Irish film Darkness on the Edge of Town, the Neo-Western drama written and directed by Patrick Ryan, has been selected to play in competition at the 21st Slamdance Film Festival, which takes place in Park City, Utah this coming January. Darkness was chosen from thousands of entries as one of only eleven feature films set to play the fiercely contested Narrative Competition. The renowned festival will mark the film’s US/International premiere.

Running concurrent to Sundance, the Slamdance Film Festival has grown to become one of the most significant festivals in the world, with a heavy focus on discovering new, unique filmmakers through high levels of industry attention. Films are programmed for their originality and innovation, with the Narrative Competition comprising first features made by independent directors. Previous filmmakers to debut at Slamdance include Christopher Nolan (Interstellar), Bong Joon-­-ho (Snowpiercer) and Lena Dunham (Girls). Darkness on the Edge of Town marks the first independently funded Irish feature to be programmed in the festival’s two decade history, and will be one of only two European features playing in competition.

Starring Emma Eliza Regan, Emma Willis and Brian Gleeson, the multi-­-award winning script was produced by Lagoon Pictures through crowdfunding and was shot entirely in Kerry. The film tells the story of a troubled teenage sharpshooter who strives to avenge the death of her estranged sister, blind to the fact that the killer is her best and only friend. A contemporary Western with art house sensibilities, Darkness on the Edge of Towntakes the form of a classical tragedy, exploring the limits of revenge, family and friendship.

Premiering at the Galway Film Fleadh in July, Darkness on the Edge of Town has recently completed a highly successful national festival run. We saw it at the Underground Cinema Film Festival and were impressed with the visual style and tension in the film.

Speaking about the selection, Writer/Director Patrick Ryan says, “Slamdance is a perfect fit for us, a festival that thrives on independence and originality. I hoped Darkness’ story would travel and resonate with international audiences, but to have it embraced like this on such a competitive, high profile platform is a real validation. It’s an honour. We’re thrilled to fly the flag in the US and continue what has been a fantastic year for Irish film.”

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