Kevin de la Isla O’Neill, Director of ‘Acorn’

Kevin de la Isla O’Neill tells us about the seed that became the Acorn.


What can you tell us about the film?
It’s a sweet and fun story about a mum who gets called into the Principal’s office at her son Gregg’s school during nativity play rehearsals. She assumes it’s because he’s in trouble again and is ready to defend his actions, however the principal has something rather different to tell her about Gregg​ which leaves her completely gobsmacked.

How did you become involved in the project?
I entered the Filmbase Short-Shots scheme as a director back in Feb 2016. It’s where directors, writers and producers come together to create one of 4 films offered by RTÉ/Filmbase.

As a director in the scheme, I had to first find a script I liked through various methods. Among them, a Facebook group where people send and request scripts and also a few speed-dating events for writers and directors. So after an extensive selection process I came across Jonathan’s [Hughes] script and I found his sense of humour to be very in tune with my own. I contacted him and we got on great, so pitching the idea came naturally. After that, we had to find a producer that would serve the project best. So we approached Sharon Cronin [producer] with our ideas on the project and she happily came on board to make the perfect team complete.

Can you tell us a little about putting the cast together?
Casting Gregg was the most important at the beginning and we saw some boys who had a lot to offer. But we all thought Luke [Kerins] brought that something extra, a kind of ’knowing’ look in his eye. He was also​ a bit​ older than what​ we were looking for but looked young enough for the part, which I think worked in his favour as he did a fantastic job! For Barbara we always had Norma Sheahan in mind, and when approached, she happily came on board.

We went through many ideas for the mother and principal and we all had suggestions that would make the characters very different, but in the end we decided on Aideen Wylde and Aidan O’Hare, who were both comfortable with comedy and they worked incredibly well together, and really made the characters their own; a very unique take on the roles that we were thrilled with.

How involved was Jonathan in the filming process?
Jonathan was very involved from the beginning and whenever we had questions about the script or characters he was always on hand to help or advise, and to make changes where we needed to if things weren’t working. He travelled over from London where he was residing at the time and was on set for the filming days,​ so I think it was all really exciting to see his script come to life. It also helped when we needed to rejig things very quickly on set, to get his opinion on how the changes might make the characters react, etc.

Any particular challenges you faced on this production?
There were various types of challenges as there are with any production, whether it’s a short or a feature, working with a big crew or small, and then working with children and animals, etc. So sometimes it comes down to trying to get the most out of the budget and dealing with time restrictions or location limitations, etc. scheduling picks-ups with actors and crew.

Sharon is an extremely competent producer and organized everything with acute efficiency, which meant we had a more than capable team throughout production, so challenges were quickly addressed when faced with them.

Working with Director of Photography Richard Donnelly was also a great asset, as I had worked with him once before and we seem to speak a common language, so when faced with any challenges we would quickly find a creative solution to the problem at hand.

No matter the budget or scale of production, you always wish you had more time and budget. In this case we were fortunate to have Natasha Waugh as our 1stAD, so thanks to her shoot management we were able to get the most off our time on location.Some locations kept changing and, as the story takes place on a school, we had to wait for a holiday break from the school to be used in order to shoot there, as weekends would be too restrictive. Also due to location access, some scenes were cut and replaced by others.

As the film takes place during nativity play rehearsals, the costume and production design are hugely important as the costumes are very specific, specially for the children, but Ciara Coleman-Geany did a fantastic job creating these and then the set design was very prop heavy, but Jill Beecher, our set designer, looked after that extremely well too, from finding bits and pieces everywhere​,​ to creating​ a very​ Christmassy look​,​ to​ even​ building a full stage for the nativity play rehearsals​, as there was none at the location​.

At some stage we had a very visual scene in a swimming pool, but that proved too burdensome due to the time allowed at the location and the amount of time we had for the shoot as a whole.

There were​ a lot of VFX required, which​ were done in After Effects, that you probably wouldn’t even notice​ (and shouldn’t)​, which is a great thing if it doesn’t stand out of course. But it takes an incredible amount of time and patience to do those types of things especially when working to a deadline on a small budget​, etc. But it’s all part of the process and we want to make sure that the best possible version of this film is the one you see on screen at the end of the day. So all the challenges make it worth it.

You must be excited about Galway…
I am very excited about Galway as I feel we have a lovely little film with a lot of heart. I’m really looking forward to seeing the film on the big screen and hearing its 5.1 mix, which was done and designed by Mutiny post, ans the score, composed by Sarah Lynch, was performed by the RTE concert orchestra, thanks to the IMRO | RTÉ Scoring for Film Program, so it should be an amazing experience to see and to listen to.

It also has been a while since I’ve been in Galway as part of a film project in the programme, instead of in the market pitching, etc. So I’m really looking forward to getting to showcase our film, network and talk about the next projects in order​ to develop further and enjoy all that the Fleadh has to offer.


Acorn screens at the 29th Galway Film Fleadh as part of New Irish Shorts 4 on Friday, 14th July at the Town Hall Theatre at 12.00.

Buy Tickets

The 29th Galway Film Fleadh runs 11 – 16 July 2017.


Andrew Stevenson, Director of ‘Man to Man’

We talk Man to Man with director Andrew Stevenson ahead of his short film screening at this year’s Galway Film Fleadh.


What can you tell us about Man to Man?

Well, the film is a poignant short story of a father-son relationship, told through a series of conversations as the two catch up over a quiet pint in their local to discuss life, love, and everything in between. It takes place over a number of years, and – hopefully! – presents a subtly emotional tale of bonding, fellowship, and the circle of life.

It’s obviously quite a personal film – how did it come about?

As you may have guessed, it was inspired by my relationship with my own father, who has been an incredibly influential figure in my life. It struck me one evening, when we met for a pint, that our kind of relationship, and the effect it has on each person, isn’t something you often see in film. Or in real life, actually. Father-son relationships are quite difficult to examine and/or explain, largely because it requires acknowledgement of the underlying emotions involved, and men are traditionally not supposed to have any! I guess that’s why I saw a potentially interesting subject matter in this as a story. It attempts to address that unspoken – often deliberately muted – male connection, and presents the variety of emotions that contribute to the characters’ understanding of, and ultimately love for, one another in a subtle and understated way.


The chemistry between Hugh Gormley and Killian Coyle is key to the film.

Both actors did a phenomenal job, and brought so much to the characters and their on-screen chemistry. Despite having never met before, the pair had a natural, relaxed rapport immediately, and this was so helpful to the realism and believability of the film.


Did you always know you would direct it?

Yeah. In fact, part of the reason I wrote it was to create something for me to direct. I knew what I wanted to achieve with the story – to use inference and indirect narrative as a kind of decoy for what the real story is about. Because of this, the script would probably not have been the easiest to interpret for an outside director. And of course, directing is what I want to do above all else. I really only write and produce out of necessity, to facilitate the directing. The jury is still out on my ability at all three though!


How was your experience as director?

It was amazing. Directing is such a funny role, because your ‘talent’ is recognising the talents of everyone else and combining them. Our crew were incredible – so committed, efficient, and skilled. In particular, Rua Meegan [DoP] made each scene look beautiful and rich, despite only having a tiny pub snug to work with! And Michael Donnelly V [Editor] tied the story together better than I ever could have myself, so to have him involved was a privilege as well. I received all sorts of favours, advice, and help from too many people to mention but needless to say I am so grateful to everyone for what they gave. This was my first professional short film, and it took a long time – from writing and fundraising at the beginning, to shooting, editing, mixing and now festival entering – but I have to admit I’m really happy with how it has turned out.


What were the important lessons you learned from your time as AD that you brought to bear on the director’s role?

Funnily enough, I actually kind of had to 1st AD the shoot due to unfortunate circumstances on the day. This shoot needed to be really efficient, because we only had two days and multiple lighting setups and hair/make-up/wardrobe changes to simulate time passing and the ageing process. As you’ll see in the film, Rua [from above] and Madonna McNamee [Stylist] and her team did an excellent job creating that sense of passage of time. And they also very graciously put up with me being bossy and impatient trying to get everything in place as quickly as possible! It came down to the wire but we got there in the end. I think I stopped crying at that point.


You must be excited about Galway…

Thrilled to be going to Galway. I’ve never been before but I’ve heard it’s a fantastic week of film and fun. The actors and loads of the crew will be coming down as well so it’ll be great to catch up with everyone too! And I’m also looking forward to seeing all the other shorts – just being in the same competition as Jim Sheridan and Ben Cleary is exciting in its own right! And all the Irish features, one of which I worked on. As a heads-up I’ve been told to pack a spare liver. All I’ve got is an old sponge in the boot of my car. Should be grand, right?


Man to Man screens at the 29th Galway Film Fleadh as part of New Irish Shorts 1 on Wednesday, 12th July at the Town Hall Theatre at 10:30.

Buy Tickets

The 29th Galway Film Fleadh runs 11 – 16 July 2017



Preview of Irish Film @ Galway Film Fleadh 2017


Emma Eliza Regan, Writer/Director of ‘Wild Fire Nights’

Emma Eliza Regan

Emma Eliza Regan gives us a glimpse into the world of Wild Fire Nights, which screens at this year’s Galway Film Fleadh.


