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In His Element: Ed Guiney talks co-productions ahead of receiving award in Riga on December 13th
12 Dec 2014 : Seán Brosnan
Co-founder of Element Pictures Ed Guiney is set to receive this year’s European Co-Production Award – Prix EURIMAGES, an award acknowledging the decisive role of co-productions in the European film industry at the European Film Awards Ceremony in Riga on Saturday, 13 December.

Speaking to IFTN ahead of the ceremony, it was business as usual for Ed Guiney who is in Toronto wrapping up the shoot of ‘Room’, an adaptation of Emma Donoghue’s critically acclaimed novel, directed by long-time collaborator Lenny Abrahamson and starring William H. Macy and Brie Larson.

Ed Guiney said: ‘I’m very pleased to get it obviously. It came out of the blue but it’s great to get!’

For Guiney however, whose company Element Pictures has been involved in the production and distribution of over 30 feature films to date since its foundation in 2001 (with Andrew Lowe), co-producing projects is just part and parcel of the business.

‘Most of the films made in Ireland these days are co-productions simply because there’s not enough finance in Ireland not to have a co-production. So almost everything is a co-production. I mean, ‘Glassland’ and ‘Mad Mary’ were both made with financing in Ireland but most of the films we do on any scale are financed with help from outside of Ireland. It’s just part of how you get things done – working with other companies and other people – if you’re a producer and you find it very difficult to do, then maybe you shouldn’t be doing it.’

Despite the ongoing success of ‘Frank’, directed once again by Lenny Abrahamson and starring Michael Fassbender and Domhnall Gleeson, a film that seen Element Pictures achieve box office success in the US and the UK as well as five nominations at this year’s British Independent Film Awards, including a win for composer Stephen Rennicks for Best Technical Achievement, Guiney states that there was never any predictive plan in place for the film.

‘You can never second guess or predict the box office success of a film. You can maybe have a view of whether something is more or less commercial but ultimately it’s about recognizing the ambition of a film and what you think it’s potential is and achieving it really. It was a great experience filming ‘Frank’ and it is great to see it getting awards and nominations now but you never know when starting a project. It’s all about the talent, the director and the idea of the story.’

With two upcoming projects – ‘Room’ and ‘Neverhome’ – based on two universally acclaimed novels that have sold well internationally – Guiney is quick to downplay the US setting of the two novels and the rise of Element Pictures in the movie world.

‘It’s kind of coincidental really that ‘Room’ and ‘Neverhome’ are American. We just loved the books and thought that they would make great films. We’re just reacting to great material and wanting to be involved in making great material. There was no kind of big plan or anything. It’s not unchartered territory for us – a large chunk of ‘Frank’ was filmed in America and over the years we have done lots of things internationally.’

Other than ‘Room’ and ‘Neverhome’, Ed Guiney and Element have an exciting slate of projects in the pipeline including ‘The Lobster’, starring Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz which is currently in post-production. They also have ‘A Date for Mad Mary’ which commenced principal photography in October and is currently in post-production, directed by Darren Thornton. Guiney also serves as executive producer on ‘Charlie’, the upcoming RTÉ mini-series on Charlie Haughey starring Aiden Gillen and Tom Vaughan-Lawlor that will begin airing on RTÉ One on 4th January, 2015.

The European Co-Production Award – Prix EURIMAGES will be presented to Ed Guiney during the European Film Awards Ceremony in Riga on Saturday, 13 December 2014.

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