Four Irish films hoping to follow in Room's footsteps at the Toronto Film Festival

TIFF has announced the first 67 films that will play in the prestigious Galas and Special Presentation slots

The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) has announced the first 67 films that will play in this year's prestigious Galas and Special Presentation slots.

Last year’s Oscar-winning Irish drama Room played there, winning the People Choice award and setting itself firmly as a contender for awards season. This year four Irish films will hope to emulate that success.

Jim Sheridan's new film The Secret Scripture will have its world premier at the festival.

It stars Rooney Mara and Vanessa Redgrave and is an adaptation of Sebastian Barry’s 2008 Man Booker Prize nominated novel of the same name.

It was shot on location in Dublin and Kilkenny and also stars Irish actors Jack Reynor, Aidan Turner and Tom Vaughan-Lawlor.

The film tells the story of an elderly woman who decides to write her autobiography while living in Roscommon Regional Mental Hospital.

Rooney Mara and Jack Reynor in The Secret Scripture (2016) | Image: IMDB

It will be shown along with new film Unless from Alan Gilsenan and Maudie, starring Sally Hawkins and Ethan Hawke.

Unless stars Oscar nominated actress Catherine Keener as a mother whose eldest daughter Norah suddenly drops out of college, runs from the family and is found on a Toronto street corner, with a hand-lettered cardboard sign reading ‘Goodness’ on her chest.

The story follows her family as they struggle first to ‘rescue’ Norah, then to understand her incomprehensible decision in taking this strange path.

Maudie stars Sally Hawkins and Ethan Hawke and tells the unlikely love story of folk artist Maudie Lewis.

Commenting on the selection, director Aisling Walsh said: "I am absolutely delighted that Maudie has been selected to screen at TIFF.

"This film has been a passion project of mine since I first came across the story of Maud Lewis and her Painted House.

"Maud's passion for painting and her love of life despite her disabilities is a story that I found so inspiring."

All three were produced with the support of the Irish Film Board.

Ethan Hawke, Billy MacLellan, Kari Matchett, and Sally Hawkins in Maudie (2016) | Image: IMDB

The Journey will also be shown at TIFF. It stars Timothy Spall as the Reverend Doctor Ian Paisley and Colm Meaney as Martin McGuinness and sees the two Northern Irish leaders forced to take a short journey together, and find a way to work together to form the future of their country.

The film also stars John Hurt and Toby Stephens and was directed by Nick Hamm, with financing from Northern Ireland Screen.