Kerry Film Festival – Kerry Connection


Eleanor McSherry reports from the Kerry Connection programme at the Kerry Film Festival highlighting the wealth of talent creating film in the county.

Maeve McGrath, the Artistic Director of the Kerry Film Festival, noted the success of the Kerry Connection programme moving to the bigger screen after selling out. “This meant there were approximately 400 people at each screening. This is very heartening to see as there is always a fear that if you show local films there won’t be the same volume of audience. This was not the case in Kerry.”

At the Kerry Connection – Discovery Shorts Screening, the films covered subjects such as domestic abuse, environment, miracles, landscape, talent, coming out, bad decision-making and oddity.  There was also a mixed bag of animation, documentary and short drama.  The first session had eight films: The Black – Director Mark Riordan (pictured), Save our Seas – Director Aoife King, Uisce Beatha – Director Elaine Kennedy, The Uncharted Atlas of Iveragh, LEFTLINE Shane O’Donovan – Director John Kennedy, Blue Shawl – Director Mike O’Dowd, Deadly View – Director Malcolm Willis and lastly Tale of a Tinkerer – Director Ben Hutchinson.

The most notable films were: The Black, Save our Seas and LEFTLINE Shane O’Donovan.

The Black: ‘Jane interviews Sarah about a violent incident that happened between her parents’.  This was shot in black and white with flashbacks.  The plot centred on a young child’s perception of an incident that took place between her parents.  It is a film with a message but not one that you might expect!  For more information on the film please look at their facebook page:


Save our Seas: ‘a short animation raising awareness of the problem of over-fishing and its impact on our seas’. It is a very colourful, ‘stop-motion’ short short animation with a message about the Irish environment, especially our seas.  It offers factual information in a very interesting and palatable way.  It also raises a serious issue that we should all be thinking about, the over-fishing in the waters around the Irish coast.  A nice reflective piece and a well-made film!


LEFTLINE : ‘this short documentary offer a glimpse into the life of Cork-based artist Shane O’Donovan’.  This was a clever little short profile documentary that gave a brief insight into the process of one of the country’s ‘up and coming’ artists.  It is different to the previous documentary in style as it is observational with narration to camera from the artist himself which has a very intimate feel to it.  The short offers a window into this world and is well shot, with very good sound.


There was another sold-out session for the the Kerry Connection – Reflection Shorts Screening. This session offered five films: Animus – Director Ryan Higgins, Banna Strand, County Kerry 1916, The Day After – Director Des Fitzgerald, Lemon Drops – Director Kevin Kelleher, Fred – A Journey Home – Director Paul Dolan and lastly Apis Andreniformis – Director Shay Nolan.  This offering covered a mix of gangland, 1916, dark comedy, cycling and hollywood.

My personal picks are Banna Strand, County Kerry 1916 – The Day After and Animus.

Banna Strand, County Kerry 1916 – The Day After: ‘ a seven year old is curious on seeing book prints coming out of the sea on the day after Roger Casement landed’.  A beautiful black and white short short, Banna Strand,is shot in one location with no dialogue. It is just a very simple short film.

Animus: ‘a retired thug is dragged back into the world he has tried to forget when he is forced to help an unlikely friend, a 17 year old boy’.  The film is a cross between Jack Reacher meets Love/Hate. Its plot is very fast-paced and energetic. Maybe a bit long for a short film, that could have had a minute or two shaved off.  The fight sequences, of which there are many, are choreographed well and, though a little bit staged, are effective.  The main character gives a very credible performance.


The Kerry Connection programme took place on Sunday the 23rd in the Killarney Cinema


The Kerry Film Festival took place from the 19th to the 23rd of October 2016.







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