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Irish films at the BFI London Film Festival
01 Sep 2015 : Seán Brosnan
John Crowley’s ‘Brooklyn’
The 59th BFI London Film Festival has unveiled its’ full line-up with Irish films ‘Brooklyn’, ‘The Lobster’, ‘Room’ and ’11 Minutes’ and Northern Irish films ‘The Survivalist’, ‘High Rise’ and ‘I Am Belfast’ all selected to screen.

Lenny Abrahamson’s ‘Room’ and Jerzy Skolimowski’s ‘11 Minutes’ will be playing in competition while there will also be special screenings of Stephen Fingleton’s ‘The Survivalist’, Mark Cousins’ ‘I Am Belfast’ and Ben Wheatley’s ‘High Rise’ and gala screenings for Yorgos Lanthimos’s ‘The Lobster’ and John Crowley’s ‘Brooklyn’.

‘Room’ is based on Emma Donoghue’s best-selling novel of the same name and has not screened at any festivals yet but is also scheduled to screen at Toronto (September 10-20) next month before going on limited release on October 16th. Produced by Element Pictures and No Trace Camping with funding from the Irish Film Board, ‘Room’ is told through the eyes of a five year old who is held captive in a room along with his mother. The film stars Brie Larson, William H. Macy and Jacob Tremblay.

’11 Minutes’ is also Toronto-bound and is also scheduled to play in competition at Venice. Produced by Ewa Piaskowska of Skopia Film and co-produced by Andrew Lowe and Ed Guiney of Element Pictures with backing by the Irish FilmBoard, the film stars Irish actor Richard Dormer in the lead and had a five day shoot in Dublin in September last year before moving on to Poland. The film follows the same 11 minutes in the lives of several different characters; young and old, prosperous and destitute.

Northern Irish film ‘The Survivalist’ is coming off very strong reviews after screening at Tribeca, the Belfast Film Festival and the Galway Film Fleadh. Written and directed by Stephen Fingleton in his feature film debut, the film stars Martin McCann as a survivalist who lives off a small plot of land hidden deep in forest. When two women seeking food and shelter discover his farm, he finds his existence threatened. ‘The Survivalist’ was developed with the support of the BFI Film Fund and Northern Ireland Screen’s New Talent Focus Scheme and the screenplay was previously featured on the Hollywood Blacklist and topped the UK Brit List.

Mark Cousins documentary ‘I Am Belfast’ has so far screened at the Belfast Film Festival, the Galway Film Fleadh and in competition at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, receiving positive notices from publications such as Variety and The Hollywood Reporter, with the latter describing the film as “a charmingly offbeat tribute to a big-hearted city”.

‘I Am Belfast’ is a co-production between Hopscotch Films and Canderblinks Films and received funding from Northern Ireland Screen, along with the BFI, Creative Scotland and Hopscotch Films. Shot by Christopher Doyle, scored by David Holmes and produced by John Archer and Chris Martin, ‘I Am Belfast’ is a unique look at the city and portrays Belfast as a free spirited woman and a walking tour guide.

Ben Wheatley’s ‘High Rise’, which filmed on location in Northern Ireland and will also screen at Toronto later this month, is an adaptation of JG Ballard’s classic 1975 British thriller, starring Tom Hiddleston in the lead along with Jeremy Irons, Sienna Miller, Luke Evans and Elisabeth Moss. The film received funding from the Northern Ireland Screen Fund supported by Invest NI and part funded by the European Regional Development Fund.

A surreal, romantic drama and winner of the Jury Prize at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival, ‘The Lobster’ stars Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz with a supporting cast including Léa Seydoux, Ben Whishaw, John C.Reilly, Olivia Colman and Ashley Jensen. Shot at Parknasilla in Co. Kerry in Spring 2014, ‘The Lobster’ is written by Yorgos Lanthimos and Efthimis Filippou, directed by Lanthimos and produced by Ed Guiney, Lee Magiday, Ceci Dempsey and Yorgos Lanthimos. Executive Producers are Andrew Lowe, Tessa Ross and Sam Lavender with Isabel Davis as the lead executive for the BFI Film Fund. The film was developed by Element and Irish finance for the film came from the Irish Film Board with Rory Gilmartin as the lead executive for the IFB.

‘Brooklyn’ screened at Sundance earlier this year and was acquired by Fox Searchlight for $9m, the second biggest deal of the festival in 2015. The film has also received highly positive reviews from US publications such as Variety, The Los Angeles Times, The Hollywood Reporter and the New York Post.

‘Brooklyn’ is an Irish/British co-production from Wildgaze Films, Finola Dwyer Productions, Parallel Films and Item 7. It was co-financed by the Irish Film Board and filmed on location in Wexford, Dublin and Wicklow, as well as Montreal and New York. The film stars Oscar nominee Saoirse Ronan as a young Irish immigrant in 1950’s New York whose blossoming relationship with an Italian plumber Tony (Emory Cohen),is threatened when tragedy calls her home. She returns to Ireland where her attraction for a charming local man called Jim (Domhnall Gleeson), grows.

Three Irish short films will also screen at the festival: ‘Bone’ directed by Jenny Brady, ‘The Red Herring’ directed by Leevi Lemmetty and ‘Red Moon Rising’ directed by Vivienne Dick.

‘Steve Jobs’, starring Irish actor Michael Fassbender in the lead role as the late computer magnate, has been selected to close the festival.

The BFI London Film Festival is now in its 59th year and will run from October 7th to 18th, welcoming a host of international and European premieres from films around the world.




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