Underground Cinema has announced its line-up for the 6th Underground Cinema Film Festival, to be held in the Royal Marine Hotel in Dun Laoghaire from September 10th to 13th. The festival, which is dedicated to independent film, will feature a host of homegrown talent, Irish feature films and a large selection of shorts from around the world.
The festival opens with Gerard Walsh’s microbudget Irish drama A Day Like Today, at 5.30pm on September 10th. The film, which was made on a budget of just €450, tells the story of a chance meeting between a homeless man and a woman in an unhappy marriage, following the pair as they delve deeper and deeper into their pasts. The cast includes Paul Butler Lennox, Andie McCaffrey Byrne, Brian Fortune, Darragh O’Toole, Richard Mason, Tristan Heanue, and Tiny James.
That is followed by Darragh Clancy’s low-budget Irish horror/comedy Skeleton Krew, at 8.30pm. The film takes place over a 12 hour period in a factory on the outskirts of Dublin facing imminent closure. During the course of the night the staff find themselves falling prey to a mysterious masked killer who begins to brutally dispatch them in a variety of gruesome and increasingly inventive ways. Skeleton Krew is the feature debut for writer/director Clancy, and features Wes Doyle (Fair City), David O’ Neil (Portrait of a Zombie), and Shane O’ Neill (The Runway).
Friday, September 11th, sees 6 feature films play, as well as 3 short film programmes featuring Irish and international talent. The day begins at 1pm with a free screening of The Second Coming Volume 1, directed by Richard Wolsencroft, the festival director of the Melbourne Underground Film Festival. The film is a collection of seven shorts, each reflecting on elements of the famous W.B. Yeats poem of the same name.
Ian Ruby’s debut independent Irish feature Dead Dogs plays at 2.30pm. The film was shot over 13 days in 2013 and had its world premiere at a sold out screening during the 2014 IndieCork Film Festival. It follows a man attempting to reconnect with his estranged family, who live in fear of his violent outbursts. Meanwhile his neighbour longs to get away from his miserable home life and from the clutches of a brutal gangster. The cast is made up of Karol Mann O’Connor, Irene Kelleher, Shane Doonan, Lochlainn McKenna, and Martina Carroll, with Rob O’ Halloran as director of photography and music from North Side Drive and The Mandalagon Project. O’ Halloran and director Ruby acted as producers on the film.
American director Jimmie Gonzalez’ psychological thriller The Red Man plays at 3pm. The film sees a successful DJ living in a trendy apartment building learn that his psychiatrist and new neighbor may be involved in a secret society plot drugging and killing fellow celebrity tenants.
Writer/director Stephen Gaffney’s Bully follows at 4.30pm. The film follows Karl, a sixth year student preparing to sit his Leaving Cert exams, who becomes the target of a gang of bullies. With no support from his family and no friends to turn to, Karl falls victim to the psychological manipulation of a school teacher and soon turns to social media as a form of escapism where he develops an online friendship with a woman. The principal cast of Bully includes Ciaran MacCabe (Two Hearts), Kieran O’Reilly (Love/Hate), James Ward (Love/Hate), Chelsea O’Connor (Jimmy’s Hall), and Aislinn Ni Uallachain (Impetuous). They are supported by Dean Sherlock, George Bracebridge, Justine O’Rourke, Aaron Blake, Saoirse Doyle, Sandra Hayden Mason, Olivia Fahy, and Richard Mason.
Belguim’s Guido de Craene brings 46 XX to Dun Laoghaire at 5.15pm. A far cry from the town’s iconic 46A bus this film sees a young nurse flip out when she finds out that her boyfriend has cheated on her. She loses her relationship, home and job and uses her body to take revenge on men.
Friday finishes with the inaugural One Minute Short Film Competition, and a Predator themed night which includes a screening of John McTiernan’s classic 1987 action film, starring Arnold Schwarznegger leading a team of commandos on a mission in a Central American jungle who find themselves hunted by an extra-terrestrial warrior.
