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Ballinrobe man lands international film deal


Ballinrobe scriptwriter Mick Donnellan.
EXCITING TIMES?Ballinrobe scriptwriter Mick Donnellan.

Ballinrobe playwright Mick Donnellan lands international film deal

Mick Donnellan off to Morocco to begin filming

Ciara Galvin

IT really is like something from the films: Man from small town hands out flyer promoting work and a year later he’s jetting off to Morocco to film his very own feature film.
For Ballinrobe man Mick Donnellan, this is not a fairytale or a scene from a Hollywood film.
An established playwright, Donnellan has gone from writing a 15-minute piece for the Claremorris Fringe Festival this time last year to signing a film deal with London-based production company Story.
Speaking exclusively to The Mayo News, Donnellan explained that while writing the piece for the Claremorris Fringe Festival, he decided to turn it into a full play and was ‘very lucky’.
“I was handing out flyers in Dublin for my play ‘Velvet Revolution’ and a lady took one, and saw it. I gave her my book [El Niño] and she said I should talk to her son, who is a film producer in London.”
After speaking to the people at London-based production company Story in April 2013, the response was positive to say the least.
“They said they loved it and asked could they buy it,” explained Donnellan.
A contract was drawn up, and Story committed to shooting the feature-length film this April. Now the Ballinrobe man is gearing up for three weeks of shooting on location in Morocco, and he will be fully involved in all aspects of the film.
“I’m totally on board as script advisor and screen writer, and fully immersed with the director and in the choice of cast,” he explained.
Asked who would be on his wish list of actors, Donnellan said it would be ‘amazing’ to get Brendan Gleeson and ‘Cillian Murphy would be savage’.
With Brendan Gleeson and ‘Love/Hate’ stars Cillian Scott and Robert Sheehan already being approached, and the possibility of Aidan Gillan and Cillian Murphy being asked, the film could boast an impressive cast to match an impressive story line.

Though the storyline originally focused on two violent Irish criminals who kidnap a bank manager’s daughter in Ireland, the screenplay has relocated the action to the deserts of Iraq, where the same characters, who are Black Ops for the US army, take an oil Sheikh’s daughter hostage. Donnellan said the screenplay entitled ‘Tiger Raid’ could be compared to such black comedies as ‘In Bruges’ and ‘Seven Psychopaths’.
The €10,000 original budget for an Irish-shot film has since been upgraded to €500,000 for the Moroccan film shoot.
“I’ve great respect for them [Story] and I hope it gets my name out there as a screenwriter,” said Donnellan, adding that perhaps his next film could be shot in his home town of Ballinrobe.  
‘Tiger Raid’ is expected to be released later this year.
Mick’s crime thriller novel ‘El Niño’ is available online at originalwriting.ie and in kindle format, and is on sale at Martin Murphy’s, Ballinrobe; Castle Bookshop, Castlebar; Charlie Byrne’s, Galway.