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Category: Behind the Scenes

BOOK REVIEW: MY AUTOBIOGRAPHY RORY BEST

GOLDHAWK HAS just finished Rory Best’s autobiography, rather prosaically called My Autobiography, and it seems like his plan for the book was the same as Ireland’s plan for the last two rugby seasons: stick to a tightly controlled game plan on paper, only to come... Read more »

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BOOK REVIEW: CONCLUSIONS JOHN BOORMAN (FABER & FABER)

BORN IN Shepperton, England in 1933, the filmmaker and Co Wicklow resident since 1970, John Boorman, has had a long innings. His latest work of memoir, a valedictory book, contains a telling story about an actual innings, or rather a fictitious, heroic innings where he,... Read more »

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FILM REVIEW: CALM WITH HORSES

Calm With Horses poster

EYEBROWS WERE raised (at least by Goldhawk) when Calm with Horses got the inside track on €200,000 funding from the Western Development Commission’s brand new €2m film support fund, before the criteria for applying for the moolah had even been published or applications invited. The hand-out early... Read more »

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RTE’S BOB GELDOF HAGIOGRAPHY

Billy McGrath and Bob Geldof

FOR HIS latest crusade against injustice, Bob Geldof has chosen a somewhat unlikely target: the Boomtown Rats’ exclusion from the rock pantheon. Stretching across a new album, book, and now a two-part RTE special titled Citizens Of Boomtown, Geldof has gone on a full PR... Read more »

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FILM REVIEW: JIHAD JANE

Jihad Jane Poster

CIARAN CASSIDY’S feature documentary Jihad Jane was released in cinemas on February 14, an appropriate date for a project originally, if misleadingly titled Jihad Jane – Dangerously Seeking Marriage. A better title perhaps was the one used for Cassidy’s first run at the story, the... Read more »

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DENIS DESMOND’S DUD

Denis Desmond

WHILE PROMOTER Denis ‘MCD’ Desmond tends to find himself backing winners in the concert game, he also invested in the movie business. The opening film of the Berlin International Film Festival has struck a bum note, however. Desiree Finnegan’s Screen Ireland film funding agency has... Read more »

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‘IRISH OSCARS’ SEQUEL FOR IFTA?

Liam Cunningham director at IFTA

IMMEDIATELY AHEAD of the Oscars being dished out in Hollywood, the Irish Film and Television Awards (IFTA) unveiled its new five year strategic plan and, almost immediately, founders Áine Moriarty and Deirdre Hopkins, have got a positive review. The two co-stars have been cast in... Read more »

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JOHN ARKINS IN THE SPOTLIGHT

John Arkins

HALLOWEEN MAY not be the most auspicious date on which to close submissions for the audit by the Work Relations Commission (WRC) of the “Independent Film & Television Drama Production Sector” – the latest chapter in the glamorous industry’s decade of fraught industrial relations first... Read more »

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REVIEWING GALWAY’S €10M CINEMA HORROR

Ed Guiney and Andrew Love

FANS OF Goldhawk are well acquainted with the historical horror-show behind Galway’s bijou Pálás cinema, originally promoted by Lelia Doolan’s Solas Galway Picture Palace group and very heavily backed by the taxpayer through assorted agencies (See The Phoenix, 6/10/17). A spending review has now been... Read more »

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TAXING MATTERS AT VISUAL IN CARLOW

Kathleen Holohan

WHAT ON earth is going on at VISUAL, the multi-million euro contemporary arts centre in Carlow? The board has lost eight directors and there has been no chief executive appointed since Ann Mulrooney departed for the Science Gallery Dublin almost a year ago. It also... Read more »

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IFTA’S MYSTERY PLOT

Áine Moriarty

EARLIER THIS year (see The Phoenix, 8/2/19) Goldhawk noted a potential lacuna in the diaries of the nation’s celebs with the non-appearance on the calendar of this year’s IFTAs ceremony – Áine Moriarty and Deirdre Hopkins’s annual gong-fest for our deserving film and TV luvvies.... Read more »

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GOOD TIMES AT THE GATE

Sarah Lynch

THERE HAS been a cast change at the Abbey where its head of producing, Sarah Lynch, has decided to exit stage left after barely two years at the national theatre. She is heading up the street to the Gate, where Selina Cartmell apparently can do... Read more »

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THE ABBEY’S CASTING CHALLENGE

