Ken Loach to film Jimmy Hall in Sligo/Leitrim area this summer

SONY DSCIn 1933 Jim Gralton became the only Irishman to be ever to be deported by an Irish Government for his alleged communist activities. Jimmy Gralton was politically active during the War of Independence and, in the 1920s, erected a meeting hall on his parents’ land the Pearse-Connolly Hall in honour of the Socialist and Republican leaders of 1916. Following his deportation Gralton lived out the rest of his life in the US, running as a candidate for the Communist Party in the Borough elections in Manhattan before his death in New York in 1945.

Jim Gralton will be the subject of a new movie called Jimmy Hall, directed by Ken Loach who previously made the successful ‘The Wind That Shakes The Barley’ in West Cork winning the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 2006.

It will be produced by Rebecca O’Brien and written by Paul Laverty. Partners of the Sixteen Films production include Why Not, Wild Bunch, Element Pictures and the Irish Film Board and Film 4, The film is set to shoot in the Sligo Leitrim area in August and September.

U.K. Casting Agent is Kahleen Crawford she can be contacted at

In recent years rather than confront the rather ridiculous crewing policies set down for Irish construction unions and threats of unofficial pickets, Screen Producers Ireland has agreed to some bizarre deals when it comes to crewing. On Ken Loach’s previous production, construction workers worked 4 days (under a UK manager) with an additional 2 days’ pay to travel to between Cork and Dublin, even though they were receiving a per diem in West Cork. On Jimmy Hall Ken Loach will bring a UK construction manager to oversee the set build and Irish crew. It is my understanding that the production has agreed to also employ an Irish construction manager who will shadow the UK manager. With films receiving the support of the taxpayer through the support of The Irish Film board, there needs to be greater scrutiny and transparency of how this money is actually spent on productions. There have been no unofficial stoppages by construction crews in recent years however the price paid for this peace is escalating and making Irish film production less attractive to overseas producers.

Categories: Film and TV

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4 replies

  1. I can’t help feeling that there is a certain amount of irony here – particularly in light of the subject matter and the fact that Loach and O’Brien have shot here before and are aware of the quality of construction work but still feel the need to bring in a CM. It only supports your final conclusion. Holding a gun to our own feet.

  2. Who cares about the overpaid crew? That film should have an Irish director if they weren’t so middle-class, non-political, and lacked Loach’s talent!

  3. Like as not the film will receive around half a million from the IFB, plus Section 481 related to qualifying spend (very broad definition – to include any EU crew), and, if the producers are canny, some Irish broadcaster input by way of enhanced license / acquisition.

    There’s a case for making a study of this particular film, given the precedent set by ‘Wind that Shakes the Barley’ a few years back. What I’d suggest is that no restrictions or obligations be placed on the producers – other than the standard Section 481 compliance provisions – by unions, IFB or anyone else.

    Then we would see what made sense, was financially prudent, and what was ethical for the producers to do – what heads of department to employ, whether to hire crew and actors in Ireland or the UK, what size crew they choose to employ, how many hours a week they choose to work over how long a shoot – all without any of the usual external pressures (from above and below) that, in effect, ‘buy’ certain roles on films shot here.

    It should, after all, be more cost effective to employ as much local labour as can be found – rather than bringing it from the UK or Dublin, at UK prices or Dublin prices + accommodation, travel and per diems. This way of doing it would also make it easier to reduce the ‘cost’ of the co-production, and thereby increase the net financial contribution to the film. And it would clarify the choices that incoming producers would make when left to their own devices. Do they just want to exploit our money and scenery, or do they really want to make films with us?

    The likelihood is that the circus will pull into town, stay for six weeks, and then return to HQ across the water, just as ‘Calvary’ did in the recent past. For all that some welcome, if temporary employment is provided it is not a process that develops Irish talent or skills.

    • I’m in agreement with the sentiment of your reply Ted, but would add that it’s not just the HQ’s across the water who are taking advantage but those also sitting in D2 and D4. I would totally favour an open market rather than the current “close shop” practices operating. It’s bad for the development of the industry.

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