11 December 2023 The Irish Film & Television Network
‘Run & Jump’ Opens Today
02 May 2014 : Aisling Newton
‘Run & Jump’, which hits Irish cinemas today, Friday, 2 May 2014, is directed by Steph Green, whose short film ‘New Boy’ earned her an Oscar nod in 2009.

‘Run & Jump’ is produced by Samson Films in co-production with Bavaria Pictures and sees Will Forte (Nebraska) playing an uptight American neuropsychologist living in Ireland with a married couple, the Casey’s, to observe the husband (IFTA nominated Ed MacLiam) who has been afflicted with a sudden personality-changing stroke. The film is set in rural Kerry and stars Maxine Peake (Shameless) as the optimistic wife trying her best to maintain that ever elusive sense of normality.

The debut feature film by Green is co-written by Ailbhe Keogan and produced by Tamara Anghie and Martina Niland. Astrid Kahmke and Philipp Kreuzer acted as co-producers. Other key members of the cast include actors Edward MacLiam (Holby City), Sharon Horgan (Psychobitches), Ciara Gallagher, and HODs Nathan Nugent (editor) and Kevin Richey (director of photography). ‘Run & Jump’, which was filmed over a six week period in Wicklow and Kerry, was recently acquired by Wildcard Distribution and also received a warm welcome from American audiences when it premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2013. The film also won the Best Irish Feature at the 2013 Galway Film Fleadh and Best First Feature at the New York Irish Film Festival.

Speaking to IFTN, writer and director Green said; “The original idea and first draft was generated by Ailbhe. I came on board from the second draft as a co-writer and our shared ideas and collaboration started then. But we've stayed pretty faithful to Ailbhe's core idea, an authentic piece about a mother and her family in transition and the stranger in their midst.”

“It was my pleasure to collaborate with Will and Maxine. It was a first for all of us, Will’s first ‘dramatic’ role and Maxine’s first film in Ireland. This was also my first feature so together I think the firsts brought us together and allowed us to support each other in the uncharted waters.”

Keogan began writing the script in 2009 and employed script editor Mark McIlraith to help her with the sample project. Being a Kerry native, Keogan explained how filming in the rural south west was very important to her; “I always saw the Casey family in Kerry and I always saw the ending as it is in the film. Kerry, the sheer scope of it, afforded me that vision. It still moves me to see it realised on screen. Steph nailed the ending. For me, its pitch perfect in every sense.” While developing the films key characters, Keogan explained that she was inspired by ‘This American Life’ podcast about a man whose personality had changed significantly after a stroke. “The podcast focused on his family rather than him which I thought was an interesting angle. Also, we had an acquired brain injury in our house so there were certain things I took from that experience, not consciously at the time, because I would never stake that claim over my family's story but I guess it crept in there somewhere.”

‘Run & Jump’s’ producer Anghie described how it was the Casey family and in particular Vanetia who initially drew her to the story. “Her strength, humour and vibrancy are what I see in so many Irish women, so many of my friends. I think it is quite a specific combination of qualities. The script stayed with me for several hours after I first read it and I found myself both curious and concerned about how the family would evolve from this significant event in their lives. That's when I knew I wanted to make the film.” Anghie explained that “it was great to have a film completed that had a core female crew (director, writer, producer), only because unfortunately it's a rare statistic in this industry. There's a lot being published right now about the low number of women in the industry and particularly about the lack of employing women directors.”

From its success at Tribeca, American audiences have responded very well to the authenticity, tone and the scenery in the film. Anghie and Green are expecting Irish audiences to react the same way but “it is never easy to gauge how an audience are going to react. We’ve had great responses at our various festival screenings in Ireland. It's been really rewarding to get such positive feedback, so I hope the general audience will respond similarly”, said Green. Anghie added that; “The marketplace is a tricky beast and you never really know what is being sought. In particular, it feels like the industry is still in flux about optimal distribution platforms for all the content being produced. However, Ireland is renowned as a country of great story-tellers and our film industry has a great reputation internationally.”

All three ladies are currently busy with upcoming projects. Keogan is working on a second feature with Green and actress Sharon Horgan (Psychobitches), a political thriller set against the backdrop of the Western Sahara occupation for Young Irish Film Makers.

'Run and Jump' was financed by the Irish Film Board, Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, RTÉ, Section 481, Eurimages, FilmFernsehfondsBayern FFF, DeutscherFilmforderfonds DFFF, Senator Film Munchen, Cinepost and Bavaria Film. The film was released in the US by IFC Sundance Selects on January 24 of this year.

Wildcard will release ‘Run & Jump’ in Irish cinemas today, Friday, 2 May 2014. Check out the trailer below:

Director Sinéad O’Loughlin discusses Oscar-qualifying short Lamb
IFTN Festive Q&A with actor Albrecht Schuch
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