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It's Fran the Traveller Man ... new film packs a punch

AN action-packed movie set in the Irish Traveller community opens in cinemas next month.

King Of The Travellers, to be released in cinemas countrywide on April 19, includes rising star Peter Coonan, who played Fran in the Love/Hate TV series.

Dozens of Travellers were also cast in the film.

Opening scenes include a horse-drawn 'sulky' race through the streets of Dublin. Its makers claimed it will be a "smash hit" and features scenes of a Traveller wedding and bare- knuckle fighting.

The €1m movie was financed by the Irish Film Board, TV3 and the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland.

The movie tells the story of John Paul Moorehouse, played by newcomer John Connors, on his destructive quest to uncover the truth about the killer of his father 12 years ago.

The character's desire for revenge is swayed as he falls for the daughter of the man he suspects killed his father. He must battle between his passion for justice versus his desire to be with the woman he loves.

Director Mark O'Connor, of Killiney, Co Dublin, said: "We made a film which I hope is entertaining for audiences, as well as being of cultural importance to the Traveller community.

"It was a big risk casting Traveller non-actors in the film, but I felt it was necessary to give the film real authenticity. It's very exciting to be able to showcase the film to the Irish public in cinemas."

Patrick O'Neill, chief executive officer of Wildcard Distribution said: "King Of The Travellers is a fast-paced exciting look into the Irish Traveller community and showcases Irish film at its best.

"Mark is a fantastic talent and we can't wait to bring this film to Irish audiences."

Producer Cormac Fox, of Vico Films, previously told the Herald: "It is a universal tale of a man seeking revenge for the killing of his father.

"I suppose aspects of it are a bit like Hamlet set in the Traveller community.

"It was brilliant working with the Traveller community.

"More than 100 took part in a wedding scene we shot in a social club in Inchicore."