FRANK TO SCREEN AT SXSW FESTIVAL

Following on from its world premiere, US distribution deal and huge critical acclaim last month at the Sundance Film Festival, FRANK is now Austin-bound to play at the visionary SXSW festival in March.

FRANK will screen as part of the Festival Favorites strand, which showcases acclaimed standouts and previous premieres. The South by SouthWest Festival (SXSW) presents the best in new independent music and film every year in Austin, Texas.  It  is now considered the destination for the game-changing buzz every filmmaker dreams of.

FRANK is a comedy about a young wannabe musician, Jon (Domhnall Gleeson), who discovers he’s bitten off more than he can chew when he joins a band of eccentric pop musicians led by the mysterious and enigmatic Frank (Michael Fassbender) and his terrifying sidekick Clara (Maggie Gyllenhaal).

“A faceless Michael Fassbender stars in this weird and wonderful musical comedy from director Lenny Abrahamson” – Variety
“Fassbender delivers moments of heart-breaking fragility” – Time Out, London
“One of the more tantalizing offerings at this year’s Sundance Film Festival” – New York Post
“Totally unique and funny” – Total Film
“One of my favorite films of Sundance” – Rolling Stone

The film is directed by Ireland’s critically acclaimed Lenny Abrahamson (Adam & Paul, Garage, What Richard Did).  FRANK is written by Jon Ronson (The Men Who Stare At Goats) and Peter Straughan (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, The Men Who Stare At Goats). FRANK is based on the memoir by Jon Ronson and is a fictional story loosely inspired by Frank Sidebottom, the persona of cult musician and comedy legend Chris Sievey, as well as outsider musicians like Daniel Johnston and Captain Beefheart.    The director of photography is James Mather (Adam & Paul), production designer Richard Bullock (StreetDance 3D, Spike Island). Music is by regular Abrahamson collaborator, Stephen Rennicks.

FRANK was produced by Ed Guiney, David Barron and Stevie Lee, and executive producers are Tessa Ross, Katherine Butler, Andrew Lowe and Nigel Williams. FRANK is an Element Pictures/Runaway Fridge production for Film4, BFI, Protagonist Pictures and the Irish Film Board. FRANK was filmed in Ireland and the USA and utilised the tax incentive Section 481 in addition to Irish Film Board investment.

FRANK will be released in Ireland May 2014

FARRELL AND WEISZ JOIN YORGOS LANTHIMOS’ THE LOBSTER

Element Pictures is pleased to announce that Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz have come on board to play the lead roles in The Lobster, the first film in the English language by Oscar-nominated Greek Director Yorgos Lanthimos (Dogtooth, Alps).  The Lobster is set to start shooting on March 24th in Ireland and is backed by the Irish Film Board.

Farrell and Weisz join the previously announced Ben Whishaw, Léa Seydoux, Olivia Colman, Ariane Labed and Angeliki Papoulia in the all-star film.  Several other roles in the ensemble are currently being finalized.

Co-written by Lanthimos and his long-time collaborator, award-winning Efthimis Filippou, the film is an unconventional love story set in a dystopian future where finding a partner is a matter of life or death.

Lanthimos says, “I’m very grateful to have the opportunity to work with such great actors. Their contribution to our film will enrich and expand the world we are trying to create and explore. Furthermore our team of old and new collaborators makes me very confident and excited to start making this film.”
The Lobster is being produced by Element Pictures, Limp, and Scarlet Films. Producers on the film are Lanthimos, Lee Magiday, Ed Guiney and Ceci Dempsey, with Element’s Andrew Lowe acting as executive producer.

Farrell, a Golden Globe winner for In Bruges, was recently seen in Disney’s hit drama Saving Mr Banks and is the star of Akiva Goldsman’s upcoming Winter’s Tale for Warner Bros. In post-production are Miss Julie in which he co-stars with Jessica Chastain for director Liv Ullman, and Solace, Afonso Poyart’s supernatural thriller in which he stars with Anthony Hopkins.

Weisz, who won the Academy Award and Golden Globe for The Constant Gardener, has a dazzling list of credits including box office blockbusters The Mummy, The Bourne Legacy and Oz The Great And Powerful, as well as Alejandro Amenabar’s Agora and Terence Davies’ The Deep Blue Sea for which she was named best actress of 2011 by the New York Film Critics Circle.

Partnering on the project are Christos V. Konstantakopoulos of Faliro House in Greece, Carole Scotta of Haut et Court (who will be both the French co-producer and distributor of the film), and Derk-Jan Warrink, Joost de Vries and Leontine Petit of Lemming Films in Holland. Protagonist Pictures is handling worldwide sales on the film at the upcoming European Film Market in Berlin. In addition to the Irish Film Board, backing for the project comes from Eurimages, Greek Film Centre, CNC and the Dutch Film Fund.The Lobster is set to be the first project to be backed by the BFI Film Fund through its minority co-production strand.

ELEMENT PICTURES AND LENNY ABRAHAMSON ANNOUNCE FIRST LOOK DEAL

Following the world premiere of Lenny Abrahamson’s FRANK at the Sundance Film Festival last night, Element Pictures announce a first look deal which covers film and television projects for the film maker to write, direct and produce.