Saturday, September 12th, follows Friday’s lead and also features 6 full-length films and 3 short programmes. The day starts at 2pm with the Dublin premiere of Paddy Slattery’s Sojourn. The film is a visual, musical and poetic meditation, about a writer named Aedh (Tristan Heanue) who finds a new muse. Her name is Aislinn (Nichola MacEvilly); a beautiful, playful and mischievous distraction. He falls in love hard but with his ordered lifestyle he soon struggles to quench her insatiable desires. We follow Aedh through the emotional highs and devastating lows of his sojourn. Containing two chapters, Sojourn features originally penned poetry by Slattery himself which are narrated by songwriter Brendan Graham; along side an originally composed score by Dave McCune and cinematography by Gerard Walsh.
At 3pm Diare McNab’s The Three Sisters plays the Martello Suite. Filmed in Dublin between 2012 and last summer, The Three Sisters is a micro-budget production entirely funded by McNab himself. It stars Elliot Moriarty (A Nightingale Falling), Gillian Walsh (The Gingerbread Men) and Neill Fleming (The Hit Producer), and features a soundtrack by Repeated Viewing, with further tracks provided by Irish artists Róisín O and Tandem Felix. The film also features horror film legend Giovanni Lombardo Radice (Cannibal Apocalypse, The Omen remake) as a special guest star.
Saturday features a free screening of Irish documentary Croí an Cladaig at 3.30pm. The film, which featured at the Galway Film Fleadh, follows the building of a new Galway Hooker, the first of its type to be built in Galway city since 1922. An iconic boat, the Galway Hooker was a traditional fishing boat, also often used to carry turf across Galway Bay from Connemara, to the Burren and the Aran Islands. Stunning scenery, traditional Sean Nós singing and dancing and inspirational characters make this story a truly emotional journey for the audience, showing the true heart of Galway. Croí an ?ladai? – “Heart of the Claddagh” — is now a regular sight in the Claddagh and Galway Bay. It is a credit to those who keep this wonderful tradition alive
Ferdia McAnna brings his debut feature All About Eva to the festival at 5pm. This old school thriller, which premiered at the Jameson Founded in 2003, the Dublin International Film Festival sets the agenda of the year with its programme of outstanding Irish and international film. earlier this year, is the story of a resilient and alluring young female jockey, who infiltrates the stables of Pope Healy, a wealthy racing magnate. Commissioned by Kildare County Council and shot on location in Athy, the film stars Sue Walsh, Liam Quinlivan, and Jill Bradbury.
American crime comedy Why Do You Smell Like The Ocean plays at 6pm. The film, which is written and directed by Kevin Baggott, tells the story of a New York City homicide detective’s fall from grace after working 20 years on the streets of NYC.
Saturday ends with a cult themed night, based around a screening of George Miller’s summer hit Mad Max: Fury Road, starting at 8.30pm. Years after the collapse of civilization, the tyrannical Immortan Joe enslaves apocalypse survivors inside the desert fortress the Citadel. When the warrior Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron) leads the despot’s five wives in a daring escape, she forges an alliance with Max Rockatansky (Tom Hardy),a loner and former captive. Fortified in the massive, armored truck the War Rig, they try to outrun the ruthless warlord and his henchmen in a deadly high-speed chase through the Wasteland.
Sunday, September 13th, is the last day of the festival, and sees 8 feature films, two short programmes, and the end of festival Awards Ceremony. The day starts at 12pm with multi-national docu-drama Gazelle – The Love Issue. The film follows Paulo, a 45-year-old Brazilian flight attendant. He is internationally famous in the after-hours world for the fabulous persona he has worked tirelessly to create, his artistic alter-ego, Gazelle. Paulo is HIV+ but never got sick before and now he sees his own life is in danger for the first time.
