Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board (IFB) has announced the funding awards made by the IFB Board for the fourth quarter of 2016 across film, documentary and animation, in the categories of development, production and distribution.

A high-level breakdown of the figures sees €2,048,994 allocated for the period, with 50 projects sharing development funding of €689,250, 15 projects sharing production funding of €1,309,744 (with 3 non-defined commitment offers), and 4 projects sharing distribution funding of €50,000.

It is now more than a year since the IFB published its six point plan addressing gender imbalance in Irish film. This round of funding sees a notable increase in the amount of production funding being allocated to female-led projects, but there is still a major disparity in those receiving development funding.

Production Funding

Production funding represents the largest outlay for the IFB in every round of awards. Trish McAdam’s The End Of Romance is the single biggest recipient of funding, with a commitment of €450,000. The film is written by McAdam, and produced by Fleming Creative. The film is based on the life of Maud Gonne and WB Yeats in the period 1916-1918, and centres on the Bohemian revolutionary Maud Gonne, the visionary poet WB Yeats, and Maud’s impulsive 21-year-old daughter, Iseult, in an artistic and politically eccentric mother-daughter triangle of romance. In addition to the IFB the film has received funding from Creative Europe/Media Funding. It previously received a Provisional Offer of Commitment in the second quarter of 2016.

Two Fiction Feature films have received a Provisional Offer of Commitment in this round, Enda Loughman and Mike Ahern’s Extra Ordinary, and Neasa Hardiman’s Sea Fever. Extra Ordinary is being produced by Ailish Bracken and Katie Holly for Blinder Films. Sea Fever is being produced by Fantastic Films, and tells the story of a science student who finds herself isolated from her superstitious trawler crew as they struggle to overcome a deadly parasite in their water supply.

Three feature co-productions have also been awarded production funding. Canadian producer/director Pierre Even’s Birthmarked has been awarded €150,000. The film, which Even is producing with Susan Mullen of Parallel Film Productions, who he worked with on Brooklyn, is a comedy starring Toni Collette, Matthew Goode, Andreas Apergis, Michael Smiley, Fionnula Flanagan, and Suzanne Clément. Marc Tulin wrote the script, which sees two respected scientists quit their university jobs in 1977 to conduct an experiment they think will revolutionise understanding of human identity. €175,000 has been allocated for Norwegian director Anne Sewitsky’s Queen Of Ice. The film is a multinational co-production, with Ireland’s involvement coming from co-producers Subotica. Queen of Ice is a biopic of 1930’s Olympic Gold Medalist figure skater turned actress Sonja Henie, who provoked controversy for alleged Nazi sympathies. Director Sewitsky won the World Dramatic Narrative prize in Sundance for 2010’s Happy, Happy. The third co-production awarded funding is Jim O’Hanlon’s dramatisation of Jane Austen’s final (unfinished) novel, Sanditon. The film, which stars Charlotte Rampling, Holliday Grainger, and Max Irons, is co-produced by Jacqueline Kerrin and Dominic Wright for Ripple World Pictures. Dublin director O’Hanlon is no stranger to the work of Jane Austen, having directed the BBC mini-series of Emma in 2009. Sanditon follows the adventures of Charlotte Heywood, who is invited to spend the summer season at Sanditon. She accepts immediately, intrigued to see polite society at play in the newly fashionable sea bathing resort. Here she encounters a host of Austen-type characters.

Away from fictional narratives, the Irish Film Board also made production commitments of €100,000 to two documentaries; All The Numbers from Ross Whitaker (Unbreakable: The Mark Pollock Story) and Mothers & Sons from investigative journalist Sinead O’Shea.

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Seven feature films, either in production or awaiting release, received Additional Production Funding.

Lance Daly’s Black ’47, produced by Fastnet Films, received €150,000. It’s 1847 and Ireland is in the grip of the Great Famine that has ravaged the country for two long years. Feeney, a hardened Irish Ranger who has been fighting for the British Army abroad, abandons his post to return home and reunite with his estranged family. Black ’47 stars Hugo Weaving, Jim Broadbent, James Frecheville, Freddie Fox, Barry Keoghan, Moe Dunford, and Stephen Rea. The film received production funding of €750,000 earlier in 2016.

Pat Collins’ Song of Granite, produced byRoads Entertainment, received €75,000. The film is a biopic based on the life of Irish singer Joe Heaney (Seosamh Ó hÉanaí). Macdara Ó Fátharta, Michael O’Chonfhlaola, and Colm Seoighe portray Heaney at various stages in his life, which saw the singer move from Ireland to the UK, and on to New York City, where he settled shortly after performing at the Newport Folk Festival in 1965. Heaney is estimated to have recorded hundreds of Irish traditional (sean nós) songs. The Féile Chomórtha Joe Éinniú (Joe Heaney Commemorative Festival) is held every year in Carna, County Galway.