Abrahamson’s productions with Element include his acclaimed feature films ADAM &PAUL (produced with Speers Film), GARAGE and WHAT RICHARD DID and the award winning TV series PROSPERITY.

FRANK,  is their latest collaboration and stars Domhnall Gleeson, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Scoot McNairy and Michael Fassbender in an offbeat comedy about a wannabe musician who finds himself out of his depth when he joins a maverick rock band led by the enigmatic Frank – a musical genius who hides himself inside a large fake head. FRANK is an Element Pictures/Runaway Fridge production for Film4, BFI, Protagonist Pictures and the Irish Film Board.

The upcoming Abrahamson/Element slate features a number of film and television projects including ROOM, based on the bestselling novel by Emma Donoghue.

Ed Guiney said “Andrew (Lowe, co-director of Element Pictures) and I feel very lucky indeed to be working with Lenny, a truly unique, once in a lifetime film making talent whose international reputation is growing rapidly. Our friendship goes back almost 30 years to when we started making films together in college. We now want to formalise what has been a very successful relationship with Element over the last decade and support Lenny in his intention to make ever more impactful and high profile film and television projects. We will do this by allowing him to develop his ambition both as a film maker of his own films as well as a creative collaborator with other talent, a role at which he also excels. We expect this partnership to be a very productive and vibrant source of distinctive and successful new projects for the international marketplace over the coming years.”

Lenny Abrahamson said, “Making films with Ed is the most natural thing in the world for me. We work so well together, with a trust, an ease and a creative understanding that has deepened over the years.  I am keenly aware of how unusual a relationship like ours is in the film industry and this deal underscores our intention to preserve and develop it. In Element Pictures, Ed and Andrew have built a company with an international reputation for producing excellent work. I’m proud to make it my home as a film maker and very very excited at the prospect of the work we will produce together.

Abrahamson was represented in negotiations by Rachel Holroyd, his agent at Casarotto, Ramsay and Associates in London.

LENNY ABRAHAMSON AND ELEMENT PICTURES TO BRING EMMA DONOGHUE’S ACCLAIMED ROOM TO THE SCREEN

Lenny Abrahamson (What Richard Did, Garage) will direct the film adaptation of the international bestseller ROOM, with a script by author Emma Donoghue, and Ed Guiney of Element Pictures producing.

Shortlisted for the Man Booker, Orange and Commonwealth Prizes, ROOM has sold two and half million copies in English and appeared in thirty-five other languages.

ROOM tells the story of Jack, a five-year-old growing up somewhere in America in an 11-by-11-foot shed he believes to be the whole world; his playful, devoted young mother has shielded him from the truth that they are captives.

The New York Times hailed Donoghue’s novel as ‘one of the pure triumphs of recent fiction… palm-sweatingly harrowing’, while Time called it ‘a feat of infectious claustrophobia’; the Irish Times described it as ‘part childhood adventure story, part adult thriller… above all the most vivid, radiant and beautiful expression of maternal love’.

Abrahamson, who is currently in post-production on his feature Frank, starring Domhnall Gleeson, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Michael Fassbender, says ‘ROOM is an extraordinary novel – deeply original, harrowing, full of moments of almost unbearable tension, but also – and this is what is so special about it – profoundly life-affirming. From the moment I read it I wanted to make it for the screen and so I am truly delighted to be working with Emma on the film adaptation.’

Emma Donoghue, who lives in Canada, began writing the screenplay as soon as ROOM (her seventh novel) was published. She is overjoyed to be making the film with her fellow Dubliners Abrahamson and Guiney. ‘It wasn’t just Lenny’s award-winning, impeccably honest films that won me over, but a ten-page letter he sent me, describing with passionate intelligence his vision of how to translate my novel into cinema. As an Irish company with strong international relationships, Element has a track record of combining artistic integrity and commercial appeal, which gives me confidence that ROOM is going to be something very special.’

Ed Guiney (The Guard, Shadow Dancer), who has been involved the production of all of Abrahamson’s films says ‘from the moment we first encountered ROOM we were entranced by the story and the possibility of making it as a film. I couldn’t be more excited about what Lenny and Emma will do in adapting this remarkable novel for the screen.’

Donoghue’s screen agent for ROOM, United Talent Agency negotiated the film rights on behalf of the author and publishing agents Kathy Anderson in New York and Caroline Davidson in London. UTA is also representing North American rights in the film and will work closely with Element on its financing.

MICHAEL FASSBENDER AND DOMHNALL GLEESON TO STAR IN LENNY ABRAHAMSON FILM FRANK

Michael Fassbender (12 Years A Slave, Prometheus, Shame) and Domhnall Gleeson (True Grit, Harry Potter, Anna Karenina) are attached to star in Lenny Abrahamson’s next project FRANK.

FRANK is written by Jon Ronson (The Men Who Stare at Goats) and Peter Straughan (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, The Men Who Stare At Goats) and has been developed by Film4 who will also co-finance the film with the Irish Film Board.

