Ransom ’79 – Charlie Bird’s final story in cinemas from 24th May

The impact of former journalist and campaigner Charlie Bird remains celebrated today, after his passing earlier this year aged 74 following a long and high profile battle with Motor Neurone Disease. A new documentary from Mattress Men director Colm Quinn aims to show us what we’ve lost, charting the journo’s final investigation.

Break Out Pictures have announced a theatrical release for the feature, in cinemas from 24th May.

Ransom ’79 tells the story of legendary Irish reporter Charlie Bird and his determination to break one final story before his life is cut short by MND. Charlie’s sources have given him an extraordinary true crime story, one that had remained secret for decades – the attempt by a criminal gang to extort millions from the Irish government. The disease has already taken Charlie’s voice. But clever use of technology means he can still do interviews – using a voice app on his ipad – and, even as his strength falters, he keeps chasing the story.

The film charts Charlie’s investigation and reconstructs a scarcely-believable sequence of events that led from farce to tragedy, in a very different Ireland. But beneath it all, the film is an exploration of how one man confronting his own mortality can find respite in doing the thing he loves, even in the most terrible of circumstances.

I first discussed the Ransom 79 story with Charlie before his MND diagnosis, that he still wanted to pursue it while facing such a terrible illness is testament to his courage and determination. It was a privilege to travel around the country with him as he uncovered a truly unique story with his friend Colin Murphy. I know Charlie would be proud that his work has made it to the big screen, we miss him every day and feel very grateful to have helped him tell one last story. “

Director Colm Quinn

RANSOM ’79 is directed by Colm Quinn and is produced by John Kelleher and David Power with backing from Fís Éireann/Screen Ireland, Coimisiún na Meán, Virgin Media, Derrin Group and S481.

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