Paul Webster’s Irish language short film Stuama was the winner of the Físín Pitching Award at The Dingle International Film Festival and went on to screen at a number of film festivals in Ireland and America.
The film tells the story of David, a young man who reluctantly travels to the mountains to spend time with Tadgh, a reclusive man he has never met before. Over the course of the story we discover why David has come here and what the two men have in common.
Writer/director Paul Webster told Film Ireland that” I wrote the script for The Físín Pitching Award, which is competition run by the Dingle International Film Festival. The fund was worth €5,000 plus a further €1,000 worth of equipment rental to make an Irish language short film. When coming up with the idea, it didn’t feel natural for me to write people speaking Irish in their everyday lives, I wanted to make the language a part of the story. Like many Irish people, I hadn’t really used my Irish since I left school, I wanted to have David, the main character in this same position. The character of Tadgh, the reclusive former prisoner, was inspired by a man who frequented a bar I worked in as a teenager. He had been in prison and told me stories about his time there, prison was also where he learned Gaeilge or as it was often referred to, ‘Jailge.’
“The story was partly inspired by the large amount of car accidents, often fatal, that occurred around the town where I grew up. It was the height of the Celtic Tiger and many teenagers could afford cars that previous generations couldn’t, lots of young people of my age were killed on the road at this time. So many lives were ruined on the road and it was something I felt hadn’t been explored in an Irish film to date. In writing the film, I wanted to explore what it would be like for someone facing a prison sentence for their involvement in a road death. Guilt and fear and how we deal with those feelings emerged as the main themes of the film.
“I enlisted the help of producer, Eamon de Staic to help with the pitch and we made our presentation in front of a panel of highly regarded industry professionals at the festival in Dingle. It was quite nerve-wracking, but we prepared and practiced answering potential questions on the drive down from Galway and this really paid off as we were pretty comfortable fielding questions after the pitch. Hearing Stuama announced as the winner was one of my proudest moments, it was fantastic to get the money to make the film, but equally important was the confidence boost that winning such an award gives. The festival in Dingle is amazing, you get such a sense of warmth and encouragement from the organisers, they love film and Físín is their great way of nurturing new talent. “
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