Report from the Clones Film Festival 2013

CFF box office

The twelfth annual Clones Film Festival was held over the October bank holidayweekend, and the border town saw a huge influx of visitors for this very successful event.


Opening Night

The festival kicked off on Thursday night in the Courthouse with a wine reception and the official opening which was performed by Brian Deane, director of the opening night film, Volkswagen Joe. The Courthouse was packed and the audience was riveted by the film which was shot in Cavan during the summer.  It was preceded by The Gloaming, a short horror by Sean Smith and Lauren Murphy, who attended the event. The Gloaming may be short, but it sure packs a punch and had everyone on the edge of their seats.


James Sheerin, chairman of Clones Film Festival, thanked the many supporters and sponsors of the festival, particularly Monaghan County Council, Clones Town Council, The Courts Serv ice, The Arts Council, Clones Credit Union, and Supervalu Clones.


This year’s festival had a very strong programme and screenings took place in three different venues throughout the town. The old Post Office was transformed into a quirky box office and screenings took place in the old sorting office. The Courthouse was adapted into a cinema and the Cinemobile took up its usual position on the Diamond for the duration of the festival. There were large numbers and many full houses for the diverse range of documentaries and features which were shown.



Particularly popular films were Jump which was shown on Friday night and which features Monaghan actress Charlene McKenna and Fermanagh’s Ciarán McMenamin in a fast-paced densely plotted film set in Derry. The film was introduced by Ciarán and was followed by a Q&A session.


The Conjuring

Friday also saw big interest in the late night scary movie, The Conjuring, which had the thrill seeking audience cowering behind their seats and was a very appropriate choice for the Halloween season!


The Irish Pub

Saturday night saw a full house in the Cinemobile for the first festival screening of The Irish Pub, a funny and touching portrait of family pubs in Ireland. Featuring local legend, the late Annie Mc Ginn, this was a feel good documentary that had the crowd falling of their chairs with laughter. Director Alex Fegan took questions from the audience following the screening and was delighted with the very warm reception that the film received.


The Note

The short film The Note, starring Ruth Mc Cabe and Aiden Gillen, was also shown on Saturday night to a huge audience. The director Ciaran Creagh attended and took questions at the end.


True Confessions of a Film Editor

The festival was delighted to host an editing masterclass with Sean Mackenzie, double BAFTA winning editor, and Fergal McGrath a UK-based Irish film editor. This gave the extremely enthusiastic participants the opportunity to gain insight into the cutting room dynamics in an informal and intimate environment.


Younger Audiences

The younger generation were very well catered for with a number of films which drew large crowds of kids. Adventures in Zambezia an animated film from South Africa proved just the ticket on a wild and wet Saturday morning! One Direction: This is Us was totally sold out on Saturday afternoon and Sunday’s Studio Ghibli offering – the Japanese film From up on Poppy Hill also proved popular.


CFF Festival Club

A new departure for the festival saw the Festival Club relocated to Adamson’s Bar on Analore Street.  Live musical offerings gave film goers a chance to let their hair down and have a dance to some absolutely electric acts. Felix Sonny Boy Wilson, street minstrel and poet played a chilled out set on Opening Night. Friday saw the ten-piece extravaganza of ‘Attencion Bebe” who played funked-up reggaed out versions of ninety’s classic to a packed dance floor. Saturday night was Hacienda night, and for the seventh consecutive year at the Film Festival, this Clones duo worked their magic and had the dance floor hopping. Sunday night featured the well known Jinx Lennon who was followed by DJ ShOhk who played the festival to a close with set that had the exhausted patrons rocking into the small hours.


The Village at the End of the World

Editor on this wonderfully poignant and uplifting documentary, Russell Crockett, was in attendance on Sunday afternoon in the Courthouse to introduce his work. The audience were hugely enthusiastic about this piece which features a small community living in a remote village in Greenland and the threat they face of the closure of the local fish factory.


Life’s a Breeze

The Cinemobile was full again on Sunday afternoon for Pat Shortt’s recent feature Life’s a Breeze.


