You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

World Cinema Benefits from Film Resurgence in Ireland

Actors, directors and artisans are all included in the new wave of Irish talent

Ireland’s creative resurgence is benefiting not only the local film industry, but also world cinema at large.

One result of this cultural ferment is the plethora of talent heading to Hollywood, even as Irish film and television continue to thrive.

Hollywood studios are happy to benefit from the country’s tax incentive, announced last year. Now standing at 32%, with all Irish spending eligible, it has attracted multiple projects. TV shows such as “Vikings,” “Penny Dreadful” and “Ripper Street” have all shot their most recent seasons in Ireland.

“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” (pictured above, in production) also lensed scenes on the Emerald Isle, with the same team making a return trip for “Episode VIII.”

Feature films, whether shot or set in Ireland, have geared up as well. Among them: last year’s “Brooklyn,” which received multiple Oscar nominations, and dark comedy “The Lobster,” a Cannes buzz generator, which utilized the country for its entire shoot.

At the same time, Hollywood is attracting Irish talent working both before and behind the cameras.

Oscar nominee Michael Fassbender (“Steve Jobs”) is one of the most successful Irish actors to transition to Hollywood, landing major roles over the past few years. And nobody knows more about carefully picking their projects than Colin Farrell, who has worked with Steven Spielberg, Robert Towne, Terrence Malick, Oliver Stone, Woody Allen and Michael Mann, while also collaborating with Irish directors Martin McDonagh and John Crowley.

Saoirse Ronan, the star of Crowley’s “Brooklyn,” has gracefully made the move to adult lead, after impressing in a string of eclectic projects. And Domhnall Gleeson, son of Irish acting icon Brendan Gleeson, recently appeared in numerous high-profile releases, including “Ex-Machina,” “Brooklyn,” “The Revenant” and the latest “Star Wars” extravaganza.

“I’m very proud of ‘Brooklyn,’ ” Gleeson says. “There was a lot of care given to its development, which is something to keep in mind with future work.”

Ireland has also produced no small share of directorial talent.

For example, Lenny Abrahamson, Oscar-nommed for “Room,” has become a hot property. The helmer is passionate about the challenging project. “I read the book and was bowled over by it,” he says. “It’s a universal story and it’s intensely emotional. I’m looking for smart stories like this to tell.”

Director John Carney (“Once,” “Begin Again,” “Sing Street”) has worked in both the Irish indie world and in Hollywood, and is upbeat about the filmmaking scene in Ireland. “I’m excited if it gives people jobs,” he says. “Ireland is more like a city. It’s tiny. And it’s hard to sustain an industry. Thankfully, we have state subsidy. (I hope) interest in Irish filmmakers will help to sustain (it).”

Crowley, a theater vet with considerable feature experience, speaks highly of the support system set in place by the Irish Film Board. “Suddenly, there’s this great creative spotlight on Irish storytellers who are telling very confident stories, and it’s the result of a healthy funding situation.”

One of Ireland’s most provocative indie filmmakers is Terry McMahon, who debuted with the polarizing “Charlie Casanova” before releasing the award winning mental-health drama “Patrick’s Day,” starring Moe Dunford, and which is getting U.S. distribution in March, with Alchemy and BrinkVision handling VOD and DVD, respectively.

“The thing about Irish independent film is that there’s something raw and very real to the stories,” Dunford says. “I find myself more emotionally invested in them.”

McMahon based portions of “Patrick’s Day” on real-life experiences. “I worked in a psychiatric hospital as an orderly and got to see the almost invisible line separating human beauty and ugliness, and how often that line can be crossed without malice or forethought when love is treated as a disease,” he says. “And I needed to convey this cinematically.”

In 2016, Ireland had the biggest representation for a country its size at Sundance, with the “The Lobster” becoming an instant sensation. Other entries included “Mammal,” “Love & Friendship,” “The Land of the Enlightened,” “Viva” and “A Coat Made Dark,” while Cartoon Saloon’s “Song of the Sea” received a 2014 Oscar nomination for animated feature, proving that a local, independently produced item can swim in Pixar-dominated waters.

And last but not least among the players in the Irish renaissance: artisans. Some of the most exciting cinematographers call Ireland home, with Oscar nominee Seamus McGarvey (“Anna Karenina,” Tom Ford’s upcoming “Nocturnal Animals”) leading the pack.

“I grew up in Armagh, Northern Ireland, where sagas and storytelling were integral to my real world,” McGarvey says. “I suppose that this tradition is very much a part of what I love doing as a cinematographer.”

Other high-profile lensers include Brendan Galvin (“Immortals”), Declan Quinn (“Rachel Getting Married”), Robbie Ryan (“Philomena”), and rising star Michael Lavelle (“Patrick’s Day,” “Cardboard Gangsters”).

More Artisans

  • The Old Man and the Gun

    Ohio’s Midwest Locations and Flexible Tax Credit Lure Producers

    With its small towns, rolling farmlands and industrial cities, Ohio embodies the American Midwest. Other location lures for filmmakers include the shore along Lake Erie, the campus of Ohio State University, the striking skyline of Cincinnati and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. The Buckeye State also provides producers with a 30% [...]

  • Nancy Schreiber Mapplethorpe Cinematographer

    DP Nancy Schreiber Captures Life of Artist Robert Mapplethorpe in Grimy Gotham

    Don’t tell cinematographer Nancy Schreiber that she’s having a renaissance. That would imply there’ve been slumps in her long career, and she won’t have any of that, even if for a time she was taking smaller jobs as the gaps widened between larger gigs. “It’s never been about the money, for me,” says Schreiber over [...]

  • What Ariana Grande, Lady Gaga Share:

    LeRoy Bennett Keeps Top Acts Like Lady Gaga, Ariana Grande in the Spotlight

    You might say that LeRoy Bennett is a shining light among lighting and production designers for pop music. Doing double duty creating both touring sets and their illumination, he started out with a 14-year run as Prince’s collaborator, went on to work with Nine Inch Nails and Madonna and has counted Beyoncé’s and Bruno Mars’ [...]

  • Us Movie

    How 'Us' Pulled Off Subtle Differences in Costumes, Design, Music for Parallel Characters

    “Us,” Jordan Peele’s second outing as a director, following his 2017 critical and box office success “Get Out,” revisits similar psychological horror-thriller territory. But this time the stakes are, well, doubled.  In the new film, to be released by Universal on March 21, Adelaide Wilson, played by Lupita Nyong’o, returns to her childhood beachside home [...]

  • Ben Davis Cinematographer Captain Marvel Brie

    Cinematographer Ben Davis Helps Create the Look of the Marvel Cinematic Universe

    Since 2008’s “Iron Man,” the Marvel cinematic universe has continued expanding, now numbering more than 20 films. Along the way, the company has developed a reputation for solid technology choices with the large-format ARRI Alexa 65 camera and the Codex Vault 65 on-set media management system as cornerstones of its workflow. Earlier in the series, [...]

  • Costume Designer Betty Pecha Madden on

    Betty Pecha Madden Looks Back on Four Decades of Costume Design

    Dressing dolls as a child at her parents’ Wisconsin farm, future costume designer Betty Pecha Madden created stories using clothes. By age 17, her interest in costuming having grown serious via high school plays, she left home upon graduation and went to Chicago to find work in the industry. Madden clothed rock groups and college [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content