Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 1 November 2014

Fermanagh men sink teeth in Tasmanian Cannibal film

A new Australian film about a convict who resorted to cannibalism in the wilds of Tasmania will have a distinct taste of Fermanagh to it.

Three men from the Erne county played a major part in the making of The Last Confession Of Alexander Pearce, which is set for its Irish TV premier next week.

However, the trio's appearance together on a set on the far side of the world was no mere coincidence, as Enniskillen-born writer and producer Nial Fulton admits.

The award winning movie maker, who worked alongside Steven Spielberg on Saving Private Ryan and Band Of Brothers, concedes impartiality went out the window when it came to casting fellow Enniskillen men Ciaran McMenamin and Adrian Dunbar in the lead roles.

"Because the story centres around two Irish men from the same part of the world, it made perfect sense to me to cast Ciaran and Adrian," said Mr Fulton, who now lives in Australia.

"They were the first names on the casting list and both said yes immediately. Not only did that give me the opportunity to work with two incredible actors but selfishly I could have two mates from the town in the trenches with me in wildest Tasmania."

"And having solid Fermanagh men beside you is always a wise move. When the boys came on set together for the first time, it was a wonderful moment and one I'm incredibly proud of.

"I hope I can speak for all three of us when I say the experience of making this film was one I won't forget any time soon."

The film tells the true story of a young Clones farmer labourer who became brutalised in the hellish conditions of the former Van Diemen's penal colony in the 1820s.

Pearce, who was sent to Australia for stealing six pairs of shoes, escaped six months into his sentence and fled with a band of inmates into the untamed heart of the island, where he spent 50 days on the run.

In the searing heat and unforgiving terrain, he was pushed to the edge of human tolerance and finally faced the ultimate choice - eat or be eaten.

The film will be shown at 9.30pm on RTE 1 on Monday, with screenings on Australian TV and the BBC scheduled for the new year. The History Channel has also bought the rights to screen the dramatisation.

"To have been given the opportunity to make this film was an incredible privilege," continued Mr Fulton.

"The story of Alexander Pearce holds a very special place in Australian history but to have the pleasure of sharing such a remarkable journey with Adrian and Ciaran was beyond my wildest expectations.

"None of us had worked together before, so it seemed like a very 'Fermanagh' thing to do - to travel to the other side of the world, to the most remote island in the world and then to the most remote corner of that island."

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