Screen International is reporting that principal photography has commenced on Irish director Alan Gilsenan’s new film, Unless, in Toronto.

The film, which is scripted by Gilsenan,  is based on the award-winning and final novel from Canadian author Carol Shields. It follows a successful writer struggling to come to terms with her daughter’s decision to withdraw from the world and start pan-handling on a street corner.

Academy Award nominee Catherine Keener is in the leading role, alongside Matt Craven, Hannah Gross, Chloe Rose, Abigail Winter, Martha Henry, and Hanna Schygulla. Gilsenan is best known for biographies The Yellow Bittern and Eliza Lynch: Queen of Paraguay.

Unless is a Canada-Ireland co-production, produced by Jennifer Kawaja and Julia Sereny of Sienna Films and Tristan Orpen Lynch and Aoife O’Sullivan of Subotica. The film is financed with the financial participation of the Irish Film Board, Telefilm Canada, the Ontario Media Development Corporation (OMDC), Mongrel Media, Premiere Fund and Windmill Lane Pictures, with development funding by Super Channel.

Talking to Screen International Gilsenan said: [quote]Carol Shields’ Unless is her surprising, moving and angry swan-song, a book both for our time and very much of our time. It is a real honour and delight to be finally bringing it to the cinema screen with such an extraordinary cast.[/quote]

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