Short Film: Watch ‘Transitory’

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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. 

 

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Watch ‘Daffney Molloy And Other Catastrophes’

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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 mycrofilms.com/daffney and facebook.com/daffneymolloy/

 

 

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‘Adulting’ Premieres @ Fleadh

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Adulting is a new short film by Linda Bhreathnach and Justin Davey, which will premiere at The Galway Film Fleadh as part of the ‘Short Film at the Fleadh’ series, which showcases the best in short filmmaking talent.

The film will be screened as part of the ‘New Irish Short Film 2’ collection in the Town Hall Theatre on Thursday, 7 July at 12.30 p.m.

“I wanted to do something that speaks for my generation and that shows the West in a way that’s not twee or clichéd,” says Linda, who is originally from Ros Muc in Connemara.

Written by Linda and co-directed with Justin Davey, Adulting features a cast that includes Linda Bhreathnach (Corp agus Anam, The Running Mate), Carrie Crowley (Vikings, Fair City), Paraic Breathnach (Jack Taylor, Breakfast on Pluto), Emma Eliza Regan (Jack Taylor, Darkness on the Edge of Town), Sean T. Ó Meallaigh (Vikings, Klondike), and James Riordan (Lipsinkers), amongst many others.

The film was shot in Galway City and Connemara and mixes the old traditions such as working on the bog with the new traditions – Facebook, Tinder and the all-encompassing presence of social media. Cinematography is by Justin Davey.

The music for the film is by Alana Henderson of Hozier fame.

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‘Break’ in Post-production

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Darren Healy as Derek in Break

 

A new short film, written and directed by Brian Moran, is in the final stages of post-production and will be hitting the festival circuit this summer.

Break is the story of a week in the life of Derek Ryan (Darren Healy – Savage, The Guard, Once); a man in his mid-thirties, defeated by life and resigned to loneliness and despondency. He works in an unsatisfying, meaningless office job and has been leapfrogged by young, confident careerists who are now his supervisors and seniors. Derek takes his morning coffee break alone, goes to the same café, and orders the same coffee. He drinks his coffee alone at his desk in an open-plan office. He spends his evenings by himself, cocooned in his open-plan apartment.

One day a smile from Jenny (Aoife Nic Ardghail – An Klondike, Rasai na Gaillimhe), a young waitress in the café he frequents changes everything. She is warm, friendly, acknowledges Derek and idly chats to him every morning. He feels alive once more. Derek becomes adventurous; orders different coffee, tries new recipes for his evening meal, works out and stands up to his supervisor. Derek ultimately builds up the courage to ask Jenny out. Is this appropriate? Will she say yes? This is the story of modern life, isolation, alienation, and the power, subtlety and fragility of human connectedness. It is a story of hope and despair and the fine line that separates the two.

Key crew members of Break are graduates of the MSc in Digital Feature Film Production (Staffordshire University & Filmbase), including writer/director Brian Moran, producer Trisha Flood, DOP Saskia Vermeulen, 1st Camera Assistant  Barry Doyle, and  1st AD  Conor Fleming.

Original music composed by Rob Daly. Sound recordist and design is by Simon Murphy. The film is edited by Gareth Nolan.

You can follow Break on Facebook and Twitter for news and festival dates:

https://www.facebook.com/break.shortfilm2016/

https://twitter.com/BreakFilm2016

 

 

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Watch ‘Pregnancy Test’

Aoife Spratt

 

Pregnancy Test, a two-minute horror comedy directed by Fergal Costello, is currently available online. The film stars Aoife Spratt and Amy Hughes, dealing with a demonic pregnancy and the explosively gory devastation that sort of predicament brings. The film was made for less than €500.

 

Costello currently directs sketches for Republic of Telly, and adverts, with his most recent piece “Doritos – Meet My Partner!” winning an award at the recent YDA 2016 Awards.

 

 

 More of Costello’s work can be seen here: www.fergalcostello.com
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Short Film: Watch ‘Sleeping’

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Sleeping is short film documenting Irish artist Eoin as he works between the contrasting neon cityscape of Tokyo and the lush landscape of Japan. The film showcases the process of his long exposure photography, with  soundtrack from Limerick-based composer Paddy Mulcahy.

Director James Skerritt  says, “After years of floating around in the restless atlantic ocean I wanted to capture the images that I was fortunate to see. I quickly found that similar to the ocean, cameras would bring a smile to my face along with the strongest feeling of content to my mind. My first images lead me on the path that I am in today, happily working between documentary and fictional projects. I am content when pushing my comfort zone and have the feeling of learning to flow with it. I am influenced by humanity and the people who push themselves, creativity and technology – keeping a smile on their face while doing so. I find that the moments I share on documentary projects open physical and mental doors in my fictional work, leading me towards my passion for drama and comedy. I want to create work that I will feel strongly about in 60 years time when I look back and laugh at the people and situations that I have shared moments with.”