Behind the Scenes default

STILL NO sign of a new board member at the Abbey Theatre, where there is a vacancy for someone who knows how to write plays. The vacancy was advertised a long time ago, but the process is dragging on. Meanwhile, the departure of Sarah Lynch... Read more »

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KEVIN RAFTER’S BAPTISM

Kevin Rafter

LAST WEEK, the new chair of the Arts Council, Kevin Rafter, oversaw his first meeting of the board – a bruising two-day annual session reviewing policy and working through all the laborious recommendations for “arts grant funding” to organisations for 2020. (This precedes the more... Read more »

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SCREEN IRELAND’S DISTRIBUTORS

Désirée Finnegan

FINANCIAL hand-outs in Screen Ireland’s 2017 annual report will no doubt be of interest to incoming boss Désirée Finnegan, who replaces James Hickey. Distribution support should catch her eye given Finnegan’s background as a senior exec in the distribution trade with Warner Brothers in London.... Read more »

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KATIE HOLLY’S IMPRESSIVE CUT

Katie Holly

IS THERE any state agency, aside Screen Ireland (chaired by Annie Doona), where some 8% of its ‘loan’ budget is mopped up by interests associated with one of the agency’s board members? In its quietly released annual report for 2017 (yes, 2017), Screen Ireland discloses... Read more »

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JENNIFER ZAMPARELLI’S REVIEW

Jennifer Zamparelli

THE NEW look 2FM has been attracting mixed reviews following its makeover, but one of the players, former Breakfast Republic co-presenter Jennifer Zamparelli, might want to tune out the comments. Back in March, when Zamparelli was named as 2FM’s key star to attract young listeners... Read more »

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PAT MOYLAN’S GRANT

CONGRATULATIONS to former Arts Council chair Pat Moylan who is again to tour her smash hit show, Angela’s Ashes The Musical, two years after it packed the punters in during its Irish tour. The good news is that this time around the tour has extended... Read more »

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ÁINE MORIARTY’S DELAYED RELEASE

Aine Moriarty

EARLIER THIS year, Goldhawk raised the ghastly spectre of a hiatus in Áine Moriarty and Deirdre Hopkins’s annual red carpet luvviethon, the Irish Film and Television Awards (IFTAs). Co-star Hopkins had taken a job with BAFTA in London late last year and, instead of the... Read more »

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SELINA CARTMELL’S OLD SHOWS

NEXT WEEK sees the return to the Gate of the hit show at the northside theatre, Roddy Doyle’s The Snapper. Given it had a near three-month run only a year ago, this represents fairly staid programming by the widely praised Gate supremo Selina Cartmell, following... Read more »

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SHARON HORGAN’S LATEST PAYDAY

Sharon Horgan

AS THE annual Cannes film junket (which featured a rare Irish success) came to a close on Sunday, it coincided with the arrival of Screen Ireland’s first-quarter gravy train. The biggest funding award made by SI in the first three months of this year was... Read more »

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REVIEW: THE DIG

The Dig

ANY FILM coming out of Northern Ireland and titled The Dig is, even if not overtly, a ‘Troubles’ film, likely to be viewed as an allegory of post-conflict unease. That may be true of brothers Andy and Ryan Tohill’s directorial debut, written by Stuart Drennan,... Read more »

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SARAH DILLON’S €2M FUND

FANS OF Goldhawk will be aware of the Western Region Audiovisual Producers (WRAP) Fund thanks to the nascent body’s first funding decision – €200,000 for the Element Pictures project Calm With Horses (see The Phoenix, 4/5/18). That award to an adaptation of a Mike McCormack... Read more »

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SARAH DURCAN’S NOMINATION

Sarah Durcan

GOLDHAWK was recently perusing the Memorandum and Articles of Association of the Abbey Theatre and spied a regulation that could be interpreted to cause a headache for one of the board members, Sarah Durcan. Find out why in the latest issue, out today. And you... Read more »

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MARTY WHELAN’S SNEAK PREVIEW

The usually popular Marty Whelan found himself on the wrong side of opinion this week when he posted a “little taste from behind the scenes in Tel Aviv”on Wednesday. The broadcaster received almost 400 messages from fans, overwhelmingly expressing disappointment with his presence at this... Read more »

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NEIL JORDAN’S ‘LUDICROUS THRILLER’

