Day 5 - Lovely Ludivine; "Raggy Boys" Aidan Quinn & Iain Glen.

Smack My Bitch Up director chats about his controversial works, while the Raggy Boys tackle child abuse

by Claire Sawers

Akerlund After-Party

There were fun and games last night following the screening of a Mirrorball documentary all about Jonas Akerlund’s career. After the audience had watched uncut videos of Akerlund’s controversial music videos for the likes of Metallica and the Prodigy, a select few went along to the Borough Hotel in Causewayside for a celebration knees-up. Akerlund’s latest feature, Spun, will be getting a Film Fest screening later in the week.

Irish Drama

Today we were mostly getting excited about… the presence of Aidan Quinn as he arrived in town to plug his latest venture, Song For A Raggy Boy. Looking very relaxed and full of smiles, he turned up to this afternoon’s press conference accompanied by other cast members, Iain Glen and John Travers, and the film’s director, Aisling Walsh.

Quinn (Looking for Richard, Practical Magic, Michael Collins) seemed to have had a ball on set (despite the distinctly unsavoury themes brought up by the film).

I asked him how he enjoyed taking part in this type of small production (it was filmed over 6 weeks on location in Cork) after being used to mega-budget Hollywood blockbusters like Legends of the Fall, where he played alongside Brad Pitt and Anthony Hopkins.

"With a small production like this, you go to work and you work. Bigger films tend to involve lots of sitting about in your trailer and waiting."

He added, "I did have a trailer on this set but every time I went in it, there were about 12 boys (the local lads who play the Catholic school boys in the film) raiding my fridge or playing with my telly!"

John Travers, the Irish lad who plays Mercier in the film seemed a bit shell-shocked by all the attention he was getting over the film. This is his first film role and he has given up his previous - passion - boxing in order to carry on with acting. Aidan Quinn quipped that it was probably just as well too; "Boxing spoils your face for the camera!"

From rags to riches?

Irish TV and film director, Aisling Walsh, said she hoped her film about the sinister goings-on in an Irish Catholic reform school for boys would spark debate – specifically over the church’s track record in cases of verbal and physical abuse of children.

Strong meat, perhaps, as subject matter for a film (and perhaps one that the distributors won’t take to too kindly – especially so soon after Peter Mullan brought up similar material in The Magdalene Sisters. Walsh did mention that they haven’t actually sold the distribution rights in the UK yet but the film will be aired in Ireland in October.)

Quintessential Gentleman

As we waited outside afterwards for cars to take us to the UK premiere of Song For A Raggy Boy, Aidan very kindly offered me a lift in his chauffeur-driven EIFF car. Just as I was about to join him in the back seat with Iain Glen, I was whisked away to a waiting taxi. Thanks for the offer anyway, Aidan - maybe next time!

There was then a red carpet call for the actors outside the UGC – a first for child actor John Travers – who had told me minutes before how excited he was at the prospect of his first chance to face the waiting photographers.

Inside the theatre, Aisling Walsh got up on stage to introduce the film’s first showing in front of a British audience.

And apparently it went down pretty well – the film’s closing credits were met with some very enthusiastic applause (and a fair bit of sniffing from some teary eyed spectators.)

Lovely Ludivine

An appearance from a foxy female kept the males happy at the EIFF tonight. Ludivine Sagnier, the young French star of Swimming Pool appeared for a photo call with the director François Ozon, (8 Women, Sitcom) before the film was shown. Pretty in pink, Ludivine oozed sex appeal for the photographers before heading inside for interviews with EIFF TV.

Until tomorrow, Claire x

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