 

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Short Doc on One Man’s Battle with Muscular Dystrophy

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Tank is a short documentary made by Irish production company Taller Stories about one man’s battle with Muscular Dystrophy and facing up to and conquering the limitations that face him in everyday life.

Simon Jameson is not a normal 27 year old. Not because he suffers a terminal condition and is wheelchair bound, but because he doesn’t let that stop him from running his life and holds more optimism and enthusiasm than most people you’ve ever met. 

The story of Simon is filled with struggles, having lost his brother already to the terminal condition, and how society views people with a disability. Despite this Simon has managed to carve out his own destiny and continues to prove both doctors and others wrong by overcoming the limitations that face him.
The film, released on Facebook, has garnered over 200,000 views and has reached people all over the world within a matter of 38 hours. It’s truly an inspirational and uplifting story and one that deserves the attention of an Irish audience.

 


Help support Simon’s Project Tank by visiting: 
https://www.gofundme.com/cqj26f4k
 
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Q&A: David Dryden and Eileen Walsh, co-directors of ‘Together in Pieces’

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Ahead of its screening at Washington’s Capital Irish Film Festival in the Northern Ireland Shorts programme on Sunday, Adam McPartlan had a few questions for David Dryden and Eileen Walsh, co-directors of Together in Pieces, a new film documenting the fluctuating backdrops of Northern Ireland. The infamous murals that have plagued both communities are being painted over into something more positive.

 

Why this movie? What drew you in about this story, and why do you think it needed to be told?

The historic city walls in Derry are being used as an unsanctioned political billboard for dissident republicans or factions of a republican nature. The graffiti on these walls stands tall in large white letters overlooking a predominantly Catholic area of the city, the Bogside, the immediate area where Bloody Sunday took place.  The graffiti reads ‘END INTERNMENT’ or ‘UK NO WAY’ and more recently a commemoration to the death of the radical socialist Paddy Bogside.

As Eileen Walsh and myself both live and work in and around Derry, we wondered why these messages were left up and not removed, especially considering their inciting nature and the negative social influence they bring to an already highly politicized area. We wanted to know what visitors and locals felt about this graffiti. Walking past it either for the first time, or every day, we wondered if it was right that children, teenagers and adults of either denomination be exposed to these messages in a publicly shared space and what effect it has on creating a peaceful future.

It seems that this low-level sectarianism is being ingrained into the minds of the city’s youth by this type of graffiti. Young people are especially easy targets for politicization and getting to them young is the best way to perpetuate a divided society.  This is something that the majority do not want so we questioned why we are still being bullied by these slogans. The city’s youth haven’t a chance.

 

About how many groups are there? Aside from marking their territory, what is it these groups, like the RUC, want to do or hope to accomplish with their graffiti?

There are a multitude of groups from both Republican and Loyalist factions; IRA, INLA, UVF, UDA and UFF, being the main ones.

Often graffiti will tout ‘We haven’t gone away’, which seems to denote that despite the peace agreement, these paramilitary  groups are still a threat, which ultimately is showing defiance to any political ground made in Stormont, advocating a righteous refusal to partake in joint talks based on a sense of entitlement of land or beliefs in a united Ireland.  Often political parties such as Sinn Fein (now in government) are considered ‘sell outs’, particularly by dissidents opposed to the peace process. The graffiti, maintained predominantly in urban areas, is a finger up to the establishment and the police force which serves them.

It is also important to realize that it is also very much perpetuated due to the memory of past tragedies. It can be argued that these deaths are being used to incur sympathy and a vote for a group’s cause; ‘Remember the 14’.

It could be that the graffiti sets out to embed a sense of political unity within the community.  Historically persecuted under British rule and its police force the PSNI (formally the RUC), this idea is perpetuated. These public adverts serve as a show of strength for people whose alternative views have no political representation and who feel like their identity is being eroded away.

Some of the graffiti is a clear show of strength and defiance, for example, by writing over the Derry walls, which themselves are a symbol of Protestant plantations in Ireland. Graffiti is left on these walls because the local council can’t get workers to clean it up for 2 reasons: they will be attacked, and, also, if cleaned up, the graffiti goes straight back up.

Some graffiti has included a twitter address ‘#32CSM’ so there are clear goals to direct people online.

The graffiti often is clearly intimidating, and is there to deter residents from neighborhoods close by from entering or to make them feel unwelcome. It also serves to antagonize the police force which is still seen by many to be an occupying force.

 

Why do some kids who graffiti not understand what the IRA is, even today?  Are they unwilling to know?

There is a complete systematic failure to educate children about the Troubles. It is an area of history not taught at schools. Schools are largely segregated, and this is a big problem. Any education children get often will be from family and people in the (ghetto) neighborhoods first. They will hear stories and obviously form opinions.