What can you tell us about Wild Fire Nights?

It’s a 17-minute contemporary drama, that centres around Lila – a deeply troubled and dysfunctional young woman, who tries to maintain an image for the world, but inside she’s crumbling and trying to numb the pain out. I’ve tried to reflect the inner world of young women today, all the grey areas that don’t ever get tapped into on Irish screens. The ‘selfie generation’ has created a situation where one’s validation only comes from her sex appeal – there’s severe consequences on the psyche of young women, which I could see around me every single day, as young as 14 up to 34. Anytime I looked at my phone, whether it was Facebook or Instagram, it was there, so I was trying to capture the real darkness and the massive psychological consequences of it all.


… and the title, Wild Fire Nights?

 The film was called ‘Unfiltered’ for a while, but the title Wild Fire Nights seemed to really depict the total destructiveness and utter waste… it expressed how one tiny situation can ignite something in us, that causes a series of events, that just spread fast and destroy everything in such an irrevocable way.

I called her Lila as it comes from the Hebrew word for ‘’Night’ and ‘Dark Girl’ – which was fitting for her.


How did the story come about for you? 

The character itself came from a night out – I was in a cubicle, and there were empty vodka and pregnancy tests thrown on the floor, and I guess that image was such a very dark juxtaposition that it stuck with me. Who was this girl, and how did she end up in here?  I also would see so many young women completely out of it and nobody really investigates that. I wanted to dig a bit deeper and see well what is going on in a young woman that she’d need to do that? What has happened? Most of these girls are just deeply hurt and trying to cope.


Wild Fire Nights

Were you planning to direct from the get-go?

Yes, I had such a clear vision of it that it just made sense. Also, I started to feel that directing was the one place where I could contribute something substantial – I was able to use my own voice, instead of offering just the little tiny box of my performance.  I was at the stage I wanted to move on from playing the school girls, and use my other capacities too and create my own work.

I suppose as a girl in my twenties myself, I felt I could write about certain topics and portray them in a way that’s totally authentic – so I just started writing what I saw and questioned around me.


What was it like directing your first short?

I really enjoyed the experience! It was hard work too, being responsible for so much, but I just rolled up my sleeves and kept going because I was so passionate about it and had fun times with the crew around me.  I’ve always been sort of observing and contributing ideas on every set I was on anyhow, I hang around on set watching what’s going on even after I’m wrapped… so it was a natural decision for me.  It was the post-production I needed to learn a lot, all those elements were new to me, so I took away a huge amount of lessons from the edit.


Hanging around on set

What experience as an actor did you bring to working behind the camera. 

Firstly, all a director needs to do is make sure the actor doesn’t feel like it’s acting… make it about not acting as much as possible. I was very in tune with them all anyhow, and gave them complete trust to keep the takes fresh and spontaneous. I knew from experience that if something doesn’t work, scrap it, it’s not working for a reason, change it around rather than stay there forcing and forcing a scene. I have been on sets where a director keeps forcing it, although it doesn’t feel right, so I was sharp in keeping each scene instinctive from my acting side of my brain. For an example, James Browne, who’s one of the most instinctive actors anyhow, I had him swinging around on bars of a boat as Lila tried to talk to him about her mother’s death, it was actually written as them sitting by the beach, but I knew I needed both that tension and lightness…. Also, the same with Dara Devaney, before his scene I gave him a bowl of porridge to be feeding the granny, that one tiny action told more about his character than any words could – so I used a lot of simple, authentic actions in a scene to click a performance into place.


Did you pick up a bag of tips from directors you have previously worked with?

Of course, I mean I was privileged to have that experience with very talented people, so of course it shaped me in some way. I did learn a huge amount about performance and film in general from Shimmy Marcus when I was in the Factory, he deconstructed everything from script to the edit to the performance, and taught me that it’s much about show rather than tell… Then on set,  I went with longer takes with certain actors, like Gerry (Mc Sorley) and David Murray, because I knew the level of experience they carried, and that those extra few seconds after the scene would be where they would just nail it, and I remember Ivan Kavanagh working with us in a similar way. Also, I personally think Brendan Muldowney is a phenomenal director, I love how he captures so much tenderness in the darkness of the subject matter –  so if I could have learnt anything at all from a director I worked with, that would be it.


You assembled a great cast. Can you tell us a little about this?

I had a very clear idea of who would work from the writing stage. I had worked nearly everyone with previously, except Gerard McSorley –  although we were both on Penance last year, we hadn’t any scenes together, but he is such a prolific actor, someone I admired for years on film, and he connected with the subject matter on a personal level, so he brought a lot of real and powerful truth to that scene. He had me in tears and it was still only on his close-ups, so that’s the strength and brilliance of his performance for you right there.

With James Browne and Dara Devaney, they were both actors that I did theatre with at the very start that I sort of just clicked with. Dara Devaney and I had worked in the Abbey and we became good pals, he’s got such a genuine and honest quality to him, and I knew our ease with each other that would come through on screen. He added a very warm and kind presence in the final scenes, and James Browne was also someone I met back at the very start. I did a version of A Midsummers Nights Dream when I was 17,  and then, earlier this year, I was in a screening of Lorcan Finnegan’s Without Name at ADIFF and he absolutely stole every scene. He has that exact mix of both elusiveness and danger, and he brought so much intensity to Flynn. He’s also going to be in Maze which screens at the Fleadh on Saturday night, so he’s gaining a real momentum in her career now, and think he’s only going to go from strength to strength.

With David Murray, we worked with one another on Jack Taylor – and again, was the first and only choice for the role –and he brought such an edge to that scene. I loved his performance in Amber. He’s a great voice, and had that mix of both masculinity and vulnerability it needed.


How did you find the role of producer?

Very full on, I have actually helped produced some projects over the last few years, so I wasn’t totally clueless. It was a huge amount of work with locations, insurance, health and safety, getting the whole crew together, catering, but my production designer, Steve Kingston, came board as a co-producer and helped me out with everything. So when we were both working together, we actually had a lot of fun in the process.


You must be excited to screen at Galway…

Yeah, it will be great to have a screening and finally see how people react to it.  It’s only the start for this film.



Wild Fire Nights screens at the 29th Galway Film Fleadh as part of New Irish Shorts: Way Out West programme on Wednesday, 12th July at the Radisson Blu Hotel at 2.30pm.


Buy Tickets





Preview of Irish Film @ Galway Film Fleadh 2017



Tristan Heanue, Writer/Director of ‘A Break in the Clouds’



Tristan Heanue gives us a look at A Break in the Clouds, which screens at this year’s Galway Film Fleadh.


What can you tell us about A Break in the Clouds?
It is about a young couple who are struggling in different ways following the birth of their first child. It follows them over one morning as things come to a head.


How did the story come about?

It came from a few different places. A few friends of mine had babies in quick succession and I saw first hand the different types of strain that it had on them. It just stuck with me and I wanted to tell a story that showed what the pressures were like for both sides during this time.


Did you always know you wanted to direct this story?
Yes, I had been working on the script for over a year and it was always in my head to direct it. Originally, I hadn’t planned to act in it as I submitted it to a short film scheme, but once we didn’t get selected for that I had to re-think it. Paddy Slattery [producer] had always suggested me acting in it so I decided to go for it. I had a wonderful cinematographer in Narayan Van Maele who made the whole experience so much easier. We spent a day in Connemara walking through the locations and planning everything so when the time came for me to step in front of the camera for my shots he had it all under control.


You’ve worked with Paddy Slattery before – what does he bring to the table?


A number of things, he is always the first person to read my scripts so I trust him more than anyone. He gives the best advice when it comes to screenwriting and doesn’t sugar coat it. He always helps you keep belief in a project and pushes you on when you sometimes might be having doubts about the material, which usually happens weekly!


What were the important lessons you learned from your debut directing experience that you brought to bear on this film?


Mainly to not try to cut corners with anything, to be more prepared. Sometimes you look back at the other films and see little mistakes and you just do your best to not do the same again. I spent a lot more time on the script also, it went through quite a few different versions as we had a certain budget and had to make sure it was possible to shoot it on that.
How important was the chemistry of the cast to successfully tell this story?
It wasn’t as important as maybe on others. All the characters are somewhat estranged in it or have bad communication with each other so I think it would have worked either way. But as it happened everyone kinda knew each other. I had met Marie Ruane, who plays Natalie, a few times before and we spent an evening rehearsing our scene beforehand but that was the only rehearsals we did for the film. Gemma-Leah Deveraux, who plays Sarah, and Marie had also known each other for years so they were comfortable working together. And I had also met Linda Bhreathnach, who plays Ally, a couple of times before so that always helps things flow a little better.


You must be excited about Galway
Yeah, I’m so excited to show this film to people. I’m nervous as well of course but I think the excitement is maybe edging it this time. Galway is obviously special for me being a native so it will be great to have all my friends and family there with me.



A Break in the Clouds screens at Galway Film Fleadh on Friday, 14th July at the Town Hall at 10am as part of the New Irish Shorts 4 programme.




