A gangster movie set in Derry is set to bring the city to the big screen in a way no film has before.
The Best Years, written and directed by Galliagh man Danny Patrick, premieres on November 21 at the Nerve Centre as part of this year’s Foyle Film Festival.
“When I was growing up in the 1980’s it was so exciting to see Derry in films like Shadows on Our Skin and Hush-a-bye Baby, but you only ever got glimpses of the city,” Danny told the ‘Journal.’
“But with The Best Years, Derry is not just an incredibly beautiful backdrop, it is another character in the film. “
Starring former Eastender Martin Kemp, Anna Nightingale, Slaine Kelly, Enn Reital, Danny Ogle, Marc Pickering, Matt Healy and Jason Gerard Ogle, the director said audiences can expect a gangster movie with a comic twist.
Watch the trailer here
Set in post conflict Derry, the plot centres on George, who following his release from prison, returns to his old neighbourhood in the hope he can steer clear of trouble.
But when his best friend Emmett finds a bag of money belonging to a ruthless loyalist hit-man, George is compelled to help him one last time.
“I’m very, very pleased with how the film has turned out,” Danny said.
“It was written with places like Shipquay Street and Waterloo Place in mind for certain scenes, and with such an emphasis on Derry as a setting it is only right that there is a real sense of humour about it.
“Often they don’t know it but Derry people are the funniest on the planet.”
Initially filming was to get underway on The Best Years as far back as 2007 but with issues around funding it was not until 2010 that cast and crew arrived in Derry.
Now with the final post production touches are being applied before the premiere.
“Derry features in a way it never has on film before,” Danny, who has been living in London for the past twenty years, continued.
“A lot has changed since I came up with the original concept, you expect things to change during the production, but as we were making The Best Years it just seemed to take on a life of its own. Scenes we had thought of in one way have turned out another, but it was a great film to make.”
The filmmaker said the production owes a lot to Derry people’s warmth and generosity of spirit.
“We owe a big thank you to so many people like Jim Roddy at the City Centre Initiative who was instrumental in helping out when we were shooting in the city, the Metro, the Exchange, Abbey B&B and the Everglades, the Apprentice Boys and the PSNI.
“There’s so many people who have been so co-operative throughout the production, the people of Derry couldn’t do enough for us.”
The director said one particular location proved more troublesome than most.
“We had a scene to film on the Craigavon Bridge, it was one of the worst locations in the sense of you know how busy the bridge is. To make matters worse we had to go back a second time, but again everyone was so incredibly helpful.
The premiere takes place on November 21 at 9pm in the Nerve Centre. You can get more info on the Foyle Film Festival at www.foylefilmfestival.org