independent

Monday 23 July 2018

Loftus Hall is the star of new ghostly movie

Sonia Hunt, Dora Byrne and Edwina Colfer
Sonia Hunt, Dora Byrne and Edwina Colfer
Billy Waters, Shane Quigley, Marie Waters, Aidan Quigley, Carol Tubrid and Maura Quigley

Maria Pepper

Loftus Hall is the star of gothic ghost story The Lodgers which enjoyed a Hollywood-style premiere at the Arc cinema in Wexford before going on general release in cinemas nationwide last week.

The entire film was shot over a month last year in Wexford, where other locations included Tintern Abbey, Johnstown Castle and Clongeen.

A large number of local extras and crew members who were involved in making the film attended the premiere and received a big thank you in person from the director and producer.

Before the showing, County Council chairman John Hegarty said the local authority was delighted to have been able to assist the project which provided a big boost to the economy of Wexford and was an example of the huge potential that exists in marketing the county as a film-making destination.

'We need to get that message out to more people. I'm sure you will recognise some of the locations', he told the audience who included young cousins Tara Lee Doyle of Taghmon, a first year student in Loreto Wexford and Rachel Bennett of Clongeen, a second year student in Holy Faith, New Ross who were village extras in the film along with several other local people including Amy Geary, Ryan McLaughlin, Hannah Scully, James Kehoe, Sarah Bennett, Emma and Aoife Whelan, Ray Murphy, James Curtis, Keith and Brid Kelly, Mary Teresa Redmond, Tom Mullins, Michael Murphy, Fred Basey, William McDonald, Mary McDonald, Helena Berney and Pat Murphy.

One of the producers Julianne Forde said the event was organised as a gesture of gratitude to Wexford County Council and the people of Wexford.

'A huge thank you to everyone who made the film possible - Aidan Quigley (the owner of Loftus Hall), all the extras, crew members, Wexford County Council, all of the people involved in the locations, Johnstown Castle, the OPW, Coillte, Tintern Abbey, Hook Tourism, Clongeen Parish Hall, Clongeen Shop and everyone in Wexford, thank you', she said.

The credits included a dedication to the late Martin Waters, a friend of shopowner Jimmy Lawlor, who helped out with filming in Clongeen.

'It was a terrific four weeks. Everyone was so helpful. It's a real honour for me to be here. We have presented the film around the world since last September. Tonight is about showing it to the people of Wexford', said Director Brian O'Malley.

'It was made on a relatively modest budget. All over the world we have been asked why we filmed it in Loftus Hall. I couldn't imagine making it anywhere else. It is tremendously gothic and there's a very strange atmosphere in there, even when we were working'.

Loftus Hall owner Aidan Quigley recalled Julianne arriving down to view the location. It wasn't the first approach he had about about using the house as a film set but it was the best match and the story perfectly suited the place.

Aidan said he was delighted to have been able to attend last year's Toronto International Film Festival where The Lodgers was shown during the spooky 666th anniversary of Loftus Hall. When people in Canada heard how old the house is they were blown away. Toronto was celebrating 150 years as a city.

'What we don't realise really is the depth our our heritage', said Aidan who had a special word of thanks for Caroline Godkin, Economic Development Officer with Wexford County Council.

The screenwriter David Turpin, who also attended the Wexford premiere, said you don't think there will be a place in reality to match what you imagined, but Loftus Hall succeeded in this and it was very special to film it there.

The Lodgers stars Charlotte Vega (American Assassin), Bill Milner (Son of Rambow), Moe Dunford (Patrick's Day, Michael Inside), David Bradley (Harry Potter, The World's End) and Deirdre O'Kane (Noble).

Nominated for three IFTAS, the film is set against the backdrop of the Irish War of Independence in 1920's rural Ireland. Anglo Irish twins Rachel and Edward share a strange existence in their crumbling family estate. Every midnight, the mansion is haunted by the sinister presence of The Lodgers who enforce three rules upon the twins: they must be in bed by midnight, they may not permit an outsider past the threshold and they must always stay together.

When troubled war veteran Sean returns to the nearby vilolage, he is immediately drawn to the mysterious Rachel who in turn begins to break the rules,putting her into a deadly confrontation with her brother and with the curse that haunts them.

Produced by Ruth Treacy and Julianne Forde of Tailored Films, The Lodgers which was made with the participation of the Irish Film Board and international sales agents Epic Pictures. Certified 15a, it has been sold for release in over 22 countries including the US.

Wexford People

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