Jason Branagan: How We Made ‘Jaffa’


Jason Branagan tells us about his film Jaffa, which screens at this year’s Galway Film Fleadh.


Jaffa is about a young man who discovers that he can’t have children. He struggles to come to terms with his new reality while trying to find a way to tell his partner.


The idea for Jaffa came to me as a result of my age I think. I’m at that stage in my life where a lot of people I know are settling down – getting married, buying houses, having babies. Being conscious of this around me got me thinking. The thing that struck me most was this idea of someone wanting to have children only to find out that it’s simply not an option for them.


I think it’s often taken for granted that men can always have children. And more often than not, if a couple can’t conceive it’s usually the woman who will go for fertility tests first. But the reality is, in a lot of cases it’s the man who is infertile. But, for whatever reason, it’s not something we talk about – the discourse around fertility usually revolves around women. So I really wanted to explore the issue from a male perspective; the more I read and researched the more it felt like an important story to try to tell.


The most difficult part of the process was getting the script right. It’s a delicate subject and it’s easy to try and lighten the mood with humor, but the reality of the situation isn’t light at all. So I wanted to make a film that hopefully represents the reality of the situation. That took a lot of research and a lot of re-writing. I work with fantastic cinematographer, Noel Greene. He shot Jaffa but he’s one of my go to people with anything I write – he’s brutally honest and critical of my writing. When it came to this film, he consistently challenged me and pushed me to stay true to the story I was trying to tell. Before we brought the script to anyone we spent a lot of time working on the script and figuring out some of our key visual motifs.



Once I was happy with the script we contacted our producer, Roisin O’Brien. She came on board right away and we went straight into pre-production. Roisin was amazing – I was very particular about what type of locations I wanted and she was able to find everything for a budget of basically nothing. No easy task, but she killed it. And she actually has a small cameo in a teacher’s lounge!


Casting was a pretty easy process – as I wrote the film I knew I wanted Danny Mahony to play the male lead, Sean. We worked together previously on Shoebox Memories and Transitory and we have a good working relationship so I knew he’d knock it out of the park. Thankfully, the rest of the cast fell into place – Aoife Honohan had worked with Danny on the short film, The Ladies. Danny recommended her and once I met her, that was that. The film also stars Brendan Sheehan, Dave O’Neill and John Branagan.


The whole film came together very quickly and production itself went surprisingly smooth. I think some of this has to do with our pre-production process – for this film we knew we had very specific shots and visuals that we wanted to achieve so Noel and I actually storyboarded the film by shooting a lot of the film with stand ins. This was important because it meant we weren’t wasting time on location and seeing as we didn’t have any particular budget to work with, we built camera rigs to achieve some of the things we wanted to achieve. When I say we, I mean Noel built rigs. He built a “God’s Eye” rig and a dolly with tracks.


The post-production process was a long one. It took a while to get to the point where we were really happy with a cut. Once we picture locked, Noel graded the film. Although we were happy with the film, it was still missing something. I wanted a lot of silences in the film. I think the absence of sound can be as powerful as a good score but we knew the film needed an original musical score. We got extremely lucky that a group of Dublin-based musicians were willing to come on board and score the film. Dara Ryder, Aoife Ruth and Tom Cosgrave (from Irish band The Minutes) created a beautiful score that really ties the whole film together. It can get to a point where you become to close to a film, so for this part of the process I really just let the guys create what the film made them feel and when they sent us the finished piece I was confident that staying out of their way was the right decision.


I’m proud of this film so I’m really excited for people to finally see it when it premieres in Galway.


Jaffa screens at the 29th Galway Film Fleadh as part of New Irish Shorts 1 on Wednesday, 12th July at the Town Hall Theatre at 10:30.Buy Tickets




Run Run as Fast as You Can

Katie Smith’s new film Run Run as Fast as You Can follows a group of children who are being pursued through the woods by an unseen mob. Their determination to get away is matched only by their assailants’ determination to stop them at all costs.

Written by BAFTA-nominated writer Danny King (Wild Bill, Eat Local), the film features 5 actors and 5 children actors including award-winning Irish actor Johnny Vivash (Rendel) and Paul Dewdney (Crossroads).






Amy-Joyce Hastings, Co-writer & Director of ‘QED’

Charlene Gleeson (QED) 

Amy-Joyce Hastings shines a light on her short film QED, which screens at this year’s Galway Film Fleadh.

What can you tell us about QED?

I’m being somewhat tight-lipped about some of the major themes until after it’s had its world premiere in Galway. You only get one chance to see it with a virgin audience if that makes sense… QED tackles some big issues, it will be controversial to some I imagine but sure to spark debate at any rate! At its core it’s a film about love. For a short, at just 17 minutes, it takes a deep dive into a passionate marital relationship and poses the ultimate question – what won’t love do?


How did the story come about for you and Michael O’Kelly? 

So the story was Michael’s, and the screenplay was mine. He had this amazing idea he’d been carrying around in his head for years, it was loosely inspired by real events from his own life. He first pitched the idea to me last year at the Kerry Film Festival and I was blown away by it. When I read his first draft it didn’t really put across the story he’d described to me back then so we worked on the story for several weeks till we had a filmable script that effectively put across the themes and relationship I’d found so captivating initially. Michael was great to work with on the script, and that is so often not easy for somebody to do. It was a very fluid collaboration.


Were you planning to direct from the get-go?

No, not at all. I was just at a festival listening to an actor’s idea for a short. That happens a lot. I never imagined I’d end up making it! Then a month later I asked Michael to take part in a reading of my feature screenplay After The Rain, after which he asked if I’d direct his short. I was very taken with the idea but was stuck into my own screenplay and thought his first draft needed time I didn’t have to develop it into a film. But at the same time, something in it just struck a chord with me and I couldn’t let it go. And here we are now….

 Amy-Joyce Hastings

You’ve written and directed a number of shorts now – it’s obviously something you enjoy alongside acting…

I love it. It’s a crazy amount of work, but there’s something addictive about taking something from your imagination and making it manifest. There are commonalities with acting – the storytelling, the creativity, and of course there are differences – it’s a lot more technical and time consuming on the one project, but they are all very rewarding in their various ways.


Can you tell us a little about Filmbase’s involvement in the project?

Yes, I’m delighted Filmbase was one of the main production companies on QED. It was similar to the scheme Alan Fitzpatrick [Filmbase MD] devised last year with Lily. So, each Spring the Filmbase Digital Masters students make a feature film through Filmbase. And last year Graham Cantwell, who mentors on the course, had a short film script he really wanted to make, so Alan cleverly suggested they produce it through Filmbase and use it as a training exercise for the Digital Masters, prior to going out to shoot their own feature. They hired in professional Heads of Departments and each HOD supervised a team of students who made up the crew. I sent Alan the QED script in January and he really responded to it and suggested we do it the same way as we had with Lily, provided we could shoot early February! It was a very quick pre-production period but we took that great momentum into the shoot. Filmbase also provided some of the resources and film equipment for us. It really helped us achieve high production values so we could best utilise our budget.


You must be excited to screen at Galway…

I’m thrilled to premiere the film at Galway. It’s an exceptional year for shorts programming with some big names in the category. It’s always a great launching pad for films in Ireland. I had to press very hard to get the film ready in time but it was worth it now it’s in!


QED screens at the 29th Galway Film Fleadh as part of New Irish Shorts 1 on Wednesday, 12th July at the Town Hall Theatre at 10:30.

Buy Tickets


The 29th Galway Film Fleadh runs 11 – 16 July 2017




Preview of Irish Film @ Galway Film Fleadh 2017


Claire Gormley, Producer of ‘The Date’

Claire Gormley gives us an insight into The Date, which screens at this year’s Galway Film Fleadh.


What can you tell us about The Date?

The Date is a story of young love. It centres around our couple, Sinead and Brian, played by Charlene McKenna and Rory Fleck-Byrne. It’s a really charming and sweet story. The film is directed by Selina Cartmell, the new creative director of The Gate Theatre and produced by myself for Parallel Films. Selina is obviously incredibly talented and very successful in the world of theatre so it was really exciting to work with her on her first film.

How did you become involved in the project?

I met Selina and writer Liz Quinn on last year’s Filmbase/RTE short film’s funding scheme. I had read the script as part of the process and once I met both of the ladies I immediately knew I wanted to work with them. There was a really strong shared vision for the film and we all seemed to agree on how it would all play out.

What is your role as producer on a short film like this.
I was involved in all areas of the production – from discussing the script to casting, budget management, assembling our brilliant crew, locking in locations – basically anything that needed to be done. It’s great how hands-on you get to be with short films so I was more than happy to pull it all together.


You assembled a terrific cast – can you tell us a little about this process.
Yes, we were so delighted with our cast. It’s always exciting when you have a really strong script as you know people will do it for the right reasons. I think the combination of a great script and Selina’s talent as a theatre director attracted our cast. Charlene and Rory were both on board as soon as they read the script. We also assembled an amazing cast to surround them, including Owen Roe, Camille O’Sullivan and Donnacha Crowley. We struck gold when we came across the band “Darktown”. They feature in the film and their music is a really important part of the story.


