Press Release: The Ballsbridge Poisoner

The Ballsbridge Poisoner

[PHOTO: At the Official Launch of the Offline Film Festival. L to R: Kevin McGee, Enda Oates, Film Board Chairman Bill O’Herlihy, Festival Director Gary Hoctor.]

FESTIVAL TRIUMPH FOR NENAGH FILM-MAKER

A film by Nenagh native Kevin McGee has been selected for three prestigious festivals in one month. The Ballsbridge Poisoner, which Kevin wrote and produced, was one of fifteen films chosen from almost 300 entries in the OffLine Festival. It will also highlight the Clones Film Festival and the International Short Film Festival in Dublin, where it has been nominated for Best Film and Best Actress.

 Eimear Morrissey 1Eimear Morrissey Performing

Kevin is thrilled by the success of the film, an Irish-English co-production starring Eimear Morrissey (Damo and Ivor), Enda Oates (Fair City’s Pete Ferguson), and the renowned Beckett interpreter Sara Jane Scaife. Despite the international crew, the film is something of an underdog on the festival circuit.

The Ballsbridge Poisoner Crew 1“We had no budget at all. Most of us are freelancers, so we’ve all felt the effects of the recession. That means free time, so we decided to take advantage of that and make something for ourselves. It’s fantastic that the film has also resonated with other people.”

Part of the reason is its topicality: “It’s about an office worker who is fighting against redundancy. She uses her wit and her intelligence to escape the chop. It’s a story people can identify with.”

Eimear MorrisseyDespite the title and the grim topic, the Ballsbridge Poisoner is a light-hearted affair. Kevin goes onto say that: “We wanted to say something about the downturn, but it had to be a comedy. If people want to be depressed they can turn on the News.”

The film was shot over two weekends in Dublin, with a crew of nearly thirty. Friends and family were drafted in to help. Kevin’s wife Brigie did the catering, and cousin Charlie McGee stepped in as Assistant Director. The key member of the team was the celebrated director Clive Arnold.

“Once we got Clive on board,” Kevin says, “we knew we could do it.” Clive was fresh from his success with the Bafta-winning live episode of Eastenders, so he a serious draw. His generosity was also an inspiration.

 The Ballsbridge Poisoner Crew 2[L to R: Producer and Writer – Kevin McGee, Director – Clive Arnold & Cameraman – John Fay]

“When Clive found that everyone was working for nothing, he turned down the fee. He paid for his own flights. He paid for his hotel. He’d hardly even take a cup of coffee. He’s a class act.”

The Ballsbridge Posioner 3Enda Oates is Watching!

Does Kevin have any plans for a follow-up? “First we have to follow the festival trail with this one. Three appearances in four weeks is something special, but we want to take it outside Ireland too. We’re hoping for a New York premiere early next year.”

 The Ballsbridge Poisoner Crew 3The Ballsbridge Poisoner Crew

In the meantime, Kevin and Charlie are back at work on the Nenagh Silent Film Festival, which is due to take place on St Valentine’s weekend. Kevin states that:“We’ll be launching the programme later this year. The committee will kill me if I let anything slip, but it’s going to be special. Even better that than last year.” -END

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Why Nenagh – Film & Television Connections

Mystery PersonThere are many talented people associated with Nenagh town and it’s environs and none moreso than in the area of film and television. In fact, there are people living are connected to the vicinity of North Tipperary itself that would surprise you. This week I’m going to take a look at some of these world famous names, because you’d never know who’d you meet along any of Nenagh’s historic streets.

Rex IngramSo why not start with the big man himself. Reginald Ingram Montgomery Hitchcock, later to become known as Rex Ingram, was born in Rathmines in Dublin. As a young man his family moved to North Tipperary, whereby his father was employed as a verger in the Borrisokane Church of Ireland and also the Nenagh Church of Ireland. He lived for approximately eighteen months in Nenagh and it was here where he viewed his first moving picture. That was in 1901 at a traveling circus. The experience obviously stuck with him, because as we all know, Rex went on to become one of the great pioneers of Hollywood in the silent era. A plaque in his honour was erected in the town at the house where he lived amongst us by the Nenagh Silent Film Festival Committee in February 2013. He died on July 21st 1950, which was 63 years ago this very week.

MartinSheenYou see, there’s more than one president connected to North Tipperary (see President Barack Obama of Moneygall, which is on the border of County Tipperary and County Offaly and is just 12 miles from Nenagh town) and also (President Ronald Reagan of Ballyporeen, County Tipperary). The world renowned Hollywood actor and star of The West Wing, Martin Sheen, has very strong connections to North Tipperary. His family roots are from the Borrisokane area, which is just ten miles from Nenagh town, and it was from here where his mother emigrated to the United States. Martin is a proud son of North Tipperary and is a regular visitor to the area.

Patrick BerginHere’s another famous Hollywood actor who lives within our midst here in North Tipperary. Patrick Bergin lives in a castle that is situated near Cloughjordan and this town-land is just a ten minute drive from Nenagh town. Patrick has plenty of form as an actor including Sleeping with the Enemy, in which he wouldn’t leave poor Julia Roberts alone, and of course Robin Hood along with a number of very impressive titles. He is regularly seen in Nenagh town and other North Tipperary parishes.

Charlie Sheen

And then there’s Charlie! Charlie Sheen, son of aforementioned Martin Sheen has, through his father and then of course his grand-mother, strong connections to the North Tipperary locality. Martin is very well known as a major Hollywood actor and American television star. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, you’ll never know who you might meet around about Nenagh-way.

Emilio EstevezNow I couldn’t leave it at that about the Sheen clan. There’s also Martin‘s other son Emilio. He may have taken the name his father was christened with, but like his brother and of course his father, there is still North Tipperary blood running through his veins. Another major Hollywood connection for North Tipperary. Emilio has a wonderful career in his own right with some wonderful productions behind him like Young Guns, St Elmo’s Fire and The Breakfast Club to name just a few. He also has a career as a director, screenwriter and a producer.

Johnny DeppNow Johnny Depp hasn’t being able to find roots to North Tipperary as of yet, that I know of, but he was reported to be in the Toomevara (village 5 miles from Nenagh town) graveyard searching for his roots a couple of years back. But Johnny is no stranger to Nenagh town and the North Tipperary countryside. He’s a very close friend of Shane MacGowan, who is from and lives a few miles from Nenagh and he’s a regular visitor to the area. We’ll just have to dig a little deeper and I’m sure before long we’ll find his true Irish roots in the heartland of North Tipperary. (More on Shane McGowan next week)

George ClooneyThere are quite a number of other connections to the world of film and television and this is something we are very proud about. To name just a few more, there’s George Clooney who has been reported to have visited North Tipperary in the recent past in search of his own roots. Then there’s Brigie de Courcy (Executive Producer of Fair City and formally Producer on Eastenders), who is married to Nenagh man Kevin McGee (Award-Winning Playwright, Director, Producer, Irish television script-writer). And there is Kevin’s brother Noel, who is also an Irish television script-writer. There are countless others and if you want to remind me of them please leave a comment in the Comment box below. Next week I’ll take a look at some famous names throughout history who have called Nenagh town their home.

Posted by Michael ‘Charlie’ McGee