The film when released received glowing four star reviews from the Guardian, "fascinating documentary, made with sensitivity", Empire, 'terrifying, dispiriting, and at times slyly satirical… this documentary lays bare a world gone mad", Total Film, "a perceptive treatise on disillusionment, bewilderment and absurdity of homegrown radicalisation", the Irish Times, "a fascinating documentary… touches down on the strange intersection of the dark web, alienation, and the grey area between free speech and hate speech", Cineuropa, "an excellent documentary" and Screen International describing it as "fascinating… you couldn't make it up."
The film explores how in March 2010, two American women, including one who named herself ‘Jihad Jane’, were arrested in a number of high-profile arrests in Waterford, Ireland, which were trumpeted by the US attorney’s office as ‘the new face of terrorism’. Facing huge jail sentences, the two women pleaded guilty but now for the first time ever, with unprecedented access, ‘Jihad Jane’ tells the story of the most absurd terror cell ever to come together.
‘Jihad Jane’ is about the Internet and the online world and the damaged people who made plans to murder a Swedish cartoonist but reality comes crashing in, when they actually meet for the first time. The film captures post 9-11 America and what emerges is a touching and haunting portrait of not only a damaged terror cell but the country and world that they emerged from.
Speaking about the Irish television premiere director Ciaran Cassidy said “We are excited for ‘Jihad Jane’ to screen on RTÉ and to see the reaction from the Irish audiences that didn’t catch it when it was in the cinemas. Waterford played an integral part of what was a major global story at the time.”
The film was produced by Morgan Bushe for Fastnet Films in coproduction with Anna Byvald at Silver Films AB and Sander Verdonk and Thomas den Drijver at New Amsterdam Film Company with support from Screen Ireland, the BAI, RTE, Section 481, Netherlands Film Fund, Netherlands Production Incentive, SVT and the Swedish Film Institute.
101 Films International in partnership with Abacus Media Rights, are selling the film internationally, recently concluding deals in North America with AMC Networks’ streaming service Sundance Now and iWonder in Australia and New Zealand. The film was released theatrically in Ireland and the UK through WildCard Distribution and Picturehouse Entertainment.
Ciaran’s most recent work ‘Where is George Gibney?’ which he co-produced with Mark Horgan of Second Captains can be followed on BBC Sounds.
Watch Fastnet Films and Ciaran’s earlier work, The Last Days of Peter Bergmann selected for the Sundance Film Festival it would later receive the IFI Stranger than Fiction Audience Award and Best Short at the Irish Film and Television Awards.