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Gleeson secures funding for movie

Actor Brendan Gleeson has secured funding to make a film of Flann O'Brien's masterpiece At Swim Two Birds.

The signing of a movie co-production treaty between Ireland and Luxembourg is expected to plug a hole in the 7.5 million euro project.

The deal was sealed over the weekend at the Galway Film Fleadh.

Ireland's Cultural Ambassador, the actor Gabriel Byrne - whose name has been linked to the film along with stars Colin Farrell and Cillian Murphy - said the agreement would ensure the film's release.

"What exciting possibilities will be born out of this exciting co-production treaty including the film At Swim Two Birds, to be directed by the visionary Brendan Gleeson, which I have no doubt will find a worldwide audience," he said in a letter to Arts Minister Jimmy Deenihan.

At Swim Two Birds was first published in 1939. Written by Brian O'Nolan, under the pseudonym Flann O'Brien, it tells the tale of an adolescent boy who comes across characters he creates for a play in the real world.

Gleeson adapted the novel for the big screen and is expected to direct and star.

Both the Irish Film Board and Film Fund Luxembourg have offered support.

Mr Deenihan, who signed the deal in Galway, said the film treaty between Ireland and Luxembourg would help film-makers tap into incentives and subsidies from both countries, as well as private finance.

"Co-production is of vital importance to the financing of the majority of Irish films and television production in Ireland, as well to the overall growth of the industry," he said.

Press Association

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