Bloomfield Native Brings War-Torn Ireland to Life at Montclair Film Festival

BY  |  Monday, Apr 08, 2013 12:30pm

Bloomfield Native Brings War-Torn Ireland to Life at the Montclair Film Festival What a difference a year makes. Last year, Alexandra Gibson, a 2008 graduate of Bloomfield High School, was embarking on her own film project “Guest of a Nation,” a film short based on a story by Frank O’Connor, set during the Irish War of Independence. Gibson first came across O’Connor’s story in a philosophy class at Bloomfield High School. She later wrote the screenplay for a college class and was encouraged by her Temple University professor to turn it into a film after getting help from an IndieGoGo campaign.

Gibson recently learned Guests of a Nation was accepted into the 2013 Montclair Film Festival and will be screened on Friday, May 3rd at the Clairidge as part of NJ Shorts: The Unexpected.

Guests depicts the unlikely friendship of four men living in a secluded farmhouse during the war. Two of the men, Bonaparte and Noble, are members of the IRA and have spent their entire lives in the midst of Irish conflicts and plight. Hawkins and Belcher are British soldiers, taken prisoner and guarded in the farmhouse. Despite the war raging outside, the four become friends over late-night poker games and religious debates. The real world, however, cannot be ignored forever. One night, Bonaparte is ordered to assist in the execution of his British captives. He and Noble are forced to choose between loyalty to their country and loyalty to those they no longer consider enemies.

Production companies Great Place and Swift Speers recently joined forces to tell Irish author Frank O’Connor’s short story, set during the War of Independence, Ireland’s struggle to free itself from Britain’s tyranny.

The film, Gibson’s debut, was brought to life by a film veteran, director Daniel Speers. Guests stars Mark Sullivan (As the World Turns) as the lead for the character Bonaparte, and is joined by the very talented cast of Todd Lawson (Top Floor), Jon Mulhearn, Andrew Breving, Conor Fallon, Shawn Feehly, and Nick Grock.

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Sad. Let's hope that this is not its "Last Tango." One of the most beautiful and iconic buildings in town. Valentino, Garbo, Keaton must have played there.

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