From offbeat comedy to horror to co-productions with major international names, Ireland is producing a broad range of cinema. Leon Forde profiles a selection of anticipated upcoming films.

Calvary (completed)

Dir John Michael McDonagh

The Anglo-Irish director of The Guard reteams with star Brendan Gleeson in this black comedy drama about a priest who is forced to confront dark forces closing in on him. Calvary is produced by Reprisal Films in the UK and co-produced by Octagon Films in Ireland, with backing from the Irish Film Board and the BFI. Seller Protagonist has closed a range of deals including to eOne for the UK, Ireland and Canada, Transmission for Australia and New Zealand, and Ascot Elite for Germany and Switzerland, plus German-speaking Europe.

Contact Protagonist Pictures

The Canal (in production)

Dir Ivan Kavanagh

This psychological horror follows a young father who is driven to murder and madness. Kavanagh’s previous films include The Fading Light, which screened in the World Cinema section at Busan in 2010. The Canal is produced by Ireland’s Park Films, the UK’s Western Edge Pictures and Netherlands’ CTM Lev, with Ireland’s Treasure Entertainment executive producing.

Contact Park Films

Cherry Tree (pre-production)

Dir David Keating

From Wake Wood director Keating and writer Brendan McCarthy, Cherry Tree is about a teenager who agrees to have Satan’s child to save the life of her dying father. The fi lm is produced by Fantastic Films — which McCarthy co-owns with John McDonnell — and will be the first made under the company’s three-picture deal with MPI Media Group in the US. Currently casting, Cherry Tree will shoot this summer.

Contact Fantastic Films

The F Word (post-production)

Dir Michael Dowse

Starring Daniel Radcliffe, Zoe Kazan and Adam Driver, this Canada-Ireland co-production partly shot in Ireland and is due for release in early 2014. It tells the story of a young man and woman who struggle to navigate their friendship, which has developed a deep romantic undercurrent. Produced by Fastnet Films, No Trace Camping and Caramel Films, The F Word is being sold by eOne, which will release in Canada and the UK/ Ireland.

Contact eOne

Frank (post-production)

Dir Lenny Abrahamson

The anticipated latest film from Abrahamson — who drew acclaim for What Richard Did, Garage and Adam & Paul — Frank is an offbeat comedy following an aspiring musician who joins a band led by the enigmatic Frank. Michael Fassbender — wearing a large plastic head — stars, alongside Domhnall Gleeson and Maggie Gyllenhaal. “What appealed to me about it was the potential it had when I read it for a certain kind of very joyful, playful filmmaking, which I love and haven’t had a chance to express in the last projects I’ve done really, because they’ve been very different animals,” Abrahamson says. Written by Jon Ronson and Peter Straughan, the film was shot in Ireland and New Mexico. Frank was produced by Element Pictures and Runaway Fridge, with backing from Film4, the BFI and the Irish Film Board. Artificial Eye has UK rights while Element Pictures will release in Ireland.

Contact Protagonist Pictures

Gentlemen (pre-production)

Dir Ken Wardrop

Wardrop scored acclaim with his debut feature documentary His & Hers, which screened at Sundance in 2010 and won the World Cinema documentary cinematography award. His latest feature doc explores different sides of modern man. Set to start shooting in Oklahoma from July, the film’s narrative will be guided by male callers to a radio talk show. Produced by Ireland’s Venom Film, with Bulb Films in Wales co-producing, completion is expected for early 2014.

Contact Venom Film

Get Up And Go (pre-production)

Dir Brendan Grant

The story of two lifelong wasters whose night of degradation helps them realise it is time for a change. Starring Killian Scott and Peter Coonan, the film is produced by Fastnet Films and co-produced by Fragrant Films in Wales. Get Up And Go is backed by the Irish Film Board, Film Agency for Wales, Section 481 and private equity.

Contact Fastnet Films

Glassland (pre-production)

Dir Gerard Barrett

Drama Pilgrim Hill drew rave reviews last year and heralded the arrival of a real talent in writer-director Barrett. Budgeted at under $1m, this Dublin-set drama is about a young man who gets caught up in the criminal underworld in an attempt to save his mother. Element, which recently released Pilgrim Hill in Ireland, is producing. Glassland is being developed by Film4 and the Irish Film Board and is due to shoot later this year.

Contact Element Pictures

Jimmy’s Hall (in development)

Dir Ken Loach

In 1921 Jimmy Gralton’s sin was to build a dancehall on a rural crossroads in Ireland where young people could come to learn, to argue, to dream… but above all to dance and have fun. Jimmy’s Hall will see Loach return to Ireland seven years after The Wind That Shakes The Barley. It is produced by Rebecca O’Brien and written by Paul Laverty. Partners of the Sixteen Films production include Why Not, Wild Bunch, Element Pictures and the Irish Film Board, with more to be announced. The film is set to shoot in Ireland this summer.

Contact Wild Bunch

The Last Days On Mars (completed)

Dir Ruairi Robinson

Oscar nominated in the animated short category in 2002 for Fifty Percent Grey, Robinson makes his feature debut with this live-action sci-fi film starring Liev Schreiber, Romola Garai, Elias Koteas and Olivia Williams. Produced by the UK’s Qwerty Films and co-produced by Ireland’s Fantastic Films, The Last Days On Mars tells the story of astronauts in the final stages of a scientific expedition to Mars who make an unwelcome discovery. It screens in Directors’ Fortnight at Cannes.

Contact Focus Features anna.

