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O'Neill, Fastnet launch Irish distributor Wildcard

EXCLUSIVE: O’Neill departs IFB to launch theatrical distribution outfit; strikes partnerships, deals at the EFM.

Irish Film Board executive Patrick O’Neill is leaving the agency after seven years to set up new Irish distribution outfit Wildcard Distribution.

The multi-platform distribution company is backed by Macdara Kelleher, Morgan Bushe and Lance Daly’s production outfit Fastnet Films and will work with UK distributors to release Irish and International projects as a sub-distributor.

The 2013 slate includes Lance Daly’s Life’s A Breeze, starring Pat Shortt and Fionnuala Flanagan, which gets a theatrical release in Ireland this summer, EFM pickup The Swell Season from Elephant Eye, and day-and-date documentary Cyclone, about the 1985 world title fight between Barry McGuigan and Eusebio Pedrosa.

It is partnering with UK outfit Metrodome on a theatrical release in Ireland for Mark O’Connor’s King of the Travellers.

LA-based Laurie Woodrow will consult on acquisitions for the Dublin-based company, which also has private equity backing. The company will add staff in the coming months.

“I am really excited to be working with Fastnet Films on Wildcard, and the distribution of these great films,” said O’Neill.

“It’s a fantastic slate of films and I’m sure audiences will love them as much as I do. It’s been a great seven years at the IFB, and the staff and Board have provided me with wonderful opportunities, my heartfelt thanks to everyone who works there.”

Morgan Bushe of Fastnet said: “We are excited to be embarking on this new venture and look forward to Wildcard Distribution working alongside leading Irish and international directors and producers in releasing their films to Irish audiences.

“The board is delighted that someone of Patrick’s dynamic character and passion, with his wealth of experience and knowledge of the ever-evolving distribution landscape, will serve as CEO.”

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