The Irish Film Institute will host exclusive screenings of Irish writer, director and editor Ivan Kavanagh’s award-winning ‘The Fading Light’ from March 12th to 18th. The screenings will be run as part of the Institute’s ongoing commitment to new Irish film. The film walked away with honours for both Best Irish Film and Best Actor (for Patrick O’Donnell) from the 2010 Jameson Dublin International Film Festival’s.
A study of a family in crisis, Ivan Kavanagh’s fifth feature, produced by AnneMarie Naughton (Tara Road), is an intense affair where two estranged daughters return home to a dying mother and become reacquainted with a house of difficult memories. Their brother, played by Patrick O’Donnell is disabled and dependent, he faces an uncertain future and his predicament tests the sisters’ affection and empathy. The turmoil created by the approach of death intensifies the relationships, and an already fragmented family slides towards disintegration.
The low budget film, which was shot for €100,000, had its world premiere at the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival and screened as part of the festival’s Irish Cinema programme alongside Mark O’Connor’s ‘Between the Canals’; Conor Horgan’s ‘One Hundred Mornings’; Mira Fornay ‘Foxes’ and Ursula Antoniak’s ‘Nothing Personal’. As previously mentioned, the film enjoyed victory in the category of Best Irish Film and Best Actor for Patrick O’Donnell. Ivan tells IFTN the win was a great boost for the project: “There were some really big budget films in the category, compared to ours. The win was really unexpected because you never know how people are going to react. It’s a great boost of confidence.”
As to Patrick O’Donnell, Ivan has nothing but praise for the actor he has collaborated with on three other occasions: “He’s a great actor, a real jobbing actor – he has been at this for years and it’s great to see him getting recognition for his work now.”
Ivan explains that the two enjoy a good working relationship because Patrick is open to Ivan’s approach to filmmaking: “He’s used to the way I work,” Ivan says, before describing his filmmaking methods. “I don’t work from a regular script, I work from a short novel. Patrick gets involved with the project but knows nothing about the script, none of the actors do. And I present the plot to them as we go along – I give them the character history, they develop the character. For this film Patrick and I rehearsed for two months beforehand because the development of his character was so important. Where scenes are involved all the actors have certain points they have to hit and so we have really natural reactions form the others. That’s why the films seem so spontaneous to people, because they are.”
As to the film’s extremely difficult subject Ivan tells us it is a story that is very close to his heart. “There are a lot of my own childhood memories in there – very, very personal stuff. Basically the story came as a result of a recurring conversation with a friend of mine where we’d talk about how close we were to our siblings when we were younger and how we drifted apart as we got older. And we basically wondered where that love goes. So the film looks at a family who come back to each other and remember how much they used to love each other.”
’The Fading Light’ producer, Anne Marie Naughton describes the film as “not for the faint hearted,” sentiments with which Ivan completely concurs. “Yes, it’s a very emotional film,” he starts, “the films I remember from childhood are the emotional ones, they’re the ones that have stuck with me. I always wanted to make films that would move people, you don’t even need to like them – I love films that start with debate. My films have been known to divide people and I love that – it’s great to stir up strong feelings.”
‘The Fading Light’ is shot by Kavanagh’s regular cinematographer, Colin Downey (The Solution) and the film’s cast includes Valene Kane (April), Emma Eliza Regan (Aisling’s Diary) and Bibi Larrson (King for a Day).
The IFI will also show another recent Kavanagh feature ‘Our Wonderful Home’ on Saturday, March 13th at 2.30pm. Following that there will be an in-depth discussion with the director and members of ‘The Fading Light’ cast at 4pm. ‘The Fading Light’ will screen at the IFI from March 12th to 18th and is presented in association with Bord Scannán na hÉireann/Irish Film Board and Park Films.
Tickets for the screenings are available from the IFI Box Office in person, on 01 679 3477, or online at www.ifi.ie