Francie awards

The Francie Awards

“The Francies”

The Francie Awards on Sunday evening was the booked out affair that we have come to expect. There was standing room only in the Courthouse once again as awards were presented to winners of the two categories in the short film competition – best fiction / experimental short and best documentary short. For best fiction / experimental short, the ‘Francie’ went to Martin de Barra’s Atrophy, which starred Pat Deery,  and the winner in the short documentary category was Capturing Our Capital by Rebecca Bermingham.


Coveted ‘Francie’ awards were also presented to the best film as voted by the jury and the audience favourite in the 48 Hour Short Film Challenge which was once again run in association with Clones Credit Union. Danny Butler and his team picked up the jury award for the excellent No Strings Attached and local producer Mairead Ni Threinfir scooped the audience prize for A Suitable Candidate.


CFF jury

CFF jury

The judges this year were four guest editors who travelled from London for the CFF weekend and in particular to host the editing masterclass: Fergal McGrath, Sean Mackenzie, Russell Crockett and David Fairhead. They praised the standard of the films and the atmosphere of the festival which they said beat London Film Festival hands down.

So you heard it here folks: book your tickets for next year’s CFF which is only fifty one weeks away!

Pictures by Eugene T. Hamill Photography.



‘Suitable Candidate’ wins Audience Award at Clones Film Festival 2013

The 7th annual 48 Hour Short Film Challenge took place this year at the Clones Film Festival. Each year teams of filmmakers spend the October Bank Holiday weekend shooting and editing a short film, which is then screened on the closing night of the festival.


The awards ceremony is open to the general public and they watch each of the films made over the course of the weekend and cast their vote on which film they enjoyed most. This year the audience award went to ‘Suitable Candidate’, written/directed by Dave Thorpe and produced by Mairead Ní Threinir.


The six-minute horror-comedy follows Leah (Meabh Carron) a young woman who will do whatever it takes to get a job – including murder.


Suitable Candidate received a fantastic reaction at the Clones Film Festival, particularly for it’s comedic end sequence.

The film is online now at


Clones Film Festival Announces More Confirmed Titles

 Ext Annie McGinn

Clones Film Festival have confirmed The Irish Pub and The Note will screen at this year’s festival, which runs Thursday 24 October to Sunday 27 October in various locations around the town, including the Courthouse, the old Post Office on the Diamond (now Clones Art Studios) and the Cinemobile.

The Irish Pub will be screened in the Cinemobile on Saturday 26 October at 8pm. It will be preceded by new Irish short The Note, starring Aidan Gillen and Clones’ own Ruth McCabe.

The Note,written and directed by Ciaran Creagh, tells a story about redemption, centering around Lars a middle-aged alcoholic, who through his addiction has lost everything, most importantly his wife and son. Now he carries around The Note, a constant reminder of his childhood in which he was subjected to sexual abuse at the hands of a Christian Brother.

Ciaran Creagh will attend the screening at CFF.

The Irish Pub, directed by Alex Fegan visits every corner of Ireland to find some of the more famous public houses, as well as some of the more well regarded hidden gems, The Irish Pub is a love letter to a cornerstone of Irish personality, and one of our nation’s most loved past-times.


Sean Mackenzie Editing Masterclass at Clones Film Festiva


Clones Film Festival have announced that Sean Mackenzie will be the subject of this year’s editing masterclass.


Sean Mackenzie is a double BAFTA winning film editor. He won the Best Editing Factual BAFTA in 2013 for Amish: A Secret Life, and in 2004 for Arena: The Many Lives of Richard Attenborough. His editing work on The House (1997) and Japan’s Tsunami: Caught on Camera (2012) was also BAFTA Nominated. Sean has edited twenty-three award winning or nominated productions, with sixteen different directors. Work includes films on Dirk Bogarde, Luchino Visconti and Francis Bacon for Arena, and Operatunity, Cult of the Suicide Bomber and Meet the Mormons for Channel Four. He has cut for Imagine, The South Bank Show, Storyville, Panorama, Horizon, True Stories, Damien Hirst …and for the man who inspired him to start editing, Ken Russell.

