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Ireland hoping for dividend from movies starring Ethan Hawke and Kate Beckinsale

Actors Ethan Hawke and Kate Beckinsale star in films movie moguls are hoping will once again fly the flag for Ireland's movie industry.

With the award season having already piqued interest thanks to the acclaimed Room and Brooklyn, the Irish Film Board (IFB) has set out some of the big names due to hit screens this year.

One of the highlights is The Secret Scripture, starring Rooney Mara, Vanessa Redgrave and Eric Bana in Sebastian Barry's story of a woman who keeps a diary in a mental institution.

Directed by Jim Sheridan and shot in Dublin and Kilkenny, it is being billed as one of the hits of this year.

Others from the cream of Hollywood include four time Oscar nominee Hawke who stars in Maudie, a film telling the remarkable story of Canadian folk artist Maud Lewis. Filmed in part in Nova Scotia it is due out in the middle of this year.

English star Beckinsale stars alongside Stephen Fry and Chloe Sevigny in Love & Friendship, a period drama from the 1790s filmed in part on the streets of Dublin.

Despite the big names and 2015 being heralded as a year of unprecedented success, the IFB warned that the industry was working under a 40% cut in funding since 2008.

Dr Annie Doona, acting chairman, said: "The projects that are enjoying international acclaim today have been in the pipeline for a number of years. In five years' time we won't have the same level of success unless funding for the sector is restored to previous levels."

Outside the Golden Globe nominations for Room and Brooklyn and with Oscar nominations hotly anticipated, a record seven Irish films have been selected for the Sundance Film Festival at the end of the month.

The IFB would not disclose the big names or potential movie hits due for filming in Ireland this year but detailed some of the box office and backroom figures behind the latest successes.

Brooklyn became the biggest sale at last year's Sundance at 8.2 million euro and has gone on to gross more than 25.7m euro worldwide, including 6.4m euro in Irish and UK cinemas.

Room has taken 4.9m US dollars in the US and is for release in Ireland and the UK this Friday.

Acclaimed animation Song Of The Sea has taken 3.5m euro worldwide and Colin Farrell's The Lobster has grossed more than 1.9m euro at the Irish/UK Box Office and has secured release in multiple territories.

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