28 September 2023 The Irish Film & Television Network
TIFF 2022: Irish documentary Pray For Our Sinners and Irish co-production My Sailor, My Love selected for Toronto
22 Aug 2022 : Nathan Griffin
Irish, Finish, and Danish co-production My Sailor, My Love.
Two Irish films have been named among the Official Selections for the 47th Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) this year where they will receive their world premiere in September.

Directed by Sinead O’Shea (A Mother Brings Her Son To Be Shot), Pray For Our Sinners documents the filmmaker’s return to her hometown, Navan, in a bid to understand how the Catholic Church exerted almost complete control there. She discovers a group of townspeople who found a way to resist. The documentary details their victories, their ongoing struggles, and the eccentricities of a small town.

These astonishing yet uplifting stories use rare first hand testimonies to describe the horrors of mother and baby homes, the prevalence of violence against children and the co-dependent relationship between the Church, State and its people. Through the voices of its gently heroic characters, Pray For Our Sinners depicts a fragile society full of fear, quiet dissent and love. The film is produced by Maya Derrington for SOS Productions.

“I am thrilled that our film has been selected for Toronto, a festival of such renown. It was a tough project to make and so this is a very unexpected honour,” director O’Shea said, in reaction to the news. “I am grateful to Screen Ireland for supporting the film in its entirety and I cannot wait to share it with the rest of the world. Pray For Our Sinners is a story about power, and resistance. I hope it proves inspirational.”

My Sailor, My Love is directed by Klaus Härö, from a screenplay written by Jimmy Karlsson and Kirsi Vikman. Trying to make up for lost time after a strained childhood with her absent father, Grace has struggled to take care of Howard since the former sea captain retired.

Proud and stubborn, Howard is reluctant and hostile when Grace hires Annie to provide domestic help. As Grace’s life spirals out of control, Annie and Howard develop feelings for each other, falling in love. Intending to place Howard into a home for the elderly she informs Annie that her employment will end. Recognising their last chance at love Annie accepts Howard’s invitation to move into his house, prompting Grace to decide to win her father back.

"I can hardly imagine a better forum for our film than the Toronto International Film Festival!” said director Klaus Haro. “Though my films have premiered here before, this is nothing I take for granted. It’s a tough race and I am truly grateful for being able to attend. I look forward to the story, the actors, and the beauty of our film to touch the audience as much as they have touched me.”

An Irish, Finnish and Danish co-production, My Sailor, My Love is produced by David Collins of Samson Films, Kai Nordberg and Kaarle Aho, and was shot on location in Co. Mayo, Ireland.

Pray For Our Sinners and My Sailor, My Love join an acclaimed roster of critically and commercially successful Irish films that have debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival in recent years including the Academy Award-nominated Wolfwalkers, Cathy Brady’s critically acclaimed feature debut Wildfire, and the BAFTA-nominated Calm With Horses.

The 47th Toronto International Film Festival takes place from the 8th – 18th September.

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