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AFM Round-up: The Irish films selling at the American Film Market
01 Nov 2023 : Luke Shanahan
Aislinn Clarke in Fréwaka, and Anthony Kopkins in Freud's Last Session
IFTN brings you a comprehensive list of the Irish films selling at the American Film Market, along with feature films starring Irish actors.

The AFM gathers industry professionals who finance, produce, and distribute 90% of films around the world. The annual event takes place this year from October 31st to November 5th. This year, a host of Irish-directed, Irish-produced, and Irish-led films will be selling at the market.

Fréwaka

New Europe Film Sales boarded international sales on Northern Irish director Aislinn Clarke’s second feature Fréwaka ahead of the AFM, where it will also 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.

Freud’s Last Session

WestEnd Films is handling sales on Matt Brown’s drama Freud’s Last Session, starring Anthony Hopkins as Sigmund Freud and Matthew Goode as author CS Lewis. Filmed on location in Ireland, Freud's Last Session is an Irish/UK co-production, supported by Fís Éireann/Screen Ireland and the UK Global Screen Fund. Irish producers on the project are Tristan Orpen Lynch and Aoife O’Sullivan of Subotica Productions (Aisha, Joyride). Niamh Fagan serves as executive producer for Screen Ireland.

The Morrigan

Written and directed by Belfast-based director Colum Eastwood, and based on his 2015 short film of the same, Irish horror film The Morrigan is set to begin filming in Northern Ireland on November 6th, having received a SAG-AFTRA waiver. Finance comes from Quickfire Films, Northern Ireland Screen, M2 Mediapost and private equity. AMP is handling worldwide sales.

Mr. Smith

Hero Fiennes Tiffin, lead of the YA  franchise After, has signed on to play the lead in Irish thriller Mr. Smith, which Fortitude International will introduce to buyers at AFM. Declan O’Dwyer (Miss Scarlett And The Duke) will direct from his Black List screenplay, previously titled Broken Cove

With a list of names left by his brother, the titular Mr. Smith (Fiennes Tiffin) violently navigates the community’s underbelly and reignites a crime family feud in the process.

Production is scheduled to commence production in Ireland in February 2024.

Whistle

Whistle is directed by Corin Hardy (The Nun) and stars Dafne Keen (Logan), Sophie Nélisse (Yellowjackets), Sky Yang (Rebel Moon), Percy Hynes White (Wednesday) and Nick Frost (Hot Fuzz). Written by Owen Egerton and adapted from his own short story, Whistle is a Canada-Ireland co-production produced by Macdara Kelleher (The Pope’s Exorcist) for Wild Atlantic Pictures and David Gross (Room) for No Trace Camping with Black Bear handling international sales.

Bad Apples

Saoirse Ronan (Foe, Brooklyn) is set to star in upcoming satirical comedy-thriller, Bad Apples, from Swedish director Jonatan Etzler (One More Time) and screenwriter Jess O’Kane. This film marks Etzler’s English language debut. According to Deadline, the production company is aiming to shoot the film in the UK under an Equity contract in spring 2024. HanWay Films will launch worldwide sales for the film at AFM.

Dance First

Beckett biopic Dance First stars Gabriel Byrne (The Usual Suspects, Hereditary) as Samuel Beckett, Aidan Gillen (Barber, The Dark Knight Rises) as James Joyce, Fionn O’Shea (Handsome Devil, Normal People) as a younger Beckett, and Bronagh Gallagher (The Commitments, Pulp Fiction) as Nora Barnacle. The film is directed by James Marsh (The Theory of Everything, Man on Wire) and written by Neil Forsyth (Guilt, The Gold). Dance First is a Belgium/UK/Hungary co-production, and was developed with Sky Arts.





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