Last year Irish film was blessed with a break-out Louth-based drama that catapulted director and star into mainstream conversation, as Seana Kerslake led Darren Thornton’s A Date for Mad Mary to domestic and international acclaim. This year lightning could strike again as Aoife McArdle’s feature directorial debut Kissing Candice, led by Ann Skelly’s central performance, looks set to be one of the most-talked-about Irish films of 2017.

17 year old Candice longs to escape the boredom of her seaside town, only finding solace in her vivid imagination. When a boy she dreams about turns up in real life, she becomes increasingly entangled with a dangerous local gang.

Ann Skelly (Red Rock) stars as Candice, with support from a cast of rising and established Irish stars, including Ryan Lincoln (Cardboard Gangsters), Ryan McParland (Skunky Dog), Conall Keating (Robbie the Rabbit), Tony Doyle (Sing Street), Maghnús Foy (Red Rock), James Greene (Mammal), John Lynch (The Fall),  Lydia McGuinness (Sing Street), Lalor Roddy (Lost in the Living), Caitriona Ennis, and Kwaku Fortune.

Northern Irish-director McArdle is best known for her work in the world of television commercials and music video, with her video for the U2 song ‘Every Breaking Wave’ nominated for Best International Music Video at the UK Music Video Awards 2015. In addition to directing, McArdle has also developed the script, and worked with producer Andrew Freedman of Venom Film to bring it to the screen. Freedman has produced a number of award-winning shorts and features, including Ken Wardrop’s IFTA-winning His & Hers and the BAFTA-winning co-production Kelly and Victor. On the production side, cinematography is by Steve Annis and film editing is by Dan Sherwen, both of whom worked with McArdle on ‘Every Breaking Wave’. The film shot in Dundalk, Drogheda, and Dublin.

Kissing Candice is one of three films selected as part of the Irish Film Board’s last Catalyst Project, which provided each filmmaking team with funding to produce a low-budget feature film. The winning teams also had access to key industry experts who will offer mentorship and guidance along the way.

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