Interview: Liam Ryan, Shorts Programmer @ Jameson Dublin International Film Festival

2015 Short Film Oscar Winner, The Phone Call

 

This year’s Jameson Dublin International Film Festival features three outstanding programmes of Irish and International short films. Selected from around 200 submissions these programmes offer a broad range of genres and narratives. Short films from Mexico, United Kingdom, Belgium, Finland, Switzerland, and the United States will screen alongside the cream of Irish live action and animation in a programme that includes both Oscar-nominated and Oscar-winning short films. Ian Maleney spoke to Shorts Programmer Liam Ryan about putting together this year’s programmes.

 

You’ve changed the structure of the short film programmes this year.

Well, in previous years, shorts were a smaller section in the festival and was more built through invitation We expanded on that last year and invited submissions, which we’ve done again this year, opening submissions over a longer period to cast a wider net. We got in close to 200 films over and from the end of November – I started making my way through the all the submissions and shortlisted them from there. We’ve ended up with three really strong programmes spread over the festival – opening week, midweek and closing weekend.

 

What’s going through your mind when you put the schedule together?

First and foremost I’m thinking of what the audience is for short films. Very often it’s the cast and crew and their aunties and uncles. I wanted to try and draw in a non-industry crowd so that anyone with an interest in film could come along and enjoy them. I didn’t want to make the programmes too long, so they’re all in and around 80 minutes, which I think is a nice length. And spreading them over the festival means that people don’t have to watch them over three days back to back. So hopefully that’s more inviting to a broader audience.

 

Any particular themes running through the programmes?

The programmes are individually themed, broadly, but there’s a good mix in there. In the past, we did an Irish shorts programme and a separate international programme. I wanted to mix the Irish stuff in with what I had coming in internationally – as a short filmmaker myself at festivals abroad, it’s always great to see your short alongside shorts from all over the world. I gave each programme a broad strokes theme, but it’s still quite varied. I think it’s nice when you don’t know what’s coming next and I kind of wanted to keep an audience guessing and have a good mix of films. But in the end for me – it’s all about characters and stories

The quality of the films this year is really good. One of the shorts we’re showing, The Phone Call, won the Oscar this year for Best Short Film; we also have the Irish film Boogaloo and Graham, which was on the Oscar nominee list. Both films are fantastic.

I think there’s a really good range of different genres this year – different stories – it’s great the imagination that goes into these stories. I certainly found myself leaning towards strong stories and strong characters when I was programming. Also, going back to what I was saying earlier about thinking about the audience – one of the great things about the festival is not only the opportunity to watch these films that you maybe wouldn’t normally get a chance to see but also to meet and put questions to the filmmakers, many of whom will be at the festival. I’m really looking forward to it this year.

 

 

International Shorts 1

Venue: Light House Cinema

Sat 21st Mar 2015

2:00PM

LA MINERDirector: Thomas Wood

Running Time: 24:26

The story of a redneck savant and natural storyteller who started mining for gold on the outskirts of Los Angeles.

 

AN ODE TO LOVE

Writer-director: Matthew Darragh

Running Time: 07:00

A lonely man on a desert island explores the highs and lows of romantic love when a mysterious companion is washed ashore.

 

THE PHONE CALL

Director: Mat Kirkby

Writers: Mat Kirkby, James Lucas

Running Time: 20:55

A shy helpline worker, receives a call from a mystery man.

 

PIMEÄLLÄ POLULLA

Writer-director: Paul Helin

Running Time: 19:30

Sometimes the only way to safety lies on dark paths…

 

CÉAD GHRÁ

Director: Brian Deane

Writer: Matthew Roche

Running Time: 11:41

A nostalgic coming-of-age story about two friends that set out in pursuit of their first crush.

 

International Shorts 2

Venue: Light House Cinema

Tue 24th Mar 2015

6:00PM

Opportunities in Disguise

This year’s shorts programme is our most ambitious yet: a three-course feast showcasing up-and-coming filmmaking talent from all over the world, programmed by Liam Ryan.

 

BIG BIRD

Director: Jan Boon

Writer: Derek O’Connor

Running Time: 09:58

An Irishman in Belgium has an internet date to remember, in a rom-com that isn’t afraid to put the boot in.

 

DAY ONE

Director: Henry Hughes

Writers: Dawn DeVoe, Henry Hughes

Running Time: 24:55

In Afghanistan, an interpreter for the US Army is forced to deliver the child of an enemy bomb-maker.

 

JORDANNE

Writer-director: Zak Razvi

Running Time: 05:04

Jordanne follows Jordanne Whiley, a 22-year-old tennis player born with brittle bone disease, in the lead-up to the US Open.

 

CONTRAPELO

Director: Gareth Dunnet-Alcocer

Writers: Gareth Dunnet-Alcocer,

Liska Ostojic

Running Time: 19:58

A Mexican barber is forced to shave the leader of a drug cartel.

 

HANGAR B

Director: Thomas Beug

Running Time: 06:40

Two octogenarians muse on life and death as they restore old aircraft in a forgotten hangar.

 

ROCKMOUNT

Writer-director:

Dave Tynan

Running Time: 13:20

A diminutive eleven-year-old called Roy tries to make it onto the starting eleven of his football team.

 

 

International Shorts 3

Venue: Light House Cinema

Sun 29th Mar 2015

2:00PM

 Exit, Pursued By a Bear

This year’s shorts programme is our most ambitious yet: a three-course feast showcasing up-and-coming filmmaking talent from all over the world, programmed by Liam Ryan.

 

CATCHING FIREFLIES

Writer-director: Lee Whittaker

Running Time: 19:58

A little Latina girl attempts to escape the rigours and misfortunes of living on skid row, Los Angeles, through the power of her imagination.

 

SCRABBLE

Writer-director: Cristian Sulser

Running Time: 11:25

Scrabble addresses the secret desire to break out of the routine of a loveless relationship.

 

HOW I DIDN’T BECOME A PIANO PLAYER

Writer-director: Tommaso Pitta

Running Time: 17:40

Ted cannot find anything he is good at. Then his father comes home with an old piano and Ted has a revelation…

 

I AM HERE

Director: David Holmes

Writer: Lisa Barros D’Sa

Running Time: 16:20

Michael wakes to find himself stranded in a strange new world.

 

BOOGALOO & GRAHAM

Director: Michael Lennox

Writers: Ronan Blaney

Running Time: 14:00

Two brotheres are over the moon when their dad presents them with baby chicks to care for.

 

 

 

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