Film digs deep for ‘Stormtroopers’ for Mitchelstown cave premiere

Not a galaxy far far away, but still a unique venue.

Mitchelstown Cave was home to a film premiere with a difference as more than 100 cast, crew, and guests were invited to ‘Sith’ down in the ‘dark side’ for a special screening.

The cave was one of the locations used by Cork director Micheál Fitzgerald for Stormtroopers, his 15-minute, big-screen attempt to humanise the bad guy cannon fodder of the Star Wars movie series.

Written, directed, and financed by the sometime-actor, it had its first screening on Saturday night.

“We shot a chase scene and two action scenes in the cave, so it was the perfect venue,” said Micheál. “It was like a 3D virtual reality for the audience, watching the cast in the same cave and hearing the drips in the soundtrack, while feeling the same drips themselves as they watched.”

The Mitchelstown Cave has been used as a venue for musical performances featuring big names such as Lisa Hannigan, Mick Flannery, The Staves, and many more over the past decade. However, the east Cork director said he was delighted his production was the first movie to be shown there.

Micheál plans to release the movie online soon, but also hopes some national and international film festivals will find space for it in their programming.

“It’s an original story based on the Star Wars universe,” he said. “The idea is to humanise the stormtroopers, who are typically only seen helmeted. In this film, you get to see the faces and the characters behind the mask.”

Using Mitchelstown Cave, Goat Island beach near Ardmore, Co Waterford, and the National Maritime College in Ringaskiddy, Co Cork, Micheál said he wants the movie to showcase the wealth of fantastic filming locations in the region.

The film is set in the remote primaeval planet of Riajhach, where Stormtroopers are engaged to help protect it from the attempts of colonists to mine its seascapes for rare ancient minerals.

Micheál also hopes to help bring some Irish acting talent to the fore, giving lead roles to two women he believes are massive stars of the future — Carolyn Bracken and Klancy Williams.

The male lead, Stalig, is played by Peter Cosgrove.

The writer and director also has a small onscreen role, and has appeared on the small screen in the past in Home and Away while previously living in Australia, and more recently in uncredited parts on Game of Thrones.

He describes Stormtroopers as a non-profit film made by Star Wars fans for Star Wars fans.

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