Prinicpal photography is set to begin this week on writer/director Stephen Burke’s new feature film Maze.

The film is based on the true story of the largest prison escape in UK history, when 38 Irish Republican prisoners broke out of the Maze prison in Northern Ireland in 1983. The film is set to be a gripping portrait of two characters at the heart of an enduring conflict whose unlikely friendship holds the key to its eventual resolution.

Maze stars Tom Vaughan-Lawlor (Love/Hate) as Larry Marley, a member of the Provisonal IRA member and one of the masterminds of the breakout, with the IFTA Rising Star nominated Barry Ward (Pursuit) as the warden, and Eileen Walsh (Eden) as Marley’s wife. Martin McCann (The Survivalist) also features in the film.

The film will shoot for four weeks at the recently decommissioned Cork prison and around Cork City, before moving to Sweden for at least a week. 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. The film 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.

[quote title=”James Hickey – Bord Scannain na hEireann/ the Irish Film Board, Chief Executive”]We’re very happy to be working with the talented Irish writer/ director Stephen Burke again. This is an exciting prison break story which will feature a host of Irish acting talent. One of the benefits of Irish film production is that it can take place all over the country from Cork to Donegal, creating employment opportunities and providing investment in local business and services.[/quote]

[quote title=”Steven Davenport – Line Producer”]With the assistance of the Irish Prison Services and helped by Film In Cork offering on the ground support on both locations and skilled local crew in the Cork area, the prison itself is a perfect stand in for the notorious MAZE prison, which offers unrivalled production value.[/quote]

[quote title=”Rossa Mullin – Film in Cork”]We see Film In Cork playing a key role in helping position Cork on the national and international stage as a prime location for all types of production – film and television – and we are delighted that working closely with the producers it has been possible to bring Maze to Cork, which is a tremendous opportunity for us to showcase what Cork has to offer to an international audience, which can only be a great thing for the region. The screen industry has steadily grown in importance for Cork over the last number of years, and our great locations have attracted major film productions such as Ken Loach’s Palme D’Or winning The Wind That Shakes The Barley, featuring Cork actor Cillian Murphy; Neil Jordan’s gorgeous Ondine, starring Colin Farrell; and Ian Power’s The Runway.[/quote]

Film in Cork was established to ensure that Cork City and County is seen as an attractive place for producers to come to, to maximise the possibilities for Cork whilst driving economic and cultural activity in the Cork region. Film In Cork provides production, location and training services to those working in film, television, and animation.

[quote cite=”http://www.thesundaytimes.co.uk/sto/news/ireland/article1684277.ece” title=”Jane Doolan – Producer”]Prison escape films are always a draw. Prison films are a genre on their own. You only have to think of the Shawshank Redemption and Cool Hand Luke. Also, historically, this is one of the biggest prison breakouts after the Second World War, and it was from the most secure prison at the time in Europe. The 38 prisoners got out in the back of a food lorry. So it’s a pretty remarkable escape story. It’s got a lot of conflicts in it and it’s got conflict resolution. It’s an intriguing thriller.[/quote]

Maze is expected to be released in 2017.

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