27 September 2022 The Irish Film & Television Network
Treasa O'Brien's Town Of Strangers to open exclusively on IFI@Home on March 19th
19 Feb 2021 : News Desk
Town Of Strangers
Town of Strangers by award-winning Irish filmmaker Treasa O’Brien will open exclusively on IFI@Home platform from March 19th, 2021.

Town of Strangers was produced by Martha O’Neill (Wildfire Films) & Treasa O’Brien (Stinging Hornet Films) and executive producer is Joshua Oppenheimer.  It was funded through an Arts Council Film Project Award, a Create Artist-in-the-community award, the Goethe Institute, Clare County Council, and the director’s own savings.  It has screened in Flying Broom Turkey 2020, Docs Ireland Belfast, Galway Film Fleadh, and Cork International Film Festival.

A stranger arrives in the town of Gort and announces that auditions will be held in the town hall for a new film.  “Come and tell me your stories, your dreams, your lies, your memories, any gossip.  All genders, nationalities, and languages welcome. No acting experience necessary” is announced by the director via a loudspeaker on her van as she drives through the town.  One by one, people sit into an armchair on the set of a kitchen, surrounded by old props found in the Town Hall that could have been from John B Keane’s The Field, which had been produced by the local theatre group the year before.  And they tell their stories….

Welcome to Town of Strangers, a film by Treasa O’Brien, featuring Hamid, Ana, Rosa, Elham, Chloe, Ralf, and a wider cast of people living in a small town in the West of Ireland.  These tales were inspired by an open casting invitation from filmmaker O’Brien where she invited people to tell her ‘a dream, a lie, a memory or a piece of gossip’.  As the volunteers settle into the audition armchair, a blend of Travellers, migrant workers, hippies, blow-ins, and newly arrived refugees, we are ushered into their private worlds, sharing their desires and dreams.

What transpires is an adventure in filmmaking and a quirky portrait of rural Ireland in contemporary times. At times humorous, at times heartbreaking, the film is a testament to human strength and vulnerability.  The themes of isolation and the need for connection and community are more relevant than ever in the times we are living through at the moment.

The soundtrack for Town of Strangers is as eclectic as the characters in the film, ranging from Afghan pop of Parde Awal to Brazilian evangelist power ballad of Ludmila Feber.  Irish artists featured include Dublin queer-feminist punk band Fierce Mild, Clare-based Matthew Noone who composes versions of Irish Trad on the Indian sarode; Limerick-London avant-garde composer and musician Áine O Dwyer and a field recording from a kitchen in Gort of Gerry Harrington playing the fiddle. 

An original score was commissioned from Cork composer Irene Buckley whole ethereal soundscapes form a backdrop to the dreamy cinemascapes of the character’s dream scenes. Town of Strangers is also proud to introduce Leon Holmes, Gort rapper, who was 14 when he composed the Gort Anthem, featured in the scene with Chloe and her friends high-jinking in the back of the director’s campervan. 

“I quite like the challenge of writing characters without handles, for an audience to hold on to, you have to really work at keeping pace with them and go on the journey;“ Writer/director Antonia Campbell-Hughes discusses It Is In Us All
“We’ve tried to portray real life, real relationships, and all the complexity that comes with that;” Producer Collie McCarthy discusses his debut Netflix Original, I Used To Be Famous
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