John Connors got a standing ovation at the Ifta’s as he picked up best actor for his role in Cardboard Gangsters. He bet stiff competition in this category from the likes of Colin Farrell for The Killing of a Sacred Deer, Dafhyd Flynn for Michael Inside, Fionn O’Shea for Handsome Devil and Tom Vaughan-Lawlor for Maze.
Having had its international premiere at the 3rd Manchester International Film winning three of the main awards at the festival there was no doubt that the film would do well on general release. The film picked up Best Feature Film, Best Overall Film, and Best Actor for John Connors. It also received special jury mentions for O’Connor’s Direction and Screenplay, and for Michael Lavelle’s Cinematography.
John Connors plays Jay Connolly, a part-time DJ and low level drug dealer in Darndale, an area victimised by gangs, drugs and social problems. When his welfare is cut off he decides it’s time to enter the big leagues with his gang, in order to help settle his family’s debts. His actions attract the attention of Sean Murphy, the son of the local drug king pin, Derra Murphy, who rules Darndale with an iron fist and has no problems eliminating any potential rivals. Jay knows he’s playing a dangerous game but plans to make just enough money to settle his family’s debts, get out of Darndale, and move to Spain with his pregnant girlfriend. Events spiral out of control when Jay becomes involved with Derra’s wife, and his gang are thrust in to harm’s way, which leaves Jay with a momentous decision to exact revenge, or turn the other cheek.
Cardboard Gangsters is produced by Richard Bolger for Five Knight Films, in association with O’Connor’s Stalker Films. DoP was Michael Lavelle (Patrick’s Day). The film is funded by the BAI, Filmbase, and TV3 and released via Wildcard Distribution.