Everyone knows about the big films in Ireland. Generally they know about the ones with stars such as Liam Neeson, Gabriel Byrne (although somewhat less so in recent years) or Brendan Gleeson in them. This is not said to disparage their work, more to highlight the difficulties faced by lower budget films or films by lesser known filmmakers to get noticed here. I thought it might be interesting to take a look at 5 films that I am personally interested in seeing this year that you may or may not have heard of yet. These all have the potential to break out and become a hit. Indeed there is much buzz on the festival circuit about some of these films already that it seems likely that at least one two of them might have a decent run at the box office. This to some degree is the whole philosophy behind writing this blog, to try and raise awareness of the types of films that the general public may not usually get to see in any given year. Of note about these films is that there is a dark and hopeless feeling to most which may well reflect the times we live in at this moment.
This barren and apocalyptic vibed horror received its world premiere at the prestigious SXSW film festival in Austin, Texas. It has now won the best Irish first feature at the Galway Film Fleadh and the best film award at the Neuchâtel International Fantastic Film Festival Filmed on location in Glasgow and Dublin, Ciaran Foy’s film tells the story of a housing estate abandoned by society and the young people left there who have turned feral. They kidnap a young girl and are relentlessly pursued by her father. The film looks ferocious and from the trailer it looks like it cost a bit more than it actually did. Irish people may be interested in a film that intentionally or otherwise reflects our society. Maybe a reflection of our very own ghost estates anyone?
This is a film that really interests me. Perhaps the least known of the films on the list but with a trailer as good as this it surely won’t stay that way for long. Directed by Shaun Ryan and staring Eoin Quinn, Limp tells the story of a relationship told through the eyes of a man whose brain has been diseased by loneliness and isolation. A film that has the potential to be that rarity for Irish film these days: a contemporary dark adult drama for a grown up audience. If it lives up to the beautiful trailer, this could be something special. It is expected to be released during the Summer of 2012.
'Limp' Trailer. from Jack Shepherd. on Vimeo.
Ok, so most of you will have heard of Kirsten Sheridan. She is not exactly an unknown in the film world. But her film, set in contemporary Dublin, recently showed at the Berlin Film Festival and marks it as one to look out for. A story of a home invasion by a gang of crazed youths, Sheridan’s film looks set to be big this year. Sheridan is an interesting filmmaker, with Disco Pigs establishing her as such. She was also nominated for an Oscar for the screenplay for In America. Already doing interesting things in Ireland with the setting up of The Factory in Dublin it looks like Dollhouse could be a successful film for her this year.
- Charlie Casanova
Regular readers of my blog will know that Charlie Casanova featured on my 10 reasons to be optimistic in 2012 blog piece. The terrific trailer and the confident and aggressive feel of the film made me sit up and take notice. This rarely happens for films made in Ireland. Cinema distribution has already been secured in the UK and Ireland. Premiering at the SXSW festival last year before winning awards at the Galway Film Fleadh and then nominated at the IFTAs, Charlie Casanova has the potential to be a hit, but also the potential to divide audiences. And with most films playing it safe in the current climate, this is no bad thing.
This film is perhaps best set to be a big international hit when it comes out. Set on the fictional Erin Island off the coast of Ireland, the very witty premise of a town of people who have to be drunk to survive an alien monster invasion is just too good. The wonderfully silly reason is that their blood will be so toxic from the alcohol that they won’t be eaten. Grabbers looks set to carry on the fine tradition of horror comedies such as Tremors and that is no bad comparison to be made. It premiered in Sundance this year and already seems destined to be a cult classic. Released in cinemas in Ireland August 10th.This is my list. Now it is over to you. Please let me know if any other Irish films out there have your pulses racing this year.