Ciaran Cassidy, Director of ‘Jihad Jane’

Jihad Jane - Ciaran Cassidy

In this podcast Gemma Creagh talks to Ciaran Cassidy, whose film Jihad Jane is in cinemas Friday, 14th February.

In March 2010, the arrest on terror charges of a blonde haired, blue-eyed, American woman who called herself ‘Jihad Jane’ made headlines worldwide and was described as the ‘new front in the war on terrorism.’ The story of Coleen LaRose, a forty six-year-old woman, who had radicalised in rural Pennsylvania led the evening news bulletins. What made the case more surreal and confusing was the arrest of another American woman, Jamie Paulin Ramirez, a Colorado native — this time in Waterford, Ireland.

In this podcast, Ciaran talks about:

  • getting into film
  • his first films and learning the process of filmmaking
  • his approach to storytelling and its different genres
  • his first feature script The Racer
  • what draws him to particular stories
  • Jihad Jane
  • how the story unravelled
  • the characters involved
  • positioning the story and maintaining a balance
  • the editing process

Jihad Jane

Running Time: 80 mins

Director: Ciaran Cassidy

Producers: Morgan Bushe, Anna Byvald, Sander Verdonk, Aoife McGonigal

Financiers: Screen Ireland, BAI, Dutch Film Fund, Dutch Tax Rebate, SVT, Swedish Film Institute, RTÉ

Location(s): Waterford

Photography: Ross McDonnell

Editor: John Murphy

Ciaran Cassidy is an award-winning director. He has written for television and has short films. His 2013 short,The Last Days Of Peter Bergmann, won the Stranger Than Fiction audience award screened at the Sundance Film Festival. Jihad Jane is his debut feature documentary. Ciaran’s first screenplay, sports drama The Racer, directed by Kieron J. Walsh, has been selected to World Premiere in the 2020 SXSW Film Festival in March with a release scheduled later this year.

Film Ireland Podcasts


‘The Last Days of Peter Bergmann’ at Melbourne


The Last Days of Peter Bergmann has won the Best Documentary Short Film Award at this year’s Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF).  This is the second time the film has attained Oscar eligibility through winning an accredited International Film Festival. It previously won the Audience Award at Stranger than Fiction, Grand Jury Prize at Nashville Film Festival and the IFTA for Best Short Film.

Ciarán Cassidy’s film follows a man who arrived in Sligo in the summer of 2009 , over his final three days, he would go to great lengths to ensure no one would ever discover who he was or where he came from.

The film which was funded as part of the Irish Film Boards Reality Bites Scheme has so far screened at over 25 festivals worldwide after its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival.


‘The Last Days of Peter Bergmann’ Wins at Nashville



Ciaran Cassidy’s The Last Days of Peter Bergmann has won the Grand Jury Prize at this year’s Nashville Film Festival. The win means that the film, which earlier this month won the IFTA for Best Short, is an Oscar-qualifying film.

The win comes just as the film has been selected to screen in Paris at the Panorama of the Golden Nights which is organised by the French Academy of Cinema – Académie des César.

The film is set to have its UK premiere this weekend at Sundance London.