After 25 years in exile Jim Mahon brings his American daughter, Patricia, for her first visit to his hometown, Belfast. At a Welcome Home party for Jim at the local pub, Jim's brother shows Patricia an old photo of Jim and Paddy Grogan, once Jim's best friend, but long estranged. Patricia convinces Jim to search out his best friend Paddy. But Paddy doesn't live alone - there's Mary as well.
Mary was engaged to Jim when he fled Belfast's Troubles for San Francisco a quarter of a century before. Now she's married to Paddy. Jim hasn't been in touch with either of them... and racked by guilt and uneasy about the sort of welcome he might receive - possibly no welcome at all - he doesn't want to go through with the visit. But Patricia insists "These are people you loved. You have to make your peace with them." The reunion quickly goes awry with tears and old misunderstandings exposed - and plenty of laughter as well.
The Shore is a collaboration between three internationally renowned Northern Irish filmmakers, two-time Oscar nominated writer/director Terry George (Hotel Rwanda, In The Name Of The Father), Oscar nominated Cinematographer Seamus McGarvey (Atonement, The Hours) and composer David Holmes (Ocean's Thirteen, Out Of Sight). The Shore is a moving and funny story about one of the personal reconciliations that coincide with national reconciliation.
"I felt for quite a while it was a gap in my career that I hadn't actually filmed in my homeland, and it was the best experience I've ever had," says George. "Film in Northern Ireland has really ramped up. It has a strong infrastructure now, and the government and the community seem to be in favor of it. They aren't jaded about people shooting on their streets."
Aptly enough, The Shore is the story of an Irish exile (Ciarán Hinds) who fled to America 25 years ago to escape Belfast's violence and is now bringing his grown-up daughter back to meet his childhood friends. The 30-minute film was the first to get funding from Tourism Ireland, which wants to back projects displaying the region's attractions to international audiences.
Ireland-born giant of stage and screen Ciarán Hinds, who plays the film's lead role, joined twice Oscar-nominated director Terry George, Brendan Fraser, of The Mummy fame, Conleth Hill and Maggie Cronin at the film premiere at the Belfast Film Festival.
The story has been a labour of love for Terry George, who makes Coney Island his home in between worldwide film shoots. Inspired by a story he was told by a relative in Killough, The Shore tells the tale of two boyhood best friends - Joe (Ciarán Hinds) and Paddy (Conleth Hill) - divided by 25 years of misunderstanding.
Their world and their friendship were shattered by the conflict escalating around them in the 1970s and their lives take very different paths until, 25 years later, Joe returns for the first time to his homeland with his 24 year-old daughter, Patricia.
In his absence Paddy, his best friend, has married Joe's former fiancée Mary.
The story, under George's direction, is both hilarious and moving.
Although he is a seasoned director, accustomed to the harsh realities of the movie industry in Hollywood and LA, Terry admitted to Friday's audience that he was nervous about the reaction to the short film, which represents a departure from his previous Oscar-nominated productions Hotel Rwanda and In the Name of the Father.
With so many local people in the audience to please, as well as the film's investors Lough Shore Investments, Northern Ireland Screen and Tourism Ireland, it is perhaps unsurprising that even Terry George was on tenterhooks.
But the audience's reaction - stomach-holding laughter silenced by genuine emotion - will have quickly put him at his ease.
With tickets to the film like "hen's teeth" before the Friday screening, there was standing room only for some latecomers as the curtain went up.
As a local, it may be hard at first not to be distracted by the familiarity of the setting as the main characters make their journey from Belfast airport to Coney Island - "Oh, there's Geoff and Duffy Bocking's old house"; "Look there's George Crane in the bar scene", "Is that McKeating's pub?" etc. etc. But the story quickly hooks you in.
So much so that the 30-minute film passes in a flash.
Indeed, the only rumblings of discontent after the screening were grumbles about the film being too short.
"I wish it was longer," muttered one viewer, while another complained that the story was "unresolved" and a group in the lobby discussed what was likely to happen next.
But the lack of resolution at the end of The Shore is of course by no means an oversight by a director as accomplished as Terry George.
For he has cautiously revealed his intention to create a trilogy of interwoven short stories around this first beautiful film.
Although he has not yet started writing the trilogy, another summer in Coney Island could provide the inspiration needed to get the project underway.
In the meantime, it will be bated breath for Coney Island as the new Oscar season approaches.
The Flickers: Rhode Island International Film Festival (RIIFF) presented a Best Actor Award to acting icon, Ciarán Hinds for his leading role in the acclaimed film THE SHORE, directed by Terry George, a short film that had its premiere at the Rhode Island International Film Festival.
THE SHORE received the grand prize for Best Short film at RIIFF in 2011. This award qualified the film to be considered for Oscar consideration by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. THE SHORE then went on to be nominated and win the Oscar for Best Live Action Short Film in 2012 at the 84th Annual Academy Awards.
A multi-talented method actor, Ciarán Hinds launched his professional career on the stage, appearing in CINDERELLA, the six-hour epic play THE MAHABHARETA, and several productions with the Royal Shakespeare Company. Hinds landed his first screen role in the 1981 film John Boorman's EXCALIBUR alongside Helen Mirren, and has since starred in THE SUM OF ALL FEARS with Ben Affleck and Morgan Freeman, Steven Spielberg's MUNICH, Oscar-winning THERE WILL BE BLOOD, HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS 2 as Aberforth Dumbledore, the HBO series ROME as Julius Caesar, and more recently GAME OF THRONES.
"Since Mr. Hinds was unable to attend the 2011 Festival, we initially mailed the award to him in Ireland but received it back following a change of address for the film's producer," said Shawn Quirk, RIIFF Program Director. "Thanks to the help of Steven Feinberg, Executive Director of the RI Film and Television Office, we were given the perfect opportunity to present the award to him in person."
RIIFF presented the Grand Prize Award to Ciarán Hinds during the recent filming of his latest film BLEED FOR THIS at the Dunkin Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island before a crowd of over 3,000 extras. Hinds plays Angelo Pazienza in the film.
BLEED FOR THIS is a new feature film produced by Chad Verdi of Verdi Productions and executive producer, Martin Scorsese. The film chronicles the life and trials of the world champion Rhode Island boxer, Vinny Pazienza (Vinny Paz) and features a star-studded cast that includes Ciarán Hinds, Miles Teller, Katey Sagal, and Aaron Eckhart. Shot entirely in Rhode Island, the film wrapped last week and has already been booked for an international theatrical release.
"It is a true honor to have the opportunity to award such an enormously talented actor and thanks go to Chad A. Verdi and Steven Feinberg for making this presentation possible. Ciarán Hinds has created an enormous artistic footprint within the world of cinema, and we could not be more pleased to recognize his fantastic performance in THE SHORE." said Michael Drywa, RIIFF Advisory Board President, who presented the award for Best Actor to Mr. Hinds.
Character: Jim Mahon
Co-stars: Conleth Hill, Anthony Brophy, Maggie Cronin
Director: Terry George
Run-time: 30 mn
Release date: March 2011
Webmaster Sylvie Griffon (France) - Copyright © 2008 Ciarán Hinds ! All right reserved.