'Spellbinding experience' for Limerick filmmakers at Cannes

Fintan Walsh


Fintan Walsh

'Spellbinding experience' for Limerick filmmakers at Cannes

Aimee Graham, RHIFF production manager, Cashell Horgan, Zeb Moore, RHIFF, Nigel Mercier, Linhong Yang prroducer, Clockmakers Dream at Cannes

FROM a zero budget production to strutting down the prestigious red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival, Limerick was able to match international movie standards at one of the biggest events of its kind in the world.

The strong Limerick contingent at last week’s festival consisted of Mungret actor Nigel Mercier, who starred in a Belfast-based film, Mother’s Milk and Cookies; Steve Hall and his team for his short, Safe; Paddy Murphy and his team for his short film, The Cheese Book; Cashell Horgan for his City of Culture bursary film, The Clockmaker’s Dream; and renowned Limerick-raised actress, Ruth Negga.

Mr Hall, who showcased his post-apocalyptic drama Safe – starring Zeb Moore and Adam Moylan – said he is hopeful about securing distribution for a number of projects.

“It was an incredible experience. All the time, I kept saying to myself: ‘How did I get here?’ For me, as a filmmaker, it really opened my eyes as to how to get business done. It was fantastic because we went over with a short and a feature, with the idea of doing business with both. And we had a lot of meetings about the short and the feature.”

He added that it was a “spellbinding” experience to walk down the same carpet as Willem Dafoe, Kirsten Dunst, Mel Gibson, and George Miller.

“That was absolutely incredible. Even thinking about it gave me goosebumps. As we were queueing up to get into the entrance of the red carpet, Bittersweet Symphony was playing over the intercom, and surreal isn’t even the word for it. This is second to the Oscars. I can’t describe it. It was magical.”

Mother’s Milk and Cookies, Safe and The Cheese Box were selected to make their world premiere at the Short Film Corner; Horgan’s film made it to the Cannes Animation Day; and Negga starred in the world premiere of American film, Loving.

Mr Murphy said he was “delighted” that biopic drama The Cheese Box — starring Kevin Kiely, Jr — was “received well” at the festival.

“It was brilliant to see a collection of films that were so varied, so diverse, and each of films appealed to people. And this just shows that what is coming out of Limerick is really reaching the standard that matches the rest of the world. And it was remarked that if this is what people are capable of with no funding, just imagine what we could do with funding.”

Mr Mercier said the festival offered the young filmmakers to sell their feature ideas for investment and distribution, at the beach front Pavillion, where film boards from around the world met with up-and-coming directors and writers.

“I think Cannes is about getting to meet people whom you never normally meet. Film festivals are the only festivals where you get to meet these people; producers, directors, investors, actors - everybody is in the one place. So, it was about getting out there and chatting to people. And when we came back, we all said to ourselves, ‘We have got to do this again’,” he said. 

The Richard Harris Film Festival was also promoted at a Limerick movie night, at Morrison’s Irish Bar, last Wednesday.