We Love… St Valentine

We Love... St Valentine

Illustration by Adeline Pericart

Get a bottle of Blue Nun, splash yourself with them cheap Christmas smellies your Auntie got you for Christmas, slip on your Penny’s underwear and turn up the stereo with the sweet, sweet sound of Barry White. And hey, if you have a partner that’s an added bonus. Yes, it’s that time of year, when St. Valentine comes to town. So in his honour the film lovers here at Film Ireland present their favourite lurve-themed films.

Now let’s get it on…


Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind – Ciara O’Brien

Annie Hall – Sarah Griffin

500 Days of Summer – Rory Cashin

Wall-E – Geoff McEvoy

Pretty Woman – Gemma Creagh

Jerry Maguire – Peter White

Harold and Maude – Steven Galvin

The Notebook – Órla Walshe

Gone With the Wind – Charlene Lydon


Irish Film at the 2014 Cork Film Festival

cork film festival logo

The 59th edition of the Cork Film Festival (7-16 Nov, 2014) is packed to the rafters with ‘Films, Music and Ideas’. Amongst the bounties of film lies some great Irish treasure for your delight.


08th November, 14:00
Gate Cinema  |  Tickets € 6.00  |  87 mins
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08th November, 21:00
Cork Opera House | Tickets € 15.00 | 90 mins
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09th November, 14:30
Gate Cinema  |  Tickets € 6.00  |  110 mins
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09th November, 17:00
Gate Cinema  |  Tickets € 10.00 | 90 mins
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11th November, 16:30
Gate Cinema | Tickets € 6.00 | 76 mins
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12th November, 20:00
Gate Cinema | Tickets € 10.00 | 123 mins
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14th November, 11:30
Gate Cinema | Tickets € 6.00 | 83 mins
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14th November, 21:15
Gate Cinema | Tickets € 10.00 | 90 mins
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used to liveI USED TO LIVE HERE
15th November, 14:00
Gate Cinema | Tickets € 6.00 | 82 mins
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15th November, 18:30
Gate Cinema | Tickets € 10.00 | 95 mins
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15th November, 23:55
Gate Cinema | Tickets € 10.00 | 75 mins
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all is byALL IS BY MY SIDE
16th November, 15:30
Cork Opera House | Tickets € 6.00 | 118 mins
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16th November, 16:15
Gate Cinema | Tickets € 6.00 | 107 mins
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11th November, 11:30
Gate Cinema | Tickets € 6.00 | 84 mins
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08th November, 11:30
Gate Cinema | Tickets € 6.00 | 53 mins
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ar longDouble Bill:

09th November, 11:30
Gate Cinema | Tickets € 6.00 | 56 mins
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09th November, 16:15
Gate Cinema | Tickets € 6.00 | 90 mins
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09th November, 21:00
Triskel Christchurch | Tickets Free | 54 mins
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10th November, 13:45
Gate Cinema | Tickets € 6.00 | 94 mins
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14th November, 21:30
Gate Cinema | Tickets € 10.00 | 75 mins
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14th November, 23:55
Gate Cinema | Tickets € 10.00 | 62 mins
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15th November, 14:15
Triskel Christchurch | Tickets € 6.00 | 57 mins
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riverDouble Bill:

16th November, 11:30
Gate Cinema | Tickets € 6.00 | 62 mins
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16th November, 16:15
Gate Cinema | Tickets € 6.00 | 74 mins
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Short Film:

11th November, 21:30
Gate Cinema | Tickets € 10.00 | 74 mins
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12th November, 18:15
Gate Cinema | Tickets € 10.00 | 74 mins
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13th November, 19:30
Gate Cinema | Tickets € 10.00 | 78 mins
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14th November, 16:00
Gate Cinema | Tickets € 10.00 | 74 mins
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15th November, 11:30
Gate Cinema | Tickets € 6.00 | 87 mins
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12th November, 18:15
Gate Cinema | Tickets € 6.00 | 82 mins
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View the full festival programme


ShortSpace: November 2014

Shortspace trans

7pm Thursday 6th November

When: Thursday 6th November

Time: 7.00PM

Where: Filmbase, Curved St, Temple Bar

Shortspace is BYOB, so come along and enjoy the evening in a relaxed atmosphere and see the films and meet the filmmakers.

Places are limited so please book in advance. Tickets are €5 members or €7 non-members. You can book your tickets by calling reception on 01 679 6716 or emailing info@filmbase.ie. Please note that attendees must be 18+.

***You may pay on the day but you MUST register your place!***

When emailing please remember to put ‘ShortSpace November’ in the subject line.


