25 July 2024 The Irish Film & Television Network

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New Europe Film Sales boards Fréwaka, Aislinn Clarke’s Irish Language Horror
24 Oct 2023 : News Desk
New Europe Film Sales has boarded international sales on director Aislinn Clarke’s Fréwaka ahead of the American Film Market (AFM).

New Europe Film Sales has boarded international sales on Northern Irish director Aislinn Clarke’s second feature Fréwaka ahead of the AFM, where it will unveil first footage. Fréwaka is funded through the Cine4 scheme, supported by Screen Ireland, TG4, Coimisiún na Meán (formerly the BAI), and Section 481. The film is being billed as the first ever Irish-language horror.

Fréwaka follows home care worker Shoo, who, haunted by a personal tragedy, is sent to a remote village to care for an agoraphobic woman who fears the neighbours as much as she fears the Na Sídhe, sinister sprites who she believes abducted her decades before. As the two develop a strangely deep connection, Shoo is consumed by the old woman's paranoia, rituals, and superstitions, eventually confronting the horrors from her own past. The Irish and English-language production's title originates from the Irish word fréamhacha, meaning roots.

The feature also stars Clare Monnelly (Moone Boy), Bríd Ní Neachtain (The Banshees of Inisherin, Róise & Frank), and Ukrainian actress Aleksandra Bystrzhitskaya (F20). Fréwaka is produced by Dermot Lavery for DoubleBand Films and Patrick O’Neill for Wildcard.

Speaking about the film, writer-director Aislinn Clarke said: “This film is an original take on Irish folklore and contemporary Ireland, exploring the tension that exists between past and present, the personal and the public.”

Jan Naszewski, New Europe’s CEO added: “We’re excited to be part of a film, which combines an emotional story with a great sense of eeriness and plays with folk iconography, which we personally love so much.”

New Europe also represents sales on three Best International Feature Film Oscar submissions to the 96th Academy Awards : Poland’s The Peasants (Sony Pictures Classics), North Macedonia’s Housekeeping for Beginners (Focus Features) and Iceland’s Godland (Janus).

Aislinn Clarke holds the Academy of Motion Picture and Science’s Gold Fellowship 2020, which supports emerging female filmmakers. The upcoming project follows Clarke’s 2018 found footage horror The Devil’s Doorway, which was acquired by IFC for U.S. distribution.

Fréwaka will also be having a work-in-progress screening at the Belfast Film Festival later this year.

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