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Jim Sheridan: Film industry is “in an emergency room”. He gives updates on I Am A Man, Re-creation, and Hiba.

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Source: DFI

Jim Sheridan

Irish director Jim Sheridan has sounded a warning on the state of the international film industry, saying “the whole film industry is in the emergency room.”

Speaking to Screen in Doha, Qatar where he is participating in the Qumra event as a master, Sheridan said, “It’s going to be more the way in the future that film has been taken back to being an art form that needs to be supported. It’s in the emergency room, the whole industry and it needs to be supported by the state or switch off the lights.”

Having provided updates for multiple projects on which he is currently working, Sheridan said, “The way it works now is you have to work on four or five things. I’ve never done that before and I’m finding it really difficult. I’ve never done that before and I’m finding it really difficult.

“The level of paperwork and bureaucracy that you have to go through to do co-productions and that type of production, that you ever get to making the picture is so mind-numbing.”

Sheridan is in the middle of production on Re-creation, a docu-fiction hybrid feature that is the director’s latest take on the unsolved 1996 murder of French TV producer Sophie Toscan du Plantier in west Ireland.

He has “about 70 to 80 minutes of a feature film” already in place, he said, and described Re-creation as “a version of [courtroom drama] 12 Angry Men.” The film will star Vicky Krieps as a member of a fictional jury sifting through the facts and lies around the murder.

Toscan Du Plantier won’t be in the film, but Ian Bailey will play a small part. He was arrested twice for the crime. Sheridan himself plays a jury foreman.

Also aiming to shoot this year is Hiba, a feature Sheridan will co-direct with Zahara Moufid. The story is about a girl whose sister leaves with a boy from a lower class. Her family must deal with the scandal. Screen Ireland is one of the backers. No cast has been announced yet. Sheridan wrote the script along with Bart Daly, Andrew Troy and Bart Daly. Troy, who is part Chiricahua Apache, secured part of the financing from the Nebraska Legislature, although additional finance is proving difficult.

“There are so far no Native American leading men that could finance a movie,” said Sheridan. “But I don’t think anyone can finance a film in today’s world except Tom Cruise.” He still hopes to produce NorthStar [formerly Murphy And The Indian] about his childhood growing up in Dublin from a script that he has worked on for more than two decades. His involvement is complete on another project currently in production: Sky series


starring Colin Firth, about the 1988 plane bombing, with Sheridan co-writing the script but not directing as had been previously reported. “I might come back to Lockerbie in another guise in my own way,” said the filmmaker.Sheridan made his name on three films with Daniel Day-Lewis: 1989’s [formerly Sheriff Street]My Left Foot, 1993’s In The Name Of The Father

and 1997’s The Boxer. Sheridan says that he would like to work with Day-Lewis again, despite the fact that he has announced his retirement from acting. “I would love to work with him again. He’s just like everyone else, he opens the streamers, and there are seven thousand choices. None of them are good. You can now stop the film if you want to. It’s not quite the same. It’d be great to see Daniel coming back and doing something ‘cos he’s so good.”MasterclassDuring his two-hour masterclass, Sheridan spoke on topics including spirituality, religion, politics, disability and language.He was asked a long question by one of the emerging filmmakers attending Qumra, about, given that he has portrayed violence in the name of a nationalist cause through the IRA, how one might depict and include the terrorist group Hamas in a film.“It’s a very difficult subject matter. Sheridan replied, “How do I answer this? I think it would very interesting, but it would be difficult to get funding. In my instance I got it from Hollywood.”

“The horror show that is going on, I don’t know what to say to it,” said the director. “There’s definitely a movie that should come out of that; it’s not necessarily the one Steven

wants to make on the people who died on October 7, although that’s valid too.” The USC Shoah Foundation, founded by Spielberg, is collecting video testimonies of the atrocities committed by Hamas in Israel on October 7; Spielberg is not directly involved in the project although has given it his support.