How involved were you day to day on set. 
​With shorts like these it’s a really good opportunity to get stuck in and get all-hands-on-deck for the shoot so I was very involved on the shoot days. We had a lot to fit into our days so it was important to make sure we kept moving and all of the cast and crew were happy and able to do their jobs. There’s a certain buzz that you get from the intensity on shorts like this, with everyone pushing themselves to get the very best out of what we have so I loved being heavily involved on set.


And now onto Galway…
We’re thrilled to be launching The Date at the Galway Film Fleadh. Galway is such an encouraging environment for young filmmakers and we can’t wait to finally see it on the big screen!

The Date screens at the 29th Galway Film Fleadh as part of New Irish Shorts 4 on Friday, 14th July at the Town Hall Theatre at 10:00.Buy Tickets

The 29th Galway Film Fleadh runs 11 – 16 July 2017


Preview of Irish Film @ Galway Film Fleadh 2017


Irish Short Film Review: Gridlock

Stephen Porzio reflects on the Irish short film Gridlock, directed by Ian Hunt Duffy, who won a Young Directors Award in Cannes last week.

Atmospheric and tense, Ian Hunt Duffy’s short film Gridlock finds terror in the every day. Moe Dunford (so terrific in Handsome Devil) plays Eoin, a father – travelling with his daughter – caught in a traffic jam. Leaving the car briefly to discover the cause of the gridlock, he returns to find his child missing. Suddenly, everyone becomes a suspect.

Like any good short, Gridlock is brief but leaves an impact. Darach McGarrigle’s script does an effective job at highlighting the many different ways people react in traumatic situations. Gridlock shows how, in the event of a potential child disappearance, mob mentality can take over. As with the character played excellently by Love/Hate’s Peter Coonan, certain people’s eagerness to find the child mutates into hostility – often aimed at the wrong person. They can accuse others without any serious evidence to back up their claims. Also, personal views or prejudices may colour how they act. They jump to conclusions, quickly regarding alleged “culprits”.

McGarrigle’s script also feels natural and organic. Characters don’t immediately fly off the handle. Instead, events gradually intensify as people begin to grow more agitated and frightened, eventually tipping over into violence.

Duffy’s direction is solid too. Not only does the short look and sound great, it wisely isn’t flashy – a good choice as it makes the events feel realistic to the audience. Any overt stylistics could have perhaps made the viewer more aware they were watching a film.

Without spoiling, there is a stinger in the tail – a final moment which will leave the film lingering long in the memory. Ultimately, Gridlock is a compact short – one which leaves a distinct mark in little time. In the way Lorcan Finnegan and Garret Shanley moved from short filmmaking with Foxes to feature length with Without Name, I hope Duffy and McGarrigle make a similar transition.




Galway Film Fleadh Announce Short Film Highlights

An Béal Bocht

This year the Galway Film Fleadh present a total of fourteen short film programmes, featuring a rise in short film co-productions from around the globe including the United Kingdom, Mexico, Norway, Lebanon and the United States.

The competitive short film programme showcases an exciting mix of drama, documentary and animation, with the winners of the Tiernan MacBride Award for Best Short Drama and the James Horgan Award for Best Short Animation gaining eligibility for Oscar consideration.

This year’s short animation programme features an abundance of styles from old school stop-motion to dark comedy. Highlights include an adaptation of the classic Irish Novel An Béal Bocht by Tom Collins and the Médecins Sans Frontières / Doctors Without Borders produced Sorry I Drowned, inspired by a letter found on the drowned  body of a refugee fleeing from war.

Short documentaries explore a variety of subjects from the therapeutic power of tattoos to Olympic dreams, from urban cowboys to vintage motorcycles, the latter being the focus of Charlie Endean’s  directorial debut, Open Road.

There is also the return of Oscar winner Benjamin Cleary, co-directing his new film Wave;, the Irish premiere of A Drowning Man, hot after competing in Cannes; the directing debuts of The Gate Theatre Director Selina Cartmell, for her Filmbase/RTE funded film The Date and the renowned MTV VMA nominated Music-Video director Brendan Canty with his film For You; and Ireland’s own top model Laragh McCann goes behind the camera for her first time for her debut film Day.

In addition to the curated programme of over seventy short films in a mix of Irish, English and foreign languages, the festival will also premiere two programmes of films funded by the Irish Film Board: Short Stories and Frameworks Animations.

As well as screenings, look out for the return of the short film forum. This panel discussion is dedicated to emerging and established short filmmakers in all genres, with a focus on strategies and advice from international film festivals and short film programmers. Following the panel there will be an opportunity for discussion, debate and networking.

The Galway Film Fleadh shorts programme runs every day from Wednesday 12th to Sunday 16th of July.

Full details of each programme will be live on from Tuesday 27th June. 


Filming Wraps on ‘Wild Fire Nights’

Still 1 from Wild Fire Nights (1)

Filming has wrapped on  Emma Eliza Regan’s short drama Wild Fire Nights. The film centres around Lila – a rudderless millennial, caught in a destructive whirl of reckless nights, drugs and sex – until an alarming discovery forces her to face the grave consequences of her actions. Alone and desperate, she meets the elusive Flynn, who gives her an offer she can’t refuse…

The cast attached include Gerard McSorley, Dara Devaney, David Murray and James Browne.

Brian Durcan is D.O.P, with Rossa O’Dowd as camera assistant and Stephen Molloy on sound. Production design is by IFTA-nominated Steve Kingston.

The film is currently in the post-production phase, Ivor Novello, BAFTA and Golden Globe nominated Ilan Eskheri (Still Alice, Young Victoria) is currently creating an original soundtrack.


Watch Short Film: Swerve

Production stills from Mycrofilms' crime comedy Swerve. Credit: Photo by Ross Costigan Photography. Contact or 353 86 7733391

The award winning short film Swerve has just been released online. Swerve is a crime comedy about a deadly game where it’s every man for himself as a group of ambitious criminals do battle for a mysterious bag. This game has been going on for as long as anyone in the criminal underworld can remember. If you play, you play to win. If you lose, you die. But the question is, what’s in the bag?

The film is directed by Ross Costigan and written by John Morton. It was produced by Alan Slattery for Mycrofilms. It won best Short Film at the 2015 Underground Cinema Film Festival and has just finished a festival run where it has screened all over the world.

The cast of the Swerve includes Ed Murphy, David Thompson, John Doran, Peter McGann, John Morton, Stephen Colfer, Niall Sheehy, Paul Young, James McHale, Brendan Corcoran, Ger Cody, Joe Cleere, Niall Morrissey, Ken McGuire, Niamh Moyles and Adrian Kavanagh.

Director Ross Costigan told Film Ireland that “About five years ago we were shooting an episode of webcom Vultures when John Morton said he had a script I should read. It might be good for me to direct and that it was basically inspired by the video game Streets Of Rage but set in Ireland. Then Mycrofilms and myself received a small collaboration bursary from Artlinks and thought we might just be able to make a film out of it. We managed to assemble a huge cast and crew of amazing talented people, all working for free and from there we spent six days turning the streets of Kilkenny into the most ridiculous, violent relay race imaginable”

Speaking to Film Ireland, writer John Morton explains that “The idea was inspired by the video game Streets Of Rage and the idea was to do a short about a game that moved in a scrolling beat ’em up fashion, with random players entering at different stages. I wanted to write something pulpy and kind of schlocky, which I hadn’t really done before so Swerve scratched that itch for a lot of us. Thematically, it’s about the nature of crime and how criminals once had a semi noble code but are now opportunists and cheaters and in that idea, it gave us the scope to do a ridiculous shoot ’em up and play with guns.’



The making of Swerve was supported by Artlinks. It was shot entirely on location in Kilkenny City

Previous short movies from Mycrofilms include John Morton’s Daffney Molloy and Other Catastrophes (Chicago Irish Film Festival/Indie Cork) Hot Water Bottle (Cork Film Festival) and Terrence White’s Baby Love which played numerous national and international film festivals.


For more on the film, please visit


‘Peel’ Short Film Wraps in Dublin


Ally Ni Chiaran and Laurn Canny in PEEL

Ally Ni Chiaran and Lauryn Canny

Annika Cassidy makes her directing debut with Peel, a new short film that captures the painful effects of alcoholism on family through the eyes of those who pick up the pieces.

Lauryn Canny (A Thousand Times Goodnight) gives a realistic portrayal of the daughter of an alcoholic mother. The plot centres around schoolgirl Olivia who comes home to find her mother- played by Ally Ni Chiaran (My Name is Emily) motionless on the couch.

With cinematography from ADIFF 2017 Rising Star nominee Eimear Ennis Graham (Lily, Cold), the film shows the control that alcohol can have on a person and how often, it is the accidental victim who assumes responsibility for the failure of those so close to them.

Filming has wrapped this month and the film is being edited by Colin Campbell (The Young Offenders, You’re Ugly Too) at present.


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Irish Film Festa Announces Short Films Competition Line-Up




The 10th Irish Film Festa, the only Italian film festival completely dedicated to Irish cinema, will take place from March 30th to April 2nd, at the Casa del Cinema in Rome.


