Short Film of the Week: ‘A Woman’s Hair’ by Conor McDermottroe



Based on the Short Story by Bryan McMahon, A Woman’s Hair (2005) is set in Corcoran’s Bar at the end of the 1950s. Eight-year-old Elaine is sent away from home when her mother dies. Returning to the bar several years later she discovers things have changed.

The film’s director Conor McDermottroe told Film Ireland that the idea for the short film came to him via the producer Kate Bowe:

“Kate asked me to read it way back when. She loved the story and thought it would make a great short film. At that stage I was still acting and had no real desires to write and or direct. However, I thought the story was beautiful and I urged Kate to push forward with it, and that I would do anything I could to help.

“It was a few years later when I got my skates on with writing and directing; I had two shorts on my CV and was pushing forward with a feature screenplay I had written. I knew that before I would get the go-ahead to make a feature I’d need to prove myself with as much directing work as possible. I was aware of the scheme that Bord Scannan na hEireann/the Irish Film Board and RTÉ was running and remember thinking  that A Woman’s Hair would fit the bill. Immediately I contacted Kate asking if anything had ever happened with the story she loved so much. Thankfully nothing had. I pitched myself for the job, got a yes, and started adapting straight away.

“Soon after we signed off on the screenplay, and put our application into the IFB and RTÉ. We got the funding and early in 2005 we shot the film. Our main location was a shed in a field in Kildare and we used The Gravediggers in Drumcondra for the pub interiors.

“I’m very proud of the film, all the cast are terrific but young Orlaith Donnelly has to be singled out.  One of the happiest evenings of my career thus far, was after winning Best Film at the Venice International Short Film Festival, and with the award for Best Film under my oxter, Kate and I went for a grand tour of the Venice late night establishments.”



DIRECTOR/ SCRIPT: Conor McDermottroe (Based on the Short Story by Bryan McMahon)
PRODUCERS: Kate Bowe, Marina Hughes

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