Haifaa Al Monsour’s Mary Shelley, co-produced by Parallel Films, received €25,944. The film is a biopic of Frankenstein author Mary Shelley, starring Elle Fanning, Douglas Booth, Bel Powley, Tom Sturridge, and Stephen Dillane. Teenager Mary dreams of writing but has yet to find inspiration. When she meets poet Percy Shelley, it is love at first sight. But Percy has his secrets, he is married with a child. Setting up home together, Mary soon becomes pregnant with Percy’s child, a daughter who tragically dies. Ostracised by polite society and grieving for their child, they escape from London and Percy introduces Mary to Lord Byron at his house in Lake Geneva. On a stormy night, Byron suggests they all write a ghost story. Mary gives birth to Frankenstein’s Monster. It is brilliant, but women don’t write books, and publishers won’t print them. And so Mary fights for her creature and her identity, all at the age of eighteen.

Barhat Nalluri’s The Man Who Invented Christmas, co-produced by Parallel Films, received €25,000. The film is scripted by Susan Coyle, based on the book by Les Standford, and tells the story of Charles Dickens writing of A Christmas Carol. The Irish Film Board committed €150,000 to the production in their last round of funding. Dan Stevens will play the young Dickens, with Christopher Plummer as Scrooge, and Jonathan Pryce as Dickens’ father.

Stephen Burke’s MAZE, produced by Mammoth Films, received €23,800. The film is based on the true story of the largest prison escape in UK history when 38 Irish Republican prisoners broke out of the Maze prison in Northern Ireland in 1983. The film is set to be a gripping portrait of two characters at the heart of an enduring conflict whose unlikely friendship holds the key to its eventual resolution. MAZE stars Tom Vaughan-Lawlor (Love/Hate) as Larry Marley, a member of the Provisional IRA member and one of the masterminds of the breakout, with the IFTA Rising Star nominated Barry Ward (Pursuit) as the warden and Eileen Walsh (Eden) as Marley’s wife. Martin McCann (The Survivalist) also features in the film.

Tom Collins’ Athrí/Penance received €20,000. The film tells the story of Father Eoin O’ Donnell, a young firebrand priest, who uses his influence over his parishioners, and in particular, a teenage boy called Antaine, to promote violence against the British in the lead-up to the 1916 Rising. O’Donnell and Antaine meet again in Derry in 1969 where both men are forced to re-examine their shared past and the deadly events that have been set in motion as a result.

Neasa Ní Chianáin and David Rane’s documentary In Loco Parentis, which is currently wowing at Sundance, received €15,000. The film, which is produced by Soilsiú Films, tells the story of Headfort, the last remaining boarding school for primary age children in Ireland.

Development Funding

Eleven films received Screenplay Development funding:

  • €16,000 was awarded to Darren Thornton and Colin Thornton to develop Here Comes The Night, which Darren (A Date for Mad Mary) will direct;
  • €16,000 was awarded to Niall Heery and Brendan Heery to develop Northern Light, which Niall (Gold) will direct;
  • €5,000 was awarded to Colm Cafferkey to develop Corkscrewed;
  • €12,000 was awarded to Andrew Meehan to develop The Mystery Of Love;
  • €12,000 was awarded to Kevin Godley to develop The Gate;
  • €6,000 was awarded to Christian O’Reilly to develop The Naked Superhero;
  • €12,000 was awarded to Geraldine Creed to develop Nobody’s Angel;
  • €12,000 was awarded to Mark Venner to develop Winston;
  • €12,000 was awarded to Gary Duggan to develop Paradigm;
  • €12,000 was awarded to Naomi Sheridan (In America) to develop Boxes;
  • and €12,000 was awarded to Michael Kinirons (Strangerland) to develop Blackbird.

Twenty-six films received Feature Development funding:

