20 Jan 2016

NZ film producer has personal connection to Oscar nominated flick, Brooklyn

From Nine To Noon, 9:20 am on 20 January 2016

A New Zealand producer is in the running for an Oscar after the Irish romantic drama Brooklyn received three Academy Award nominations. 

Wellington-born Finola Dwyer was given the nod for Best Picture, along with fellow producer Amanda Posey.

The star of the film, Irish-American actress Saoirse Ronan, was nominated for Best Actress, and its writer, Nick Hornby, was nominated for the screenplay. 

It is Dwyer's second Oscar nomination - she was previously nominated for the 2009 coming-of-age drama An Education.

Based on Colm Toibin's award-winning novel of the same name, Brooklyn, directed by John Crowley, tells the story of Eilis Lacey, played by Ronan, a young Irish immigrant navigating her way through 1950s Brooklyn. 

Dwyer said Brooklyn was a very personal film for her, as she sees parallels with her own mother's journey to New Zealand in 1951 from Dublin.

"My mum used to say New Zealand houses had tin roofs just like the barns in Ireland, so I think it was probably quite a shock to the system for her, she was very homesick for a lot of our childhood."

They are feelings Dwyer identifies with as she now lives in London, but finds herself homesick for New Zealand.

"And it is so universal because of that relationship to home, the majority of us do leave our parents' home and often travel away for work or in search of a better life."   

The recognition of Ronan's performance is a much needed boost to a film that has already broken out of the art house circuit and reached the mainstream.

"Something like this we were never going to be casting a household name in that role [Eilis Lacey], and people are like, 'immigration stories, there's been a lot, bit of a tired old story.' 

"But there's never been a story about immigration told from a female's perspective."

Brooklyn also stars Emory Cohen, Domhnall Gleeson, Jim Broadbent and Julie Walters and opens in New Zealand cinemas on 21 January. 

Listen to Finola Dwyer talk to Lynn Freeman on Nine to Noon:




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