To the Light House in Smithfield
DUBLIN will get a new fourscreen arthouse cinema late next year with the opening of Light House at Smithfield. The 600-seat, custom-built venue is proceeding with investment from developers Fusano Properties Ltd and grants from the Department of Arts, Sport and Tourism and the Cultural Cinema Consortium, a joint initiative of the Arts Council and the Irish Film Board.
The complex will be operated by Neil Connolly and Maretta Dillon, who ran the two-screen Light House Cinema on Middle Abbey Street until it closed in 1996.
“Light House at Smithfield will act as the cultural hub for the rejuvenated Smithfield area, presenting a richly diverse and individual programme of the best Irish, independent, foreign-language, art house and classic cinema,” Connolly told Reel News. “Building on the tradition of the old Light House Cinema, we’ll offer an experience that is that bit different, that bit special.”
Suspect is spirited away
Director Gavin Hood follows his Oscar-winning South African drama Tsotsi with a topical political thriller. Rendition, now in production, stars Meryl Streep as US government official who approves the so-called rendition of the suspect in a suicide bombing. Jake Gyllenhaal plays a Middle East-based CIA operative who questions his assignment after observing the suspect’s interrogation. The principal cast also includes Reese Witherspoon, Peter Sarsgaard and Alan Arkin.
Flann O’Brien’s literary output continues to attract the interest of film and TV producers. A cru- cial reference to The Third Policeman in the series Lost triggered a surge in sales for the book, and Brendan Gleeson plans to adapt and direct At Swim-Two-Birds as a feature film. And next Wednesday director Rory Bresnihan and producer AnneMarie Naughton begin production on the short film, The Martyr’s Crown, based on O’Brien’s short story. They have lined up an impressive cast led by David Kelly, Eva Birthistle, Alan Devlin, Michael McElhatton and Mark Doherty.
Demme on Carter’s trail
One of the longest running movies at Irish cinemas this year, An Inconvenient Truth, featuring former US vice-president Al Gore, closed at the Screen in Dublin last night after 12 weeks on release. Now former US president Jimmy Carter is to be the subject of a documentary from director Jonathan Demme. He Comes in Peace follows Carter on the promotional tour for his new book, Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid.
“The president’s book tour occurs at a crossroads where the world of religion intersects with global politics,” comments Demme, who says his film will adopt an experimental approach to ensure it isn’t dominated by talking heads. Demme’s documentaries have included the Talking Heads concert film, Stop Making Sense, and the recent Neil Young: Heart of Gold.
UIP goes MIA
Regular cinemagoers will be familiar with the logo for United Pictures International (UIP), which has preceded hundreds of movies down the years but will disappear from our screens in 2007. UIP has been a joint venture for international distribution between two of Hollywood’s most prolific major studios, Universal and Paramount, which are going their separate ways. Today’s release of The Holiday (see review, page 12) will be the last Universal production to open here under the UIP banner.
Paddy Kelly, the Irish manager of UIP, will take care of Paramount pictures, starting with the release of Alejandro Gonzáles Iñárritu’s Babel on January 19th, while Dave Burke, formerly of Eclipse Pictures, is the manager of Universal’s new Irish office, kicking off with action movie Smokin’ Aces, starring Ben Affleck, on January 12th.
Don’t forget your shovel
Glancing through the list of movies selected for next month’s Sundance festival, it was a surprise to see Christy Moore alongside Molly Shannon, Laura Dern and Peter Sarsgaard in the cast of Mike White’s Year of the Dog. However, the popular Irish singer-songwriter is not going all Hollywood – the Christy in White’s movie is a young actress who made her film debut five years ago in King Pathetic Creep.