The Line-Up:

Me First

me first

DIR: Leanne Byrne | WRI: Níle O’Hagan | PRO: Áine Coady | DOP: Penny Merelle Gray |ED: Conor Dowling | CAST: Siobhan Bolton, Ray O’Reilly, Niamh Walsh

Synopsis: Sarah is mother to Sinead and long suffering wife of Tom. She seems to be the perfect wife – ironing Tom’s clothes while he watches football and drinks beer. Sarah even manages to be welcoming to her 23 year old daughter’s friend when Tom places her in a mortifying situation. When Tom’s temper leads to physical violence Sarah seeks solace and comfort in the only person that sees her as a woman, Alex.



WRI/DIR: Garret Daly | PRO: Martina McGlynn | DOP: Kevin Glynn | CAST: Paul Keating

Synopsis: Bogman is a tale set in the Irish midlands about a quiet man whose lonely existence takes a mysterious turn, when he uncovers something while out footing turf.


Monday Night on Friday Hill

monday night

DIR/WRI: Robert McCarthy | PRO: Lochlainn McKenna | DOP: Cristian Paradiso | ED: Donogh MacCarthy-Morrogh, Robert McCarthy | CAST: Judy Donovan, Rowan Finken, Charlie Ruxton

Synopsis: A young man deals with the consequences of his decisions.

Alicia’s Mask


DIR/WRI/DOP: Noel Brady | DOP/Edit: Noel Brady | CAST: Dolores Mulligan, Padraig Murray | Special thanks: Alan Mulligan, Jude Stynes

Synopsis: Internet dating, ever tried it? Well Alicia Heart did, and after a year of being on her own she felt it time to take control, time to take her life back, time to change… That said, some changes are more difficult than others.


ShortSpace Submissions:

  • Filmbase accepts short film submissions for ShortSpace in all genres (drama, documentary, animation, experimental)
  • To submit your film please email the ShortSpace programmer for more details on lynn@filmbase.ie
  • Please note that submitting your film does not guarantee inclusion in the programme
  • Ideally shorts should be ten minutes or under films. Films over 30 minutes will not be accepted.

Short Films at the Richard Harris International Film Festival


Eileesh Buckley gives her report of the Short Films Programme at the 2014 Richard Harris International Film Festival.

The Richard Harris International Film Festival (RHIFF) this year included a short film competition specifically for Irish filmmakers in conjunction with the Newport Beach Film Festival.  It was one of the most anticipated events at the festival.

Eleanor McSherry, Festival Creative Director, made a speech outlining the importance of this event to the festival board and the Harris family.  She stated how the relationship with the Newport Film Festival was unique for an Irish festival, and that it was one the festival board was eager to grow.

The top 10 entries selected by the international selection panel will go on to the Newport Beach Film Festival, where one will be chosen to screen at the prestigious festival in Orange County. The showing of the top 10 was followed by a further selection of six shorts by filmmakers from the Mid-West.

Despite varied budgets, the top 10 selection were all of a similar high standard in their editing and production, the budgetary differences seemed to most impact the number of crew, or experience level of casts.

Gun Down, by Martin Cassidy, Barry Fahy, Nigel O’Brien and Kevin McGuire, had the audience laughing heartily with the unexpected behaviour of both characters before the final sting in the tale.

Adam, from Caroline Farrell and Denise Pattison, was a complete change in tone, entirely serious and shockingly intense. The description of this short in the RHIFF programme was, ‘A little boy withdraws from the wonder and magic of his childhood as he witnesses the destruction of his family life.’

Third to be shown was a “Zomcom” (zombie romantic comedy) from James Skerrit and Peader Clancy, Night of the Lonely Dead. The audience immediately recognised the storm damaged landscape of Lahinch, Co. Clare as the setting for this post-apocalyptic zombie romance.

Cas Timpeall from Mike Guickan and Glen Gannon was the only short scripted in Irish, thoughtfully subtitled; it focused on a school teacher who is internally disconnected and has a life falling to ruins around him.

The final short in the top 10 was the beautifully filmed The Weather Report, which was a historical vignette from Paul Murphy and Deirdre De Grae. Set in 1944, a lighthouse keeper and his wife have their quiet routine unexpectedly interrupted by a phone call, their response to which had far reaching impact in a time before weather forecasting services.

Overall the tone and story lines of the chosen shorts were varied, ranging from the darkness of Adam, to the laughter of Gun Down, with history, horror and philosophy in between.

After a short break, the second half of the shorts screening featured six pieces by filmmakers from the Irish mid-west, in some cases there were visible issues in editing or structure which kept them from the top 10.

