A pair of actors who hail from Cannes Film Festival award-winning projects — Anamaria Marinca (Cristian Mungiu’s 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days) and Jean-Marc Barr (Lars Von Trier’s Europa) — are teaming to star in a new film that marks an official collaboration between France and Ireland.
The project is White Friar and will mark the feature directorial debut of actor-turned-filmmaker Ivan Murphy. Described as a romantic thriller, White Friar is inspired by the life of Father Tom Murphy, an Irish Catholic priest who also served as a wing commander in the Royal Air Force during WWII and his relationship with Eva Hofer, a Hungarian Jew living in Vienna. Per the official synopsis, the film “examines morality, sexuality and identity.”
Ivan Murphy, who happens to be the grand nephew of Father Tom Murphy, penned the screenplay. He turned up in Cannes on Friday to sign the co-production agreement between France’s Valentina Films and Ireland’s Max Films at a special event held at the Irish Pavilion hosted by Screen Ireland and the Centre National du Cinema.
The project falls under a co-production agreement that was inked last December in Paris by the ambassador of Ireland to France, Niall Burgess, and the French minister of culture, Rima Abdul-Malak, per an official press release issued Friday from the production partners.
“This is a wonderful day for our film, White Friar, and for our partnership with Max Films in Ireland. The new co-production agreement between France and Ireland is a wonderful opportunity for these two great filmmaking and storytelling communities to work together” said Valentina Films principal Xavier Castano, who will executive produce.
Added Max Brady of Dublin-based Max Films: “It has been a wonderful experience working with Xavier and his team over the last year and we are delighted to be moving another step closer to telling this great story.”
Murphy, who has previously lent his talents to The Darkness, said now that the deal is signed, the team is very much looking forward to getting into pre-production. “I am very grateful to our incredible team behind and in front of the camera in Ireland and France for all their work over the last couple of years.”
Castano teamed with Jean-Jacques Annaud on two of his films, Two Brothers and Wolf Totem. Brady and his Max Films has the Paul Reiser-starrer The Problem with People on deck. Marinca recently starred in Goran Stolevski’s critical favorite You Won’t Be Alone while Barr was recently seen in Aga Woszczynksa’s Silent Land.