Eleanor McSherry reports from the Nickel Film Festival Shorts Screening at the Kerry Film Festival
The Nickel Independent Film Festival began in 2001 in St. John’s, Newfoundland. Inspired by a need for local filmmakers to show their films, the Nickel occurs each year in the third week of June at the historic LSPU Hall. With diverse selections from every genre, it continues to expand its programming, and screens local, Canadian and foreign short films, features, documentaries, animations, music videos, and experimental films. Along with 5-8 screenings of independent films, the festival offers workshops, panels with filmmakers, and special events as well as showcasing local performing and visual artists.
The Kerry Film Festival once again connected with the Nickel Film Festival in an exchange of short films this year. They sent over six short films that screened at the festival: Wide and Death – Director Matt Wright, Terra Nova Matadora – Director Rhonda Buckley, Touch – Director Noe Harris and Mark O’Neill, Olilo – Director Ao Li, The King of the Hill – Director Anh Minh Truig and lastly Marie’s Dictionary (pictured) – Director Emmanuel Vaughn Lee. This films covered subjects such as death, matadors, poverty, love, the future and a dictionary.
My personal selection are: Tera Nova Matadora, Touch and Marie’s Dictionary.
Tera Nova Matadora: ‘the incredible story of Carolyn Hayward, who in 1957, began her career as a famous professional bullfighter in Spain, Mexico and throughout South America’. It’s about a female bullfighter from Newfoundland, named Carolyn Hayward. This was a documentary told by Carolyn’s daughter through stories, old footage of interviews, pictures, newscasts and newsprint. It was shot well with a wonderful musical score. It was very interesting to see how someone, especially a women, survived in such a male-dominated sport.
Touch: ‘When a single mom, facing eviction, is offered a nights work, she unsuccessfully seeks a babysitter for her two small children. Desperate, she reaches out to the last person she wants to ask for a favour’. This tale starkly lays out the story of a single parent who lives in poverty. She has little support and must rely on the charity of others to survive. It is a very moving film that is lovingly shot and is very sad. It is a film that a lot of people can relate to, sadly. For further information on this film see its facebook page
Marie’s Dictionary: ‘this short documentary tells the story of Marie Wilcox, the last fluent speaker of the Wukchumni language’. This is a fascinating story that we, as Irish people, can relate to. This woman wants to save her dying native language and so began a very detailed dictionary. Today, more than 130 Native American languages are endangered, with several languages on the verge of extinction. The documentary, while observational in style, has a couple of interviews as well. It is heart-warming and important. It illustrates one woman’s passion for her native language and sheer determination to see it survive.
The Nickel Film Festival Shorts Screening took place on Sunday, 23rd October at 2pm in the Killarney Cinema.
The Kerry Film Festival took place from the 19th to the 23rd of October 2016.