report by Aimee Graham of Richard Harris International Film Festival
WITH a strong Limerick coterie of film makers returned from Cannes where two of their films were selected to platform in 2016’s Short Film Corner, let’s review the Limerick connection to this Rivera event over decades.
It is no surprise that Richard Harris’s first trip to Cannes in 1963 proved successful as he was a nominee for Best Actor for ‘This Sporting Life’. He played coal miner Frank Machin who later went onto become a rugby star.
The storyline of the tough hard living rugby player chimed with the actor’s early Limerick life, for which the film received a second Oscar nomination.
Some 50 years later at The Cannes Film Festival a Limerick pub on Rue Teissier in Cannes is toasting his name and achievements with a crammed room full of Irish Film board members, movie stars, producers, directors and composers from the US, UK, Australia and France.
Glasses of Champagne and Guinness kept the bar staff at Morrisson’s Irish Pub owned by Caherdavin man Robert Ryan, run off their feet during The Richard Harris International Film Festival industry party. This was organised by Zeb Moore in honour of the Oscar winning actor and the audience was invited to witness the talent of Limerick filmmakers who had been selected for The Short Film Corner at Cannes.
Among them was Kevin Kiely Junior, actor and producer of ‘The Cheese Box’, a poignant film selected as part of The Short Film Corner at Cannes. The film was inspired by Limerick man and grandfather of the actor, Mick Draughty Purcell of Janesboro, who deals with the grief of his stillborn child.
Kevin Kiely Jnr gave an intense performance as Purcell, displaying the emotional torment a father endures while dealing with the loss of a child who was not acknowledged by the Church.
Cratloe Woods was the backdrop for the seven minute film ‘SAFE’ that was directed by Stephen Hall and featured Adam Moylan and Zeb Moore. This was filmed entirely in the woods where an apocalyptic storyline played out.
‘Mothers Milk and Cookies’ starred Limerick actor Nigel Mercier and was directed by Conor Mc Ivor. It explores the grieving loss of a gay man whose life has been turned upside down; with impressive performances from leading man Noel Magee and Nigel.
‘The Clockmaker’s Dream’, directed by Cashel Horgan, was one of the last films to show and received rapturous applause for its experimental interpretation of heartbreak. It was narrated by Jared Harris (Lincoln, Mad Men) and featured Limerick actor Joe Mullins.
Members of the Irish Film Board also revealed that there will be many more films from Limerick to come with the addition of Troy Studios and The Irish Tax incentive Section 481 to boost the Irish film industry and create a competitive market for international film production.