Neil Jordan & Chloe Grace-Moretz

Neil Jordan & Chloe Grace-Moretz NEIL JORDAN’S latest opus, Greta, opened to predictably ‘mixed’ reviews over the Easter weekend. The Financial Times’s opening salvo referred to the “ludicrous thriller” and went downhill from there. Read more in the latest issue of The Phoenix.  And you... Read more »

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KEVIN RAFTER’S CV

Kevin Rafter

NOT TOO late in the day, Blueshirt Minister for Culture Josepha Madigan has appointed Kevin Rafter as Sheila Pratschke’s replacement in the chair of the Arts Council. The journalist and academic is certainly familiar with Fine Gael. Read more in the latest issue of The... Read more »

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ABBEY BOARD’S SCRIPT

Frances Ruane

PIC: Frances Ruane  GOLDHAWK was interested to know how the Abbey board reacted to last year’s decision by the Arts Council to withhold a chunk of funding until it sorted out its employment conditions for cast and crew brought in. Find out more in the... Read more »

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JOHN GLEESON’S NEW PLOT

John Gleeson

THE ACCOUNTANCY profession has expanded significantly since the financial services sector was freed of its old-fashioned, fusty reservations. And with riskier business came the ‘forensic’ accountant – a sort of money pathologist who could pick over a corporate corpse and divine how it came to... Read more »

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FINNEGAN’S BREAK

THREE MONTHS after advertising for a replacement for James Hickey as CEO of Screen Ireland, the job has gone to Désirée Finnegan of Warner Brothers Pictures. While her name appeared to come out of the blue for many observers, the least surprising aspect of the... Read more »

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REVIEW: DOCTOR IN THE HOUSE – VIRGIN MEDIA

Dr Sinead Beirne

This health-based series offers the same nutritional hit as a visit to McDonald’s. Viewers are left hungry for something actually worth getting their teeth into. Read the full review here now. 

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REVIEW: DON’T GO – DIRECTED BY DAVID GLEESON

Stephen Dorff

WATCHING David Gleeson’s Don’t Go in a near empty cinema, as Goldhawk did, a viewer’s thoughts may drift to parodies in The Simpsons of Poe’s The Raven and Kubrick’s The Shining.  Read the full review now. 

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NEIL JORDAN’S HORROR STORY

TWENTY YEARS on from In Dreams, his last dalliance with an American psychological horror story, it seems Neil Jordan has laid another curate’s egg with the New York-set Greta, filmed in Ireland with James ‘Octagon’ Flynn producing.

French star Isabelle Huppert leads as an unhinged predator (the role played by Robert Downey Jr in the earlier film). Critical reaction may depend on how grand one likes one’s guignol or how high one likes one’s camp.

It’s safe to assume the budget for Greta was half to two-thirds that of the earlier film’s $30m. It picked up €2m to €5m in change from Revenue under the Section 481 tax credit scheme and €650,000 from Screen Ireland (formerly the Irish Film Board).

Box office for Greta has been below expectations – $10.5m to date in the US, where it opened on March 1st at 2,411 cinemas. Back in 1999, In Dreams took $12m from 1,670 cinemas when ticket prices were lower.

With a performance like this, it may not come as too much of a surprise that Universal in the US is set to release the film online on May 14 and on Blu-ray and DVD on May 28. Jordan boasted in an extended puff piece in the Sunday Times ‘Culture’ magazine last weekend that Greta is “a cinema animal”. Maybe someone needs to remind Universal of this.

(Irish cinema-goers get to make their own minds up when it opens over the Easter weekend.)

PROFILE: JAMES FLYNN

James Flynn

A GRIPPING legal drama returns to the schedules this month, when German lawyer-turned-movie maker Winfried ‘Winni’ Hammacher goes head to head with two of Ireland’s top TV and movie men, Morgan O’Sullivan and James Flynn. Read all about it in the latest issue. You can... Read more »

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JOSEPHA MADIGAN’S BIASED BURSARIES

Josepha Madigan

NOT SURPRISINGLY, there was little (ie no) outcry after Josepha Madigan unveiled the government’s latest gender-based culture wheeze, which takes the form of the “Markievicz bursaries”. It is hard to see how such a scheme got the green light. Apparently the new bursaries “both honour... Read more »

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JOSEPHA’S BURSARIES MK II

Josepha Madigan

THIS MONTH, applications close for the ‘Markievicz bursaries’ (mark II) and it promises to be pretty competitive given that the potential field has doubled in size. What is interesting about the decision to open up the €20,000 a head bursaries to applicants of the male... Read more »

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