Stars line up for Irish-linked film hits

Ethan Hawke and Kate Beckinsale star in films that movie moguls are hoping will once again fly the flag for Ireland’s movie industry.

With the award season having already piqued interest thanks to the acclaimed Room and Brooklyn, the Irish Film Board has set out some of the big names due to hit screens this year.

One of the highlights is The Secret Scripture, starring Rooney Mara, Vanessa Redgrave, and Eric Bana in Sebastian Barry’s story of a woman who keeps a diary in a mental institution.

Directed by Jim Sheridan and shot in Dublin and Kilkenny, it is being billed as one of the hits of this year.

Others from the cream of Hollywood include four-time Oscar nominee Hawke, who stars in Maudie, a film telling the remarkable story of Canadian folk artist Maud Lewis. Filmed in part in Nova Scotia, it is due out in the middle of this year.

English star Beckinsale stars alongside Stephen Fry and Chloe Sevigny in Love & Friendship, a period drama from the 1790s filmed in part on the streets of Dublin.

Despite the big names and 2015 being heralded as a year of unprecedented success, the Irish Film Board warned that the industry was working under a 40% cut in funding since 2008.

Irish Film Board chief James Hickey, ‘Handsome Devil’ director John Butler, the film’s producer Rebecca Flanagan, and one of its stars, Moe Dunford, at the launch of the Irish Film Board 2016 production catalogue in Dublin
Irish Film Board chief James Hickey, ‘Handsome Devil’ director John Butler, the film’s producer Rebecca Flanagan, and one of its stars, Moe Dunford, at the launch of the Irish Film Board 2016 production catalogue in Dublin

Annie Doona, acting chairman, said: “The projects that are enjoying international acclaim today have been in the pipeline for a number of years. In five years’ time we won’t have the same level of success unless funding for the sector is restored to previous levels.”

Outside the Golden Globe nominations for Room and Brooklyn, and with Oscar nominations hotly anticipated, a record seven Irish films have been selected for the Sundance Film Festival at the end of the month.

The Irish Film Board would not disclose the big names or potential movie hits due for filming in Ireland this year but detailed some of the box office and backroom figures behind the latest successes.

Brooklyn became the biggest sale at last year’s Sundance at €8.2m, and has gone on to gross over €25.7m worldwide, including €6.4m in Irish and UK cinemas.

Room, for which Brie Larson won best actress at the Golden Globes, has taken $4.9m in the US. It will be released in cinemas across Ireland and the UK tomorrow.

Acclaimed animation Song Of The Sea has taken €3.5m worldwide and Colin Farrell’s The Lobster has grossed over €1.9m at the Irish/UK box office and has secured release in multiple territories.


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