There was one very slick production set in the George Boutique Hotel which was head and shoulders above the others in this section. View From a Hotel Lobby, from Apate Films and Dave O’Reilly, was a slick production with nods to various Hollywood blockbusters, including Oceans 11.

Functioning, Not working, from Pa Cronin and Michael Casey, opened the mid-west selection with a comedic look at a faulty product getting to users despite warnings from its engineers.

Steve Spade and Paddy Murphy’s offering was Ensnared ,which was very much an art production from start to finish. From poetry voiceovers to changing colourscapes, this was a piece for art enthusiasts.

The second short from David Harris was Cross Purpose, which had a frantic opening to a story that would be a lesson to many. While the eventual reveal wasn’t surprising, it is still a valid lesson for viewers.

Harris’ first short was Bad Choices, where the law of unintended consequences was illustrated with karma coming home to roost for the irresponsible characters at fault. Somewhat of a similar theme featured in the filmmaker’s other selected short.

5 Things You Need to Know about Dying was set in 1983 where it focused on the impact of an assignment on the journalists involved. What seemed like a trivial assignment caused the journalists to reevaluate their lives.

For more information visit the Richard Harris International Film Festival website.


‘Stalker’ Available on DVD


Stalker, the Irish psychological thriller by director Mark O’Connor, is now available to buy on DVD.

The film stars John Connors (Love/Hate, King of the Travellers), who co-wrote the film with Mark O’Connor, as Oliver, a volatile homeless man who wanders the streets of Dublin at Christmas time. He forms an unlikely relationship with the disaffected young Tommy, played by Barry Keoghan (Between the Canals71), whose uncle Rudyard, played by Peter Coonan (Love/Hate, The Guarantee), is a local drug dealer.

The feature is O’Connor’s third after Between the Canals and King of the TravellersMusic for the film comes from singer-songwriter Damien Dempsey.


Interview: Conor Dowling, Co-Director of ‘The Light of Day’


This week Dublin’s premier filmic fright fest, the Horrorthon, returns blood-stained and shambling to the IFI. Demonic possession and dismemberment are to be expected, but between the shocks and screams there are laughs to be had at the screening of the comedy mockumentary, The Light of Day.

Film Ireland picked at the brains of co-director Conor Dowling ahead of the screening this Friday. 

Set and shot in Dublin, The Light of Day follows a group of amateur filmmakers as they struggle with the horrors of low-budget filmmaking on the set of a vampire horror flick. The mockumentary follows Michael, the DOP trying to salvage the production against a horde of incompetence from the egocentric director, a desperate producer and non-existent budget.

The film was made as part of the MSc in Digital Filmmaking at Filmbase, written by Christopher Brennan and directed by students Amy Carroll, Conor Dowling and Eoin O’ Neill.

After it premiered to rave reviews at this year’s Galway Film Fleadh, Conor Dowling, who describes the team as “horror fanatics”, told us what it means to have it shown at the IFI Horrorthon. “We’re over the moon to be screening at the IFI. I’ve been going to the Horrorthon for years and it’s a genuine honour to have our film screen at it.”

The feature was the culmination of a course focused on practically preparing filmmakers for all areas of film production. Conor went on describe how this benefited the making of the film. “The course allowed the class to work together on several projects throughout the year before The Light of Day, giving us the opportunity to see what it was like to work together along with giving us top quality experience and guidance.”

This was particularly relevant for the three directors. “Before we got onto set we were all on the same page in terms of the script, the cast, the shooting style, and how all the scenes would be staged. Having three directors on a film is not very common and people often wonder how it can possibly work, but for us it was a particularly smooth process, and working with two other directors was actually a huge benefit.”

Conor explains that working collaboratively they were able to “work on our shotlists together and give feedback on the other director’s interpretations of how scenes should play out, while each bringing our own unique take and sense of humour to certain scenes. By the time it came to shoot, we were happy to divide the three shooting weeks up evenly with a week each. Having three directors also allowed us to cover more ground and sometimes even shoot simultaneously. For example, one director could be setting up for a scene in the warehouse and the other director could grab some crew, and an actor to film some additional scenes outside.”

Another topic discussed before the shoot was their influences. “When it comes to mockumentary style you have to look at the likes of The Office, both the US and UK versions, and the films of Christopher Guest. These would have been the main influences but we also looked elsewhere to get an idea of how it has been done differently. For example, I was a big fan of Behind The Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon, which was a great comedy horror mockumentary in 2006 and we were all a fan of the Belgian film Man Bites Dog, which was not tonally what we were looking for but in terms of camera movement and naturalistic staging of scenes it was a great example.

