Irish feature film ‘Pilgrim Hill’ received its international premiere last night (September 2) at the renowned Telluride Film Festival in the US.
The feature, directed by 24-year-old Kerry filmmaker Gerard Barrett and made on a budget of €4,500, was screened in the 'Great Expectation' category of the festival highlighting “filmmakers of tomorrow”. Previous directors screened in the category have included ‘Sideways’ director Alexander Payne.
The screening – like the whole Telluride Film Festival programme – was kept under wraps until late on Friday evening when news of its inclusion was circulated. The festival is unique in that it doesn't announce its programme until the opening night of the four day festival.
Commenting on the selection of ‘Pilgrim Hill’, Barrett, who attended the screening with actor Joe Mullins, said he was “incredibly honoured” to give ‘Pilgrim Hill’ its international premiere at Telluride. He added: “The festival has a remarkable history and some of my favourite filmmakers have premiered their films here. I just think that it is great that a little film like this can travel and affect audiences everywhere. I hope it inspires others to go out and tell their stories."
Pilgrim Hill follows the life of Jimmy, a bachelor farmer living in rural Ireland fighting isolation and loneliness while caring for his ill father. It stars local Kerry actor Mullins as Jimmy and was filmed over seven days in Kerry last year. It premiered at the Galway Film Fleadh earlier this summer where it received rave reviews and won the Bingham Ray Award.
The film was supported the Irish Film Board. Barrett and Mullins travelled to Telluride with support from Culture Ireland and the IFB. ‘Pilgrim Hill’ was also the only Irish Film to be selected for this year’s Telluride Film Festival.