Occasionally we miss a good news story about Irish films and/or Irish talent. One we missed recently was Tom Vaughan-Lawlor winning best actor at the Festival International du Film d’Aubagne in France for his leading role in Stephen Burke’s Maze.
Based on the true story of the 1983 mass break-out of 38 IRA prisoners from HMP Maze high-security prison in Northern Ireland. As Larry Marley (Tom Vaughan-Lawlor), the chief architect of the escape, schemes his way towards pulling off this feat, he comes into contact with prison warder, Gordon Close (Barry Ward). Initially Larry and Gordon are confirmed enemies, born on opposite sides of Northern Ireland’s political divide, but when Larry realises that Gordon may be unwittingly useful for his escape plan, a slow seduction begins. Larry intends to use and manipulate Gordon in order to get closer to his goal but what follows is a tense, and intriguing drama in which an unlikely relationship is forged between two enemies that will have far reaching consequences for both of them.
The film shot for four weeks at the recently decommissioned Cork prison and around Cork City, before moving to Sweden. The film is written and directed by Stephen Burke, no stranger to Cork as a previous two time first prize winner of the Cork International Film Festival with his early short films, After ’68 and ’81.
Maze is produced by Jane Doolan of Mammoth Films and Brendan J Byrne of Cyprus Avenue Films. Maze has been developed with funding from Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board, Northern Ireland Screen, Film Vast, RTE, and BAI, with both Cork County Council and Cork County Council Arts Offices providing regional support.
The Festival International du Film d’Aubagne, which is organised by the ALCIME association, is dedicated to the promotion of young cinematographic creation and music composition for film.
Maze is available now on DVD and to stream on Netflix.