These opinions are also coloured by the history of partition itself, as well as by their political landscape, and the murals, sectarian graffiti, lack of social opportunities and high unemployment they see every day in their neighbourhood.

Children are politicized from an early age without seeing the bigger picture or getting to hear opinions from other sides.  Our film proves that their opinions change quickly when exposed to less bigoted versions from open minded elements in society.

 

Michael Doherty talks about the losses the Protestants are experiencing.  What are the losses they are dealing with? Why are they experiencing these losses, especially in these times? Why do the Catholics not recognize or understand the losses of the Protestants?

Michael Doherty was a hugely interesting interviewee with a wealth of personal experience through his years of work in peace and reconciliation. In Together in Pieces he talks about the sense of loss felt by Protestants through the Peace Process. He talks about how many Protestants feel a sense of isolation and abandonment through the loss of many things that they hold dear.

After partition, Protestants in Northern Ireland held the majority of seats in government, and with this came massive inequalities in economic, cultural and political representation between Catholics and Protestants, with the majority of Catholics living in poverty. Since the Troubles and the peace agreement and official recognition of these inequalities, these issues are still being addressed today.

The changes that have been taking place have been equal representation in government, so loss of the Protestant majority in government, and room for Republican parties such as Sinn Fein, who, were up until 1994 held to British broadcasting voice restrictions.

The loss of the RUC (Royal Ulster Constabulary) – a Protestant majority police force, is mentioned in the film. The RUC has been replaced by a new police service, the PSNI (Police Service Northern Ireland) and this strives to have equal representation from the Catholic community.

Cultural and social changes;  On December 3rd 2012  Belfast City Council voted to limit the days that the Union Flag (the flag of the United Kingdom) flies from Belfast City Hall. This sparked violent protests from Unionists.

After so many years of inequality, Catholics feel like the balance is only being set equal now for fair representation in Northern Ireland.  So for this reason, Catholics don’t understand Protestants’ sense of loss (at the flying of the Union Flag, the RUC, etc.).  They don’t see this as a loss – instead they think that things shouldn’t have been this way to begin with. Protestants are feeling their identity being eroded away, as these great symbols of their culture that once featured dominantly in the landscape are gone.

More importantly there is a lack of public education about these issues and little opportunity or interest in getting people to talk about these issues. This means neither side is ever fully informed about what is actually going on with the peace process. The media perpetuates this situation and too often is more interested in representing negative narratives, rather than reporting on any real change.

In the film, Michael recognises the problems caused by the segregated education and housing systems in Northern Ireland and thinks that the two communities (nationalist and loyalist) don’t understand each other and don’t live together, co-existing in the same place in parallel worlds without actually living together.

 

In what way(s) do you see the landscape of Northern Ireland changing? Politically, culturally, etc.?  Is it becoming more radicalized or open-minded and accepting?

Northern Ireland is becoming more multi-cultural with large Indian and Chinese communities already established and this trend will continue to grow despite the social issues.  There will be no substantial changes to society between Catholic and Protestant communities unless the issue of segregated schools is addressed and until the so called ‘peace walls’ are removed.

Also political parties are not trying hard enough to work together – they are actively not working together on many issues, and the public cannot understand why they are doing this. This is setting a terrible example for our society and is perpetuating the division and misunderstanding.

The overwhelming problem is the high unemployment rate in Northern Ireland. If people have jobs and something to work for in society they will feel more accepted socially. And as they mix with other people from different backgrounds, there will be less chance of them wanting to get involved in radical movements.

There is still a sense of frustration that things are moving too slowly. People now want politicians to focus more on real issues like the economy and jobs, more on the issues that unite people and less on the issues that divide.

The brightest hope at the moment in Northern Ireland for young people is from graffiti art workshops. City centres are increasingly the focal point for artistic graffiti murals. This colourful street art not only helps to brighten up city centres, making them more welcoming.  It also helps to combat anti-social graffiti, helping to change the attitudes of people living there, while also uplifting mindsets and allowing more creativity into mainstream society.

 

Do you think the “graffiti movement” ferments these changes, embodies or reflects them, or both? 

Graffiti art is non-political by definition. This philosophy is upheld by most artists. This is a great starting block to base the movement from and to help initiate positive social change, especially in a country so fundamentally divided by politics. Young people here are tired of this political division.

Walls will reflect what you put on them into the mind of the viewer. Similarly, what is in the mind of the artist who paints is projected onto the wall – if the message is positive, then one cannot help but be filled with a positive vision. If the message is negative however, the viewer will be filled with negativity. It sounds very basic but this visual stimuli has a profound effect on one’s mental health. It is primal, and it is proven to be the catalyst to changing mindsets.

 

 

The Capital City Film Festival runs 3 – 6 March 2016

 

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