Review of Irish Film @ Kerry Film Festival: Irish Stories – Shorts Programme


Eleanor McSherry finds strong stories being told at the Irish Stories – Shorts Programme at the Kerry Film Festival.

I attended the first screening of the morning, which was a very hairy experience to be honest as I had to battle my way down through storm Brian to get there. This is the lengths this reporter will go to for film! There was a good crowd considering the weather at this screening and I, for one, was delighted that the cinema was well insulated as it was raining buckets outside. Maeve McGrath, Kerry Film Festival’s Artistic Director introduced the screening and acknowledged our bravery for coming out in a storm. The selection was good but some of the films had minor issues with sound and lighting, which let them down a bit, however, the stories were strong. Again, what might look fine and you might get away with on the small screen looks awful or sounds awful on the big screen.

There were nine short films selected for this screening, covering a very diverse set of themes from dealing with an alcoholic parent, time travel, lost love, love, extreme stress/depression, fairytales, heroic historical women and father/son relationships. There were four films in particular that impressed:


Gone (Patrick Maxwell)

The story of Paul, who returns to his hometown to find that his ex-lover has a child with another man. As old sparks reignite, jealousy and revenge lead to fatal consequences.

This was a well executed film with a sad, challenging storyline, told with great care and attention to detail. It had an excellent cast with some lovely performances from Ryan Andrews and Niamh Algar. It’ll be interesting to see when Maxwell’s obvious talent will be stretched to a feature and how he deals with it. Maybe slightly too long at 16 minutes.

Stacey Lee (Jennifer Meade)

Stacey loves books, Spencer loves his dog, neither need each other until they do.

A lovely bonkers short, short movie, beautifully shot except for the lighting, which was slightly off and a bit ropey. But the story was wonderfully told in a Wes Anderson style. Not a bad piece at all, I loved it!

Narcan (Peter McNamara)

Narcan tells the story of Sean Ryan an Irish paramedic working the unsympathetic streets of New York City, every day he struggles to manage a fractured personal life, with his only son refusing to speak to him and the void between himself and his wife Sinead growing bigger with every passing day. The death and darkness of the job begins to creep inside Sean’s head clouding his judgement. It is during the course of one particular twelve hour shift that decisions with irrevocable consequences are made; Sean must call upon every ounce of his stringent resolve to try discover balance.

Nice performances from Malachy McCourt, the fantastic young Limerick talent Harris McNamara and the brilliant Peter Halpin. This film is at the end of its festival run and has had many deserved accolades thrown at it. I’m delighted to have been given the opportunity to have seen it. Well done to Peter McNamara for having tackled a very difficult shoot. This one is well worth seeing!


Tell them our Names (Mary Moynihan)

The performance and film are creative re-imaginings of moments from the lives of women during WWII recalling stories of bravery, sacrifice and love amidst the horror of war, as the women stood up against Fascism and totalitarianism and refused to accept oppression.

This is a short film produced by Smashing Times Theatre and Film Company as a small part of a much bigger project telling the stories of women from WWII, which includes a theatre production and a digital book. For me, the beginning was a little bit confusing, I wasn’t sure what was going on but once it got clearer it became obvious how powerful this film was. The lighting was, at times a bit off and the sound a bit too loud but this did not matter, the story was extremely strong, empowering and yet tragic.

It offered valuable thought-provoking insight into the lives of important European women, Marta Hillers (Germany), Mary Elmes (Ireland), Maria Eugenia Jasinska (Poland), Neus Catala Palleja (Spain) and Dolores Ibárruri, La Pasionaria (Spain). The sad thing is most people have never heard their names before, until now. A wonderful film with a very important story to tell.

Further information


Irish Stories – SHORTS PROGRAMME screened on Thursday, 19th of October, 2017 at Cinema Killarney as part of the Kerry Film Festival (19 – 22 October 2017)

Full Programme:

1. For You (IRL)

A young girl struggles with her alcoholic mother and environment, until she finds strength to love.

2. Rememberer (IRL)

The world has ended. There is nowhere to go. Except back.

3. The Long Line (IRL)

Set in Ireland amid an immigration crisis, will Liam’s troubles push him to the edge?

4. Gone (IRL)

On seeing his ex-lover again, Paul stirs up events that spiral out of his control.

5. Stacey Lee (IRL)

Stacey loves books, Spencer loves his dog, neither need each other until they do.

6. Narcan (IRL/USA)

An Irish paramedic in New York, struggles every day to manage a fractured home life as well as death and depravity on the streets.

7. The Final Fairytale (IRL)

A woman looks back at a fading memory of her father and of fairytales.

8. Tell Them Our Names (IRL)

Creative reimagining of moments from the lives of five powerful women during WWII.

9. Man To Man (IRL)

A touching story of friendship, between father and son, catching up over a quiet pint.






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