34-year-old Cork city filmmaker Dan O’Connell has won the first prize in the inaugural Ford Short Film Competition ‘8 Minutes’ with his film A Selfless Act which he directed and co-wrote with Frank Hurley (52, from Mogeely, Co. Cork).
The winning film was announced at a gala screening at Fota House, Co. Cork and Mr. O’Connell and Mr. Hurley, whose film will be showcased on the Irish Film Board’s website for one month, was presented with the use of a fully taxed and insured Ford Fiesta for one year, a €500 voucher for camera equipment and a €2,000 fuel voucher by one of the competition’s judges, producer Gerardine O’Flynn.
A Selfless Act was made especially for this competition and addresses the themes of hope from the Titanic 100 celebrations. The film features an old homeless man (played by Hurley) who has a brief encounter with a wealthy young business man. Mr. O’Connell was surprised and thrilled in having won. He said: ‘I am truly shocked. The standard of all films was astonishing and I want to thank all of you and all those that worked on this film.’
Speaking on behalf of the judges, producer Ms. O’Flynn said: ‘In some films all things come together – a simple location shot beautifully, a memorable story, a great cast. We really appreciated the quality of the work and how the filmmakers avoided a typical Titanic story but eloquently referenced the themes of that epic story.’
Managing director of Ford, Mr. Eddie Murphy said: ‘We are delighted to have worked with Titanic 100 on producing a Titanic-themed short film competition for budding filmmakers. This competition has offered filmmakers from all over Ireland the opportunity to develop and showcase their work, and we were all impressed by the quality and range of ideas and imagination in the entries. This event marks what we hope to be a promising and fulfilling partnership with Ireland’s film community in the years to come.’
Over 40 films were entered in the competition, which ran in partnership with Titanic 100. 12 films were shortlisted and shown at the gala with two films declared as runners-up: Elysium, written and directed by Chris Lodge and Uisce Beatha, written by Tadhg Hickey and directed by Shaun O’Connor. Both runners-up were also awarded €500 vouchers for camera equipment.
The twelve finalists – four from Cork, three from Dublin, and one each from Kildare, Meath, Waterford, Wexford and the USA – responded to the competition in a fascinating variety of ways, with their ‘8 Minute’ films exploring issues around homelessness, parental separation, emigration, the importance of hope, journey, overcoming obstacles, and some on lighter topics too including Lego blocks and the purchase of an ice-cream van.
The judging panel of film industry experts includes Fiona Shaw CBE, the internationally acclaimed actress and theatre director originally from Cork; Cork actress Jennifer Erin Lee who stars in the forthcoming Titanic series, Blood and Steel; producer of BAFTA-winning short film, Pitch Black Heist, Gerardine O’Flynn; Alan Fitzatrick, managing Director of Filmbase; Executive Director of the Screen Directors Guild of Ireland Birch Hamilton; and Eddie Murphy, Chairman and Managing Director of Henry Ford and Son, Ireland.
Full details of the competition and the finalists are available on www.8minutes.ie
‘8 MINUTES’ FINALISTS
Winner: A Selfless Act | Written by Dan O’CONNELL & Frank HURLEY
(Hollyhill, Cork) | Director: Dan O’Connell
1st Runner-up: Uisce Beatha | Writer: Tadhg HICKEY (Cork City) | Director:
Shaun O’ Connor
2nd Runner-up: Elysium | Written and directed by Chris LODGE (Donacarney,
Other Finalists (in no particular order)
1. Out of the Depths – A Titanic Requiem | Written and directed by Peadar Donohoe with poem by Adam Wyeth (Crosshaven, Co Cork)
2. Play On | Written and directed by Nathan O’Brolchain (Dublin 18)
3. Without a Face | Written and directed by Nathan Lacey (Wexford)
4. Hope | Written and directed by Kevin de la Isla O’Neill (Dublin 8)
5. Changes | Written and directed by Vincent Lambe (Dublin 6)
6. Red Flag | Written and directed by James Fitzgerald (Dunmore East,
7. The Secret to my Success | Writers: Brian Folan / Peter McCoy (Maynooth,
Co Kildare) | Director: Brian Folan
8. Lego Brick Road | Written and directed by Toby Lee Tyrrell (Cork City)
9. My Dearest Aunt Emily | Written and directed by Peter Le Bas (Beverly
About the Judges:
FIONA SHAW CBE – Actress: Born in Cork and living in Cobh in her youth, Ms Fiona Shaw is an internationally renowned actress who has been in many international films. Her works include My Left Foot, The Taming of the Shrew, As you Like it, Jane Eyre, the Black Dahlia and playing the insufferable Aunt Petunia Dursley in the Harry Potter movies.
JENNIFER ERIN LEE – Actress: Cork. Jennifer recently completed filming as Lady Thomas Andrews, wife to the Chief Architect of the Titanic, in the Soon to be aired TV Series, Blood and Steel, the story of how the luxury Liner, Titanic was built in Belfast by White Star Lines over 15 years from 1897 and the journey that has stirred the masses ever since. The series is directed by Ciaran Donnelly with other actors including Chris Noth, Alessandra Mastronardi and Derek Jacobi.
GERARDINE O’FLYNN – Winner of the 2012 BAFTA Awards for Best Short Film: Pitch Black Heist – A film Starring Liam Cunningham and Michael Fassbender. They are professional safe crackers who meet on a simple job to relieve an office safe from its contents. The catch is that a light activated alarm system impels the men to embark on a pitch black heist.
ALAN FITZPATRICK – Alan is Managing Director of Filmbase, a national resource centre for new and emerging filmmakers in Ireland. Filmbase works with a variety of national agencies to develop and promote opportunities for filmmakers through supports that include production funding, training, masterclasses, networking events, mentoring and the publication of Ireland’s only film magazine, Film Ireland. Alan oversees all of Filmbase’s film production awards, including those with the broadcasters RTÉ and TG4 which have collectively supported over 250 short films since their inception.
BIRCH HAMILTON has been the Executive Director of the Screen Directors Guild of Ireland since 2006. Birch received a Bachelor of Arts in English and Philosophy from the University College Dublin in 1996 and in 2005 she was awarded a merit Masters in Entertainment Law with the University of Westminster, London. Birch started her career in film in 1996 with September Films, London and from there has worked with for several leading film production companies. Birch has radically transformed the Screen Directors Guild of Ireland into a powerful and dynamic institution and participates various national and international boards and is highly engaged in the film and new media space.
EDDIE MURPHY – Chairman and Managing Director of Henry Ford and Son, Ireland. Henry Ford’s legacy was providing mobility to the masses by way of producing Ford motorcars. In 1912, the same year as the Titanic’s Voyage, Henry Ford arrived in Cobh (then Queenstown) from America and established Henry Ford and Son five years later. Ford has a pivotal and important role in transportation around the world and a distinct link to Cork. As well as being the key representative to this link, Mr Eddie Murphy is Ford Ireland’s Nominated Judge for the Ford Short Film Competition.