Best known for making the ‘Horse Outside’ video for the The Rubberbandits, Cork director Peter Foott looks set for another step towards the big time with his debut feature film.

The Young Offenders, a hilarious tale of two northside rascals heading to West Cork in search of a discarded bale of cocaine, has already been receiving lavish praise in advance of its upcoming release.

Foott’s creation has been described by RTÉ Radio One and Late Late Show presenter Ryan Tubridy as “the best Irish film I’ve seen ages” and it has also won the best Irish film award at the recent Galway Film Fleadh.

“It’s been fantastic so far,” said Foott, 39, from Monks-town, Co Cork, who revealed that the idea for the film came from a combination of the infamous Dunlough Bay cocaine seizure in 2007, and a bike trip he undertook many years ago.

 Peter Foott: ‘The story of the young lads and the issues they face is also universal.’ Picture: Larry Cummins
Peter Foott: ‘The story of the young lads and the issues they face is also universal.’ Picture: Larry Cummins

“I knew people with farmland down around Three Castles Head, and we’d hear all these stories about people coming down looking for this legendary ‘lost’ bale of cocaine. I’d also done a bike trip to West Cork with a friend of mine, and while there was no cocaine involved, we did end up getting lost, crashing the bikes, arguing... a lot of the type of stuff that ended up in the film.”

Several locations around the city and county are showcased in The Young Offenders, including Schull; the area around Shandon; and the English Market. O’Connells fish stall even opened especially on Sunday mornings to facilitate the shoot last year.

Young Cork actors Alex Murphy and Chris Walley make their feature debut in the film, while Foott’s own wife, Hilary Rose, also appears, and is a familiar face from The Fear, the comedy show he directs on RTÉ.

Foott wrote much of the dialogue for the film, and was nicely restrained in his use of Corkisms. For instance, it all sounds and feels very authentic, but the word ‘langer’ pops up just once.

“We were very conscious when we were writing it not to go over the top on some of the words that might be associated with Cork people. When that happens it can come across as if you’re trying too hard. The Cork accent is so naturally funny, and people just have a clever use of words. It’s more about turns of phrase and capturing the personality of people in how the language is used,” said the former pupil of Ashton and St John’s College.

Foott is confident the film can appeal to people beyond the county bounds. “We’ve been getting great feedback so far and we’re also hoping to place the film in a few overseas festivals. The story of the young lads and the issues they face is also universal enough to have a much broader appeal,” he said.

  • The Young Offenders will be launched with a red carpet event at the Omniplex in Mahon Point on August 24 before getting a nationwide release on September 16.


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