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20 May 2016 : Seán Brosnan
Paul Mercier and An Pointe Productions ‘Pursuit’ has been selected for Shanghai’s Jackie Chan Action Movie Week while the renowned Sydney Film Festival will this year present an extended Irish focus to celebrate Irish filmmakers recent success on the international stage.

Paul Mercier’s ‘Pursuit’ selected for Shanghai’s Jackie Chan Action Movie Week

Irish thriller ‘Pursuit’, based on the Irish folk Legend ‘The Pursuit of Diarmuid and Gráinne’, is set to compete in Jackie Chan Action Movie Week at the 19th Shanghai International Film Festival next month.

The film will have up to five showings at the festival, competing as part of the Jackie Chan Action Movie Week. This strand, which was introduced for the first time last year, is aimed at commending filmmakers who have made great contributions to the world’s action movies by showcasing the performances of stunt and action actors, and technical innovations in special effects.

Check out our interview with ‘Pursuit’ writer and director Paul Mercier here.

The Shanghai International Film Festival is China’s only A-category international film festival accredited by the Federation of Film Producers Associations, and is one of the largest film festivals in East Asia. Last year, the festival received a record number of 2,096 film submissions from 108 countries, and screened 391 films 1,275 times on 51 screens in 45 movie theatres in 17 Shanghai districts, reaching an audience of over 300,000, and earning nearly $2.9 million in box office.

‘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 and Barry Ward star as Gráinne and Diarmuid respectively and the ensemble cast also includes Liam Cunningham, Brendan Gleeson, Owen Roe, David Pearse, Dara Devaney, Dónall Ó Héalaí, Ciarán O’Brien and Emmet Kirwan. Ruth Bradley (Best Actress) and Owen Roe (Best Supporting Actor) were both nominated for IFTA’s for their performances in the film.

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.

Last year ‘Pursuit’ had a successful theatrical release, playing at more than 20 cinemas nationwide, no small feat for an independent Irish film. It was subsequently released on DVD and shown on TV3.

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

The 19th Shanghai International Film Festival runs June 11th-19th.

Sydney Film Festival to present extended Irish Spotlight in 2016

The 63rd Sydney Film Festival will take place next month (June 8-19) and among their wide array of spotlights, masterclasses and discussion is an extended Irish focus to reflect last year’s strong performance by Irish filmmakers on the international stage.

The Festival in partnership with Culture Ireland will present Focus on Ireland: From Rebels to New Romantics. Curated by Dublin International Film Festival Director Gráinne Humphreys, the spotlight will screen six Irish films, both features and documentaries.

These films include Ken Wardrop’s IFTA-winning documentary ‘Mom and Me’, John Carney’s musical drama ‘Sing Street’, the Panti-Bliss centred ‘The Queen of Ireland’, Risteard O Domhnaill’s timely and relevant ‘Atlantic’ (narrated by Brendan Gleeson), Whit Stillman’s ‘Love and Friendship’, Paddy Breathnach’s ‘Viva’ and Neil Jordan’s ‘Michael Collins’ celebrating the 20th anniversary of the classic Irish film.

The acclaimed Irish film ‘Viva’ is also going to be one of only 12 features selected in competition for the festival’s main prize.

‘Love & Friendship’, Whit Stillman and Blinder Films acclaimed period drama starring Kate Beckinsale, will screen at the Closing Gala while John Michael McDonagh’s ‘War on Everyone’ and Ben Wheatley’s Northern Irish shot film ‘High Rise’ will also screen.

The 63rd Annual Sydney Film Festival takes place June 8th-19th.

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