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PRODUCTION Ireland / UK

Starline to sell Tom Collins’ Penance

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- Peter Coonan, Barry Barnes and Dara Devaney are amongst the cast members, and the film has now secured an international sales deal

Starline to sell Tom Collins’ Penance
Peter Coonan in Penance

UPDATE (05/04/2018): British sales outfit Starline Entertainment has secured the international sales rights to Tom CollinsPenance (Aithri). Explaining his inspiration for the movie, which features a mix of Irish- and English-language dialogue, Collins said, “In these times of loudly debated nationalism, borders and Brexit, I hope this film, through the central character’s story, underlines that we are always a few heartbeats away from violence and we can live to regret ill-judged rhetoric.’’ Starline co-founder Carey Fitzgerald says of Collins, “Indisputably one of the best directors working in Ireland today, Tom’s tremendous capacity for human insight has always been at the heart of his films, engaging audiences in the remarkable personal journeys of vividly realised characters.” Penance is being produced through Collins’ Derry-based De Facto Films as well as Edwina Forkin’s Zanzibar Films and received funding and support from broadcaster TG4, the Irish Film Board, Northern Ireland Screen and the Irish Language Broadcast Fund.

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Tom Collins is currently in production at Ramelton and Derry City locations with Penance (Aithrí in the Irish language). Written by Greg Ó'Braonáin (television’s Ros na Rún) and Collins, the film tells the story of a young firebrand priest who uses his influence over his parishioners, and in particular a teenage boy, to promote violence against the British in the lead-up to the 1916 Rising. They meet again in Derry in 1969, where both men are forced to re-examine their past and the deadly events that have been set in motion as a result. The cast includes Peter Coonan, winner of the 2014 IFTA for Best Supporting Actor – Television for Love/Hate and who also made a mark in Ian Power’s feature The Guarantee (2014), Barry Barnes (’71 [+see also:
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) and Dara Devaney (The Gift [+see also:
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).

Collins’ long and storied directorial career began with the documentary More Than a Sacrifice (1995). After several other works in the documentary and television sectors, he made his fiction feature debut with Dead Long Enough (2006). He shot to international prominence with Kings (2007), which won the Gold Torc at the Celtic Film and Television Festival, the Directors Finders Award at the Directors Finders Series, Ireland, the Cinematography Award at the Hamptons International Film Festival, besides four IFTAs and being Ireland’s entry in the foreign-language category in the 2008 Oscars. His The Gift (An Bronntanas in the Irish language) was Ireland’s entry in the category in 2015. He was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Directors Guild of Ireland for his outstanding contribution to Irish filmmaking in 2015.

Produced by Collins, alongside Edwina Forkin of Zanzibar Films (Ireland), Penance is funded by Northern Ireland Screen, the Irish Film Board, TG4 (Ireland) and the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, is supported by Invest Northern Ireland as well as having additional funding from the Irish Language Broadcast Fund, Northern Ireland.

Collins said, “I had often heard that Peter Coonan was one of Ireland’s best actors, so I had wanted to work with him for a while now. It has been a great experience to see him delivering such powerful performances on Penance.” 

Coonan said, “I was attracted to this role primarily because of the challenge it posed but also because it was a chance to dive into the psyche of a man in 1916 Ireland. The fact that it happens to be a priest is just another interesting layer that makes it a really exciting role for an actor.”

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