Life’s A Breeze (post-production)

Dir Lance Daly

From the director of Kisses, this comedy tells the story of a man who throws his mother’s mattress away only to realise she had stashed her life savings inside it. Starring Fionnula Flanagan and Pat Shortt (Garage), Life’s A Breeze was produced by Fastnet Films and co-produced with Anagram Produktion in Sweden, where it partly shot. The fi lm is being sold by Magnolia and will be released in Ireland this summer through Wildcard Distribution.

Contact Magnolia Pictures

The Lobster (pre-production)

Dir Yorgos Lanthimos

The English-language debut from Greek director Lanthimos (Dogtooth, Alps), The Lobster is an unconventional love story set in a dystopian near future and was a hot project at this year’s Rotterdam CineMart, where it won the ARTE international prize for best CineMart 2013 project. The fi lm is being produced by Element Pictures in partnership with Limp and Faliro House in Greece, Haut et Court in France and the UK’s Scarlet Films. Budgeted at around $6m, The Lobster will shoot this autumn in Ireland.

Contact Element Pictures

Love Eternal (post-production)

Dir Brendan Muldowney

Based on the Japanese novel from acclaimed author Kei Oishi, Love Eternal centres on a damaged young man who after shutting himself away for 10 years is forced to venture out into a world he no longer understands. Starring Robert De Hoog and Pollyanna McIntosh, the film is produced by Ireland’s Fastnet Films, and is co-produced by Rinkel Films in the Netherlands, Red Lion in Luxembourg and TO Entertainment in Japan.

Contact Fastnet Films

Love, Rosie (pre-production)

Dir Christian Ditter

Set to start shooting in Ireland in May, this rom-com stars Lily Collins and Sam Claflin as best friends Rosie and Alex, who take very different paths when she becomes pregnant by another man. Based on Cecelia Ahern’s novel Where Rainbows End, the fi lm was written by Juliette Towhidi. The producers are Constantin Films and Octagon Films. Seller Mister Smith has closed deals with Lionsgate UK among others.

Contact Mister Smith

Mister John (completed)

Dirs Christine Molloy, Joe Lawlor

From the directors of Helen, Mister John stars Aidan Gillen as a man who goes to Asia after his brother’s death, only to be drawn into his sibling’s life there. Samson Films produced alongside Desperate Optimists in the UK and Akanga Film Asia in Singapore. With Visit Films handling sales, Mister John is the fi rst Ireland- Singapore co-production and was backed by the BFI, the Irish Film Board and NDA. Artificial Eye has picked up the film for the UK.

Contact Visit Films

Patrick’s Day (aka Simple Simon) (in production)

Dir Terry McMahon

McMahon (Charlie Casanova) returns with this comedy drama about a mentally ill man who becomes intimate with a suicidal air hostess, only for his mother to enlist an oddball cop to tear them apart. Patrick’s Day is produced by Ignition Film Productions and Forefront Features, and is due to wrap on May 18. Moe Dunford, Catherine Walker and Kerry Fox star.

Contact Ignition Film

The Sea (post-production)

Dir Stephen Brown

John Banville’s own adaptation of his novel, The Sea is the feature debut of UK director Brown and stars Ciaran Hinds, Charlotte Rampling, Natascha McElhone, Rufus Sewell and Sinead Cusack in the story of a widower who returns to the place he spent his childhood summers. It was produced by the UK’s Independent — which handles international sales and will distribute in the UK and Ireland — with Samson Films as the Irish co-producer in association with Rooks Nest Entertainment, Quicksilver Films, Windmill Lane Pictures and RTE, with backing from the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland and the Irish Film Board.

Contact Independent

Song Of The Sea (In production)

Dir Tomm Moore

The anticipated follow-up to Moore’s The Secret Of Kells, which was Oscar nominated in the best animated feature category in 2010, Song Of The Sea tells the story of the last seal child’s journey home. Due to be completed in the summer of 2014, the film is a co-production between Ireland’s Cartoon Saloon — which is the lead producer — Big Farm (Luxembourg and Belgium), Norlum (Denmark) and Superprod (France). StudioCanal has UK and Ireland rights, and Haut et Court has France.

Contact Cartoon Saloon

The Stag (post-production)

Dir John Butler

Written by Butler and Peter McDonald — who was Oscar nominated last year for his short Pentecost and who also stars here — The Stag is a comedy about a group of Irish men on a stag weekend who go camping in the wild. “They’re urbane, modern guys who are surrounded by all the accoutrements you have in life and don’t speak the truth to each other,” says Butler. “It’s only when they become separated from their possessions, their cars and then their clothes that their layers are stripped away.” The film was produced by Treasure Entertainment with backing from the Irish Film Board.

Contact Treasure Entertainment

Standby (post-production)

Mad Men’s Jessica Pare and Snow White And The Huntsman’s Brian Gleeson star in this romantic comedy about a Dublin airport worker and a woman waiting for her flight home to New York. IFTA winners Ronan Burke and Rob Burke direct (making their feature directorial debut) from Pierce Ryan’s script. John Wallace produces the Black Sheep Productions project, which is backed by the Irish Film Board and Luxembourg Film Fund.


Wild (pre-production)

Dir Vivienne de Courcy

Wild is the true-life underdog story of how Ireland’s Mary Reynolds won the Gold Medal at the Chelsea Flower Show. Set to shoot from June in Ireland and Ethiopia, de Courcy’s feature debut will star Emma Greenwell and is an Ireland-US co-production between Treasure Entertainment, Green Earth and Crows Nest. Sales are handled by the Gersh Agency’s Jay Cohen (US) and Radiant Films International’s Mimi Steinbauer (rest of the world).

Contact Treasure Entertainment