Haunting new film set in Connemara to premier at major film event

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A visually haunting film shot in Connemara in 1845 will have its world premier in November at the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival (PÖFF) – one of the largest film events in northern Europe.

Arracht, Tom Sullivan’s first feature film, was produced by Macalla and has been selected for the main competition at the film festival at the end of the month.

This dramatically filmed feature film was shot by the ever impressive Kate McCullough and stars Dónall Ó Héalaí, Michael McElhatton, Siobhán O’Kelly, with a stunning debut from 11-year-old Saise Ní Chuinn.

As an A-list festival, PÖFF, is one of the most distinctive film events in Europe, screening over 250 feature films, having an attendance of over 80,000 and hosting over 1,200 film professionals and journalists from around the world every year.

Arracht is a visually haunting film, a tale of overcoming grief and the fight for survival.

Set in Ireland in 1845, the film centers on Colmán Sharkey, a fisherman, a father, and a husband, who takes in a stranger.

Patsy, a former soldier, arrives in Connemara just ahead of the blight, the crop disease that led to the beginning of the Great Famine.

Director Tom Sullivan said: “I am honoured that our film will have its world premier in the main competition at Tallinn. It has been a life changing experience making Arracht.

“From witnessing the commitment of the cast, particularly Dónall Ó Héalaí, who’s total dedication and immersion in his process inspired us all.

“The crew, who were fantastic, had to battle three Atlantic storms to bring Arracht home. We are all so excited to launch the film in the beautiful city of Tallinn along with so many talented film makers.”

Producer Cúán Mac Conghail of Macalla added: “I am incredibly proud of Tom and this film. Arracht was hard work but a  joy for all of us to work on and I am delighted that it has been selected in competition for the Grand Prix.” 

Arracht is produced by Cúán Mac Conghail for Macalla, with funding from TG4, Screen Ireland, Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) and Section 481.

Other cast members include Dara Devaney, Peter Coonan, Seán T. Ó Meallaigh and Michelle Beamish. The original music score was brilliantly written and performed by Kíla.

Production Design was by Padraig Ó Neill and Mary Crumlish was editor with Outer Limits providing the post production services. Costume Designer is Clodagh Deegan, and Niamh O Loan was the Makeup Designer.