Belfast Telegraph

Cannes shows Maze escape film

By Cate McCurry

A feature length film about the 1983 Maze Prison break has been screened at the Cannes Film Festival.

Maze tells the story of how 38 republicans escaped from the high-security prison in the biggest jailbreak in British or Irish history.

Nineteen were recaptured within a short period, but the rest got away.

The fugitives included Old Bailey bomber Gerry Kelly, now a Sinn Fein MLA, who went on to write a book about it.

Maze is written and directed by Stephen Burke and stars west Belfast actor Martin McCann and Tom Vaughan-Lawlor as Larry Marley, an IRA member and one of the organisers of the mass breakout.

Producer Brendan Byrne, who also made Bobby Sands: 66 Days, is screening the film for international distributors at the prestigious French festival.

Maze, which will be screened in cinemas across the UK, has its public premiere at the Galway Film Fleadh in July.

It's expected to be released on September 22.

The film tells how the 38 IRA men managed to bust out of the jail in September 1983, resulting in the death of warder James Ferris, who suffered a heart attack after being stabbed in the escape.

Maze was shot last year in Sweden and in Cork, using the city's decommissioned jail.

It had a budget of £1.7m and was partly funded by the Irish Film Board.

Another movie about the notorious prison break was also represented at Cannes.

H-Block is to star Co Down actor Jamie Dornan as well as Cillian Murphy and possibly Pierce Brosnan. It will be directed by Oscar-nominated Jim Sheridan, but has yet to start shooting.

It's understood Murphy is to star as the head of the ring of IRA prisoners who has earned the respect of the prison guards and wants a life of peace.

Dornan will play a violent prisoner who starts discovering weaknesses in the prison and is one of the last to agree to escape - but leaves with vengeance on his mind.

Brosnan is in talks to play the governor of the jail.

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