As awards season garlands Irish filmmakers and talent, Kneecap wows Sundance and Small Things Like These opens the Berlinale, Screen looks towards the next wave of Irish films for 2024.

'Bring Them Down'

Source: Mubi

‘Bring Them Down’

The 2024 Berlinale marks the first time an Irish independent feature has opened the festival. Small Things Like These, directed by Belgium’s Tim Mielants, stars Cork-born actor Cillian Murphy, who also produces with Alan Maloney through their Irish venture Big Things Films, and Catherine Magee in co-production with Belgium’s Wilder Content and funding from Screen Ireland.

Murphy is having the year of his life, with his starring role in Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer a frontrunner to win the best actor prize at the Oscars on March 10.

He will be joined at the Oscars by compatriots Element Pictures, the UK and Ireland-based production company that is celebrating 11 nominations for Yorgos Lanthimos’s Poor Things, including a nod for Irish cinematographer Robbie Ryan. This is the second year in a row that Irish projects and creatives have been out in force at the Oscars: 2023 saw a record-breaking 14 nominations. Meanwhile at the Baftas, Barry Keoghan is nominated for best actor and Paul Mescal for best supporting actor.

And here at the Berlinale, further Irish talent in the line-up includes Saoirse Ronan, who stars in and produces Nora Fing­scheidt’s Panorama title The Outrun.

This success is the result of decades of support and investment in creative talent, according to Screen Ireland’s chief executive Désirée Finnegan. Industry funding is now at an all-time high, with Screen Ireland’s total budget for 2024 boosted to $42m (€39.2m), compared to $40.4m (€37.7m) in 2023.

Ireland’s competitive tax relief is also set to become yet more appealing for international production, with film and TV productions able to claim a 32% tax break on eligible expenditure up to $134m (€125m), raised from $75m (€70m), per project.

“We have always advocated for a dual approach to industry growth, trying to get the right balance between international and local production,” says Finnegan. She underlines that productions accessing the tax credit must provide opportunities for skills development through structured work- based learning.

“More recently we’ve become known for the strength of the talent base,” she adds. “On a recent large‑scale international production, 98% was Irish crew.”

Burgeoning infrastructure

To support Ireland’s blossoming production landscape, 590,000 square feet of soundstages are under construction. Screen Ireland has also expanded its headcount, with a strong focus on development, and around 200 projects are simmering.

Keith Potter was named head of feature film, taking over from Celine Haddad in September, while Libbie McQuillan also took up the newly created role of director of industry and corporate affairs.

In 2023, there was a total screen industry production spend in the Irish economy across local goods and services of $345m (€322m), with 41% of Screen Ireland-supported projects shooting — at least partially — outside the main production hubs of Dublin and Wicklow.

Production spend was down around 11% from $386m (€361m) in 2022, owing to the impact of the US actors and writers strikes. This compares with the 32% drop in production spend experienced in the UK.

Upcoming Irish productions


Source: New Europe Film Sales



Dirs. Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, Tyler Gillett
Prods. Project X Entertainment (US), Radio Silence Productions (US), Wild Atlantic Pictures (Ireland)
Bettin­elli-Olpin and Gillett, the US filmmaking team behind Ready Or Not and Scream VI, headed to Dublin in 2023 to shoot their latest horror film for Universal, reimagining the 1936 classic Dracula’s Daughter. It was co-written by Irish screenwriter Stephen Shields, and based on his original pitch to the studio. The cast includes Dan Stevens, Melissa Barrera, the late Angus Cloud and Ireland’s Alisha Weir. Wild Atlantic Pictures’ Macdara Kelleher executive produced the project, with Irish crew including production designer Susie Cullen and art directors Jon Beer and Aisling O’Callaghan.
Contact: Universal Pictures

Bring Them Down

Dir. Chris Andrews
Prods. Wild Swim (UK), Tailored Films (Ireland), Frakas Productions (Belgium)
Barry Keoghan and Christopher Abbott star in UK filmmaker Andrews’ feature debut about the youngest son of a shepherding family. The drama was set in north England but relocated to Wicklow, shooting in spring 2023, with some dialogue in the Irish language. Mubi financed with Screen Ireland, the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland and the UK Global Screen Fund. Producer Ruth Treacy of Tailored Films says the script “about generational violence, grief and isolation in parts of the farming community, is a story which could very easily be told in Ireland”.
Contact: Charades 

The End

Dir. Joshua Oppenheimer
Prods. Wild Atlantic Pictures (Ireland), Match Factory Productions (Germany), Dorje Film (Italy), Moonspun Films (UK), Final Cut for Real (Denmark)
The End is a narrative film by US-born, Denmark-based Oppenheimer, known for his documentaries The Act Of Killing and The Look Of Silence. The apocalyptic musical shot in Dublin (and Italy and Germany) in 2023 and stars Tilda Swinton, George MacKay and Michael Shannon as members of a rich family who move into an underground bunker. Financiers include Screen Ireland, the BFI, Eurimages, The Match Factory, Neon, the Danish Film Institute, Mubi and the Swedish Film Institute.
Contact: The Match Factory