FRANK is a comedy about a young wannabe musician, Jon (Gleeson), who discovers he’s bitten off more than he can chew when he joins an eccentric pop band led by the mysterious and enigmatic Frank (Fassbender).

Speaking on the announcement, producer Ed Guiney of Element Pictures commented that: ‘FRANK is a wonderfully funny script which brings together Michael Fassbender, Domhnall Gleeson and Lenny Abrahamson three of the most exciting Irish talents working in cinema today’.

James Hickey, Chief Executive, Bord Scannán na hÉireann/The Irish Film Board (IFB) added “We are delighted to be working with Element Pictures and Film4 on this exciting project. Lenny is a great Irish filmmaker while Michael and Domhnall are exceptional world class Irish actors making this project a wonderful opportunity for the Irish Film Board to support Irish talent on the world stage.”

Fassbender, who won Best Actor in Venice in 2011 for his performance in Steve McQueen’s Shame, is currently shooting Ridley Scott’s The Counselor alongside Brad Pitt and Cameron Diaz, while Domhnall Gleeson recently finished shooting Richard Curtis’ new comedy About Time, and was recently named as one of Variety’s ’10 Actors to Watch’.

FRANK will mark the fourth feature film collaboration between Abrahamson and Element Pictures. Past features include Garage, which won the CICAE Prize in Cannes 2007, and Adam & Paul which won Best Director award at the Irish Film and TV Awards. Abrahamson’s current film What Richard Did will premiere at the Toronto Film festival in mid-September and is being released in Irish cinemas on October 5th through Element Pictures Distribution.

FRANK is a co-production between Runaway Fridge and Element Pictures and will be produced by David Barron, Ed Guiney and Stevie Lee. Exec producers for Film4 are Tessa Ross and Katherine Butler and for Element Pictures, Andrew Lowe. Protagonist Pictures are handling international sales. FRANK is scheduled to commence principal photography late 2012.

MAJOR ANGLO-IRISH CO PRODUCTION BRINGS JOHN BANVILLE’S ACCLAIMED NOVELS TO THE SCREEN

Based on the books by Benjamin Black (pseudonym of award-winning Irish writer John Banville), Quirke is a new series for BBC ONE adapted by screenwriters Andrew Davies and Conor McPherson and starring Gabriel Byrne in the title role.

Quirke (we never get to know his Christian name) is the chief pathologist in the Dublin city morgue – a charismatic loner whose job takes him into unexpected places as he uncovers the secrets of sudden death in 1950s Dublin. It’s a rich and smouldering world along whose smoky streets and damp alleys Quirke goes from bars that glimmer with peat fires and whiskey to elegant Dublin houses brimming with sexual tension. It’s a time full of mystery, secrets and intrigue.

Each episode will see him investigate the death of one of the unfortunate souls who end up on his mortuary slab. But as Quirke turns accidental detective he discovers his investigations are often more closely linked to his own life than he could ever have imagined. Little by little he is forced to confront the sins of his past as he peels back the layers of his own tangled family history.

The three feature length episodes each take their stories from different books in the series, ‘Christine Falls’ and ‘The Silver Swan’ by Andrew Davies and ‘Elegy for April’ by Conor McPherson. Commissioned by Danny Cohen, Controller BBC One and Ben Stephenson, Controller Drama Commissioning.

John Banville says: “I am very excited by the prospect of seeing my character Quirke incarnated by Gabriel Byrne, a perfect choice for the part. I know both Quirke and Benjamin Black will be wonderfully served by Andrew Davies and Conor McPherson, two masters of their craft. “

John McColgan, Founding Director, Tyrone Productions adds: “As a friend and colleague of Gabriel Byrne over the years I am thrilled to see him bringing the brilliant mercurial character of Quirke as created by John Banville to screens worldwide. BBC Drama has brought an incredible pool of writing talent to this project and I’m looking forward to seeing their scripts going into production.”

Ed Guiney, Executive Producer, Element Pictures adds: “Noir Dublin in the 50’s seen through John Banville’s eyes is such an appealing prospect. And who better to go on the journey with than Gabriel Byrne. We could not be more excited about being part of bringing this to the screen with the BBC and Tyrone.”

James Hickey, Chief Executive, Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board adds: “The Irish Film Board is delighted to be supporting Tyrone Productions and Element Pictures in this new drama TV series Quirke. The series will be a great opportunity to showcase Irish talent including Irish novelist Benjamin Black (John Banville), Irish screenwriter Conor McPherson and one of the great actors Gabriel Byrne in a quintessential Irish setting of Dublin in the 1950’s. The participation of the BBC in this wonderful Irish project is also greatly welcomed”.

The series is a co-production between BBC Drama Production and Dublin-based companies Element Pictures and Tyrone Productions. It is 3X 90 minutes and filming begins in Dublin later this year. The Executive Producers are Jessica Pope for the BBC, Ed Guiney for Element Pictures and Joan Egan for Tyrone Productions. Lisa Osborne is the BBC Producer and John Alexander is the director of the first film ‘Christine Falls’.