Irish Short Film Review: Gone


June Butler takes a long look at Patrick Maxwell’s short Gone.

Coming in at a little over 15 minutes in length, this short is well worth viewing. Paul (Ryan Andrews) returns to his childhood home following a bereavement. Atmospherically bleak from the onset, opening shots show Paul passing through the yard of a block of flats as he trudges past clothes lines and graffiti daubed walls. Along the way he is greeted by an old friend who empathises with his loss. Paul’s arrival is marked with sadness, becoming further highlighted as he empties the old flat he once lived in.

The story is imbued with meaningful glances between characters – they relate more to what is not spoken than to what is. Dialogue is limited but this only serves to ameliorate the narrative and give greater portend to what is being said.

One thing that sets Gone apart from other short films is its ability to allow viewers come to their own conclusions and audiences will thank director Patrick Maxwell for it. A short film needs to embrace the story and does not have the luxury of character development – rather delving quickly into the narrative is a key component. Maxwell does this deftly and with great skill – almost unnoticeably, audiences are placed centre stage, at the heart of unfolding drama and with careful timing, Maxwell drops small pieces of information into the story as it moves along – there is a sense of loss – betrayal comes to the fore and remains key as the narrative begins to quicken its pace.

In the final act, tragedy strikes with the story coming full circle. Remaining mysterious to the last, Gone elicits questions from viewers long after closing credits.



Gone is currently available to rent or buy on VOD through Amazon: and Vimeo On Demand:



Short Film Review: Sandboy


June Butler mixes with weird figures made of sand dotting the scorched earth of an abandoned junk yard in Vittoria Colonna’s short film Sandboy, a tale of loss and redemption. 


Vittoria Colonna’s short film, Sandboy (2014), is a powerful response to loss and redemption. Drawing on personal tragedy, Colonna honestly and succinctly lays claim to understanding the strength of sisterhood – those unspoken feminine bonds that exist between women propelling them to a deeper understanding of human suffering.

It speaks volumes about Colonna’s directorial skills that such remarkable performances were elicited from each and every cast member – starting with the mutely pleading rawness of Grace (Wallis Murphy-Munn), to the searing empathy of Sam (O-Lan Jones). It is rare to see such torrid chemistry between an on-screen couple but in a few brief moments, Trent (Joshua Burrow) and Grace somehow manage to convince audiences that their relationship is both manifest and real.

Grace lives in a mangled trailer at a remote desert location. This one time junk yard is inhabited by broken sand sculptures – shape-shifting figures, rafts of symbols lovingly created by Grace and somehow imbued with her fractured sense of belonging – silent slaves to the demands of turmoil. The only other occupant is the ubiquitous Sam. From time to time, Grace is confronted by others who witness her shortcomings but fail to see how she is bound to grief by human frailty. A visit from unseen vandals provokes a cataclysmic moment of recognition which prompts Grace to revisit past sorrows.

Colonna herself has known adversity and come to terms with it – connecting learning with growth and inner peace. The most difficult component of evolution is forgiveness – very often the rough justice individuals mete out to themselves is harsher and of longer duration than any condemnation by judge and jury. To err is human. To forgive is truly divine.

Vittoria Colonna has succeeded in producing a most powerful body of work – enough to make the viewer recall moments over and over – slivers of captured light, the depths of sadness, implicit emotions and aching loss. If sorrow united with hope, joined together and became one, this film above all marks its inception. Sandboy is a sea of fragments – monuments to resolve and discovery – an ode to the strength of a fragile spirit rising from the ashes. Life continues.








JDIFF 2014: Irish Film Preview – Irish Short Film



Friday, 14th Feb 2014

Light House Cinema @ 6:30PM

JDIFF presents another hand-picked selection of the best Irish shorts.

Breakfast Wine
Director: Ian Fitzgibbon
Writer: Kevin Barry
Running Time: 11 minutes
They say it takes just three alcoholics to keep a small bar running in a country town, but what if you’ve only got two?

