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St Patrick’s weekend will see three Irish films hit cinemas
16 Mar 2016 : Seán Brosnan
‘High Rise’, ‘Sing Street’ and ‘Norm of the North’ are all released this weekend
In what is extremely apt timing, St Patrick’s weekend will see the release of three Irish films to cinemas, as well as a re-release of an old classic and a slew of Irish films airing on television, including the small screen premiere of Paul Mercier’s ‘Pursuit’.

First off is the release of ‘Sing Street’ on St Patrick’s Day (March 17th). The film, written and directed by John Carney, has recently been nominated for eight IFTA Awards including Best Film and Best Script and Director for Carney as well as Best Supporting Actor for Jack Reynor.

‘Sing Street’ has so far screened at Sundance and ADIFF to acclaim and is scheduled to screen at SXSW this month. The film is about a boy growing up in Dublin during the 1980s who escapes his strained family life by starting a band and moving to London and stars newcomer Ferdia Walsh-Peelo alongside Lucy Boynton, Aidan Gillen, Maria Doyle Kennedy and Jack Reynor. It was shot in locations in and around Dublin last autumn and wrapped in late October with post-production taking place in Screen Scene.

March 18th will see the release of Telegael’s ‘Norm of the North’. The film, which made almost $10 in its’ opening weekend in the US, tells the story of an Arctic polar bear Norm (Rob Schneider) who is displaced from his home after it starts melting. Norm, together with his three lemming friends, travels to New York City to stop a developer from destroying their habitat by building luxury condominiums in the Arctic.

Pre-production and post production on the film were carried out at Telegael’s studios in Conamara. Telegael was also responsible for casting and recording the voices of Colm Meaney, Michael McElhatton and Bill Nighy. The music score was composed by Stephen McKeon and performed by the RTE National Symphony Orchestra. Preproduction in Ireland was overseen by Yvonne Hennessy, Telegael’s head of animation design while Cathy Ní Fhlaithearta headed up the post production.

March 18th will also see the release of Northern Irish shot film ‘High Rise’. High-Rise’, directed by Ben Wheatley, from a screenplay by his regular collaborator Amy Jump, 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 premiered in Toronto earlier this year. Produced by Oscar-winning Jeremy Thomas, ‘High-Rise’ is a dystopian depiction of a society that starts a class war in a high-rise apartment. It filmed in Northern Ireland, including a key location in Bangor, in 2014 and received funding from the Northern Ireland Screen Fund supported by Invest NI and part funded by the European Regional Development Fund.

As IFTN previously reported, March 18th will also see the re-release of Neil Jordan’s ‘Michael Collins’ in a new digitalized format.

On television, ‘Michael Collins’ will screen on RTÉ One on Wednesday, March 16th at 9.35pm. ‘The Butcher Boy’ - another Neil Jordan film – will screen on March 16th also - this time on 3e at 10pm.

On St Patrick’s Day at 9pm on TV3, Alan Parker’s classic Irish film ‘The Commitments’ will screen followed by the Oscar nominated ‘Philomena’ at on RTÉ One at 9.35pm . Jim Sheridan’s Oscar nominated ‘In The Name of the Father’ will also screen at 11.05pm on RTÉ2 and ‘Evelyn’ - starring Peirce Brosnan and Aidan Quinn – will air on 3e at midnight.

This weekend will also see the television premiere of Paul Mercier’s IFTA nominated film ‘Pursuit’. The film will screen on Sunday, March 20th at 9pm.

‘Pursuit’ is a modern take on the legend of Diarmuid and Gráinne and makes for a contemporary myth about the pursuit of power, class, love and the chance to start again. Ruth Bradley (IFTA-nominated for her performance) and Barry Ward star as Gráinne and Diarmuid respectively and the ensemble cast also includes Liam Cunningham, Brendan Gleeson, Owen Roe (IFTA nominated for his performance), David Pearse, Dara Devaney, Dónall Ó Héalaí, Ciarán O’Brien and Emmet Kirwan.

Written and directed by Paul Mercier, the film is produced by Anne Gately of An Pointe Productions. Billy Keady was cinematographer, Production Designer was Ferdia Murphy, Art Director was Mark Kelly, costume designer was Bláth Noonan and Line Producer was Cathleen Dore.

‘Pursuit’ is a BAI driven film (Sound and Vision Scheme) with additional funding from the Irish Film Board and Telegael. TV3 are the broadcasters.

Check out IFTN’s interview with writer/director Paul Mercier here.

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