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Trailer released for Ballywalter starring Seána Kerslake and Patrick Kielty ahead of cinema release on September 22nd
16 Aug 2023 : News Desk
Seána Kerslake and Patrick Kielty in Ballywalter.
Break Out Pictures and Elysian Film Group have released the new trailer and artwork for Prasanna Puwanarajah's celebrated, award-winning directorial film debut Ballywalter, ahead of its release in Irish and UK cinemas on September 22nd.

The bitter-sweet comedy-drama set in Belfast, stars Seána Kerslake (Bad Sisters) in a critically acclaimed, IFTA-nominated performance, and comedian Patrick Kielty in his first dramatic role. 

Ballywalter is a life affirming story about the unexpected connections that can change the course of our lives. 

Eileen (Seána 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 both to a moment of realisation. Shane reintegrates; Eileen makes peace with herself and who she really is. Finally, she can stop running and just drive. 

British Sri Lankan director Prasanna Puwanarajah felt a particular connection to the screenplay and characters for Ballywalter created by Belfast writer Stacey Gregg (Here Before), as he explains: “There’s something about the three-dimensional humaneness of her characters colliding with a freewheeling sense of humour and beautiful, delicate pathos that struck a particular harmony with me when we started working together over 10 years ago.”  

They had collaborated previously on Spoof or Die for Channel 4’s Coming Up series, and both share a post-conflict heritage which Prasanna was drawn to: “As soon as I came to Northern Ireland, there was something I recognised in the way the people lived with their history.  I connected with the rhythms and the humour in a way that surprised me initially and that later on I completely fell intoIt felt like a recognisable and familiar place to me.” 

Prasanna Puwanarajah is an actor, director and writer.  Ballywalter marks Prasannas directorial feature film debut.  Previously he directed Spoof or Die for Channel 4 and on stage Venice Preserved for the RSC, and is developing directorial projects with the Almeida Theatre, Chichester Festival Theatre and the Young Vic.  Prasannas writing credits include Boy starring Timothy Spall, the stage-play Nightwatchman and the graphic novel Sleeper co-written by Jed Mercurio (Line of Duty), with whom he collaborated along with author Rachel Clarke on forthcoming ITV dramaBreathtaking adapted from Rachels pandemic-themed bestselling book.  Most recently he portrayed Martin Bashir in Season 5 of the global hit The Crown, his further acting credits include Ten Percent, the BAFTA-winning Patrick MelroseDoctor FosterDefending The GuiltyCritical and upcoming projects, the ITV thriller Payback alongside Morven Christie and Peter Mullan. 

Dublin-born actress Seána Kerslake is known for her role in Sharon Horgans multi-award winning comedy series Bad Sisters, and for lead performances in The Hole In the Ground and the comedy-drama A Date For Mad Mary for which she won the coveted Breakthrough Artist Award at the 2016 Dublin Film Critics Circle Awards.  Screen International named Seána a Star of Tomorrow in 2017.  Her other credits include Neil Jordans MarloweMy Salinger Year alongside Sigourney Weaver, the second series of Amazons hit show Modern Love and the first two series of acclaimed drama Smother for which her performance was IFTA nominated.  

Born in County Down, Patrick Kielty began his stand-up career as the host of Northern Irelands first comedy club The Empire Laughs Back in pre-ceasefire Belfast.  An award-winning stand-up, his TV credits include Last Chance Lottery for Channel 4 and Patrick Kielty Almost Live for BBC 1.  His BAFTA nominated documentary My Dad, The Peace Deal and Me, which explored his tragic family backstory and followed him back to Northern Ireland to see how successful the Good Friday Agreement had been 20 years later, saw him named UK documentary host of the year at the 2018 Grierson Awards. His film Patrick Kielty: 100 Years of Union also won an RTS award for best presenter.  Recently Patrick has been announced as the new host of RTÉ’S The Late Late Show commencing in September.  Ballywalter marks Patricks screen acting debut.  

Commenting on how he was won over by the script, and how small moments in a persons life can change their fortunes, he reflects: As someone who has done stand-up, there is a really fine line between a gig going well and you dying on your ass.  You can analyse those moments, looking for that second, that word that changes everything. For someone like Shane, these really small things in his life could be the difference between him sailing along or bottoming out when he gets to Ballywalter.”  

Ballywalter is produced by James Bierman (Genius) and Nik Bower (Selma) and co-produced by Alan Maher and John Wallace. It is an Empire Street Productions and Riverstone Pictures production, in co-production with Cowtown Pictures, and is financed by the BFI Film Fund, Fís Éireann/Screen Ireland, Northern Ireland Screen, and Salmira Productions. 

IFTA Q&A Series: Joanne O’Brien on Costume Design
IFTA Q&A Series: Eleanor Bowman on Cinematography
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