American filmgoers might be forgiven for thinking every film about Ireland focuses on Crying Game-style terrorists or Ned Devine-aged senior citizens. But the lack of movies dealing with normal people growing up in Ireland today leaved an incomplete cinematic picture of a country and culture. That certainly discouraged Donal Foreman, a filmmaker who came up in Dublin and never could see much to relate to on the silver screen. Eventually, he decided to make his first feature-length film, Out of Here, into that story who so longed to see himself—a tale of a twenty-something Irishman making his way in a contemporary setting.
The film ended up being a hit in Ireland, where the film already enjoyed a theatrical run. Now, Foreman is bringing his work stateside, and Sarasota Film Festival audiences can be among the first this side of the Atlantic Ocean to watch the movie.
“The film is set in my hometown,” Foreman says. “The main character is a young Dublin guy in his early 20s who has to reluctantly return to the city.” Various economic challenges have the millennial protagonist living back home with the parents and trying to reconnect with an ex-girlfriend. But as so many people who decide they can go home again, Ciaran ends up discovering elements of the Dublin life he somehow missed when he was growing up.
The 29-year-old filmmaker came up with the idea for the film seven years ago, Years of working to find a producer and arrange incentives with the Irish Film Board brought the vision to the screen.
Creating the film created a homecoming story for Foreman himself. While Foreman finished film school in Ireland, he moved to New York. He has been creating short films since he was 11, he said, including about a half dozen he still will put on proud display, but this was the film he has wanted to make for years.
Coming back to Ireland to shoot meant significant refreshing of his story as well. “While I had written the script, the final film was really based on a workshop process,” he says. “We shot scenes during the day and I would write more scenes at night for the next day.” The film was cast professionals and with Dubiners Foreman simply found had interesting lives.
Foreman would like to reach as broad an audience as possible, and so far has brought the film to an Irish film festival in New York and now to Sarasota. From here, he sees possibilities for digital distribution in the United States.
But Sarasota festival-goers can still see the movie on screen. After a successful screening on Monday, the film plays again at the Regal Hollywood 20 on Wednesday, April 15, at 2:45pm.