Martin McDonagh's "In Bruges" Will Start Sundance Film Fest With a Bang

News   Martin McDonagh's "In Bruges" Will Start Sundance Film Fest With a Bang
Sundance Institute announced that director-writer Martin McDonagh's new film, "In Bruges," will be the Opening Night Film for its 2008 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, UT.

The world premiere will screen Jan. 17, 2008.

Written and directed by first-time feature filmmaker and award-winning playwright Martin McDonagh (The Pillowman, The Lieutenant of Inishmore, The Beauty Queen of Leenane), the picture stars Academy Award nominee Ralph Fiennes, Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson.

"In Bruges," according to Sundance, "tells the suspenseful, twisted tale of two London hit men ordered to take a forced vacation in Bruges, Belgium, and how their subsequent time in exile goes awry."

The 2008 Sundance Film Festival runs Jan. 17-27, 2008, in Park City, Salt Lake City, Ogden, and Sundance, UT.

"In many ways 'In Bruges' is a quintessential Sundance film — it's brutal, philosophical, funny, and totally original," stated Geoffrey Gilmore, director of Sundance Film Festival. "Martin McDonagh is a masterful storyteller, a tremendously gifted playwright and provocative risk-taker and we are thrilled to showcase his feature-length directorial debut." McDonagh's first project in filmmaking was the short film, "Six Shooter," also starring Gleeson, which won the Academy Award for Best Live-Action Short Film in 2006.

A winner of two Olivier Awards for the plays The Lieutenant of Inishmore and The Pillowman, he is also a four-time Tony Award-nominated playwright of The Beauty Queen of Leenane, The Lonesome West and The Pillowman. Born in London, McDonagh divides his time between England and Ireland. A creator of scripts for radio plays early in his writing career, McDonagh is now known for his visceral, often bloody, comedy-spiked drama.

"I'm stunned and thrilled that 'In Bruges' will be opening a festival as prestigious, and as cool, as Sundance, and I simply can't wait to attend," McDonagh stated.

According to Sundance, "In Bruges" tells the story of "hit men Ray and Ken (Farrell and Gleeson, respectively), who, after a badly botched job in London, are ordered by their boss, Harry (Fiennes), to cool their heels in the bucolic city of Bruges, Belgium. Very much out of their comfort zones, the men find themselves drawn into increasingly dangerous entanglements with locals, tourists, and a film shoot. When their stay in Bruges takes a turn for the worst, Ray and Ken realize Harry may have plans for them other than a simple vacation."

"Martin McDonagh's hilariously sad first feature is seemingly modest; but, in fact, highly original. No filmmaker I know has made the English language, in all its profane — and here, quite Celtic — glory, such a purely, joyously cinematic medium," stated James Schamus, CEO, Focus Features.

"In Bruges" also stars Clémence Poésy, Thekla Reuten and Jérémie Rénier. The film is a Focus Features presentation in association with Film4 of a Blueprint Pictures production in association with Scion Films. The film is produced by Graham Broadbent and Pete Czernin. Executive producers are Jeff Abberley, Julia Blackman and Tessa Ross.

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