Tile Media have optioned Maeve Murphy’s acclaimed novella Christmas at the Cross with a view to shooting the feature film towards the end of 2023. Serialised in the Irish Times in 2019 and 2020 and 2021, the book is published by Bridge House. The feature film project is currently titled St Pancras Sunrise “We are absolutely delighted and looking forward to working with Maeve Murphy over the next year to bring the story to screen,” said Fiona Kinsella of Tile Media. “I’m really excited to be working on the film project as the writer and director with Tile,” added Maeve Murphy. “It’s a real privilege to be telling this story in film form.”
Set at Christmas in early 90s, Kings Cross, an abusive relationship leads a young Irish woman, Blathnaid, to hide out in an acquaintance’s flat. A knock on the door which she reluctantly opens, leads to an unexpected friendship with a neighbour/street walker, Nadina. As Blathnaid faces the ups and downs of life at the ‘Cross, it all starts to erupt…
Born in Belfast, Maeve is the writer and director of several acclaimed shorts and three feature films, all of which have been selected for and awarded at several international film festivals, including Cannes where “Silent Grace” her film dramatization about the women who went on the Dirty Protest and Hunger Strike was chosen to represent the UK. Her short film “Sushi” also won The Sub-ti International/ Venice Days short film award at the Venice Film Festival. She also has had films at The Hamptons USA, Galway, London film festival, among others. “Beyond the Fire” about two survivors of abuse falling in love received an instant broadcast on TV3/Virgin Media and on BBC 2. She won The Independent Spirit Award in Monaco and the Bud Abbot Award for feature-length comedy “Taking Stock” which was “Popular on Netflix.” In 2020 her feature film, “Silent Grace”, was placed at no 38 on the Irish Times list of the “50 Greatest Irish Films Ever Made.”
While her novella is a work of fiction, it is inspired by real life in Kings Cross. As a young woman, at a crucial crossroads herself, wanting to be an artist but yet to be established, Maeve lived where the story is set. Inspiration came from the people she met, the things she heard and saw; and what she was told. Many there were young women, in tough circumstances, who didn’t have a voice, or were under the radar. Maeve was also inspired by the powerful true story of the 1982 Church occupation in Kings Cross by local sex workers and ECP against increasing police brutality and harassment. While it sounds like a contradiction, as the area was notorious as a red-light district, and dangerous centre of drug crime, Maeve says the feeling of friendship and solidarity between young women and people in the community, maybe because of the real challenges, was pronounced, distinct and unique. The Hill View Estate, with its short- term housing lets was an edgy inner-city oasis.
About Christmas at the Cross by Maeve Murphy:
Christmas is not a joyous occasion for everyone. Not at the Cross. Yet hope and humour remain.
Blaithnaid’s relationship with Kieran is not good. She has allies in Nadina the prostitute who soothes her with potatoes and Yoichi a Japanese neighbour who offers tea but only a little sympathy. David a neighbour supplies something approaching a festive Christmas with plum pudding and White Christmas. There is snow, there are Christmas lights and there are friends meeting for drinks. There is violence, there are threats and there is heartache. How will Blaithnaid find her way through all of this?
Christmas at the Cross – a Kings Cross story – is a novella in five parts from Bridge House Publishing. Maeve Murphy creates a compelling text, an authentic voice and a real sense of place.
Order your copy online here.