Glassland listed for Sundance Film Festival competition

Kerryman Gerard Barrett’s work among 12 films for World Cinema Dramatic Competition

Gerard Barrett's Glassland, recent winner of the audience prize at the Galway Film Fleadh, is among just 12 films selected for the World Cinema Dramatic Competition at the upcoming Sundance Film Festival in Utah.

The Irish film joins two domestic co-productions at the world’s premiere event for independent cinema.

Kim Farrant's Australian movie Strangerland, starring Nicole Kidman and Joseph Fiennes, which also plays in the World Cinema Dramatic section, was developed by the Irish company Fastnet Films and received funding from the Irish Film Board.

Michael Madsen's The Visit, a co-production between Ireland and four other European nations, plays in the documentary strand.


Mr Barrett’s achievement is the most notable. Still just 27, the Kerryman first attracted attention with his debut feature Pilgrim Hill in 2013.

Glassland, produced by Element Pictures and supported by the Film Board, stars Jack Reynor as a young man seeking to cope with an alcoholic mother (Toni Collette) in contemporary Tallaght.

Troubled best friend

The popular young English actor Will Poulter appears as the protagonist’s troubled best friend. The film received raves across the board on its debut at Galway.

“It’s such an honour and privilege to take this film to Sundance. To be in competition at Sundance, really is something special,” Barrett commented.

Ed Guiney, co-founder of Element and producer of Glassland, is to receive a special co-production award at the European Film Awards in Riga later this month.

Long associated with Robert Redford, the Sundance Film Festival was instituted in 1978, but really picked up steam in the 1980s following its move to Park City, Utah.

Its importance was secured during the independent film boom of the 1990s when producers such as Harvey Weinstein began emerging as major forces in American cinema.

Such films as Reservoir Dogs, Sex Lies and Videotape and Little Miss Sunshine all profited from successful premieres at the event. Early this year, the current favourite for the best picture Oscar, Richard Linklater's Boyhood, made its debut at Sundance.

The upcoming event, which kicks off on January 22nd, features the usual collection of upcoming tyros and complete unknowns.

Donald Clarke

Donald Clarke

Donald Clarke, a contributor to The Irish Times, is Chief Film Correspondent and a regular columnist