These will be joined by more Irish films that will be attempting to make international distribution deals, including: Jerzy Skolimowski’s thriller 11 Minutes, Brendan J. Byrne’s documentary Sheffield-bound Bobby Sands: 66 Days, Gerard Barrett’s drama Brain On Fire, David Keating’s horror Cherry Tree, Liam Gavin’s horror A Dark Song, Fiona Tan’s dystopian History’s Future, Martin Stalker’s docu-drama Hostage to the Devil, Eric Poppe’s war-time drama The King’s Choice, Nils Gaup’s Norwegian co-production The Last King, Aisling Walsh’s Canadian co-produced drama Maudie, Stephen Burke’s prison-thriller Maze, Ken Wardrop’s IFTA award-winning documentary Mom and Me, Simon Fitzmaurice’s beautiful road-trip drama My Name is Emily, Brendan Muldowney’s epic Pilgrimage, Dennis Bartok’s horror POV, Jim Sheridan’s historical drama The Secret Scripture, John Carney’s wondrous musical-drama Sing Street, Alan Gilsenan’s Canadian co-produced drama Unless, Paddy Breathnach’s breath-taking Spanish-language drama Viva,and Lorcan Finnegan’s feature debut Without Name.
A big player on the Irish film front this year is sure to be Love Eternal director Brendan Muldowney’s new historical epic Pilgrimage.
The film is set in Ireland in 1209, and sees a small group of monks begin a reluctant pilgrimage across an island torn between centuries of tribal warfare and the growing power of Norman invaders. Escorting their monastery’s holiest relic – a rock used in the martyrdom of St. Mathias, the thirteenth apostle – to Rome, the monks’ progress is seen through the eyes of a pious young novice and a mute lay-brother with a violent past. As the true material, political and religious significance of the bejewelled relic becomes dangerously apparent, their path to the east coast becomes increasingly fraught with danger. The monks belatedly realise that in this wild land of ancient superstitions, the faith that binds them together may ultimately lead to their destruction.
Muldowney has gathered an extraordinary cast of Irish and international stars, led by the new Spider-Man Tom Holland as a novice monk. He is joined by The Hobbit‘s Richard Armitage as a misanthropic knight, and Walking Dead star Jon Berthal as a mute brother with a violent past. Local talent includes John Lynch (The Fall), Hugh O’Conor (The Stag), Ruaidhri Conroy (Jack Taylor), Tristan McConnell (Vikings), and Lochlann O’Mearain (Poison Pen).
The film had a seven-week shoot, with filming on Ireland’s west coast and in the Ardennes region of Belgium. The script comes from up-and-coming writer Jamie Hannigan, with Muldowney’s Love Eternal cinematographer Tom Comerford returning to work with the director once again.
Pilgrimage is an Irish/Belgian co-production with Conor Barry and John Keville of Dublin-based Savage Productions and Benoit Roland of Wrong Men North as producers. Financing comes from the Irish Film Board, Creative Europe, Broadcasting Authority Of Ireland, Wallimages, and the Wallonia Cultural Fund. XYZ Films is executive producing and will represent the film’s worldwide sales rights.