NORTH Kerry film-maker, Gerard Barrett, is this week rubbing shoulders with Hollywood's A listers as his first feature film, Pilgrim Hill, makes its international debut at the Telluride Film Festival in Colorado.
The 24-year-old's film - made on a budget of just €4,500 - was selected as the 'Great Expectation' of the festival, an honour that has been received by only a handful of highly respected film talent, including Alexander Payne of ' The Descendents', ' Sideways' and 'About Schmidt'.
The festival itself has a phenomenal reputation, having premiered such blockbusters as 'Juno', ' The Lives of Others', 'Brokeback Mountain' and ' The Crying Game'. Gerard said he was incredibly honoured that his film will have its international premiere at Telluride and that he was selected as the next 'Great Expectation'.
"The festival has a remarkable history and some of my favourite film makers have premiered their films here. I just think it is great that a little film like this can travel and affect audiences everywhere. I hope it inspires others to go out and tell their stories," he said.
Gerard's film follows the life of Jimmy, a bachelor farmer living in rural Ireland fighting isolation and loneliness while caring for his ill father. It stars local Kerry actor Joe Mullins as Jimmy and was filmed over seven days in Kerry last year. It premiered at the Galway Film Fleadh earlier this summer where it received rave reviews and won the Bingham Ray Award.
The 24-year-old film-maker has been getting a taste of Hollywood life since arriving in the US, rubbing shoulders with actors Bill Murray, Matt Damon, Alexander Payne, George Clooney and Ben Afleck at an opening party night at Afleck's house. He even joked on his facebook page about how he was slightly embarrassed to be in their company, posting: "I'm just a farmer's son from Knockanure."