Four IFB Films Long-listed for European Film Awards
Four Irish titles have been long-listed for the prestigious European Film Awards (EFAs) taking place in December. Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Killing of a Sacred Deer, Darren Thornton’s A Date for Mad Mary and Volker Schloendorff’s Return to Montauk are three of fifty one titles in the EFA Feature Film Selection, while Neasa Ní Chianáin and David Rane’s School Life is long-listed for nomination in the Documentary strand.
The European Film Awards—now in their thirtieth year—recognise the greatest achievements in European cinema and the final list of nominations will be revealed on 4 November at the Seville European Film Festival in Spain ahead of the official awards ceremony in Berlin on 9 December.
Following a successful screening at the Cannes Film Festival, where it scooped the award for Best Screenplay, the Element Pictures-produced The Killing of a Sacred Deer sees Colin Farrell starring as Steven; a charismatic surgeon forced to make an unthinkable sacrifice after his life starts to fall apart when the behaviour of a teenage boy (played by up-and-coming Irish actor, Barry Keoghan) he has taken under his wing takes a sinister turn. Nicole Kidman stars as the wife of Farrell's character, in the film which is produced by Ed Guiney and Andrew Lowe. Lanthimos co-wrote the film alongside Efthimis Fillippou, with whom he previously collaborated on 2015 title, The Lobster. The film is set to screen at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) next month, where it will be shown in a Special Presentation.
Darren Thornton’s A Date for Mad Mary tells the story of 'Mad’ Mary McArdle returning to Drogheda after a short spell in prison—for something she’d rather forget. Back home, everything and everyone has changed. Her best friend, Charlene, is about to get married and Mary is maid of honour. When Charlene refuses Mary a ‘plus one’ on the grounds that she probably couldn't find a date, Mary becomes determined to prove her wrong. Her attempts at dating are a disaster and she winds up feeling more alone … until she meets Jess and everything change. The film, which was joint-winner of the Best Irish Feature at the 2016 Galway Film Fleadh and which provided a career launch-pad for its titular star, Seána Kerslake, was written by Colin Thornton and was produced by Ed Guiney and Juliette Bonass at Element Pictures.
Return to Montauk, which screened in Competition at Berlinale earlier this year, marks the first original screenplay from renowned Irish author, Colm Tóibín. The film centres on writer Max Zorn (Stellan Skarsgard), who comes to New York for the release of his book. His young wife Clara (Susanne Wolff) goes ahead to work on the U.S. release. In his novel, Max writes about the failure of love in this city 17 years ago. Almost by chance he meets Rebecca (Nina Hoss). She is now a successful lawyer, originally from East Germany and in New York for 20 years. They decide to spend a weekend together in Montauk, a fishing port on Long Island. Directed by Volker Schloendorff, Return to Montauk is a Germany-France-Ireland co-production, with John Keville and Conor Barry of Savage Productions on board as the Irish producers.
Neasa Ní Chianáin and David Rane’s School Life has enjoyed considerable success on the international festival circuit over the last few months, having premiered at IDFA (International Documentary Festival Amsterdam) in December 2016 and impressing the critics at the Sundance Film Festival in January, with one hailing it as “delicately executed in every department.” Telling the story of Headfort—the last remaining boarding school for primary age children in Ireland—School Life is set on a sprawling estate in Kells, Co. Meath. Produced by David Rane at Soilsíu Films, the documentary melds two seemingly incongruent worlds as the ultra-modern teaching of Headfort’s brilliant staff is set against the eighteenth century backdrop of the school’s grand reception rooms, long corridors and secret doors.
The 30th European Film Awards will take place on 9 December in Berlin. For more information, please visit the EFA website here.