A pulsating action-thriller had its international premiere at the ongoing Galway Film Fleadh on Friday night. 

Will Gilbey's "Jericho Ridge" premiered at the Pálás Cinema in Galway on Friday, July 14 to positive reviews. 

Set in a remote mountain town in North Washington state which has been ravaged by unemployment and drug addiction, Jericho Ridge follows Deputy Sheriff Tabitha ‘Tabby’ Temple (Nikki Amuka-Bird) as she attempts to fight off waves of murderous attackers while protecting her teenage son Monty (Zack Morris). 

Jericho Ridge marks Gilbey's first feature film as a writer/director and the BAFTA-winning editor and screenwriter told IrishCentral that he was eagerly anticipating the film's debut on Friday night, adding that it will be the first time that it would be viewed by an audience. 

"I'm super excited but terrified as well. I'm raring to go really. I've never watched this on a big cinema screen or with an audience, so it's exciting for sure," Gilbey told IrishCentral ahead of Friday night's premiere. 

Gilbey said it made sense to choose Galway as the location for the film's premiere, stating that the Galway Film Fleadh, which is celebrating its 35th year, "is a great festival to come to". 

"We've also got some Irish connections through our producer Mark O'Sullivan and my director of photography Ruairi (O'Brien). It just felt like a really good fit for us.

"I haven't been to Ireland since I was ten years old. I'm very excited to be here and go and watch some cool films and watch this film with an audience," Gilbey said, adding that he is delighted to be able to sample a pint of Irish Guinness. 

Gilbey was also hugely excited by a 30-minute Q&A session with the audience at the end of the film. 

"I could talk about this film for hours. I think it's only a half-hour Q&A. I'd be quite happy if it was three hours. 

"I'm so excited to see what other people think and how others react to it. That's going to help so much as a filmmaker going forward." 

Gilbey describes his film as a study of the dysfunctional relationship between a mother and her teenage son at its core, adding that he was keen to focus on the human elements of storytelling rather than shooting all-out action sequences. 

"I wanted to have that emotion. I wanted to explore that relationship and see what happens when a mother is trying to survive an insane terrifying experience and her son is there with her, to see the lengths she's prepared to go to. 

"I just think that's what hooks you in. We all love the action scenes, but I think if you can supply that with an emotional connection, that's hopefully something you're going to remember a bit more than people just running around shooting each other." 

Shot in Pristina, Kosovo, Jericho Ridge is a film directly influenced by the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The film was initially scheduled to begin shooting in Canada in March 2020 before the outbreak of Covid altered Gilbey's plans. 

"We were all set to go and shoot in Canada in March 2020. Obviously, Covid completely put paid to that. As countries got shut down, we started exploring other options.

"We were looking around the world wondering where was going to be the first place to open. Ultimately, it just came down to patience." 

However, Gilbey believes that the Covid-19 pandemic was a blessing in disguise for the film, stating that he was allowed to build his set "from the ground up" in Kosovo, something that wasn't possible in Canada. He was also able to shoot for an additional eight days, which allowed him to flesh out his action sequences. 

"It worked out for the best. Initially, it was frustrating, but now I look back and I'm very glad it happened the way it did." 

Gilbey also praised the performance of lead actress Nikki Amuka-Bird, stating that she "leads from the front" throughout the film. 

"I really wanted to explore the relationship between a mother and her teenage son. I thought it would be a lot more interesting than a relationship between a father and son." 

Speaking to the Hollywood Reporter ahead of the film's premiere, Amuka-Bird said she loved her character from the moment she read the script. 

"Tabby is a powerful and uncompromisingly honest woman – above all she is a mother willing to do whatever it takes to protect her son. It’s an honor to play this challenging, complex lead role alongside such a talented team." 

Jericho Ridge is co-produced by Silver Lining Productions and DLNQNT, with Mark O'Sullivan. Alex Tate and Harvey Ascott on board as producers.