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Ivan Murphy’s debut feature, White Friar, announced at Cannes


- The project starring Anamaria Marinca and Jean-Marc Barr will be the first co-production made under the new Franco-Irish Film Production Agreement

Ivan Murphy’s debut feature, White Friar, announced at Cannes
White Friar by Ivan Murphy

Yesterday afternoon, in the Irish Pavilion at the Cannes Film Festival, at an event hosted by Screen Ireland and the Centre National du Cinema (CNC), the first French-Irish co-production under a new agreement between the two countries’ governments was announced. The deal was formally signed in Paris last December by the Ambassador of Ireland to France, Niall Burgess, and the French Minister of Culture, Rima Abdul-Malak (see the news).

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The two countries’ first joint project under the deal sees France’s Valentina Films and Ireland’s Max Films working together on the making of the feature White Friar. The movie is inspired by the life of Father Tom Murphy, an Irish Catholic priest and Wing Commander in the Royal Air Force during World War II, and Eva Hofer, a Hungarian Jew in Vienna, hiding in plain sight. The team described it as “a well-paced romantic thriller that examines morality, sexuality and identity, […] dominated by female characters that differ from the norm of this genre in their power and experience. [It is] both tender and violent, a story of faith, love and service.”

The film was penned by Ivan Murphy, the grand-nephew of Father Tom Murphy. Ivan will also direct the project as a first-time feature director. The production is being led by veterans Xavier Castano, of Valentina Films, and Max Brady, of Max Films. The main cast includes Anamaria Marinca, a BAFTA winner and the lead actress in the Palme d’Or winner 4 Months 3 Weeks and 2 Days [+see also:
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by Cristian Mungiu, and Jean-Marc Barr, who in addition to starring in Luc Besson’s The Big Blue also played the lead in Lars von Trier’s Cannes Jury Prize winner Europa. The score is being composed by Katherine Kluge and Kim Allen Kluge, who previously worked on Martin Scorsese’s Silence.

“The agreement signed between France and Ireland last December is a landmark in a long-lasting friendship between both of our countries and our creators. We are very glad that a project such as White Friar has come along now, serving as proof that our efforts and this friendship are already meaningful enough to allow our artists to share their experience, their craft and their storytelling, and thus we can provide the audience with very ambitious works to be seen primarily in theatres,” commented Jérémie Kessler, CNC’s director of European and International Affairs.

“This is a wonderful day for our film and for our partnership with Max Films in Ireland. The new co-production agreement between France and Ireland is a wonderful opportunity for these two great filmmaking and storytelling communities to work together,” added Castano.

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