Masterclass with French Director Emmanuel Hamon & Screenwriter Thomas Cheysson

Masterclass for Film Students with French film director Emmanuel Hamon and screenwriter Thomas Cheysson, presented by the French Embassy in association with DIT School of Media.

The Irish premiere screening of their documentary The Russian Revolution Through its Films (L’utopie des images de la Révolution russe) selected at the 2017 Mostra del Cinema di Venezia will take place on Thursday 25th January at 8.20 at the Irish Film Institute (IFI). For info & tickets go to :https://www.facebook.com/events/2004020416534144/

The master class will be in English and it is Free to attend, please just register by email to e.sabbatini@ambafrance-ie.org

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Spotlight on 'Pyjama Girls'

Pyjama Girls

Film Ireland talks to Maya Derrington about her debut feature documentary Pyjama Girls

Pyjama Girls is a touching, absorbing slice of Dublin life that has the audience transfixed from beginning to end. Running at a tight 70 minutes, the film draws you into the chaotic life of Dublin teenager and habitual pyjama-wearer Lauren.

Over the course of the film we learn about the challenges that life throws at Lauren – from her addict mother to the disruptive world of the flats – and understand the crucial importance of her friendship with her more grounded best friend Tara. Balancing tenderness with hilarity, Pyjama Girls tracks the explosive micro-dramas of teenage life against the bleak backdrop of Dublin’s inner city flats.

The film has been described as an ‘observational documentary’ and the strongest scenes are those that capture the tension and love in conversations between Lauren and her immediate family members. One scene in which Lauren has her fingernails painted by her little sister is worth the admission price alone.

These observational scenes are interspersed with more stylised interview-based expositional vignettes that retrospectively tell the story of Lauren’s young life. These scenes bring us closer to Lauren and give us insight into her behaviour and temperament.

Derrington decided to make the film when she spotted some young girls on the street in pyjamas and was shocked by the sight.

‘I was inspired to make the film because of my own surprise and fascination with the daytime pyjama phenomenon. I asked myself why an item of clothing would bring out such shock in me because I’d usually be quite laid-back about clothing. Then I noticed that people all over the city were getting riled by the topic. The vitriol it provokes reminds me of the response to punk. I wanted to explore on screen the intensity of being a female teenager: the everyday dramas and the depths that are hidden behind the clothes and the posturing.’

Derrington used the setting of the flats and the pyjamas themselves as visual inspiration when approaching the film.

‘There were two things in my mind as I began, one was the bright softness of the pyjamas as a metaphor for female teenage life and against that the harsh lines of the flats. I was really struck by the architecture of the area which combined brutality and community, so I wanted the place to be very present within the film.’

The project was funded by the Irish Film Board under the micro-budget scheme, which completely funds films up to a total budget of 100k. The film was a big undertaking that took up two years of Derrington’s life and the budget was therefore understandably tight.

‘We put it forward for funding as a low-budget project because we just wanted to get on with it,’ says producer Nicky Gogan. ‘We had pitched it to a few broadcasters at the Sheffield Documentary Film Festival and although people seemed interested in it, we felt that if we wanted to make the film that Maya imagined we might need funders who were a little more open and flexible to what it might become. We kept it low-key, often it was just Maya and AP Sinead Ni Bhroin that made up the crew, and that suited the observational approach.’

‘One of the descriptive terms we used throughout preproduction was “micro-dramas”,’ adds Derrington. ‘We wanted to find the micro-dramas of female teenage lives and I think that term in itself would be enough to terrify a lot of commissioning editors. That along with the term “observational”, because any observational work creates big challenges for commissioning editors because you can’t guarantee what will happen.’

One of the great challenges of making an observational film can be finding an ending and Derrington admits that she had some sleepless nights wondering where the film would end.

‘I have to admit that I didn’t think I had an ending. The girls we were following kept joking that they were going to get themselves arrested to give us an ending. It was in the edit that we found the ending. It says something about the open-ended nature of life.’

Judging by the response, Pyjama Girls has plenty to look forward to in the future.

Pyjama Girls is released in the IFI on 20th August

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Still Films Week at the IFI

Still Films

Coinciding with the exclusive release of Maya Derrington’s Pyjama Girls, the IFI are set to host a week’s supporting season of work from production company Still Films exploring the evolution of the company from its origins in the Darklight Digital Festival to the innovative and prolific production company it is today.

Alongside Derrington’s acclaimed documentary, the season will feature an exploration of Still Films’ back catalogue, a discussion with its founders, and screenings of The Rooms and Seaview.

Film Ireland brings you online coverage of the week’s events, starting with Spotlight on Pyjama Girls.

Watch this space for further coverage as the season progresses.

Please click here for details of the IFI’s schedule of events.

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Still Films's ‘Pyjama Girls’ at the IFI

Pyjama Girls, a new Irish documentary by Maya Derrington examining the lives of two of Dublin’s ‘pyjama girls’, returns to the IFI for an exclusive release on the 20th August 2010. A huge hit at the IFI Stranger Than Fiction Festival where it premiered this April, the film sold out three times over with its uncompromising look at the lives of some of Dublin’s most vulnerable young people.

The cinema release of the Pyjama Girls is accompanied by a look at other films from the innovative production company, Still Films. Tickets are available from the IFI Box Office, 01 679 3477 or online at www.ifi.ie

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