The competition section, reserved for short films produced or co-produced in Ireland, comprises 15 works this year, spanning various genres and techniques: three animated shorts (A Coat Made Dark, The Lost Letter and Second to None), a documentary (Seán Hillen, Merging Views), a mockumentary (Starz), a horror (Blight), a thriller (Gridlock), a fantasy (The Clockmaker’s Dream), a humorous and contemporary adaptation of an ancient Gaelic poem (The Court, directed by actor Seán T. Ó Meallaigh who attended the last edition of IFF), a biopic (Two Angry Men), a romantic comedy starring children (The Debt), a formative tale with an LGBT theme (Lily), and three dramas (Homecoming, Pause and Today).


Also of note is the presence of big names among the cast of the selected short films: the protagonist of Gridlock is Moe Dunford (guest at the festival in 2015 with Patrick’s Day by Terry McMahon, and actor in the series Vikings); Gerard McSorley offers an extraordinary performance in Starz, whose co-director, Martin McCann, is himself an actor (as we saw last year in The Survivalist by Stephen Fingleton); Two Angry Men sees Adrian Dunbar in the shoes of the Northern Irish playwright Sam Thompson, and newcomer Michael Shea in those of a theatre director James Ellis (the son of Ellis, Toto, is the director of the short); Jared Harris and Kate Winslet are, respectively, the narrators of The Clockmaker’s Dream and The Lost Letter, directed by the winner of the IFF in 2012 (with The Boy in the Bubble, narrated by Alan Rickman) Kealan O’Rourke.
“The short film competition, which we launched in 2010, becomes more interesting and attracts a greater following each year: both by the filmmakers (this year we received nearly 100 submissions) and the public. Moreover, as the names of the actors appearing in the selected short films attest, this is an area that Irish film industry considers highly important, and in which is reflected the vitality and richness of Irish cinema. ” says artistic director Susanna Pellis.



Blight (2015), Brian Deane

with George Blagden, Alicia Gerrard, Joe Hanley, Marie Ruane, Matthew O’Brien, John Delaney, Tristan Heanue, Donnacha Crowley
A young priest is sent to a remote island off the Irish coast to help protect an estranged fishing community from dark supernatural forces, but nothing is as it seems.


An Chúirt (The Court, 2014), Seán T. Ó Meallaigh 

with Séamus Hughes, Michelle Beamish, Joanne Ryan

A modern adaptation of the epic Irish poem Cúirt An Mhéan Oíche / The Midnight Court, written in the 1700s by Brian Merriman.


The Clockmaker’s Dream (2015), Cashell Horgan

with Joe Mullins, Jared Harris (narrator)

A Clockmaker, in an automata world, tries to build the perfect woman to replace his lost wife but finds his creations are proving more difficult than he imagined; he must find a solution before his time runs out and his world stops forever…

A Coat Made Dark (2015), Jack O’Shea [animation]

with the voice of Hugh O’Connor, Declan Conlon, Antonia Campbell Hughes
A man follows the orders of a dog to wear a mysterious coat with impossible pockets.


The Debt (2015), Helen Flanagan

with Lee O’Donoghue, Susie Power, Eabha Last
When lovestruck ten year old Daithi falls for his classmate Jessica, he turns to his best friend Penny to help win her heart.

Gridlock (2016), Ian Hunt Duffy

with Moe Dunford, Peter Coonan, Steve Wall

When a child go missing during a traffic jam, her distraught father form a search party to find her. But soon everyone is a suspect.

Homecoming (2016), Sinéad O’Loughlin 
with David Greene, Johanna O’Brien
A young man struggles to find his place in life after returning to Ireland. A familiar face makes him wonder if things are about to change.


Lily (2016), Graham Cantwell

with Clara Harte, Dean Quinn, Leah McNamara, Amy-Joyce Hastings
Lily, a girl with a secret on the cusp of becoming a young woman, is faced with the greatest challenge of her young life.


The Lost Letter (2016), Kealan O’Rourke [animation]

with Kate Winslet as the narrator

The tale of a young boy as he prepares his neighbourhood for Christmas.

Pause (2016), Niamh Heery

with Janine Hardy
A woman arrives on an island in an altered state to confront her past. As she listens to old family tape recordings her surroundings begin to take on new life.


Seán Hillen, Merging Views (2016) Paddy Cahill [documentary]
This portrait observes artist Seán Hillen as he creates a beautiful new photomontage – he shares thoughts about his work and recent personal discovery.


Second To None (2016), Vincent Gallagher [animation]

A dark comedy about the world’s second oldest man.


Starz (2016), Kevin Treacy, Martin McCann

with Gerard McSorley, Martin McCann, Michael Smiley, Tierna McGeown, Shane Todd, Laura Webster, Gerard McCabe
A documentary film crew follows hopeless actors agent Dan Cambell as he tries to save his sinking business from another industrial tribunal.


Today (2015), Tristan Heanue

with John Connors, Lalor Roddy
A hard hitting drama about a man who wakes up one morning in his car, disorientated, with no recollection of how he ended up parked in the middle of nowhere. The harsh reality soon comes flooding back once he gathers his thoughts.


Two Angry Men (2016), Toto Ellis

with Adrian Dunbar, Michael Shea, Conleth Hill, Michael Smilie, Julie Dearden, Lalor Roddy, Stefan Dunbar
The battle of James Ellis and Sam Thompson to stage the play Over the Bridge in face of censorship in 1950s Belfast.






Watch Short Film: ‘Fuller Democracy’


Dr. Roslyn Fuller

On her quest to transform democracy, Canadian author Roslyn Fuller runs for election. She wants to open up the political process by unleashing the power of ‘digital democracy’; having her constituents decide how she votes in the Dáil. How will the realities of money and the media affect her chances as the votes are counted?

Roslyn Fuller was awarded a PhD in International Law from Trinity College Dublin. Her thesis formed the basis of her book “Beasts and Gods: How Democracy Changed its Meaning and Lost its Purpose”. Her book dissects the shortcomings of elections across 20 Western democracies and puts forward bold proposals for a ‘digital democracy’ where the people deliberate on big decisions. This new 14-minute documentary Fuller Democracy follows her most recent election campaign. She ran as an Independent for Dublin Fingal in the 2016 general election, seeking to highlight her digital democracy platform and implement it if elected.

Filmmaker Jonathan Victory followed her election campaign to see how her message of revitalising democracy was received on the doors and in the polls. “Roslyn Fuller makes for a compelling subject,” says Victory. “Her flare for critical thinking never devolves into lazy cynicism. She remains upbeat, affable and pragmatic, even when the odds are against her. There are election candidates who have allowed documentary crews to follow them before, but few have ever been as candid or insightful as Roslyn Fuller.”

Victory acted as his own crew, filming, editing and even recording music for this film. Victory says, “If an opportunity arises for an important story to follow then go for it. The advantage of documentary filmmaking is that one could capture plenty of footage with one consumer camera.” Victory has released the film online for free following its festival run which included a Distinction Award at Canada Shorts.

Victory intends to develop a feature-length documentary based on Fuller’s book. Fuller herself is pressing ahead with a project called ‘The People’s Programme’; an experiment in digital democracy that will invite the public to deliberate on policy issues. More information on that project is available here:


Fuller Democracy screened at the following 2016 film festivals:
Canada Shorts Canadian & International Short Film Festival
Dun Laoghaire Underground Cinema Film Festival
Dublin International Short Film and Music Festival


Watch Short Film: Let Those Blues In


Let Those Blues In is a portrait of Paddy Smith, one of Ireland’s best blues harmonica players, who, after a stint in Chicago’s Cook County Prison, used his passion for music to conquer his demons.

Speaking to Film Ireland, director Paul Webster says, “The producer of the film, Shay Casserley, is a school friend of Paddy’s and they had been shooting together for about a year when they invited me to come on board as director. As a result, there was a fantastic resource of footage already built up. We spent a lot of time listening to Paddy’s stories about his life as a Blues musician, there were so many amazing stories, we couldn’t fit them all in. I was fascinated to hear how he ended up in Cook County Prison,which is one of the toughest jails in America. Paddy’s alcoholism took him to some pretty dark places and we follow him there in the film, but overall I think it’s a really positive and hopeful film. I think that’s why it has resonated with so many audiences, especially in immigrant communities in America and England.

“I have always been interested in the power of music and this film is a testament to that. It’s amazing to see how Paddy has used music to turn his life around and now he helps so many people who are in the same situation he was in. As he says himself, ‘If I could do it, anyone could.’ ”


Winner of Best Short Documentary in association with RTE at The Sky Road Film Festival, Clifden, Co. Galway – October 2015.

Galway Film Fleadh 2015
Sky Road Film Festival 2015
The Charlie Chaplin Film Festival, Kerry 2015
The London Irish Film Festival 2016
The Boston Irish Film Festival 2016
The Chicago Irish Film Festival 2016
Craic Fest Film Festival, New York 2016


Review of Irish Film @ Feminist Film Festival: The Sea Between Us



Naomi Shea was at the recent Feminist Film Festival to see Caoimhe Butterly’s The Sea Between Us.


