Great news today for Irish film with the announcement that Fastnet Films’ Black ’47 has been selected to World Premiere out of competition at the 68th Berlin International Film Festival (Berlinale). The festival is scheduled to take place from the 15th to the 25th of February.

The film, which is an action movie set during the Great Irish Famine, stars Hugo Weaving (Hacksaw RidgeThe Lord of the RingsThe Matrix and Transformersfranchises) and Jim Broadbent, (Oscar® winner for Iris) and the prolific Irish screen and stage actor Stephen Rea (The Crying Game, Michael Collins, Interview with the Vampire).

Black ’47 will join films by Wes Anderson and Gus Van Sant at this years festival and now follows major Irish films such as Jim Sheridan’s The Boxer, Neil Jordan’s The Butcher Boy and John Michael McDonagh’s The Guard to have premiered at the festival.

It’s an honour to be premiering Black 47 at one of the world’s most prestigious festivals, alongside truly great filmmakers.  There’s a strong history of major films launching in Berlin and we can’t wait for the world to see this epic Irish famine story.
Macdara Kelleher, Managing Director – Fastnet Films

Black ’47 sees Weaving and Broadbent joined by other international talent including James Frecheville who starred in the critically acclaimed Animal Kingdom and The Drop with Tom Hardy and Freddie Fox who was recently seen in Guy Ritchie’s King Arthur: Legend of the Sword.

The film also has a strong young Irish cast including Barry Keoghan (Dunkirk, The Killing of a Sacred Deer), Moe Dunford (Vikings, Patrick’s Day) and Sarah Greene (Noble, Penny Dreadful).

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.

He’s seen more than his share of horrors, but nothing prepares him for the famine’s hopeless destruction of his homeland that has brutalised his people and where there seems to be no law and order. He discovers his mother starved to death and his brother hanged by the brutal hand of the English. With little else to live for, he sets a destructive path to avenge his family. Hannah, an ageing British soldier and famed tracker of deserters, is sent to stop Feeney before he can further stoke the fires of revolution.

But Hannah and Feeney are old army comrades, forged by their time fighting together. Personal bonds and shifting allegiances cause both men to question their motives, as they are tested to the limit by the hellish landscape of ‘The Great Hunger’.

Black ’47 is directed by Lance Daly, one of Ireland’s most acclaimed directors, whose previous films includeLife’s a Breeze which premiered at Toronto Film Festival. His breakout feature Kisses was named the Best Feature Film at the Galway Film Fleadh, Foyle and Miami film festivals, was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award and the Golden Leopard at Locarno.  It became the highest grossing Irish film of the year and Lance picked up Best Director at the IFTA’s. Lance was winner of the Galway Film Fleadh’s Bingham Ray New Talent Award (2013).

The screenplay is written by PJ Dillon (Rewind), Pierce Ryan (Standby), Eugene O’Brien (Eden) and Lance Daly (Life’s a Breeze, Kisses).

Black ’47 was produced by Macdara Kelleher whose credits include Strangerland starring Nicole Kidman, Lance Daly’s KissesWhat If starring Daniel Radcliffe, Urszula Antoniak’s Nothing Personal, and Rebecca Daly’s The Other Side of Sleep. Kelleher recently produced The Professor and the Madman with Mel Gibson and Sean Penn. He is co-founder of Dublin-based Fastnet Films with Lance Daly and Morgan Bushe.

The film was also produced by Tim O’Hair, Arcadiy Golubovich and Jonathan Loughran with financing from Primemeridian Entertainment, the Irish Film Board, the Luxembourg Film Fund, Wildcard Distribution, Altitude, BAI, TV3, Eurimages, Umedia, Samsa Films and Fastnet Films.

Black ’47 will be brought to Irish cinemas by Wildcard Distribution later this year.

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