17 May 2022 The Irish Film & Television Network
'The Guard' & 'Knuckle' Selected For Sundance
02 Dec 2010 :
Brendan Gleeson in The Guard
John Michael McDonagh’s ‘The Guard’ will open the festival and is one of 16 features that will compete in Sundance’s World Cinema Dramatic Competition, whilst Ian Palmer’s ‘Knuckle’ will face competition from 11 other feature documentaries in the category of World Cinema Documentary.

‘The Guard’, written and directed by John Michael McDonagh (Ned Kelly), sees Emmy and IFTA winner Brendan Gleeson (Into the Storm) playing an unorthodox Irish policeman who joins forces with Don Cheadle’s straitlaced FBI agent in a bid to take on an international drug-smuggling gang. The film’s other Irish acting talents include IFTA winners Liam Cunningham (Hunger), Fionnula Flanagan (Lost, Transamerica), Pat Shortt (Garage) and David Wilmot (Intermission, The Clinic).

'The Guard' is an Irish/UK co-production, backed by The Irish Film Board and section 481 as well as International Financiers. Its produced by Chris Clark and Flora Fernandez Marengo for Reprisal Films and Ed Guiney (Garage) and Andrew Lowe (The Wind that Shakes the Barley) for Element Pictures.

Director John Michael McDonagh commented on the selection of 'The Guard' to open the festival:"I would like to thank the Sundance Film Festival programmers for giving 'The Guard' the prestigious opening night slot for films in the International Competition which shows their commitment to the film," he stated.

The other features shortlisted in the World Cinema Dramatic Competition group include Amor Hakkar’s ‘A Few Days of Respite’; Dai Sako’s ‘Abraxas’; Carlos Moreno’s ‘All Your Dead Ones’ and Brendan Fletcher’s ‘Mad Bastards’.

Ian Palmer’s feature documentary ‘Knuckle’ has been shortlisted to compete in the World Cinema Documentary Competition where it will receive its premiere alongside most of the other 12 features in the group. The film was directed, produced, shot and narrated by Ian Palmer over a 12 year period and examines the world of an Irish Traveller community. ‘Knuckle’ concentrates on the brutal, and secretive bare-knuckle fighting culture in the traveling community, it chronicles a history of violent feuding between rival clans, focusing particularly on two brothers, James Quinn McDonagh and his younger brother, Michael.

Director Ian Palmer voiced his delight at the selection of the feature, saying: “It is fantastic news that 'Knuckle' has been selected for the Sundance Film Festival. It's been a long, long journey making this film, it has been a central part of my life for the last 13 years. It started on a quiet country lane in County Louth in 1997 and now will finally emerge in the Rocky Mountains in Utah in 2011. It seems like a dream and I couldn't think of a better place for the film to be premièred than at Sundance.”

‘Knuckle’ was funded by the Irish Film Board and BBC Storyville. The film’s other producer is Teddy Leifer (Road to Las Vegas) and the feature is edited by Oliver Huddleston (Cowboys in India). It will compete with 11 other documentaries including: Jarreth Merz’s ‘An African Election’; Phil Cox’s ‘The Bengali Detective’; David Sington’s ‘The Flaw’ and Danfung Dennis’ Hell and Back Again’.

Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport Mary Hanafin welcomed the selection of the two films for screening at Sundance saying "The Irish film industry is a real beacon for the economy as it contributes both to employment and in generating foreign income both directly and indirectly. Having Ireland, our culture, creativity and countryside once again highlighted to audiences from around the world is very positive. It is a marvellous achievement for film-makers, actors and all involved in the industry and once again shows the great track record that Irish film-makers have internationally."

These selections follow on from the Irish success at the 2010 festival, where the IFTA winning feature, 'His & Hers' scooped the prize for Excellence in Cinematography and received a host of positive reviews from the critics. More Sundance titles will be announce by the festival in due course. The 2011 Sundance Film Festival will take place in Utah from the 20th to the 30th January. For a full list of nominated titles visit www.sundance.org

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