The Sea Between Us, Caoimhe Butterly’s 2016 documentary short, screened on the first day of the Irish Feminist Film Festival at the New Theatre in Temple Bar this November. The opening scene pans in jagged close-up across the ruinous wasteland of thousands upon thousands of discarded life jackets, paradoxically connoting the bodily absence of innumerable lost lives, as well as the people  that may have been saved. The Sea Between Us, with a run-time of just under 50 minutes, packs a succinct, intense and necessary punch. With Butterly’s gentle direction, gritty, unpolished cinematography from Marcelo Biglia and documentary cinema’s overarching tendency toward verisimilitude, The Sea Between Us offers what feels like a real-time exposition of a singular instance in the current global refugee crisis, one that achieves an immediacy and an honesty that only the filmic image can provide.

Structured by a series of vignettes set on the shores of Lesbos in Greece, where refugees arrive after their journey across the Aegean Sea, the film juxtaposes scenes of the boats’ safe arrival to land with the aid of volunteers working on the island against interviews with a range of people, refugees and volunteers alike, whose lives have been irrevocably changed by the crisis. The interviews are often staged against the backdrop of the sea, the sound and image of which continually foregrounds the urgency and the peril of the journeys taken across the water.

Butterly offers a testimonial platform for the refugees interviewed, where the watershed in their lives, literal and figurative, finally gives way to a space of hope and security. Many speak of the shattered homes they have fled, the family members they have lost and the livelihoods that have been destroyed, but they speak also of the families and communities they will join in Europe and all speak of the hope and opportunities they can now provide for their children.

An elderly woman from Syria proclaims herself a hero, having raised ten children and her grandchildren, who she can now join in Germany. A sixteen-year-old volunteer from Sao Paolo, who has come to the island for 45 days with her mother, tells of a fourteen-year-old Afghan girl who has fled her home alone. Having described the young girl’s journey, the volunteer says that she does not consider her a victim, but just a girl, like many other girls throughout the world.

Butterly offers insights into the female experience of the crisis that are at once singular and universal. These instances reveal a profound female strength and resilience that is contextualised by the film within the broader celebration of human strength and resilience in all its multifariousness and diversity.

Butterly has offered up an enlivened and pertinent discourse on the refugee crisis that displaces the image of the refugee as helpless and pitiable. The film gently but boldly lays the groundwork for a reappraisal of the crisis as a fundamentally humanitarian issue, unfettered by the specifics of religion, race, gender or age. As the sixteen-year old volunteer succinctly posits, the immediate requirement now is for safe journeys to be provided for all those needing to leave their countries of origin. While the physical and psychological impact of their personal and political histories is irrefutable, the guarantee, and not the arbitrary chance, of a safe journey and arrival is a hopeful and necessary step forward.

However, experiencing The Sea Between Us as part of a film festival is disarming for the passivity that is so inherent within the cinematic experience. The film engenders both a celebratory hope and an intense anger in the audience, but if the film is, after the credits have rolled and the lights come up, simply something that has been seen and emotionally experienced then we have failed as viewers to engage with what cinema of this nature is driving toward; a refusal of things as they are, a refusal to depict the same stories time and time again, because real change must always push beyond the cinematic frame.


The Sea Between Us screened on 18th November as part of the Feminist Film Festival (18 – 20 November 2016)





Watch Short Film: Adam


Adam, a short film written by Caroline Farrell and directed by Denise Pattison, has just been released online. The film is a dramatic exploration of how a little boy struggles emotionally as he witnesses the violent arguments between his parents amid the constant tension and the spoken and the unspoken messages he is too young to comprehend.

Caroline Farrell told Film Ireland that “the story originated with a haunting image I imagined – a little boy cycling around his neighbourhood, filled with anxiety, disengaged from other children, and standing out as ‘odd’ because he had taken to wearing his father’s motorcycle helmet everywhere. His attempt to be ‘invisible’. His parents are so caught up in their own private miseries and the increasing cycle of arguments that have turned violent, they fail to see how their actions are affecting their children. The compelling theme of the story for me was how this little boy’s confusion and fear manifested into rage, bubbling away, unseen by anyone, until it bursts out of him, and he destroys his precious things. A turning point in his development that goes unseen, and perhaps changes the course of his life, his way of being, his way of seeing any challenge that will present in his future.” 

Also produced by Farrell and Pattison, this low-budget film was shot over two days, and stars Johnny Elliott, Sinead Monaghan, Aideen McLoughlin and Eric McGuirk as Adam.


ADAM-HD Short Film from Caroline Farrell on Vimeo.


Caroline Farrell has written several feature and short scripts.  Caroline blogs here… on writing and film… and on a few of her favourite things.


IFB Announce Real Shorts Successful Teams

IFB Logo News-4

Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board has announced the successful teams for Real Shorts, a new short documentary film scheme which enables creative documentaries with high cinematic production values to reach an international audience through theatrical and festival exposure.

The filmmakers were encouraged to produce works of up to 10 minutes in length, with strong personal voices, presenting material which utilises the emotional and aesthetic technique of cinema.

From a number of submissions of a very high standard, the following five projects were chosen:

Mother and Baby to be written and directed by Mia Mullarkey and produced by Alice McDowell; a documentary which McDowell states, “looks at the Tuam Mother & Baby Home where 796 children were allegedly buried without ceremony or grave”, noting that “the film delves into details, memories, and perspectives of three past residents interwoven with the powerful story of one woman whose personal history pushed her to fight for 796 lost voices.”

Hey Ronnie Reagan to be written and directed by Maurice O’Brien and produced by Daniel Hegarty, described as “an ode to local legends and the day the most powerful man in the world came all the way to Tipperary.”

Bordalo II : A Life Of Waste to be written and directed by Trevor Whelan and Rua Meegan and produced by Glen Collins. Meegan describes the documentary as “a portrait of artist and activist Artur Bordalo, through which we gain an insight into his inspiration, motivation and creative process as he assembles his ‘Trash Animal’ sculptures in prominent urban locations around the world”, adding that “Bordalo creates these towering installations of endangered species from a city’s own trash to illustrate the victims of humanity’s disposable habits.”

The Swimmer to be written and directed by Thomas Beug and produced by Jessica Bermingham, whereby according to Beug, the “world-renowned Irish endurance swimmer, Stephen Redmond, serves as the entry point into this deeper exploration of ocean-swimming and man’s relationship with the sea.”

Smithy & Dicky-boy to be written and directed by Hannah Quinn and produced by Michela Orlandi. Quinn explains the premise behind the documentary, calling it “an ode to precious memories from love letters and photographs, and their potential obsolescence, now that we’re in the digital age.”

This scheme is funded by Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board and the films will premiere in 2017.


Review of Irish Film @ Cork Film Festival: Irish Shorts 1: The Cycle of Life


Rebecca Graham takes a look at Irish Shorts 1: The Cycle of Life – a selection of Irish short films that screened at this year’s Cork Film Festival.


The first selection of Irish short films screened at this year’s Cork Film Festival was a wonderfully eclectic mix of styles and techniques, showcasing some of the immense talent at work in Ireland’s film industry. The shorts on show dealt with the themes of love, ageing and death, as the title The Cycle of Life suggests. In the first short, City of Roses, a voiceover introduces a young boy as he bravely, or foolishly, rescues an old suitcase from a towering bonfire. Inside the suitcase, the boy discovers old letters which describe the tragic love story of Paddy, who emigrated to America, and the woman he fell in love with, Rose. Interposed with the live action scenes of the young boy and his mom reading the letters is a beautiful animation of Paddy and Rose’s life in America. Directed by Andrew Kavanagh, this moving film, based on true events, manages to capture the hopefulness and possibility of youth while revealing the finality and seeming injustice of death. The unique style of the animation leaves a lasting impression ensuring the story of Paddy and Rose lingers in the mind long after the final scene.


The unfairness of death is once again forcibly felt in the skilfully-crafted and moving documentary, A Beautiful Death, directed by Patrick McDermott. A Beautiful Death follows a care worker, James, as he carries out his daily rounds of caring for and supporting elderly people in his community. The scenes of the young, charismatic James at work are poignantly cut with home-video footage of James as a young boy with his mother. James’ heart-breaking revelation of his motivations for doing this difficult, demanding work imparts a positive sense of the power and wonder of life in spite of the pain and suffering that accompanies death.


The struggle to find meaning and positivity when faced with life’s challenges underlines Paul Heary’s Neolithic Patchwork Quilt, a film that centres on Herman, an ordinary Irish man, who is being treated for cancer. His illness gives Herman a negative outlook, reinforced by the film’s dark, grey colour palette. His wife wants him to practice mindfulness but Herman’s mind cannot stay in the present. His thoughts wander across times and Galaxies, and the viewers are taken through his wanderings, continually returning to images of Neolithic cave people. Herman’s wandering thoughts create a sense of the interconnectedness of all human life in a vast, unimaginable universe. The acting is excellent throughout, and the dramatic twist at the end is intelligently engineered to shock viewers.


