Set to premiere at the inaugural IndieCork Film Festival in County Cork, Ireland on October 19 at 7pm, Sodium Party is an experimental non-linear thriller set between both modern day and the protagonist’s childhood.
Claire (Slaine Kelly) is a girl whose childhood was sheltered by a controlling mother. After the deaths of her parents, she leaves for college and the life she never experienced. A new world opens to her as she meets Danny (James Corscadden), a college student obsessed with photography, who is as taken with Claire as she is with him. He introduces her to a life that she never had, where they go to parties, and experiment with all there is to experiment with. But just as life seems to be going her way, Hannah, an imaginary friend from her childhood, begins to appear and haunt Claire, and her life begins to unravel in front of her eyes as the past refuses to stay in the past. A tale of death and life, rebirth, childhood, control, betrayal, kidnapping and the possible supernatural, Sodium Party breaks down the standard film form to become something truly unique.
Sodium Party is for audience who enjoy the work of filmmakers such as David Lynch (Mulholland Drive), Richard Kelly (Donnie Darko), or Adrian Lyne (Jacob’s Ladder), as well as those who enjoy an engaging and non-traditional story that will keep them guessing. Audiences will be left stunned and stimulated by the end of the film, unwrapping its many layers. The film is designed to stand up to multiple viewings, with new pieces of the puzzle coming to light on each viewing .The poetic narrative has elements of fantasy or fairy tale.
Filmed digitally over an intense 17 day shoot in South Dublin/North Wicklow in 2010, Sodium Party is an independently financed film and the first feature production by Weird Pretty Pictures, with co-funding by Mick Berry (Psychosis) and assistance from New Decade’s Ciarán O’Connor (Trafficked). Part of the film’s funding was raised through IndieGoGo. Even with its modest budget, the variety of the characters to the scope of the locations makes the film an immersive and intense experience.
It is the feature directorial debut of Michael McCudden, an Antrim-born filmmaker who graduated from the National Film School, Dun Laoghaire, in 2002 with a Masters in Screenwriting. The award-winning writer/director has entertained audiences both at home and abroad with his shorts, including ‘Wilde Things’, ‘One Up on Two’ (2nd place for Best Irish Short in the Galway Film Fleadh) and ‘Maybe If You…’. His script “Highway to Nowhere” is currently in Pre-Production with New Decade Film and TV with the support of the Fís Éireann/Screen Ireland (FÉ/SI) is the national development agency for Irish filmmaking and the Irish film, television and animation industry..
Sodium Party was written after the birth of Michael’s first child, with the intention of leaving something behind that showed his daughter a little of how he sees the world. The project’s origins are in random super 8 home movies, whose content force a viewer to layer their own perception onto the images. The story is about the story itself, whose telling becomes part of its direction. Initially an experimental found footage film, it was decided Sodium Party should utilise the beautiful Irish scenery and marry it with a European narrative style. This narrative style evolved from the early drafts as was the original ‘home movie’ intention.
Producer Alison Scarff ushers in a new generation of filmmakers by running the massive production at the young age of 21. Alongside her producing partner Richard Waters (also 21 at the time, and editor of the film), they were responsible for the co-ordination and running of such a major operation for such a limited budget. Following the completion of Sodium Party and owing to a particularly successful working relationship, the two joined star Slaine Kelly as producer and director respectively on the romantic comedy The O’Briens, which went on to win the Outstanding Achievement in Filmmaking award at Newport Beach Film Festival 2013 and is currently set for wide release on DVD.
Starring Dublin born actress Slaine Kelly (The O’Briens, Psychosis, Comedown, The Tudors) in her first lead feature role as Claire, the London based actress is a regular on the TV screen and has recently come off of a successful theatre stint. She stars opposite James Corscadden, making his debut appearance as the enigmatic and cheeky Danny. A student of LAMDA at the time of filming, James has received rave reviews for his theatre work in London, with Sodium Party marking his first foray onto the silver screen. Melissa Nolan (winner of the 2012 Attic Studio Film Festival Award of Best Support Actress for ‘Falling’ and star of successful short I Shagged Ronaldo) appears as Helen, Claire’s angrily troubled mother. Newcomers Bronagh Sheridan and Caoilfhionn Hanton play young Claire and her imaginary friend Hannah, respectively. The Waterford based girls were both only twelve when filming took place and were a major find by the production. Michael Liebman (WAZ, Game of Thrones) plays Charlie, Claire’s domineering father, and is a regular collaborator with director Michael McCudden.
IndieCork, Ireland’s new festival of independent cinema, announced the premieres of three Irish independent features to be screened at the festival which runs from October 16th – 20th across Cork City. The three films which are from first time feature directors are Trampoline directed by Tom Ryan, Limp by Shaun Ryan and Sodium Party by Michael McCudden. According to IndieCork Co-Director, Mick Hannigan, “These films represent an exciting new direction in Irish filmmaking and show that there is a vibrant indie scene here. We’re really excited to be launching these films by new voices in Irish cinema. The combined budgets for the three features was less than €10,000 but they look and sound superb. The filmmakers clearly look to the US indie scene for inspiration – from the films of David Lynch to those of the recent ‘mumblecore’ movement.”
Úna Feely of IndieCork said “These films in themselves reflect the need for a festival of independent cinema. The directors and teams behind the films have an abundance of talent and imagination. They are the emerging voices of cinema in Ireland – and equally IndieCork has uncovered fresh names in International cinema.”. For more information on the IndieCork Festival log on to www.indiecork.com