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Oldenburg Winner ‘The Black Guelph’ Gets U.S. Release (Exclusive)

The Black Guelph, a dark Irish crime thriller centered on Ireland’s Travellers community, has secured a U.S. release.

John Connors’ directorial debut premiered at the Oldenburg Film Festival in 2022, where it won both best film honor and the best actor for star Graham Earley. It is billed as the first film from an Irish Travellers’ director to depict the indigenous ethnocultural group, also known as Minceir, which is among the most disadvantaged and discriminated against in Western Europe.

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Online film packaging and financing platform Slated.Com has acquired worldwide rights, outside Ireland, to The Black Guelph and has partnered with Entertainment Squad to release the film. Following a limited U.S. theatrical release, which kicked off Friday, March 22, the film will roll out on digital and VOD on June 25.

Earley plays Kanto, a small-time drug dealer from Dublin’s Travellers community desperate to put his life back together and to reconnect with the mother of his young daughter, who is caught short by a visit from his long-absent father Cormac (Paul Roe), a survivor of abuse in Ireland’s industrial schools’ program — a nationwide system of reform schools mainly run by the Catholic Church that often separated Travellers children from their families. Connors has a small onscreen role as a corrupt undercover cop.

John Connors in 'The Black Guelph'
John Connors in The Black Guelph.

The film’s title is a reference to 14th-century Italy when two groups: The White Guelphs and the Black Guephs battled for the hearts and minds of society in Florence. The Black Guelphs supported the influence of the Papacy over the economy and society. Connors is connecting that group to those in Ireland who supported the Catholic Church over the Travellers when the sexual abuse scandals surrounding the industrial school system first broke.

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Connors spoke about his own struggles with depression and despair in making the film and how working on The Black Guelph “saved my life.”

Check out the trailer for The Black Guelph below.

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