Northern Stars Shine Bright on the Global Stage
Date Posted: July 31, 2020
It has been an incredible week for the screen industry in Northern Ireland with two projects that shot here, with support from Northern Ireland Screen, being selected to screen at two of the world’s most prestigious film festivals. Nowhere Special will have its world premiere at Venice International Film Festival and Wildfire will have its world premiere at at Toronto International Film Festival, respectively. The good news continued with local composer David Holmes receiving an Emmy nomination for his work on global hit Killing Eve. The week is rounded off by the BAFTA TV Awards which take place on Friday evening; Derry Girls, Line of Duty and Game of Thrones are among the nominees.
Inspired by true events and filmed on location in Northern Ireland last year, Nowhere Special is directed and produced by Uberto Pasolini (The Full Monty, Bel Ami, Palookaville) from his original screenplay with Belfast’s Chris Martin (Good Vibrations) also producing. The film stars young Ballymena actor Daniel Lamont alongside James Norton (Happy Valley, Mr Jones, Little Women).
Nowhere Special tells the story of 35 year old window cleaner John, who has dedicated his life to bringing up his son, after the child’s mother left them soon after giving birth. When John is given only a few months to live, he attempts to find a new, perfect family for his three-year-old son, determined to shield him from the terrible reality of the situation.
Venice International Film Festival runs from 2-12 September and will be one of the first major film festivals to take place in physical form following the Covid-19 outbreak.
Wildfire is the first feature film from Newry writer/director Cathy Brady, a two-time IFTA-winning director who won Best Short Film in 2011 and again in 2013. Starring the late Nika McGuigan (The Secret Scripture, Traders), and Nora-Jane Noone (Brooklyn, The Magdalene Sisters, The Descent) Wildfire tells the story of a missing woman who returns home, igniting an intense bond with her sister. United they unearth their mother’s past but the truth has devastating consequences.
Speaking about the film’s selection writer/director Cathy Brady said; “I’m deeply honoured and proud to have Wildfire premiere at TIFF. This film is very close to our hearts and all the more poignant as Nika our incredible co lead actress lost her brief but brave battle with cancer during post-production. What a tribute it will be to finally share this film at TIFF. Thank you to all the cast, crew, producers and financiers for your support and dedication.”
The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) takes place from 10-19 September and has been tailored to fit the moment, with physical screenings and drive-ins, digital screenings, virtual red carpets, press conferences, and industry talks. In recent years, films from Northern Ireland have had a consistent presence at TIFF with six films selected for screening in the past five years.
Richard Williams, CEO of Northern Ireland Screen, said: “It is certainly a good week for the screen industry when two internationally renowned film festivals have selected two films that were made in Northern Ireland. It is particularly exciting and well deserved that an A-list festival such as Toronto has chosen to champion Cathy’s debut feature film.
“Venice and Toronto are incredible platforms at which to showcase local talent. Audiences at both festivals are in for a real treat. We offer our huge congratulations to the cast and crew involved in Nowhere Special and Wildfire.”
Earlier this week it was announced that Belfast musician and composer David Holmes has been nominated for an Emmy Award for his work on Killing Eve. Presented by the American Television Academy the awards recognise excellence in the television industry. David is nominated alongside Catherine Grieves in the Outstanding Music Supervision category. Meanwhile, on this side of the pond the British Academy Television Awards (BAFTA) take place on Friday evening. Lisa McGee’s Derry Girls has been nominated in the Best Scripted Comedy category, and Game of Thrones will go head-to-head with Line of Duty in the Must-See TV Moment category.
Commenting on the Awards Richard Williams, CEO of Northern Ireland Screen, said; “We offer our huge congratulations to David Holmes on his Emmy nomination and wish the Derry Girls, Line of Duty and Game of Thrones’ teams the very best of luck for Friday’s BAFTA Awards. To have projects and talent from Northern Ireland represented at the premier industry awards on both sides of the Atlantic gives us great reason to celebrate in these strange times. Our industry ground to an almost complete halt with the global pandemic, and that has been particularly challenging for the many freelance crew who make these amazing shows. These nominations are testament to them as they continually help reinforce that Northern Ireland is a world class location for film and television production.”