Irish-U.K. distrib Wildcard bows

Patrick O'Neill teams with Fastnet

Former Irish Film Board exec Patrick O’Neill has pacted with Irish production company Fastnet Films to set up U.K./Ireland distrib Wildcard Distribution, which launched at the European Film Market in Berlin on Monday.

O’Neill leaves the IFB after seven years at the agency, where he managed distribution. He will start as chief exec at Wildcard on March 1.

Wildcard will release Irish and international titles theatrically and on DVD/VOD across Ireland and the U.K. The company’s 2013 slate features Fastnet’s “Life’s a Breeze” and docus “The Swell Season” and “Cyclone.” Wildcard will also work with other U.K. distribs as a sub-distributor and is partnering with Metrodome to distrib Mark O’Connor’s drama “King of the Travellers” into Irish theaters.

“Life’s a Breeze” is helmed and scripted by Lance Daly and stars lrish comedian Pat Shortt and Fionnuala Flanagan in the story of an Irish family searching for a lost fortune around the streets of Dublin. Wildcard will release the film in Ireland in the summer.

Wildcard acquired “The Swell Season” at the EFM from sales company Elephant Eye and will release in U.K. and Ireland later in the year. The docu follows Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova’s world tour following their Academy Award win for “Once.” The film saw its world preem at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2011.

Boxing docu “Cyclone,” about the 1985 world title fight between Barry McGuigan and Eusebio Pedrosa, is helmed by Andrew Gallimore. The film will be released simultaneous day and date theatrically, on DVD and on VOD in a number of international territories, which Wildcard will also handle.

Multi-territory and multi-platform distribution is a key part of Wildcard’s international strategy.

Laurie Woodrow will work with the company on international acquisitions.

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