  • €26,000 was awarded to Michael Wilson from director Brian Kirk (Penny Dreadful) and writer Ronan Bennett, to be produced by Parallel Film Productions;
  • €23,500 was awarded to The Trainer from director Neil Jordan (Michael Collins) and writer David Donohue, to be produced by Kilspin;
  • €20,500 was awarded to Papi Chulo from writer/director John Butler (The Stag, Handsome Devil), to be produced by Treasure Entertainment;
  • €20,000 was awarded to Goliath from director Lorcan Finnegan (Without Name) and writer Garret Shanley, to be produced by Lovely Productions;
  • €16,500 was awarded to The Hole In The Ground from writer/director Lee Cronin (Ghost Train), to be produced by SP Films;
  • €14,750 was awarded to Clown Without Borders from director George Kane (Crashing) and writers Shane O’ Brien, James Walmsley and Demian Fox (aka Dead Cat Bounce), to be produced by Fastnet Films;
  • €14,500 was awarded to Girl From Mogadishu from writer/director Mary McGuckian (The Price of Desire), to be produced by EG Film Productions;
  • €13,500 was awarded to Faith from writer/director Brendan Muldowney (Love Eternal, Pilgrimage), to be produced by SP Films;
  • €12,800 was awarded to Metal Heart from director Hugh O’Connor (Children & Animals) and writer Paul Murray, to be produced by Treasure Entertainment;
  • €11,650 was awarded to Hamelin from writer/director David Gleeson (Cowboys & Angels), to be produced by Wide Eye Films;
  • €11,250 was awarded to Charlotte from writer Janice Margolis, to be produced by Treasure Entertainment;
  • €10,700 was awarded to Tyger, Tyger from writer/director Mark Noonan (You’re Ugly Too), to be produced by SP Films;
  • €10,550 was awarded to The Life And Sort Of Death Of Eric Argyle from writer Ross Dungan, to be produced by Tilted Pictures;
  • €10,500 was awarded to The Dead Spit Of Kelly from director Iain Softley (Inkheart) and writer Johnny Ferguson, to be produced by Grand Pictures;
  • €10,450 was awarded to The Cellist from writer/director Michael Kinirons (Strangerland) and writer Fergal Rock, to be produced by John Kelleher Media;
  • €10,200 was awarded to Midnight Choir from director Mark Noonan (You’re Ugly Too) and writer Glenn Montgomery, to be produced by Fastnet Films;
  • €9,600 was awarded to Keep It Country from director Ciaran O’Connor (Secret Billionaire: The Chuck Feeney Story) and writer Steven Goldsmith, to be produced by New Decade Film & TV;
  • €9,350 was awarded to Travelling Companion from writer/director Virginia Gilbert (A Long Way from Home), to be produced by Blinder Films;
  • €9,300 was awarded to Writ In Water from writer/director Liam Gavin (A Dark Song), to be produced by Samson Films;
  • €8,000 was awarded to Dark Lies The Island from director Ian Fitzgibbon (The Runway) and writer Kevin Barry, to be produced by Grand Pictures;
  • €8,000 was awarded to Siberia from director Andreas Dalsgaard (The War Show) and writer Glen Montgomery, to be produced by SP Films;
  • €7,800 was awarded to RPG from writer/director Niall Heery (Gold) and writer Brendan Heery, to be produced by Subotica;
  • €7,750 was awarded to Vivarium from director Lorcan Finnegan (Without Name) and writer Garret Shanley, to be produced by Fantastic Films;
  • €7,700 was awarded to Here Are The Young Men from writer/director Eoin Macken (The Green Rabbit & The Ice Cream Girl), to be produced by Five Knight Films;
  • €6,750 was awarded to The Superluminal Communicator from writer/director Andrew Legge (The Girl with the Mechanical Maiden) and writers Henrietta and Jessica Ashworth, to be produced by Roads Entertainment;
  • and €6,300 was awarded to I Found My Tribe from writer Ruth Fitzmaurice, to be produced by Element Pictures.

Five projects were awarded Animation development funding:

  • €50,000 was awarded to Oops 2 from directors Sean McCormack and Toby Genkel, and writers Mark Hodkinson and Richie Conroy, to be produced by Moetion Films;
  • €20,000 was awarded to Snoozeville from director Chris Dicker and writer Alan Shannon, to be produced by Jam Media;
  • €17,400 was awarded to The Bright Side from writer/director Ruth Meehan and writer Jean Pasley, to be produced by Get Go Films;
  • €15,000 was awarded to Clementine from writer/director Andrew Legge and writer Islay Bell-Webb, to be produced by Restoration Films;
  • and €11,800 was awarded to Backwater from writer Mike Murray, to be produced by Spencer Street Productions.

Six Documentary Development awards of €15,000 each were made to

  • Mark McLoughlin for Funmilao Ransome-Kuti: Mother Of Africa, to be produced by Bang Bang Teo;
  • Ciaran Cassidy for Screamers, to be produced by Roads Entertainment;
  • Paul Duane for Fat Whites Go Home, to be produced by Screenworks;
  • Kim Longinotto for Shooting The Mafia, to be produced by Lunar Pictures;
  • Seamus Murphy for I Is Who I Amn’t, to be produced by Areaman Productions;
  • and Donald Taylor Black for Emmett Grogan: This Is Somebody, to be produced by Poolbeg Productions.

Away from film, two International Television Development awards were made of €20,000 to Simon Barry and Sebastian de Souza for The Gulliver Curse, to be produced by Subotica; and €20,150 to Marcus Fleming for Columbus, to be produced by Black Sheep Productions.

Distribution Funding

On the distribution front, a Direct Distribution award of €15,000 was made to Snapshot Pictures to help the release of  Johnny O’Reilly’s Moscow Never Sleeps; while Distribution Support was provided to Wildcard Distribution for the releases of Sean O’Cualain’s documentary Crash & Burn (€15,000); Billy O’Brien’s supernatural-thriller I Am Not A Serial Killer (€15,000); and Pierre Van De Pue’s documentary The Land Of the Enlightened (€5,000).

Visit the IFB website for a full list of projects in receipt of funding.

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