Enniskillen director to premiere film at top New York festival

Martin McCann stars in The Survivalist
Martin McCann stars in The Survivalist
  • Ulster Director Stephen Fingleton to premiere feature film in New York
  • Film ‘The Survivalist’ being entered in prestigious competition
  • Fingleton hopes to bring film to Northern Ireland audience

An Ulster writer and director is set to world premiere his debut feature film at the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival in New York next month.

Stephen Fingleton, 31, from Enniskillen, said ‘The Survivalist’ will compete with 11 other features at the festival – which runs from April 15 to 26 – and will have four public screenings.

Mr Fingleton, who missed out on an Oscar earlier this year after his film SLR was selected among the top 10 for the Live Action Short category along with another NI film, Boogaloo and Graham, said: “Two film makers from Northern Ireland were chosen by the American Academy to be in the top 10, which says something. Of course Boogaloo and Graham made it further and stood a real chance.”

The Co Fermanagh man said the Tribeca Film Festival, which was started by acting icon Robert de Niro after the September 11 attacks in 2001, “is a great start” for his 104-minute long film.

He said the festival has “quickly became one of the biggest festivals on the circuit”.

“My film is being entered for the main competition which is the most prestigious,” he added.

“But awards don’t really matter to me. What matters to me is raising the profile of the film.

“What also matters to me is making something that the audience will respond to.”

When asked if he was nervous about the screenings, Mr Fingleton said: “No, not particularly.

“I know the film is good and as long as it is projected correctly I think people will like it.

Stephen Fingleton

Stephen Fingleton

“I have screened a lot of short films and I have had brilliant experiences and terrible experiences so nothing can surprise me.”

Explaining why he hoped to bring ‘The Survivalist’ to Northern Ireland, he said: “I think this is the first in a near contemporary setting in Northern Ireland which isn’t about the Troubles, and in which the Troubles have no meaningful context for the characters as there are far greater calamities have arisen since.

“It is unique as it is about a guy living on a farm in a time of starvation who is growing his own food. Then a mother and a daughter come along, and the mother offers her daughter to him for ‘comfort’ in return for food. Then, of course, the women want to have the farm for themselves.

“It is about three characters on the farm at a time of no food and all that matters is survival.

“I would love this to reach a Northern Ireland audience because I think it is a very important Northern Ireland film which will reach audiences internationally.

“But, it is challenging to convince cinemas to show films made by a local film maker unless they can be convinced people can go to see it.”