Irish talent at London Film Festival


David Hennessy shouts “Action!” on a feature that shines the spotlight on Irish film-making talent… 

Rising stars of the Irish film business record fourteen Irish films in this year’s BFI London Film Festival is reflective of exciting times for the Irish film industry. Despite a harsh economic climate, talent and creativity are evident from our writers, directors and actors. In fact, in some cases, the hard times have inspired film’s subjects like with Foxes , a short psychological thriller showing in next week’s London showcase which is set on the kind of ghost estate now common in Ireland. You could say this celluloid revolution in the Emerald Isle began when Ken Loach’s The Wind That Shook The Barley won The Palm d’Or, the biggest award at the Cannes Film Festival, back in 2006. All of a sudden film makers from further field were looking to Ireland, and not just Dublin, for their locations. In more recent times, the BBC and even Bollywood have recog nised the advantages of shooting in Ireland. Forthcoming thrillers from the beeb, The Fall and Ripper Street were shot in Belfast and Dublin respectively while August saw the release of Dublin shot Eck Tha Tiger while shooting has already commenced on another Bollywood film, David this time in Northern Ireland. The tax breaks Ireland has to offer these production companies, combined with skilled labour that is second to none make it a very attractive proposition for any shoot. Last month we saw three Irish films in Film 4’s Frightfest with Stitches and Grabbers taking home awards. When asked if this was indicative of exciting times for Irish screen, Eoin Macken, director of The Inside , was unequivocal in his response: “It’s great to see Irish people move to the US, the UK and get work, then bring that experience and knowledge back home. Look at Seamus McGarvey and people like that.” There was a time when Irish film and TV was second to British which was in turn second to the US, Eoin went on to point out they are now very much all on the same level. With all that in mind, we pick out of the names to watch out for in coming years. Already known to different degrees, we wouldn’t be surprised if an Academy Award comes the way of some of those listed below… 
Robert Sheehan
Young, gifted and Jack An Irish film creating much of the excitement ahead of London Film Festival is What Richard Did and much of it is down to the incredible and mature performance of 
Jack Reynor. Although just 20 years old, Jack has already impressed in Kirsten Sheridan’s Dollhouse , a film has impressed the critics and won Jack and his fellow cast members an award at the Odessa Film Festival in Ukraine. In Lenny Abrahamson, Jack was working with another of Ireland’s strongest film makers and while the director of films Adam & Paul and The Garage put his faith in mostly young and unproven talent, it is a gamble that pays of spectacularly. So impressive is his performance that Reynor has now joined the likes of Ben Affleck, Christian Bale, Danny Boyle and Steve Buscemi on the books of VWE Talent Agency. Although Jack has been unable to say much about it, it is also understood that he will be working with some “massive” names on his next project. He is one to watch out for. 
Sheehan things through Portlaoise’s Robert Sheehan has been heavily tipped for big things since he came to prominence as Nathan in Channel 4’s Misfits . Caustic and quick witted, Nathan got all the best lines and Sheehan delivered them so well. Departing after series 2, the supernatural young drama/ comedy is poorer for his absence. Since then Nathan has acted alongside Pete Postlethwaite in Killing Bono and Sean Bean, David Morris – 
sey and Paddy Considine in Red Riding and never looked out of place. Coming up he will share the screen with Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Aidan Turner in The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones . We wouldn’t be surprised if he outshone both with his performance and landed several larger Hollywood roles as a result. 
John Michael McDonagh
Sibling rivalry His brother Martin’s Seven Psychopaths is one of the most eagerly awaited films in the BFI London Film Festival but as The Guard was one of the best films of last year, we can’t wait to see what John Michael 
McDonagh comes up with next. Calvary sees him teaming up with Brendan Gleeson once again while Chris O’Dowd, Elaine Cassidy and Aidan Gillen among the supporting cast. But that is not all we have to look forward to from this film maker as he is also developing One is War on Everyone , a film about two corrupt policemen in the Deep South, a period gangster film called The Bonnot Gang and Chaos Inc , a television series about a Buddhist private investigator based in Las Vegas. 
Keeping family tradition All the hype is about Domhnall Gleeson right now and for good reason as he has already appeared in several Hollywood productions including the Coen brothers’ True Grit remake and Dredd but there is another Gleeson who should be watched out for. Brian has already appeared in Snow White and The Huntsman but his upcoming roles see him appearing alongside Fionnuala Flannagan, Aidan Quinn and Mad Men ’s Jessica Pare. Since talent so obviously seems to run in the family, we will be keeping our eyes on him from here. Turn to page 27 for our coverage of next week’s BFI London Film Festival with interviews with many of the directors, writers, actors and actresses.

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