The film, which is an action movie set during the Great Irish Famine, stars Hugo Weaving (Hacksaw Ridge, The Lord of the Rings, The Matrix and Transformers franchises) and Jim Broadbent, (Oscar® winner for Iris) and the prolific Irish screen and stage actor, Stephen Rea (The Crying Game, Michael Collins, Interview with the Vampire).
Black 47 will join films by Wes Anderson and Gus Van Sant at this years festival, and now follows major Irish films such as Jim Sheridan’s The Boxer, Neil Jordan’s The Butcher Boy, and John Michael McDonagh’s The Guard, to have premiered at the festival.
Speaking about the selection, Macdara Kelleher, MD of Fastnet Films, and lead producer of the film, said:
“It’s an honour to be premiering Black 47 at one of the world’s most prestigious festivals, alongside truly great filmmakers. There’s a strong history of major films launching in Berlin and we can’t wait for the world to see this epic Irish famine story”.
Black 47 sees Weaving and Broadbent joined by other international talent, including James Frecheville, who starred in the critically acclaimed Animal Kingdom and The Drop, with Tom Hardy and Freddie Fox, who was recently seen in Guy Ritchie’s King Arthur: Legend of the Sword.
The film also has a strong young Irish cast, including Barry Keoghan (Dunkirk, The Killing of a Sacred Deer), Moe Dunford (Vikings, Patrick’s Day) and Sarah Greene (Noble, Penny Dreadful).
It’s 1847, and Ireland is in the grip of the Great Famine that has ravaged the country for two long years. Feeney, a hardened Irish Ranger, who has been fighting for the British Army abroad, abandons his post to return home and reunite with his estranged family.
He’s seen more than his share of horrors, but nothing prepares him for the famine’s hopeless destruction of his homeland, brutalising his people, and where there seems to be no law and order. He discovers his mother starved to death, and his brother hanged by the brutal hand of the English. With little else to live for, he sets a destructive path to avenge his family. Hannah, an ageing British soldier and famed tracker of deserters, is sent to stop Feeney before he can further stoke the fires of revolution.
But Hannah and Feeney are old army comrades, forged by their time fighting together. Personal bonds and shifting allegiances cause both men to question their motives, as they are tested to the limit by the hellish landscape of ‘The Great Hunger’.
Black 47 is directed by Lance Daly, one of Ireland’s most acclaimed directors, whose previous films include Life’s a Breeze, which premiered at the Toronto Film Festival. His breakout feature, Kisses, was named the Best Feature Film at the Galway Film Fleadh, Foyle, and Miami film festivals, and was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award and the Golden Leopard at Locarno. It became the highest grossing Irish film of the year, and Lance picked up Best Director at the IFTA’s. Lance was winner of the Galway Film Fleadh’s Bingham Ray New Talent Award (2013).
The screenplay is written by PJ Dillon (Rewind), Pierce Ryan (Standby), Eugene O’Brien (Eden) and Lance Daly (Life’s a Breeze, Kisses).
Black 47 was produced by Macdara Kelleher, whose credits include Strangerland, starring Nicole Kidman, Lance Daly’s Kisses, What If, starring Daniel Radcliffe, Urszula Antoniak’sNothing Personal, and Rebecca Daly’s The Other Side of Sleep. Kelleher recently produced The Professor and the Madman with Mel Gibson and Sean Penn. He is co-founder of Dublin-based Fastnet Films with Lance Daly and Morgan Bushe.
The film was also produced by Tim O’Hair, Arcadiy Golubovich, and Jonathan Loughran, with financing from Primemeridian Entertainment, the Irish Film Board, the Luxembourg Film Fund, Wildcard Distribution, Altitude, BAI, TV3, Eurimages, Umedia, Samsa Films and Fastnet Films.
Black 47 will be brought to Irish cinemas by Wildcard Distribution later this year.