FNI Wrap Chat #198 | Prasanna Puwanarajah | Director
On this weeks ep of FNI Wrapchat Paul Webster got to chat with the talaented Director of "Ballywalter" Prasanna Puwanarajah, Ballywalter is in Irish Cinemas from the 22nd of September.
A bitter-sweet comedy drama set in Ballywalter, Northern Ireland. Patrick Kielty (RTE's new Late Late Show host) is deeply touching in director Prasanna Puwanarajah’s debut feature.
Ballywalter, opened at the Belfast Film Festival in 2022. It subsequently played at the Cork International Film Festival 2023, CIFF23 Solas Nua in Washington DC (where it won the Audience Award), and the Galway Film Fleadh 2023. Releasing in UK and Irish cinemas on 22nd September 2023, the film was written by Stacey Gregg, stars Seána Kerslake and Patrick Kielty, and was produced by Empire Street Productions (BFI, Screen Ireland, Northern Ireland Screen).
Prasanna, Jed Mercurio and Rachel Clarke recently adapted Rachel's COVID-19 pandemic memoir Breathtaking for ITV, which wrapped filming earlier in 2023. Prasanna and Jed are also developing an adaptation of their 2021 graphic novel Sleeper. Prasanna's debut play Nightwatchman premiered at the National Theatre in 2011, where he has also worked as an actor. He directed Moth at the HighTide Festival, and at the Bush Theatre, where it was a TimeOut Critics' Choice in the summer of 2013. In 2019 he directed Venice Preserved at the Royal Shakespeare Company. His production of The Reluctant Fundamentalist was nominated for The Carol Tambor Award and the Amnesty International Freedom of Expressions Award at the 2018 Edinburgh Fringe, with lead actor Akshay Sharan winning The Stage Debut Award.
Eileen (Seana Kerslake) is a caustic, unrepentant university drop-out whose dreams of a successful life in London have fallen by the wayside. Back at home with her mum, she makes ends meet by working as an unlicensed driver in her ex-boyfriend’s minicab. Shane (Patrick Kielty) has exiled himself in Ballywalter following the break-up of his marriage, but now he’s trying to get his life back on track by enrolling in a stand-up comedy course.
When Shane calls a taxi to get him to his classes, Eileen answers and a surprising connection is made. As the two spend time together shuttling back and forth, a beautiful friendship develops, leading them both to a moment of realisation. Shane reintegrates, and Eileen makes peace with herself and who she really is. Finally, she can stop running and just drive.
Ballywalter is a life-affirming story about the unexpected connections that can change the course of our lives.
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