Cosmo Jarvis and Barry Keoghan star in Nick Rowland’s Film4-backed Calm With Horses

Altitude Film Sales has acquired international sales rights to DMC Film’s Calm With Horses,the feature debut of Nick Rowland starring Cosmo Jarvis, Barry Keoghan and Niamh Algar which is set to shoot in the West of Ireland in May in co-production with Element Pictures.  Altitude Film Distribution will partner with Element Pictures Distribution for the film’s release in the UK and Ireland.  Film4 will finance production along with the Irish Film Board and the newly announced Western Region Audiovisual Producer’s Fund (WRAP Fund).

DMC Film, the production company founded by Michael Fassbender and Conor McCaughan, and producer Daniel Emmersonhave developed the project with Film4 as Nick Rowland’s feature directorial debut following Slaphis BAFTA and BIFA-nominated short film. Rowland’s other short film successes include a Sundance Grand Jury Prize nomination for Out of Sight, and Royal Television Society Student wins for Dancing in the Ashesand Group B, which was also nominated for a student Oscar. Most recently he has directed episodes of the BBC primetime drama Hard Sunand Amazon’s Ripper Street. 

Calm With Horses is based on a novella from the acclaimed collection of short stories Young Skinsby Irish writer Colin Barrett from Mayo. The collection won The Guardian’s first book award and the Frank O’Connor Short Story Prize. Writer Joe Murtagh has adapted the screenplay and has collaborated with Rowland since they studied together at the NFTS. Rowland, Murtagh and Emmerson have all featured in Screen International’s Stars of Tomorrow showcase. 

Cosmo Jarvis starred in the BAFTA nominated breakout success Lady Macbeth released by Altitude as well as Alex Garland’s Annihilation. 

One of the industry’s rising screen stars, Barry Keoghan recently starred in Lance Daly’s Black 47 which premiered in selection at Berlin.  Altitude is also representing the film for international sales and distribution in the UK. Keoghan can also been seen in Bart Layton’s Sundance Grand Prize nominated American Animals, Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirkand Yorgos Lanthimos’s The Killing of a Sacred Deer.  

Niamh Algar won the Best Supporting Actress at the Irish Film and Television Awards (2017) for her performance in Nick Kelly’s The Drummer and the Keeper, and is known for her lead role in Lorcan Finnegan’s Without Name which received its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival (2016). She will also star in Shane Meadows’ upcoming TV series, The Virtues.

Daniel Emmerson is producing while Michael Fassbender and Conor McCaughan will serve as Executive Producers for DMC Film (Slow West, Macbeth, Assassin’s Creed) alongside Ed Guiney and Andrew Lowe for Element Pictures (Room, Frank, The Lobster), Sam Lavender and Daniel Battsek for Film4, Celine Haddad for the Irish Film Board and Sarah Dillon for the WRAP Fund. Element Pictures’ Rory Gilmartin (Rosie) will serve as co-producer along with Kate Glover (Black Mirror, McMafia).

Shooting is due to start across the counties of Galway and Clare in Ireland on 14 May. The casting director is Shaheen Baig whose work has earned her an international reputation for discovering talent for films including recent successes Lady Macbeth, God’s Own Country and The Falling. The production team includes IFTA-nominated director of photography Piers McGrail whose credits include Glasslandstarring Will Poulter and Toni Colette, Never Grow Oldstarring Emile Hirsch and John Cusack, David Freyne’s The Cured starring Ellen Page. The production designer is Damien Creagh who has most recently worked on Idris Elba’s Yardie, which premiered at Sundance, and Peter Middleton and James Spinney’s BAFTA-nominated and BIFA-winning Notes on Blindness. The editor is Nicolas Chaudeurge who has just completed Kim Nguyen’s The Hummingbird Projectstarring Jesse Eisenberg and worked with Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland on the Oscar-winning Still Aliceand Andrea Arnold on her Cannes Jury Prize-winning Fish Tank. The costume designer is Sharon Long who has worked on Guardians of the Galaxy, Jack the Giant Slayerand The Bank Job. The film’s soundtrack will be composed by David Holmes whose work includes Steven Soderbergh’s Oceans trilogy, ’71 and Hunger. 

In darkest rural Ireland, ex-boxer Arm has become the feared enforcer for the drug-dealing Devers family, whilst also trying to be a good father to his autistic five-year-old son, Jack. Torn between these two families, Arm is asked to kill for the first time, and his attempt to do the right thing endangers everyone he holds dear.

DMC Film currently has a slate of projects with up and coming British and Irish talent. Dystopian London crime thriller The Kitchen will be directed by Kibwe Tavares (Jonah, Robot & Scarecrow) from a script written by Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out, Black Panther), who will also star in the project. Hayley Squires (I, Daniel Blake) will write and star in Gentle In The Bones, the story of a female bare-knuckle boxer. Joe Murtagh is re-teaming with DMC on Dreadful Ned, an epic revenge movie set during the Irish War of Independence.

Recent Element Productions in collaboration with Film4 include Yorgos Lanthimos’s The Killing of a Sacred Deer and Lenny Abrahamson's Academy Award® and Golden Globe-winning Room. Upcoming productions include Lanthimos’ The Favourite, starring Emma Stone, Olivia Colman and Rachel Weisz; Sebastián Lelio’s Disobedience, starring Rachel McAdams, Rachel Weisz and Alessandro Nivola; and Lenny Abrahamson’s The Little Strangerstarring Domhnall Gleeson and Ruth Wilson.

Producer Daniel Emmerson says, “Everyone at DMC is very grateful for the incredible support from Film4, IFB, Element, Altitude and the WRAP fund in getting us to this point. We feel very lucky to have an amazing cast and crew working on the film, and can’t wait to get started.”

Mike Runagall from Altitude says, “Nick Rowland and Joseph Murtagh’s work has marked them out as exciting director and writer talent to watch and we are delighted to be working with them and our friends at DMC and Film4 to bring Calm With Horses to audiences worldwide”.