Rediscover Film in DC

Upcoming Washington showcase for NI filmmakers

It may have been the weather. It could have been the less than picturesque urban landscape. It might even have had something to do with thirty years of the Troubles.

No matter the reasoning, the fact remains. When it came to scouting for locations and searching for new talent, NI was pretty much the bottom of the filmmaking barrel.

Slowly but very surely, however, the silver screen is starting to be filled with NI films, NI directors, producers and big-budget movies, filmed on location across the province.

Heather Graham was recently snapped in Belfast filming for Buy, Borrow Or Steal while Vinnie Jones, Lennox Lewis and Samantha Mumba took to the city during the filming of gangster movie Johnny Was.

Along with the recent decision by Tom Hanks’ production company PlayTone Productions to use the Paint Hall Studios at Titanic Quarter to shoot its $50million children’s feature film City of Ember, it seems that NI has become hot filmic property.

With feature films like Terry Loane’s Mickeybo & Me causing widespread interest, nominations pouring in for films from the province, and IFTA winning cinematographer Seamus McGarvey making it big on the international stage, the NI film industry is beginning to flex its muscles.

In recognition of this, the Northern Ireland Film and TV Commission (NIFTC) is taking a wealth of films out to DC this Spring, to be screened at the American Film Institute’s Silver Theater and Cultural Center between May 31 – June 5.

Here is a full list of the NI films that will be travelling to Washington this spring as part of the Rediscover NI programme.

Titanic Town
Titanic Town is Belfast City, here beset by the daily political strife of the early 1970s that was The Troubles. Julie Walters gives a stirring performance as a housewife who lost a loved one to IRA crossfire. With her neighbourhood under constant harassment from the British Army, she naïvely becomes a voice for the fledgling peace movement. Director Roger Mitchell (Notting Hill) blends sly humor into this gripping drama, based on the novel by Mary Costello.

Mickeybo & Me
Based on Owen McCafferty’s award-winning play Mojo Mickybo, the film tells the story of two Belfast boys from opposite backgrounds, one Catholic, the other Protestant, who become friends during the beginning of the Troubles in 1970. Their shared obsession with the film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, which they view repeatedly by sneaking into the local cinema, leads them to several 'outlaw' adventures of their own, including running away across Northern Ireland and planning an escape to faraway Australia. Produced by Andrew Bonner. Directed by Terry Loane.

Shellshock Rock
Charting the creative explosion of punk music during the Troubles in 1970s Belfast, documentary film maker John T Davis captures the bands behind the Good Vibrations record label, including the legendary Stiff Little Fingers and the meteroric rise and fall of The Undertones. 

Teenage Kicks: The Undertones
The story of legendary proto-punk band The Undertones, as told by radio personality and No.1 fan, John Peel, from their formation in Derry to their rise to fame with seminal LP Teenage Kicks, through their rancorous split and tentative reunion. Directed by Tim Collins.

The Mighty Celt
Gillian Anderson stars as a single mother raising a young teenage son desperately seeking a father figure. Newcomer Tyrone McKenna shines as son Donal, who through his fascination with greyhound racing, befriends kindly kennel-keeper Ken Stott, while a man from his mother’s past, mysterious Robert Carlyle, represents another kind of influence. Written and directed by Pearse Elliott.

The Crying Game
Fifteen years ago, Neil Jordan’s The Crying Game propelled an ingenious and unprecedented plot twist into a word-of-mouth sensation, becoming a sleeper hit and culminating in six Oscar nominations and a Best Screenplay win for Jordan. IRA grunt Stephen Rea has a bonding experience with his British soldier hostage Forest Whittaker. Later, Rea finds himself becoming involved with Whitaker’s girlfriend, calling into question his identity, as well as hers. Miranda Richardson dazzles as an icy IRA enforcer, intent on testing Rea’s loyalties. Written and directed by Neil Jordan.

Breakfast On Pluto
Cillian Murphy shines in Neil Jordan’s Candide-like tale set during the 1960s and 1970s in Ireland and England. As Patrick 'Kitten' Braden, Murphy grows from a foundling in small-town Ireland into a female impersonator in London, relying on his wit and good heart in ever-harsher circumstances, ultimately learning that sometimes you can go home again. A fanciful, colourful epic that manages to be both pointedly political and lightly comic, with high-spirited performances from Liam Neeson, Brendan Gleeson and Gavin Friday. Written and directed Neil Jordan. Based on the novel by Pat McCabe.

When zealous young priest Matthew MacFadyen (Pride and Prejudice) returns to his Irish hometown from missionary work abroad, he begins an aggressive campaign for church-going and pub-avoiding, throwing him into conflict with his pub-owner brother and independent-minded sister-in-law. Gerard McSorley (The Constant Gardener) is the father torn by his love for two warring sons in this neo-Gothic thriller, reminiscent of the psychological Westerns of Anthony Mann. Directed by Brian Kirk.

Directed by Northern Irish Booker Prize-nominated novelist Bernard MacLaverty and based on a poem by Nobel laureate Seamus Heaney, Bye-Child casts a critical eye on Irish family life as the discovery of a wild child, kept in a garden shed, exposes the hypocrisies of a rural Irish family.  

An extraordinarily sensitive examination of the Real IRA’s bombing in the border town of Omagh in 1998, written and produced by Paul Greengrass (United 93). Gerard McSorley gives a powerful performance as the leader of the victims’ families, seeking justice in the delicate political climate of the early days after the peace treaty. Directed by Pete Tavis.

Tell It To The Fishes
A Beckett-like black comedy, featuring Gerard McSorley and comedian Dylan Moran as two small-time crooks standing on a beach in concrete boots, as the tide is coming in. Written and directed by William Sinclair.