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Filming underway on Mandrake - the latest feature from Northern Ireland Screen’s New Talent Focus Scheme
23 Nov 2020 : Nathan Griffin
Actor Deirdre Mullins
Northern Ireland Screen has announced that principal photography has begun on Mandrake, the latest project to come through its New Talent Focus scheme.

The scheme aims to deliver one debut feature by a Northern Ireland resident creative team (writer, director, and producer) each year.

Produced by Village Films, Mandrake stars Deirdre Mullins (The Dark Mile, Man Down), Derbhle Crotty (Notes on a Scandal), Paul Kennedy (The Frankenstein Chronicles, The Fall), Seamus O’Hara (Game of Thrones, My Mother and Other Strangers), Nigel O’Neill (Bad Day for the Cut, Nowhere Special), and Ian Beattie (Game of Thrones).

Mandrake follows probation officer Cathy Madden, given the task of rehabilitating notorious killer “Bloody” Mary Laidlaw back into society after twenty years of jail. Cathy has always believed that every client deserves a shot at redemption, but her beliefs are firmly tested when two children disappear near Mary’s farm. “Witchcraft isn’t real and there’s some good in everyone; two things that Cathy Madden thought were true until she met Mary Laidlaw.”

The screenplay, written by Matt Harvey, is the fourteenth New Talent Focus project and is financed by Northern Ireland Screen and post-production house Yellowmoon. The project will film entirely on location in Northern Ireland for three weeks.

Lynne Davison is directing. With a background in shorts, Lynne’s work has screened at festivals around the world. Through Women in Film and TV UK, she has been mentored by Sarah Gavron (Suffragette). With a strong focus on female characters and their motivations, Lynne’s involvement will ensure Mandrake is a truly visceral experience for audiences.

Marie-Thérèse Mackle and Paul Kennedy are producing.

Marie-Thérèse is an experienced producer in drama, docu-drama, and observational documentary programming.  Her most recent credits include BBC Three’s My Left Nut (Line Producer), Starz/BBC/RTE’s Dublin Murders (Production Manager), and Amazon/Channel 4’s Frank of Ireland (Line Producer).  Marie-Thérèse has produced many short films including Antonia Campbell-Hughes ghostly cinematic Acre Fall Between (2019, Out of Orbit Ltd) which has received some critical acclaim as part of The Uncertain Kingdom project, and most recently Arena (2019, Village Films Ltd) which is screening at Cork International and Norwich film festival 2020.

Paul co-founded Village Films in 2013 and produced and directed the company’s debut feature Made in Belfast. Since then he has produced a number of short films through the company. He recently produced Reunion by BAFTA-nominated director Stephen Fingleton, which premiered at the Galway Film Fleadh. Paul is currently developing a slate of genre-skewed pics with development funding from Northern Ireland Screen.

Previous films to have come through the New Talent Focus scheme include Black Medicine from 2020 Screen Star of Tomorrow Colum Eastwood, Shelly Love’s A Bump Along the Way, Ryan and Andrew Tohill’s The Dig, Chris Baugh and Brendan Mullin’s Bad Day for the Cut, and Aislinn Clarke’s The Devil’s Doorway.

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