“So for the mockumentary style we intended to make it look as close to real life as we could using natural light where possible, using a lot of camera movement and working with our cinematographer to obtain the fly on the wall documentary style we wanted.”

The Light of Day is told through behind-the-scenes styled footage documenting the production of the vampire horror flick, ‘The First Bite is the Deepest’. The story of the shoot develops alongside footage of the film, creating a film-within-a-film that presented both challenges and opportunities for the filmmakers. “To establish a different look and feel for the film within the film, we used a different camera and shooting style. Stepping away from the handheld mockumentary style for these scenes, we were able to use a more traditional cinematic shooting style with more complex lighting setups. The aim was to have a short cinemtic horror film split up and placed throughout the overall film, and this film was a great opportunity for us to try out different cinematic techniques and styles from some of our favourite horror and action films.”


The Light of Day screens on Friday, 24th October 2014 at 19.10 as part of the IFI Horrorthon 2014 (23rd – 27th October). The directors will attend the screening.

Tickets for The Light of Day are available here


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


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


Goltzius and the Pelican Company


DIR/WRI: Peter Greenaway  PRO: Kees Kasander  DOP: Reinier van Brummelen  ED: Elmer Leupen   DES: Ben Zuydwijk  CAST: F. Murray Abraham, Giulio Berruti, Vincent Riotta, Halina Reijn

Hendrik Goltzius, a leading engraver of the Dutch baroque era, visits a margrave’s court in Colmar (now in France). He hopes to secure funding for a printing press and a commission for a collection of illustrated biblical tales. He strikes a deal in which his cohort of actors, writers and artists, the Pelican Company, in return for money, will re-enact six sexually charged sins in tableaux vivants for the margrave’s pleasure.

Though critics still hold in high regard efforts such as The Draughtsman’s Contract (1982) and The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover (1989), the films of Peter Greenaway are cinematic Marmite.  Viewers tend to either love or hate them. He mixes esoteric subjects with a style that employs multilayered imagery and emphasises artificiality, making his work “inaccessible” or “difficult”, i.e. box office poison. Goltzius and the Pelican Company proves to be no exception.

The film bears the hallmarks of Greenaway’s style: ornate period settings and music, dense, carefully composed imagery, and floating text. Ben Zuydwijk’s impressive production design juxtaposes different influences, drawing on Dutch painting and more contemporary Ikea-style designs.Greenaway’s typical anachronisms also appear. A huge empty industrial warehouse serves as the setting. Goltzius recounts his story directly to the audience, telling of events earlier in his life. The tableaux vivants thus become sets within a giant set, stories within a story, complementing the film’s general theatricality.

Goltzius’ company re-enacts six biblical stories to explore a theme: Adam and Eve (voyeurism); Lot and his daughters (incest); David and Bathsheba (adultery); Joseph and Potiphar’s wife (seduction of the innocent); Samson and Delilah (prostitution); and the New Testament tale of John the Baptist and Salome, with its particularly gruesome ending (necrophilia). The margrave’s court becomes the scene of debates about morality, freedom of speech and the influence of the new humanism, while his courtiers and Goltzius’ associates become involved in sexual liaisons. How will the margrave deal with his own lust and desires?

F Murray Abraham, the Oscar-winning star of Amadeus and more recently featuring in Inside Llewyn DavisThe Grand Budapest Hotel and TV’s Homeland, plays the Margrave of Alsace. The rest of the European cast speaks English with thick accents, mostly Dutch, but this benefits the film in two ways. First, it gives an authenticity to a period film where American accents can jar (à laAmadeus). Second, the accents emphasise the film’s artificiality, adding to the film’s staginess. It also leads to some humorous effects, such as Ramsey Nasr, as Goltzius, pronouncing “Genesis” so that it sounds like “anuses”.

Though Goltzius and the Pelican Company marks Greenaway’s second in a series of films concerning Dutch masters (Nightwatching, 2007, centred on Rembrandt), it might more interestingly belong to the strand of art house cinema exploring sexual explicitness. “Every visual technology, sooner or later, gets into bed with lechery,” remarks Goltzius, and Greenaway’s film comments on the ways ancient cultures, both biblical and baroque, used tales of immorality and indecent imagery to elaborate moral debates, tracing a tradition perhaps continued in recent films such as NymphomaniacBlue Is the Warmest Colour and Interior. Leather Bar.

John Moran

128 mins

Goltzius and the Pelican Company is released 11th July 2014