Following the shocks of Neolithic Patchwork Quilt, Jonathan Shaw’s subtler short, Pebbles, deals with the fallout of betrayal in love. Pebbles focuses on Ruby’s return to a hotel she stayed in fifty years previously. She sees flashbacks of her younger self in the throes of love. The quiet slow pace of the film reflects the slow inevitable passing away of youth and romance. Marie Mullen’s performance as the lost and lonely Ruby is powerfully understated. The décor of the hotel is unchanged from Ruby’s honeymoon visit. There is a sense that Ruby is stuck and has come to the hotel looking for closure in order to move on with her life. Within the confines of the hotel, Ruby and her husband are sheltered from the elements that have buffeted and beset their former lives together. The conversations are elliptical. There is a weight of things not said, feelings not expressed, wrongs that will never be made right. The small grey pebble Ruby returns to the beach is the symbolic weight of heartbreak and loss she has carried with her. She lays it down, ending this intelligent, engrossing film with a moment of a hope.


Following this quiet pebble creating gentle ripples on love and loss and moving on, comes the boulder of a short film, Robert McKeon’s Wifey Redux. This is a loud, hilarious and angry portrait of middle-age, based on the highly-acclaimed Irish writer Kevin Barry’s short story of the same name. Starring Aidan McArdle as Jonathan Prendergast, Wifey Redux is a darkly comic insight into the difficulties of sustaining a happy marriage. Angeline Ball plays Jonathan’s beautiful wife who, in every scene, is clutching a wine-glass in the pristine surroundings of their large, luxurious Dublin property. Jonathan’s run-ins with his teenage daughter’s boyfriend and later, with the exclamation mark of a shop sign, are perfectly acted, timed and shot. Though revealing the bitter regrets and losses that can accompany middle-age, this is a highly entertaining film with many laugh-out-loud moments that audiences can relate to.


In a change of tone, Brian Crotty’s Crash Bang Wallop is an experimental exploration of love and relationships, which originally formed part of an art exhibition. A number of different scenarios are played out including the first meeting of a couple at a fancy dress party: He is the Titanic, she is an ice-cube (which is close enough to an ice-berg for him). His rhythmic Cork accent and bright red face (one of the ship’s funnels) create an endearing sense of his innocence and naivety. As they chat and he makes jokes, viewers cannot but want this couple to fall in love. The film flips between different, increasingly strange scenarios, highlighting the raw emotions associated with love such as lust, anxiety, and anger. There are many funny moments, the acting is convincing, and it is all accompanied by an energetic soundtrack.


The final short film, Proceeds of Crime, provides a unique viewing experience, using animation and the alphabet to draw attention to Dublin’s gangland crime. At just three minutes long, David Quinn’s very short short brings humour, satire, and wit to the political reality of the dangers of organised crime and the Irish government’s inadequate responses. It ends the selection of shorts on a political note. Viewed together this intriguing selection of shorts creates a narrative of love and hope in the face of overwhelming pain and grief, underscored by the potent power of humour to provide relief in the most agonising of circumstances.


Irish Shorts 1: The Cycle of Life screened on 15 November 2016.

The Cork Film Festival 2016 runs 11 – 20 November


RTÉ 2 Screening Limerick Film Trilogy

Full details on or email

RTÉ 2 is screening The Limerick Film Trilogy over three weeks in November on the Monday night Shortscreen slot. The trilogy consists of three short films that were made with the support of Limerick City of Culture in partnership with Behind the Scenes. The scheme also received assistance from Screen Training Ireland. The dates for screening are:

LIMERICK TRILOGY – Day Off – 7th Nov ’16

LIMERICK TRILOGY – The Apparel – 14th Nov ’16

LIMERICK TRILOGY – Date: Time – 21st Nov ’16


This ambitious project was realised by Film Limerick Project Manager Ronan Cassidy and acclaimed Limerick writer and director Gerard Stembridge.  The idea behind the project was a way of providing training and experience for those seeking to break into the film industry. Three short films were produced using local filmmakers mentored by industry professionals. Gerard Stembridge selected three writers and worked with these writers individually to make each script as good as it could be. He also took an overview, looking for connecting features and elements that would create links between the stories.

The writers were given maximum freedom to tell whatever story they wanted to tell. The stories had to be contemporary and preferably unfold within a limited time period and Limerick City itself was to be evident as the backdrop. The use of locations in the city is therefore at the heart of each of the films. Even though the films are quite separate stories and work as stand-alone films, seen together they are subtlety linked.

Three teams were put together with everyone who took part gaining invaluable experience from top industry professionals. The teams consisted of three first time writers and three first time directors. In addition there were DOP’s, sound operators, set designers, wardrobe, make-up, hair etc., each team being mentored by designated industry professionals.

Gerard Stembridge worked with the directors on casting to secure the best available local talent for the individual films. He also oversaw the filming and mentored the directors on set and ensured that the important linking elements between the stories were taken care of, so that the final product would stand up as a single entity.

For those who miss the screenings, there will be an opportunity to catch up on player at:


Synopsis of films:


Day Off (Drama):

Laura struggles at first to come to terms with her husband’s life-changing affliction, the early-onset dementia. Her only distraction is her Day Off, where once a week she finds time to see her friends and socialise.


The Apparel (Comedy):

Joesph is a forty-something whose life seems to be unravelling just a little. Moved into emergency accommodation with an unkempt twenty-something, he clings to the last vestiges of the life he knew before – his job as curator of an art gallery.


Date: Time (Romantic Comedy):

A romance develops between Ann and Bob, but his bad habit of being continuously late is taking the excitement away and she feels taken for granted.


‘Maeve and the Moon’ Wraps



Filmed in Wicklow and Monaghan, new Irish short Maeve and the Moon just wrapped on a four-day shoot. Privately funded and sponsored in part by Teach Solais, this marks the debut short film by writer and director Elynia Betts.


Poppy Caraher, who made her brilliant debut as the lead in The Boring Diary of Frances Noone, stars as ten year old Maeve. When her father off handedly remarks that her mother is “asking for the moon,” imaginative and resilient Maeve decides to set off on her own to find the moon and bring it home. After sourcing a boat from a local fisherman, and inspiration from Yeats, Maeve finds herself among the moon’s Eight Phases–putting the success of her quest on an unusual path.


Emma Eliza Regan (Darkness on the Edge of Town, Get Up and Go), who just wrapped on Tom Collin’s new feature Penance: Aithri, also stars as Rhiannon–the Irish-speaking leader of the Phases. In another leading role is Seán McGillicuddy (Sineater) as the Fisherman, who is much more than what he appears to be. Maeve’s parents are played by Jeanne O’Connor (Éirí Amach Amú) and Declan Reynolds (Love/Hate). Other talent includes Sohaila Lindheim (Red Room) and Martina Babisova (Operation Liberland). The film was shot on a Blackmagic Cinema Camera by Limerick director of photography Niall Coley.


Combining Irish mythology with childhood whimsy, ‘Maeve and the Moon’ aims for the 2017 film festival run in Ireland and abroad.

Call For: Submissions for Irish Film Festa




The 10th edition of Irish Film Festa, which will take place in March 2017, is now open to submissions for short films from Ireland.


In order to be eligible for Irish Film Festa competition, films must be under 30 minutes in length and produced or co-produced in Ireland.


Accepted categories are Live Action, Documentary, Animation.


Entries must be submitted as an online screener link to or as a DVD to

Associazione Culturale ARCHIMEDIA
via Segesta 16
00179 Roma (Italia)


Deadline is December 20th, 2016. No fee requested.


DVDs sent by post will not be returned.


Out of all the accepted entries, Irish Film Festawill select – at its sole and absolute discretion – a shortlist of films for the competition. Irish Film Festa will notify all the authors of selected films; not-selected applicants won’t be notified.
Within a week after admission, authors of selected film must provide:

  • a high-definition copy of the film (Digibeta/DCP/DVD/Blu-Ray)
  • a timecoded dialogue list
  • a high-resolution still from the film to be used for the festival catalogue

Please note that this is mandatory. If a timecoded dialogue list won’t be provided, the short film will be disqualified from the competition.







‘Don’t Run’ Screens @ Underground Cinema Film Festival

Official Don't Run Poster



Don’t Run is a 6-minute short film from Reckoner Productions telling the story of ‘The Architect’ played by Eoin Quinn (Fair City, Portrait of a Zombie, Limp, Mirror Image) who receives a strange call in the middle of the night from someone claiming to be him, giving only one simple message – “Don’t Run.” From here ‘The Architect’ is led to a discovery that will change his fate forever.

Shot on a zero budget, both Alan Dunne (Against The Wall, IDLE) and Eamonn Tutty (Anna, Mirror Image) wanted to create an unnerving story that plays on the mind and stays with you long after the credits.

Don’t Run for me was such a great project to make. We had a small but incredibly talented cast and crew. We wanted to tell an original story that would stay with the audience long after the credits rolled.  Creating the look and feel of the film was a challenge but amazingly it turned out better than we could have imagined. We were able to achieve this by working with our small crew and following strict rules we set for ourselves during the filmmaking process” says Alan Dunne.