1pm brings the Festival Director’s Choice. This year festival director Dave Byrne has chosen Sidney Lumet‘s Dog Day Afternoon, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary. Based on a true 1972 story, the film chronicles a unique bank robbery on a hot summer afternoon in New York City. Shortly before closing time, scheming loser Sonny (Al Pacino) and his slow-witted buddy, Sal (John Cazale), burst into a Brooklyn bank for what should be a run-of-the-mill robbery, but everything goes wrong, beginning with the fact that there is almost no money in the bank.
That is followed at 2pm by Rafael Escolar’s Adagio. Winner of Best Director & Best Cinematography in a Narrative Feature at the Queens World Film Festival New York, the film is the story of Pascual, who after the death of his mother is sent to a mental health residence. This new place is just temporary for him, since Pascual is convinced that his older brother, Gerardo will come for him. Time goes by, and Gerardo’s visit gets delayed. Pascual’s hopes start fading in the routine of his life there. In his therapy, Pascual meets Leila, an old resident whom he will start a naive and surreal relationship. A new scope of emotions he never experienced before, will make Pascual start doubting about the temporariness of his stay in the residence.
3.30pm brings the welcome return of last years Filmbase Masters produced film Poison Pen to Dublin screens. The film follows washed-up author PC Molloy who is forced to write for April Devereaux’s gossip magazine Poison Pen. He becomes caught up in a world of stars and their secrets and is soon in danger of becoming a celebrity himself. With the spotlight turning to Molloy, he struggles to keep his own secrets off the front page. The romantic comedy stars Lochlann O Mearain (The O’Briens) alongside Aoibhinn McGinnity (Love/Hate) in the leading roles, in addition to Lauryn Canny (A Thousand Times Goodnight, Amber), Susan Loughnane (The Food Guide To Love, Love/Hate), Paul Ronan (One Hundred Mornings), Aaron Heffernan (Obama Mia, Love/Rosie), and Mary Murray (Magdalene Sisters).
A special screening of Joel Schumacher’s Veronica Guerin follows at 5pm. Actor Gerard McSorley will attend the screening to talk about before the film about his work throughout the years.
A pair of American films screen at 5.30pm and 5.45pm. The first is crime thriller Gang Money Run, which follows a struggling musician who falls for a charismatic burlesque dancer while getting entangled with hired guns and a border town gang bent on killing him. The second is writer/director Graham Streeter’s Imperfect Sky. The film sees estranged brothers reunite. The younger, a 16-year old on the fast track to college with his entire life ahead of him. The older, a 21-year old heroin addict and street hustler who’s settled for rock bottom.
The festival closes with the annual awards ceremony and a screening of Alan Walsh’s Spider’s Trap. An independent Irish production written and directed by Dubliner Walsh (What If), the film features a quality cast including Simon Delaney (Delivery Man), Liam Carney (Gangs of New York), Sarah Carroll (Love/Hate), Glen Baker, Alan Sherlock, Dermot Magennis, Jane Elizabeth Walsh and newcomer Aislí Moran (Noble). The story sees Steve Wilson (Baker), a former criminal with a talent for cracking safes, finally get his chance to make things right. As he sits on the edge of a record deal, childhood friend and brutal manipulator Jack Spider (Sherlock) delivers an ultimatum to drag Steve back to a life he left behind. Tense, fast-paced and frightening, the film delivers a fresh take on film noir.
The festival also features various different workshops and panel discussions. This years workshops will feature a talk on Section 481 of the Taxes Consolidation Act provides for corporation tax relief for investment in films by companies up to 32% of eligible Irish expenditure. by producer John Phealan, Acting for Camera by John Dawson, and a Screen Writing Workshop with Ferdia MacAnna.
A champion of emerging filmmakers, Underground Cinema has the belief that no matter what the film’s budget or the director’s vision it’s the filmmakers passion that drives a film. Festival passes and tickets are on sale now from UCFF.ie