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RehabCare Stars on the Big Screen

12/12/2013 RehabCare Stars on the Big Screen

On Wednesday last the IMC Cinema Dundalk hosted a film premiere with a difference with the first screening of The Dream Machine, a feature film by 50 actors with disabilities. The Encore Productions group, who all attend RehabCare resource centre in Carroll Village, Dundalk, spent 10 months working on the film, writing the script, designing costumes and props as well as honing their acting skills. Over 300 people walked the red carpet at the sold out premiere and a standing ovation as the credits rolled was the highlight of the evening. All the actors were honoured to be presented with a trophy and DVD each to mark their achievement by Dundalk native Andrea O’Connor an Assistant Director whose film credits include Men in Black 3, The Thomas Crowne Affair and Sex in the City – The Movie. The after-party was held in the Crowne Plaza Hotel with music being provided by the famous Cross Border Orchestra of Ireland.

Encore Productions has staged a number of drama productions over the last ten years but earlier this year they decided to challenge themselves to make a feature film having been inspired by local man John Moore who directed this year’s Hollywood blockbuster Die Another Day. Wanting the see their own names in lights the group set to work. The all action family film allowed the cast to play whatever character they dreamed of portraying including rappers, superheroes, brave time travellers, flirty barmaids, kings, wizards, a diabetic queen, rock stars, models, doctors vets and nurses, to name but a few.

With locations ranging from a medieval castle to the surface of the moon a large space was needed to film in. The group converted a disused space in the old National Learning Network facility on the Coe’s Road into a technicolor sound stage and also designed and painted  all of the 20 sets used.
Jason Kelly, who acted in the film said, “I loved making the film, it was so different to being on stage, we practised every day for months and spent lots of time making the props. I can’t wait to see the film and I’m really excited about walking on the red carpet!”

Director Sandy Sneddon said, “We are very proud of this film. Many of the actors involved have performed in our Encore Productions drama’s in the town hall over the last few years but even these seasoned actors have found new challenges in the film making process. And for some of the cast it is the first time they have done any acting at all and it is sure that the experience, confidence and self-esteem gained in the process will better equip them for the many challenges that life on and off the camera can present.”

It is hoped that the film will be screened in other cinemas around the country next year. A DVD of the film is available to purchase from RehabCare Resource Centre, Carroll Village, Church Street, Dundalk priced €10.

Encore Productions and RehabCare would like to thank the following people without whom this film would not have been made: Film maker James Mullholland, documentary film maker and editor Cara Holmes, Dennis Darcy (Arts Office), Conor Hughes (Cross Cause Charity, Blackrock), An Garda Síochana, Outcomers Centre Dundalk, MASF School of Martial Arts, Aine Lawrence (make-up artist), ,IMC Cinema Dundalk and Reelgood.  Particular thanks must be given to the Jonesborough Charity  Walk/Cycle and families of the people who use RehabCare’s services who sponsored the walk/cycle and also made generous financial donations to the film.

Today RehabCare in Louth provides services such as resource centres and supported accommodation to more than 100 people with disabilities, enabling them to achieve their full potential and a better quality of life.

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