This special event will be hosted by UK-based Irish film editor FERGAL MCGRATH, whose credits include BBC historical films with Jonathan Dimbleby and Max Hastings and Channel 4 documentary strands Cutting Edge, Dispatches, Unreported World and First Cut.


The masterclass format is in an informal atmosphere, participants will gain an insight into cutting room dynamics. What’s involved in making choices? Who decides what? Method in the madness? Music! Emotional response and, well, the cut and thrust of an edit!

The event is aimed at professional editors as well as students, directors, producers, writers and all intrigued by what goes on behind the scenes.

The masterclass will take place on Saturday 26 October from 2pm – 7pm in Clones Library and the fee is €25 (concessions available to students, seniors and unemployed)  which includes refreshments and admission to a special screening of the Emmy nominated Arena film ‘Bacon’s Arena’.


For further information or to apply for a place, contact Geraldine Zechner at 086-8053070 or email:

The closing date for applications is: Friday, 18th October 2013 at 5pm.

See, Facebook and Twitter for more details on CFF.


Clones Film Festival announces 7th ‘Francies’ Short Film Challenge

The Francies

Clones Film Festival 2013 in association with Clones Credit Union Ltd. has launched the seventh annual Short Film Challenge. The challenge invites filmmakers, writer and crew to script, prep, scout locations, cast, rehearse, film, edit and present a finished short film in just 48 hours.

The winner will receive the prestigious ‘Francie’ jury award.

The much coveted audience award is also up for grabs.

Each team will be given a budget of €400 to cover all expenses – petrol, phones, art dept, photocopying, costumes, make-up, catering, etc. Accommodation is not provided but festival organisers will provide assistance with accommodation seeking if necessary.  The rest: location permissions, cast, props etc. is up to you. Clones Film Festival will provide a production assistant who will liaise with the teams and act in an advisory capacity. For a full list of the rules and regulations contact Seamie at

How To Take Part.

Interested production teams are invited to submit a detailed proposal of the film they wish to make (max 200 words). Films can be any genre – drama, documentary, stop-motion animation, though it must be feasible to shoot in one day with a skeleton crew. Feasibility will be taken into account when proposals are judged.

Films must be at least 3 minutes long and no longer than 9 minutes they MUST be completed over the weekend (Friday 25th, Saturday 26th and Sunday 27th October 2013). Deadline for receipt of the finished films is 12 Midday on Sunday 27th October. All filmmakers must be able to attend the ‘Francies’ award ceremony on the closing night of the festival, Sunday 27th October.

Deadline for entries is September 28th 2013 and entries and proposals must be submitted by e-mail. Submissions will be acknowledged within 24 hours.

Send your proposal, team name and C.V. or credits of your proposed project’s director/producer, camera operator, editor and any other key crew to

For more info call Séamie on 086 3545424.

Follow Clones Film Festival on Facebook and Twitter for more information on upcoming programme details as they are confirmed.


Call For: Clones Film Festival Seeks Submissions

 Call for

Illustration: Adeline Pericart



The 12th Clones Film Festival, which will take place from the 24 – 27 October this year, is currently seeking short film submissions.

For this year’s short film competitions, submissions are invited at an entry fee cost of €20. All films must be received no later than 31 August 2013.

Established in 2001, Clones Film Festival aims to present a range of the very best in international and Irish film in both feature and short formats. In addition to our comprehensive screenings there are short film competitions for best documentary and best fiction/experimental.

This year will also see the 6th 48-Hour Short Film Challenge, in association with Clones Credit Union, where teams of filmmakers are challenged to shoot, edit and screen their own short film over the weekend. Also taking place over the four-day festival will be a host of talks and other events including nightly Festival Club.

For more information and details on submitting your film please contact thomas@clonesfilmfestival. Follow Clones Film Festival on Facebook.