Dir. Aislinn Clarke
Prods. DoubleBand Films (UK), Wildcard Films (Ireland)
A care worker is sent to a remote village to look after an agoraphobic woman in Northern Irish filmmaker Clarke’s horror film, which shot in Ravensdale and Carlingford in County Louth, and is told in both Irish and English. The title originates from the Irish word fréamhacha, meaning ‘roots entwined underground’. Clare Monnelly, Brid Ni Neachtain and Ukraine’s Aleksandra Bystrzhitskaya star. Fréwaka was developed through Ireland’s Cine4 scheme, which backs original films in the Irish language.
Contact: New Europe Film Sales

Four Mothers

Dir. Darren Thornton
Prods. Port Pictures (Ireland), Portobello Films and Television (UK)
Irish filmmaker Thornton’s second feature after A Date For Mad Mary follows a novelist across a chaotic weekend, saddled with caring for his mother and the demands of his burgeoning career. The Dublin-shot film stars James McArdle, Fionnula Flanagan and Dearbhla Molloy. Backers include Screen Ireland, RTÉ and the Common Humanity Arts Trust. mk2 Films is handling sales.
Contact: mk2 Films

Hallow Road

Dir. Babak Anvari
Prods. Two & Two Pictures (UK/US), London Film & TV (UK), Hail Mary Pictures (Ireland), Film Kolektiv (Czech Republic)
Rosamund Pike and Matthew Rhys headline this race-against-time thriller, which was based out of Bray’s Ardmore Studios and shot around County Wicklow as well as the Czech Republic; Ireland doubled as the UK. “Ireland offered a highly skilled crew with significant experience and a great base for launching a European production,” says producer Lucan Toh, who runs London and Los Angeles-based Two & Two Pictures with Anvari. US outfit XYZ Films co-financed with Screen Ireland.
Contact: XYZ Films

Kathleen Is Here

Dir. Eva Birthistle
Prod. Treasure Entertainment (Ireland)
Bad Sisters actress Birthistle makes her feature directorial debut with this Dublin-shot drama, based on her short Kathleen Was Here. The title character is 18 and fresh out of foster care. Her biological mother has died and she returns to her hometown to take ownership of her mother’s house, while embarking on a destructive path. Hazel Doupe, Claire Dunne and Peter Coonan star. Claire McCaughley produces through Treasure Entertainment.
Contact: Treasure Entertainment


Dir. Rich Peppiatt
Prods. Mother Tongues Films (UK), Fine Point Films (UK)
This Irish-language origin story of real-life Belfast hip hop band Kneecap attracted serious buzz following its Sundance premiere, where it won the NEXT audience award. The subversive comedy shot in Belfast, as well as Dundalk and Greenore, with Wildcard’s Patrick O’Neill acting as the Irish co-producer. Michael Fassbender stars, with backers including Screen Ireland, Northern Ireland Screen and the BFI.
Contact: Charades

September Says

Dir. Ariane Labed
Prods. Sackville Film & TV Productions (Ireland), Element Pictures (Ireland/UK), Crybaby Films (UK), The Match Factory (Germany) 
Labed’s feature directing debut is an adaptation of Daisy Johnson’s gothic novel Sisters, relocating the story from England to Ireland. Two sisters and their mother move to the Irish countryside and experience a series of surreal encounters. Filming took place in Dublin, with a core cast of UK acting talent: Mia Tharia, Pascale Kann and Rakhee Thakrar. Backing came from Screen Ireland, BBC Film, Mubi and the UK Global Screen Fund.
Contact: The Match Factory

Spilt Milk

Dir. Brian Durnin
Prods. 925 Productions (Ireland), MTP (UK), Vico Films (Ireland)
Durnin makes his feature debut with this coming-of-age story about an 11-year-old boy, inspired by his TV detective hero Kojak, who sets up his own private investigation agency — only to be faced with the case of his brother’s disappearance. Spilt Milk shot in Dublin, with a cast including Cillian Sullivan and Naoise Kelly. Backing comes from Screen Ireland, Coimisiun na Mean and RTÉ.
Contact: 925 Productions


Dir. Marian Quinn
Prods. Blue Ink Films (Ireland), Janey Films (Ireland)
Dublin festival opener Twig stars Sade Malone and Brian F O’Byrne in a retelling of Greek tragedy Antigone, set in Dublin’s inner city. “We have this fantastic juxtaposition of old Dublin meets new with The Pump­house, built circa 1910, in the midst of a bustling modern Dublin port,” says producer Ruth Carter of Blue Ink Films. Backers were Screen Ireland, BAI, RTÉ and Wildcard Distribution, which will release in Ireland.
Contact: Wildcard Distribution 

The Watchers

Dir. Ishana Shyamalan
Prods. Blinding Edge Pictures (US), Inimitable Pictures (US), New Line Cinema (US), Element Pictures (Ireland)
US director Shyamalan headed to Ireland in 2023 for her feature debut, in which Dakota Fanning plays an artist stranded in a forest in western Ireland; Olwen Fouéré co-stars. The Watchers shot in Bray, County Wicklow and Galway. “Ireland has a variety of beautiful locations available within a short distance of each other, which is hard to find elsewhere,” says Paula Heffernan, head of production at co-producer Element Pictures. Irish heads of department included production manager Sharon Cronin, art directors Gavin Murphy and Gary McGinty, and casting director Louise Kiely.
Contact: Warner Bros