4 October 2023 The Irish Film & Television Network

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New drama series Northern Lights announced by TG4 and Streamz; Lionsgate Television to handle global sales except Ireland
21 Oct 2022 : Nathan Griffin
Northern Lights
TG4 and Streamz, in association with Screen Ireland, have confirmed they are collaborating on a new six-part drama series Northern Lights.

Lionsgate Television will handle all global sales except Ireland for the compelling saga of grief, human connection, and the power of hope and humour in the face of darkness and adversity.

Northern Lights tells the story of two grieving strangers whose worlds collide on a rainy night in Dublin. Revelations, confessions, secrets, and lies envelop this darkly humorous, intimate series of hope. The series is a charming, intimate, funny, and realistic depiction of modern-day Dubliners, living, loving, grieving, and fighting back.

The series is written by Stephen Jones, who also plays the leading role of Lloyd. Jones is winner of the Stuart Parker award for his play From Eden. His television credits include Love/Hate, Nowhere Fast, AmberThe Queen vs. Patrick O’Donnell, and Red Rock in the leading role of gangster Francis ‘Laser’ Byrne. Northern Lights is Stephen’s first series written for TV and is adapted from his award-winning play of the same name. 

Elva Trill (Jurassic World Dominion, Line of Duty, Starstruck) stars as Áine, with Jennifer Heylen (H4Z4RD/ Two Summers/ A Good Year) in the role of Denise and Jay Duffy (My Left Nut and Playground) playing Sean. Tom Hall (Modern LoveTrivia) is leading director of Northern Lights with Ruth Meehan (The Bright Side) and Anthony Schatteman (Panna/L’homme inconnu) also directing.

Northern Lights is an Irish and Belgian co-production by Deadpan Pictures and Potemkino for TG4 and Streamz. The series is funded by Lionsgate, Screen Ireland, Screen Flanders, and TG4 with support from the Creative Europe Media Slate Funding, Government of Ireland’s Section 481, and the Belgian tax shelter.

TG4 executive producer, Máire Ní Chonláin said: “Having worked with Stephen Jones as an actor in TG4’s The Queen V’s Patrick O’Donnell, we are delighted to work with him again to bring the adaptation of his award-winning play Northern Lights to TG4Northern Lights offered a unique opportunity for TG4 to nurture new talent within the Irish film and drama sector.”

“Development of new talent and strengthening the Independent Production sector is one of TG4’s targets in its Post Covid Vision. Three up and coming talented individuals will be mentored and gain experience under the guidance of talented crew on this production.  This will create future opportunities for them in the Irish language film and drama sector and continue to enhance TG4’s potential on the world stage.”  

Andrew Byrne, Head of Television at Screen Ireland, said: “Screen Ireland is delighted to support Northern Lights and Stephen Jones in his darkly funny and emotionally resonant series-writing debut. Making a connection with audiences at home and around the world is one of our aims in collaborating closely with an Irish national broadcaster like TG4, as well as international partners in Lionsgate, Screen Flanders and Creative Europe.”

Deadpan Pictures co-founder Ailish McElmeel added: “We are so excited to bring Stephen’s darkly comic yet emotionally truthful series to screen. With the support of partners Screen Ireland, Lionsgate, Potemkino, and Creative Europe we look forward to bringing this series to Irish and international audiences.”

A training initiative commitment by TG4 as part of the production involves opportunities for three Irish speakers who are forging a career in drama and film production to shadow key crew and gain world-class experience in television drama production.  

Oisín Mistéil has been chosen as Shadow Director on the series, who will shadow all three directors and gain experience on a large-scale drama production.  Oisín previous credits for TG4 include short-form drama series Le Ceangal and documentaries Ar Thóir na Crown Jewels from the award-winning Finné series and a tongue-in-cheek apocalypse documentary Go mBeirimid Beo.  Oisín writes and directs online comedy shorts, one of which was nominated for the Vodafone Comedy Award, and for his documentary work in 2020 he was nominated for Réalta Óg na Bliana at Gradaim Chumarsáide an Oireachtais (Rising Star Award at the Irish Language Media Awards.   

John Farrelly, a filmmaker from Warrenpoint Co. Down will work as Shadow Producer on the series. John began production on his first feature film, The Sleep Experiment, which he wrote, directed, produced, and edited during his final years of secondary school. John is now finishing post-production on an Irish Language folk horror feature, An Taibhse, the first feature-length film in the Irish language. He will work alongside the team of producers as shadow producer witnessing all aspects of a production and the producers interaction with all departments, participating in script meetings, production meetings, budget meetings, table-reads, health and safety briefings, and edit review sessions among others.  

Shadow script editor Martha Fitzgerald will work alongside the series script editor Lauren MacKenzie, producers Ailish McElmeel and Sam Atwell, and writer Stephen Jones. Martha will have the opportunity to hone her script reading, script editing, and communication skills through the shadowing process as well as one-on-one feedback sessions with the script editor.  Martha graduated from UCD with a 1st Class Honours MA in Theatre Practice in 2019. She wrote and directed the short film Faitíos in 2020, which won multiple awards including the Best Cinematography award in Galway Film Fleadh and Best Irish Language Short at Still Voices Festival in 2021. She was also selected to take part in X-Pollinator: Elevator for emerging women and non-binary writers and directors in film. She is a two-time shortlisted writer for the BBC Script Room: Comedy open competition, and has assistant directed with Fishamble: The New Play Company. She also collaborates with writer/director Chris Kelly, and co-directed Twenty Minutes from Nowhere, which premiered in Bewley’s Cafe Theatre in November 2021.

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