a little more fleshed out in the somewhat abrupt finale but on the whole feels slightly wasted.

While, again, I’m willing to praise to high heaven any film that doesn’t rely on jump scares, it is a bit of an issue that nothing of note really happens for the first two thirds of the film when that time could have been better used exploring the spatial-fluidity, perhaps having Eric getting lost in it or having more sinister encounters with the shadow-being which very occasionally stalks him. This is far from a film-ruining problem but it is disappointing given the often underutilised potential for creepiness such geographical manipulation brings.

Otherwise the film performs well. There’s a definite attention to detail and care put into the sound design and mix, while the overall production is well shot and makes great use of the location. The actors also acquit themselves well; especially the believable chemistry between the two leads, which is all the more impressive given the relatively sparse amount of screen time McKenna and Algar actually share. The decision to eschew CGI in favour of simpler in-camera effects – along with giving it that nice ’70s vibe – means this film will likely age far more gracefully than a lot of modern low-budget horrors (and indeed, many “low-budget” horrors with significantly higher budgets that this).

If you’re well-versed in horror, there’s not a huge amount here that could surprise you but there is at least very little that would annoy you. A valiant attempt at putting atmosphere ahead of cheap scares that could have benefited from more fully-realising its concepts but which remains an engaging  watch all the same.

Without Name screened on Saturday, 18th February 2017 at the Light House Cinema as part of the Audi Dublin International Film Festival.

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Winning Projects Announced for the Irish Film Board Low Budget Filmmaking Scheme – Catalyst Project

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Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board have announced the final three successful teams of the intensely competitive Catalyst Project initiative, who have been selected from over 88 applications, to win the opportunity to produce a fully funded feature film.

Through Catalyst Project, Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board will provide each filmmaking team with funding to produce a low-budget feature film. The winning teams will also have access to key industry experts who will offer mentorship and guidance along the way.

The successful projects are:

  • Kissing Candice written and to be directed by Aoife McArdle and to be produced by Andrew Freedman;
  • The Drummer and The Goalkeeper written and to be directed by Nick Kelly and to be produced by Kate McColgan;
  • Without Name written by Garret Shanley, to be directed by Lorcan Finnegan and to be produced by Brunella Cocchiglia.

Kissing Candice tells the story of a lonely, imaginative teenage girl growing up in a stifling community, who finds romance with an unhinged stranger. Aoife McArdle has written and directed a number of short films and is an award-winning commercials and music video director. Andrew Freedman’s credits include the highly successful documentary feature film ‘His and Hers’, the BAFTA winning co-production ‘Kelly and Victor’ and a number of multi-award winning short films.

The Drummer and The Goalkeeper is a story about finding true friendship in the craziest of places. Writer / Director Nick Kelly has previously directed the award winning short films ‘Delphine’, ‘Why the Irish Dance That Way’ and ‘Shoe’ which was long-listed for the Academy Awards®,. Kate McColgan is currently an Acquisition and Production Consultant for MPI Media, having previously worked across production and development for Parallel Film Productions, the Weinstein Company and Element Pictures.

Without Name follows a systematic land surveyor who loses his reason in a supernatural environment that defies all boundaries. Lorcan Finnegan and Garret Shanley have previously collaborated on the award-winning short film ‘Foxes’ which was selected for SXSW and the Tribeca Film Festival. Finnegan is also an experienced commercials director. Brunella Cocchiglia has produced the award-winning short films ‘Fear of Flying’, and ‘Foxes’ as well as a number of commercials and music videos. Garret Shanley has written a number of short films and currently has a feature film in development with the IFB.

 

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