Director: Mairtín de Barra
Writer: Matthew Roche
Running Time: 13 minutes
Atrophy examines the sacrifices made in the name of development, and the effect they have upon people. A tale of old versus new, loss, friendship and an old farmer and his dog…

Director: Louise Ni Fhiannachta
Writer: Anton Beag Ó Colla
Running Time: 11 minutes
The First Holy Communion is fast approaching but as an atheist, eight-year-old Rúbaí refuses to be a part of it. Rúbaí faces emotional blackmail, religious and philosophical debate and out and out intolerance in today’s supposedly diverse and modern Ireland.

Director: Cathy Brady
Writer: Cathy Brady, Sarah Woolner
Running Time: 20 minutes
Mary wakes up on the sofa with a banging headache. Her morning routine is broken by a persistent reporter.

Uisce Beatha
Director: Shaun O’Connor
Writer: Tadhg Hickey
Running Time: 8 minutes
Set in 1912, Uisce Beatha is the true story of Tom, a young man who leaves his home in rural Ireland to cross the ocean on the ill-fated Titanic. But a night of celebration beforehand results in a twist that will affect Tom’s fate drastically…

The Ledge End of Phil (From Accounting)
Writer-director: Paul Ó Muiris
Running Time: 6 minutes
Stuck outside looking in, Phil is forced to face the world he’s been ignoring. Now he must take a leap of faith or be trapped forever.

Writer-directors: Tom Sullivan, Feidlim Cannon
Running Time: 15 minutes
A mechanic at the end of his tether finds solace in old age…

4 Bhanríon
Director: Vittoria Colonna
Writers: Vittoria Colonna, Eoin Rogers
Running Time: 15 minutes
4 Bhanríon (4 Queens) is a black comedy about four elderly sisters who play a game of poker to decide who will take care of their elderly mother.


Director: Various

Duration: 99 minutes

Tickets are available to book from Filmbase or online here

Check out the rest of our previews of Irish films screening at this year’s festival.


‘Normal’ enters Post-Production


Irish short film, Normal  has entered post-production after a week long shoot in Dublin. Director Stephen Brady (Bad Karma) is currently editing the short with Bart Chowanski (The Rattle of Benghazi)

Normal is a black comedy which tells a story of prejudged first impressions, focusing on the chance meeting of a gym instructor and an astrophysicist, who perceive each other’s lives to better than their own.

The film is the second short written by actors Mark McCabe and Eddie Jackson for Floor Unit Productions, with both men also producing and starring in the short. The cast also features Irma Mali (The Callback Queen), Seamus Brennan (John Lennon’s Last Day), Jose Mantero (Biterness) and Niamh Shaw (Dorothy Mills).

A trailer is expected by the end of January, and post-production is scheduled to be completed by late February.



Solus Irish Film Collective

Solus is an independent film collective and platform for filmmakers working in Super-8 mm/16 mm and DV. The group was formed in 1998 in Dublin with the dual aim of showing Irish short and avant-garde films abroad and international short and avant-garde films in Ireland.

For this year’s experimental film programme in DEAF (Dublin Electronic Arts Festival) Jonas Mekas, founder of Anthology, gave Solus a selection of his 365 films from last year. Mekas, who is 86, made a film every day last year and uploaded it to his site every evening. This unique presentation took place on Saturday 25th October in the Denzille Cinema, Dublin.

A group from Nashville called Fugitive Projects was invited to curate a festival of 100 one-minute films. These 100 American films screened for the run of the festival in the foyer of the Sebastian Guinness Gallery in Temple Bar.

The festival also featured ‘Lost Classics’ – a programme of commercial feature films from the late 1970s re-edited for distribution on Super 8 mm, the home movie format before the advent of VHS.

Solus also programmed in Marseilles, Luxor, Alexandria, Estonia and Lithuania, selecting the Irish feature films for the 24th international Film Festival in Alexandria in Egypt. The collective are proud to have been instrumental in Declan Recks’ Eden, from Samson Films, being screened at the festival in August.
Solus have launched a DVD in Anthology Film Archives in New York, with 3 evenings of screenings and a screening and party at Grace Exhibition Space in Brooklyn. Along with a selection of new work by collective members, a selection of films by Vivienne Dick and Pat Murphy, Irish filmmaking veterans of the New York scene of the ’70s, will also be shown.

For more information about the DVD please click here:

Solus are supported by Culture Ireland and the Arts Council of Ireland