Shortt film scoops movie buff’s award at Cannes festival

COMEDIAN Pat Shortt, who elevated the jumbo breakfast roll to the dizzying heights of a number one single last year, was yesterday the toast of Cannes Film Festival.

His film Garage — which stars Shortt in the lead role as a misfit petrol station caretaker — has scooped the festival’s Cicae Art and Essai Cinema Prize, which is adjudged by alternative film buffs.

Backed by the brains behind the black comedy film Adam and Paul, Shortt is cast as Josie, a man who has spent all his adult life as the caretaker of a petrol station on the outskirts of a small town in the mid-west.

The comedy centres on the course of a summer in which his limited, lonely yet ultimately optimistic life is changed forever during his hapless search for intimacy.

Killinaskully funnyman Shortt plays alongside actress Anne-Marie Duff, who starred in Shameless and the Magdalene Sisters.

The film was directed by Lenny Abrahamson and written by Mark O’Halloran.

Garage, the second movie from Abrahamson and O’Halloran, won the Cannes prize after impressing the jury of members from the International Confederation of Art House Cinemas.

Abrahamson said: “I am totally delighted with this award, coming as it has after such a fantastic reception for the film at Cannes.

“It’s the best possible launch for its journey around the world.”

Last year’s winner of the film buff’s accolade was the Italian movie Libero, which had a good run in cinemas across Europe, according to producer Ed Guiney.

“So the omens are good for Garage,” he said.

The film was shot on location in Offaly, Galway and Tipperary over six weeks last summer.

It was co-financed by the Irish Film Board, Britain’s Channel 4 movie offshoot Film4, RTÉ and the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland.

The film failed to impress Variety magazine but got a prize after winning over judges at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, which is one of the world’s biggest showcases for film.

Last year, the Ken Loach-directed film, The Wind that Shakes the Barley, which was filmed in Cork, won the festival’s prestigious Palme d’Or accolade.

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