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Irish Films Screening and Selling


Cannes Film Festival

The most famous film event in the world, the Cannes Film Festival, and its market, Le Marché du Film, open this week. The Irish film industry will be well represented there, with two films in official selection and a host of others selling in the market.

JIMMY’S HALL, directed by Ken Loach, will have its world premiere in Official Competition at the festival. The film shot for seven weeks in Leitrim and Sligo last summer and stars Irish actors Barry Ward (Family, Psych Ward), Simone Kirby (Pure Mule, Single Handed) and Andrew Scott (The Stag, Sherlock), along with a strong supporting cast of Irish talent.

JIMMY’S HALL tells the true story of Jimmy Gralton, who set up a dance hall on a rural crossroads in an Ireland on the brink of civil war. The film will premiere on May 22nd in Cannes and will open in Irish cinemas on May 30th.

John Boorman’s latest film, QUEEN AND COUNTRY, a sequel to his Oscar-nominated Hope and Glory that was produced with support from Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board, has been chosen for the prestigious Directors’ Fortnight at Cannes. It will have its world premiere on May 20th.

Set in 1952, QUEEN AND COUNTRY stars Caleb Landry Jones (Byzantium, Friday Night Lights) as an 18-year-old British man who joins the National Service, where he meets and befriends an amoral prankster played by Callum Turner (Ripper Street, The Borgias). They are assigned as instructors in a training camp while others are shipped out to fight in the Korean War. The film also stars Pat Shortt (Life’s A Breeze, Garage), Sinead Cusack (The Sea, Camelot), David Thewlis (The Fifth Estate, the Harry Potter Series) and Richard E. Grant (Doctor Who, Girls).

Many Irish film industry professionals will travel to the market to finance and sell their films. Among the films screening and selling at Le Marché du Film are STANDBY, starring Brian Gleeson (Love/Hate, The Stag) and Jessica Paré (Mad Men, Jack & Bobby); THE CANAL, starring Antonia Campbell Hughes (Kelly + Victor, Albert Nobbs), which recently premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and sold in the US; the award winning horror film LET US PREY starring Liam Cunningham (Game of Thrones, The Wind That Shakes the Barley); and Lenny Abrahamson’s FRANK, which is currently on release in Ireland.

James Hickey, CEO of Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board, commented: “Cannes is arguably one of the most important film festivals and film markets in the world. Ireland will be well represented there with two world premieres: QUEEN AND COUNTRY in Directors’ Fortnight and JIMMY’S HALL in Official Competition. Irish producers will be at the market, raising finance for future productions and looking for international co-productions to film on location in Ireland.”

The Festival de Cannes sees more than 30,000 professionals accredited each year at the festival and market. In 2013, over 1,200 writers and filmmakers, 4,500 distributors, 5,000 producers and 4,000 journalists attended.

The Irish Pavilion in Cannes is the focal point for the Irish industry and is set up to promote Irish film to the international community, to market Ireland as a destination for large international film projects and to provide business support for the Irish industry.

Previous Irish films to have been selected for the Directors’ Fortnight in Cannes include Lenny Abrahamson’s GARAGE, starring Pat Shortt, Ruairí Robinson’s sci-fi film THE LAST DAYS ON MARS, ALL GOOD CHILDREN directed by Alicia Duffy, and THE OTHER SIDE OF SLEEP, directed by Rebecca Daly.