Clones Film Festival 2012

PIC: Siobhan Perry, winner of the Francie Award for best short documentary Off The Boardbeing presented her award by judge Ciara Nic Chormaic and Cathy Sheerin from CFF – congratulations Siobhan…

(Photo by E.T. Hamill Photography, Clones)

The 11th Clones Film Festival (25–28 October 2012, Clones)


The eleventh Clones Film Festival was officially opened by Monaghan actress Aoibhinn Mc Ginnity on Thursday night in the Lennard Arms Hotel and provided a terrific weekend’s entertainment for natives and visitors alike. Local drumming group The Exhausted Farmers welcomed punters to a wine and nibbles reception followed by the screenings of Trouble Times Three and The Begrudgers, which won respectively third and first in the RTE Storyland competition. The films brought the house down with laughter and set the tone for an evening of good humoured fun as folks boogied the night away to music from The Shuckdodgers in the festival club.


Friday night had a sporting theme this year, and featured a screening of cycling documentary The road to Roubaix. This was followed by an extended Q&A discussion with Daily Star cycling columnist Gerard Cromwell and cyclist Philip Lavery as local cycling enthusiasts got stuck into events and controversies past and present in the sporting world, before adjourning to the Lennard Arms lounge for a drink and the chill out sounds of hobo funk from The People.


The festival featured the usual mix of foreign language and critically acclaimed Irish films, both feature and documentary, which were well received by audiences. High on the list of “must sees” was The Ballad of Honky Mc Swaine, directed by Kevin Allen and written by Pat McCabe and Kevin Allen, and featuring a large ensemble cast and a brilliantly original soundtrack . The film was shot largely on location in Scotshouse and played to a packed house on both Friday and Saturday night. The festival also included a great kids’ programme, with Ghostbusters proving a popular  classic, and The Lorax drawing a capacity crowd of excited youngsters (and some oldsters as well!)



What Richard Did was shown on Saturday night and proved very popular, playing to a full house in the Cinemobile which as usual had pitched up on the Diamond for the festival weekend. The film, which follows the story of Richard Karlsen, privileged golden boy of his south Dublin set whose life seems perfect until one evening when he does something that shatters the lives of those he loves most, was followed by a thoughtful and thought provoking Q&A with the scriptwriter Malcolm Campbell. The music on Saturday was provided by festival favourites Hacienda. who rocked the festival club and had everyone shaking their stuff til the wee small hours!

PIC: Padraig Conaty, winner of the jury prize in the 48 hour short film challenge for his short Autumn Elegy, being presented with The Francie by jury member Darragh Byrne – well done Padraig

(Photo by E.T. Hamill Photography, Clones)

Closing night of the festival featured the “Francie Awards” and again proved to be very popular. The awards, beautifully sculpted by local artist Jason Crowley were presented to Siobhán Perry for her documentary Off The Board, a mesmeric meditation on the world of diving, and to Lorcan Finnegan in the experimental / fiction category for Foxes, a very modern piece set on a ghost estate where a young couples lives begin to unravel in post boom suburbia.


The 48 hour film challenge produced five stunning shorts this year, and no one envied the judges, Darragh Byrne, Ciara Nic Chormaic and Patrick B McCabe, their job in adjudicating the competition. The winner, the beautifully shot Autumn Elegy by Whinbush productions won the jury award and scooped, albeit by a very narrow margin, the audience award to boot!


Cathy Sheerin, from the Clones Film Festival committee, thanked all the filmmakers for submitting films to the competition, the jury members for their hard work, and of course the sponsors of the festival for making it all happen! Once again the support of the Arts Council, Monaghan County Council, Leader, Clones Credit Union, and Supervalu Clones as well as the numerous small local businesses who continue to sponsor the festival through very difficult financial times has been invaluable and is very much appreciated.

And the winners of The Francies are…… Siobhán Perry for best short documentary Off The Board and Lorcan Finnegan for best short fiction / experimental Foxes. Both the Jury Award and the Audience Award for the best short made during the 48 hour film challenge went to Padraig Conaty for Autum Elegy. All 5 shorts made over the weekend of CFF were stunning and of a very high standard. Thanks to everyone for getting involved in the film challenge and to all the filmmakers who submitted their work. Thanks also to our judges Patrick B Mc Cabe, Ciara Nic Chormaic Darragh Byrne. And a big congratulations to all our winners!

See you all next year hopefully!