“Securing budgets and raising funds is always a hard task, but the worst thing is getting complacent while waiting on news of development. It is important to keep active, hone your skills and practice. I felt this was a piece that could do just that, challenging Alan on a technical level for a vfx heavy piece, challenging ourselves with organising the shoot and getting the best team to push it to completion. Eoin did a fantastic job getting the subtleties and nuances right for the character. The whole team did a great job and you can see it on screen,” says Eamonn Tutty.

“Working on Don’t Run was quite an experience. Not just an acting challenge but also blocking was very important so that post-production would look perfect. It was great to be involved in such an original shoot that I feel will leave the audience scratching their heads” says Eoin Quinn.

The film was directed, edited cinematography by Alan Dunne and written by Alan Dunne and Eamonn Tutty, produced by Alan Dunne and Eamonn Tutty, starring Eoin Quinn, with Sound Op’s from Tadhg Collins & Tom Stafford, sfx mua Niamh O’Malley, music by SL – 88, sound mixing and& mastering by Luis Diaz, and colour grading by Sean Buffini.

Don’t Run will have its official premiere at the Underground Cinema Film Festival in Dun Laoghaire on Saturday September 10th at 3pm in the Royal Marine Hotel.

For tickets, click and follow the link below.


Irish Short Film Review: Radha




Stephen Porzio takes a look at Nicolas Courdouan’s  22-minute drama with horror elements. The short recently had its world premiere at the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival in Providence, RI (19 – 21 August ) and will go on to compete at the Lovecraft Film Festival in Portland, OR (7 – 9 October).


A meditation on grief, as well as a nicely twisty and surprising horror, Nicholas Courdouan’s Radha is a rather effective short film. Sue Walsh stars as Saoirse, a woman trying to form a new life in the aftermath of a tragic event, who stumbles upon the enigmatic titular dancer (Kojii Helnwein).

The short benefits from some memorable, well-executed set-pieces. For example, Radha’s central dance would not be as compelling if it wasn’t so tightly edited. The camera lingers on her contorted body, not revealing her face. This is then juxtaposed with the gazes of her gaunt-looking viewers, who she claims she “helps”, creating a real sense of dread, even when the viewer is unaware of what exactly there is to fear.

The clothing and lighting contribute to this paranoid atmosphere. Through the dark moodiness of the room and the way Radha’s black hair and clothes hang off her body, the short evokes the feel of a J-Horror. At times, the titular character resembles Sadako from Ringu, particularly with the unnatural way she moves.

There are moments within the short where the dialogue does not ring true and is delivered rather stiltedly. However, this is easy to forgive when there is so much else to like. The final scene, taking place on a beach, is gorgeous looking, resembling the coastal scenes from the similarly Irish Calvary and The Eclipse. Also as it continues, Courdouan’s film interestingly plays with audience expectation. Radha is less the villain we expect and more a beacon to Saoirse of what the movie’s title translates to in Irish (vision, sight, aspect).

The short also builds an intriguing mystery. Who is Radha and where does she come from? This is something I would be curious to see explored to some degree should Courdouan expand this twenty-two minute short into a feature length.




‘Falling In Love’ Premieres @ Montreal

Oisin Robbins and Ingrid Saker in Falling In Love

Oisin Robbins and Ingrid Saker in Falling In Love


Falling In Love, a short film featuring emerging young Irish actor Oisin Robbins, will premiere at the prestigious ‘Focus on World Cinema’ section of the 40th Montreal World Film Festival from 25th August to 5th September 2016.

An independent Irish production Falling In Love depicts the hopelessness the new generation of post Celtic Tiger cubs have grown up to face.

Playing loosely with the ancient Greek legend of Orpheus the film dramatically portrays the gritty reality of life on the margins of modern-day small town Ireland.

Directed by Finian Robbins the film is a sequel Railway, which explored similar themes in a humorous way.

Both films will be screened at the Underground Film Festival in Dun Laoghaire from 9th to 11th September.

Falling In Love was shot on location in Clara, County Offaly.




Film Board Shorts @ Encounters Short Film and Animation Festival, Bristol

The Party 230 x 240
The programme for the Encounters Short Film and Animation Festival will this year include six Irish Film Board supported shorts, including a mixture of live action and animation, documentary and fiction.

Two films have been selected from After ’16, a series of films commissioned by the Irish Film Board to mark the centenary of the 1916 Rising. Set in 1970s Belfast, The Party was directed by Andrea Harkin and produced by Farah Abushwesha and Emmet Flemming. A Terrible Hullabaloo is an animated short directed by Ben O’Connor, written by Aoife Noonan and produced by Bob Gallagher.

Three films were selected from the Frameworks scheme, co-financed by the IFB and RTÉ. City of Roses reveals a true story of love, loss and hope. It was written and directed by Andrew Kavanagh and produced by Jackie Leonard. A Coat Made Dark has already travelled to a number of international festivals including Clermont-Ferrand and Sundance. Written and directed by Jack O’Shea, it was produced by Damien Byrne. Geist has screened at SXSW and picked up prizes at Fastnet, ADIFF and IFTA. Written, directed and edited by Sean Mullen, Ben Harper, Alex Sherwood, it was produced by Daniel Spencer.

Starring Eileen Walsh, How Was Your Day? was written and directed by Damien O’Donnell and produced by Emmaline Dowling. It picked up the Best Narrative Short prize at SXSW and was also a winner at Foyle Film Festival, an Academy Awards qualifier.

Encounters takes place in Bristol from September 20th – 25th 2016.


Watch Short Film: ‘Heartburn’s A Killer’

Ross Browne


Heartburn’s A Killer, a one minute action-comedy directed by Fergal Costello has just been completed. The film stars comedian Ross Browne and Peter McGann, dealing with a devastating effects heartburn can have on a gunfight.


Costello wrote, directed, edited and created the visual effects for the piece, which was shot by Paddy Jordan [The Young Offenders, Pentecost] and produced by Claire Gormley [Mute, Trampoline].
The piece was funded by commercial company DBC.



More of Costello’s work can be seen here:

Short Film: Watch ‘Transitory’

Transitory Image 1

Transitory, the new short film from writer/director Jason Branagan has been released online. The film was made as part of this year’s March on Film festival and premiered at the festival’s finals event in June, where it won Best Actor and Second Place, Best Film.

Transitory is a drama set over one day in Dublin. It tells the story of a Robin, a young man who lives in his car. After his car is stolen, Robin struggles to find a place to sleep.

Speaking to Film Ireland, director Jason Branagan said “the film came about because there had been so many news stories about families forced from their homes, many of which found themselves living out of their cars because they had no where else to go. This wave of ‘new-homeless’ were often people with financial trouble as a result of the crash so it made me think about how easy it could be to find yourself in that situation, and just how difficult that situation would really be. So the film started with that question of ‘what if’…”.

The film stars Danny Mahony (Shoebox Memories, The Devil’s Woods). It is written and directed by Jason Branagan, with Noel Greene serving as Director of Photography. Plain Sailing Films produced the film. 



Watch ‘Daffney Molloy And Other Catastrophes’



Daffney Molloy And Other Catastrophes, the new short film from Mycrofilms has been released online. It premiered at last years IndieCork Film Festival as well as screening at the Chicago Irish Film Festival this past March. It is adapted from the same stage play that also formed the basis of one of this year’s RTÉ Storyland commissions Smitten and features much of the same cast and characters.

A comedy set in present day Kilkenny, it tells the story of four men who whilst drowning their sorrows at a housewarming party, get caught up in stories about a near mythical girl from their past. Apart from one of them. Crippled with social anxiety and struggling with his newly found sobriety, Tommy has no idea who Daffney Molloy is. As the yarns are spun, he begins to question how much of what he’s hearing is reality and how much of it is fantasy.

The cast for the film includes Eddie Murphy, Aoife Spratt, Amy Dunne, Jack O’Leary, Niall Morrissey, John Morton, Peter McGann, Lynsey Moran and Leah Egan. The film is written and directed by John Morton, produced by Alan Slattery and shot by Ross Costigan. Swerve, the last short film from Mycrofilms, won the Best Short Film award at this years Underground Film Festival.

Speaking to Film Ireland, John Morton said, “The film is adapted from a play I wrote some years ago called Smitten, part of which was also adapted for this year’s RTÉ Storyland. This story is about four men trading tales at a dull grown-up house party, like fishermen talking about great catches that got away. Three of them are in situations where they’re forced to get real about life, pregnant girlfriends, settling down and struggling with commitment. They wax philosophical about a girl who represents more innocent times for them. Like a manic pixie dream girl on steroids. Tommy, the protagonist, is just out of rehab and as he’s struggling to adjust to reality, isn’t sure what to make of these yarns. He’s captivated but wary. Will he get real or, like his friends, regress into fantasy?
“I was interested in doing something about the conflict in your late 20s of getting real about life or avoiding responsibility. For Tommy, it’s going to be telling if he’ll meet a real girl or just another fantasy version.
“The stage version told a lot of different stories with these characters and this short tries to distill the central theme, which is essentially ‘the grass is greener on the other side’. And in this case the greener grass is a fantasy which may be nowhere near as interesting as where you’re currently standing.”


For more on the film, please visit and