Irish Film at the Berlinale and EFM
Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board (IFB) will be attending the International Film Festival Berlin (Berlinale), taking place in the city from 9–19 February where four Irish films will be screening and competing in the festival. IFB will also be hosting a stand at the European Film Market (EFM), which takes place during the festival (9–17 February) in the Martin Groupius Bau Hotel.
The Berlinale, now in its sixty-seventh year showcases about 400 films per year—mostly international or European premieres and the festival celebrates the brightest and boldest filmmakers currently working in the industry. Maudie, directed by Irish director Aisling Walsh will be presented as part of the Berlinale Special Gala, while the Colm Tóibín-penned Return to Montauk will screen in Competition at Berlinale. Risteard Ó Domhnaill’s award-winning documentary, Atlantic, will compete in the Culinary Cinema category alongside Duncan Campbell’s short film The Welfare of Tomás Ó Hallissy which is one of the films in the Forum Expanded line-up.
Irish-Canadian co-production, Maudie, is based on the true story of Nova Scotia folk artist Maud Lewis. Produced by Parallel Films in Ireland, the film is an unlikely love story in which a curmudgeonly miser hires a tiny disfigured woman to be his housekeeper who subsequently goes on to become well-loved folk artist. Maudie, which was funded by IFB, stars Sally Hawkins alongside Ethan Hawke, and the film previously screened at the prestigious Telluride Festival in September 2016.
Directed by Volker Schloendorff from a screenplay co-written with renowned Irish writer Colm Tóibín (Brooklyn); Return to Montauk follows German writer Max Zorn as he travels to New York for the launch of his latest novel. While his partner Clara has been there for a few months preparing for the event, when Max meets Rebecca—a woman from his past—the pair travel together to Montauk and Max’s increasingly autobiographical novel begins to unfold. Supported by IFB and co-produced by Savage Productions, Return to Montauk will compete for the coveted Golden Bear at the 67th Berlinale.
Competing in the Culinary Cinema section of the festival is Risteard Ó Domhnaill’s documentary, Atlantic, which follows the fortunes of three small fishing communities—in Ireland, Norway and Newfoundland—as they struggle to maintain their way of life in the face of mounting economic and ecological challenges. Produced by Ó Domhnaill’s company Scannáin Inbhear, Atlantic is narrated by Emmy Award winner Brendan Gleeson, the documentary premiered at the Dublin International Film Festival in 2016, where it won Best Irish Documentary.
Set against a visit by two American anthropologists to Dún Chaoin in Co. Kerry, Duncan Campbell’s short film, The Welfare of Tomás Ó Hallissy sits at the interface of what they perceive as the terminal decline of language and customs of the past and the perspective of the local community who largely misconstrue their intentions. The work takes Paul Hockings and Mark McCarty’s 1968 documentary film, The Village as a starting point alongside three influential anthropological studies; Inis Beag by John C. Messenger; Inishkillane: Change and Decline in the West of Ireland by Hugh Brody and; in particular, Saints, Scholars, and Schizophrenics by Nancy Scheper-Hughes. Commissioned by the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA), The Welfare of Tomás Ó Hallissy is one of 44 films set compete in the Forum Expanded section of the Berlinale.
As well as the four IFB-funded films in official selection at the Berlinale, a number of other Irish titles will be screening and selling at EFM during the course of the festival. Following their whirlwind success at the Sundance Film Festival, Irish documentaries; the Neasa Ní Chianáin-directed In Loco Parentis and Frankie Fenton’s It’s Not Yet Dark; will both be screening at the market. Denis Bartok’s thriller, Nails and Seán Ó Cualáin’s documentary on Irish race-car driver, Tommy Byrne, Crash and Burn will also screen at EFM, alongside Brendan Muldowney’s Pilgrimage, Erik Poppe’s The King’s Choice and Liam Gavin’s A Dark Song.
Some of the Irish films selling at EFM include Aoife Kelleher's Strange Occurrences in a Small Irish Village, Lancy Daly’s Black ’47, Nora Twomey’s The Breadwinner, Peter Foott’s The Young Offenders and Mark O’Rowe’s The Delinquent Season. For a full list of the Irish films screening and selling at EFM as well as those in the official Berlinale selection, click the attachment on the sidebar.