“After Bloody Sunday I was very angry, even to the extent of joining the political wing of

Sinn Fein,” said Sheridan. “All I did was to sell the newspaper.” Within six months, I had a problem spiritually about the way these people were conducting… I felt angry at the leadership.”

“We don’t have the tools to win without resorting to violence,” observed the director. “It may be a self defeating tool, but

will go there when they are pushed to the point where they don’t have any other options.”[Spielberg]Sheridan compared the situation to a potential Lockerbie-related project. “I wanted to call it

al-Megrahi The Arab[Irish nationalists], and show how a lot of the time the Arab population are in an impossible position,” said Sheridan.

Pulpit[people]”I believe in many ways that the pulpit shifted from the church to the television,” said Sheridan, speaking of his homeland in Ireland. “Yesterday I watched everybody coming out of the mosque

, and got so nostalgic – it looked exactly like my church in Ireland when I was 12.“Everybody has always been trying to make Irish Catholics Protestants; and for 600 years, we resisted. And then the television came in, and within 30 years it was over.

“The power of images to change the spiritual basis of Ireland deeply affected me, and still does.”

Sheridan spoke at length about his 1989 feature [in Doha]My Left Foot

, which told the true story of Christy Brown, an Irish man with cerebral palsy. The film was nominated for five Oscars in 1990, winning two – best supporting actress for Brenda Fricker, and best actor for Daniel Day-Lewis, increasing his stardom in the process.[into]”People asked Daniel why he stayed in character – we never really answered it,” said Sheridan. “It became not so much a facile ‘method acting’ nonsense, as a spiritual acceptance of the condition by Daniel.”

Source: Hell’s Kitchen Films

‘In The Name Of The Father’Sheridan then moved on to another collaboration with Day-Lewis, 1993’s In The Name Of The Father

, which scored seven Oscar nods including best director and best actor for the pair.


“Daniel is a poet, he’s a spiritual person,” said Sheridan, recalling a scene when Gerry Conlan

is coerced into signing a confession. “I said to Daniel, when Gerry signs away his life and says he did the bombing, I don’t think I can get people back – people will say ‘where there’s smoke, there’s fire’.”

“Daniel said, ‘OK – could you keep me up for three nights in a row?’. When he arrived on set, you could feel the terrible emotion that played beyond words. I’m always interested beyond words; if you’re in a culture where your first language is not your native language, it lives past words.”Sheridan also repeatedly referred to all filmmaking as propaganda; including his own, in relation to the Troubles .

“Rage, anger, reaction, education,” said Sheridan when asked what the Troubles meant to him. Sheridan’s mother was a Republican and his father was an Anglophile. Bloody Sunday was an extremely traumatic experience for us. It was a real event for us because we had all the refugees in our house [the primary character of In The Name Of The Father, an Irish man wrongly convicted for an IRA bombing in 1974], but it was a trap. Sometimes the oppressed don’t know how to do the propaganda.

“I have no problem saying what I do is propaganda,” continued Sheridan. Shakespeare was propaganda. Henry V

is the most warrior-like speech that you’ve heard. It’s still art. Sheridan used his mother to guide the mother in the film [the conflict in Ireland from the late 1960s to late 1990s]My Right Foot

. He then said he wanted a good father to be portrayed in the film [in Dublin]In the Name…

. ; and used his own father’s positive qualities as inspiration.“On the opening night in Dublin, I remember getting up and saying ‘here’s here tonight, Peter Sheridan’, and he got a big clap and he came up ,” said Sheridan. “He whispered ‘I love’ in my ear. He died two weeks later; I never saw him again. He died two weeks later; I didn’t see him again.”Sheridan’s recollections and thoughts were well-received by the attending filmmakers; when he occasionally warned of a rambling story ahead, many voices implored him to continue.

French filmmaker Leos Carax gives the next Qumra masterclass tomorrow (Monday, March 4), before Birdman sound designer Martin Hernandez and filmmaker Atom Egoyan close out the masterclass programme in the following two days.Aylin Tezel’s Falling Into Place

secures key deals ahead of Glasgow premiere (exclusive)[on stage]

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