8 Irish Film Festivals Sign Pledge for Gender Parity and Inclusion

Women in Film and Television Ireland (wft.ie) a chapter of Women in Film and Television International, has announced that to date 8 Irish Film festivals have accepted their invitation to sign up to the 5050×2020 Gender Parity and Inclusion Pledge which was launched by Cannes Festival chiefs at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival.

These are: Animation Dingle, Cork Film Festival, Dublin Feminist Film Festival, Galway Film Fleadh, GAZE LGBT Film Festival, Kerry Film Festival, Still Voices Short Film Festival and Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival.
Founded in 2003, the Dublin International Film Festival sets the agenda of the year with its programme of outstanding Irish and international film.

The official Irish festival signing was held yesterday at The Lighthouse Cinema with John Rice (Co-Founder & Director Animation Dingle), Aoife O’Toole (Director Dublin Feminist Film Festival), Fiona Clark (Producer & CEO Cork Film Festival), Ronan O’ Toole (Director Still Voices Short Film Festival) and Gráinne Humphreys (Festival Director Dublin International Film Festival) in attendance alongside Dr. Susan Liddy, (Chair of Women in Film & Television Ireland).


Dr Susan Liddy Chair of Women in Film and Television Ireland, Fiona Clark Producer & CEO Cork Film Festival, Aoife O’ Toole Director Dublin Feminist Film Festival, Grainne Humphreys Festival Director Dublin International Film Festival, John Rice Founder Animation Dingle and Ronan O Toole Director Still Voices Short Film Festival. Photo: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland.

It’s heartening that so many Irish film festivals have joined forces with us to formally commit to the principle of gender parity and inclusion in festivals. We warmly welcome their enthusiasm and solidarity and we hope this initiative will mark the beginning of a supportive partnership between us. We need more women in the film industry at every level. While girls’ and women’s voices are not heard and their stories are not told, our culture is the poorer for it. Film festivals are a hugely important part of any conversation about equality. They are an important link in the journey of a film and filmmaker. This is why we need greater transparency about what films are submitted, what films are selected and who is making the decisions. As with anything, information must be the starting point and we commend these festivals for agreeing to track that. This is an initiative that WFT Ireland will be building on over the coming months and we call on other festivals to join with us and embrace the challenge.
Dr. Susan Liddy, Chair – Women in Film & Television Ireland

Initiated by the 5050 Pour 2020 Collective, a charter was signed in 2018 by Cannes’ festival chiefs to work towards gender parity and inclusion.

The charter invites film festivals across the world to make the following commitment to gender parity and inclusion:

  • To compile statistics of gender of the directors of all the films submitted to selection (and when possible, to also compile statistics of the cast and crew when mentioned in the registration process).
  • To make public the gender of the members of selection committees, programmers and programming consultants.
    To make public the gender of executive boards and/or boards of directors and/or to commit to a schedule to achieve parity in these bodies.
    All Irish festival signatories have committed to giving a full update to Women in Film & Television Ireland, who will make public their progress during their respective 2020 festivals.
  • Women in Film & Television Ireland will also update the 5050 Pour 2020 Collective about the new signatories in time for the 2019 Cannes Film Festival.

As Ireland’s first and largest film festival, Cork Film Festival (CFF) is pleased to join WFTV in partnering with the 5050×2020 Cannes Collective to pledge our commitment to the 5050×2020 Charter, alongside the first Irish signatories. CFF supports increased transparency and gender-focused change across the Irish film landscape. CFF actively advocates for equality and inclusion in our industry by creating opportunities for meaningful public and sector dialogue as part of the Festival and by monitoring gender parity across our programme, submissions, jurors, panelists, programmers, staff, Board and volunteers.

The 63rd edition of the Festival in 2018 demonstrated that the Festival is actively making steps towards achieving its gender parity commitment. For example, 42% of our Shorts Programme was directed, co-directed and/or produced by women and 72% of our award-winning films were directed, co-directed and/or produced by women, with 47% female awards jurors. While this demonstrates CFF’s commitment to achieving greater representation for women in our programme, we recognise the need to focus our collective energy on advocating for gender equality in the sector. We welcome the opportunity to participate in the 5050×2020 Cannes Collective to strive for equal representation for women’s voices in film.
Fiona Clark, Producer & CEO – Cork Film Festival

Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival is proud to be part of the first group of signatories to the 5050×2020 Charter. The festival puts the films and filmmakers at its heart and understands the importance of nurturing new and experienced talent alike.

In 2019, of the over 100 feature length films screened at the festival, we are glad to say that 59% had women producers and 30% were produced by people of colour. However, the Festival is not complacent about its progress to date, and recognises that there is more work to be done to achieve diversity in all of its activities.

This partnership between the festival, WIFT and Cannes is another important step in proactively changing the power dynamics and creative output of the Irish film industry for the better.
Gráinne Humphreys, Festival Director – Dublin International Film Festival


Vincent Lambe, Director of ‘Detainment’

Two ten year-old boys are detained by police under suspicion of abducting and murdering a toddler. A true story based on interview transcripts and records from the James Bulger case which shocked the world in 1993.

Eleanor McSherry was at this year’s Kerry Film Festival and got the chance to talk to Vincent Lambe about his docudrama, Detainment, which won Best Irish Short Film at the festival.


Killarney House is a gem of a building nestled in the heart of Killarney. The views from its gardens on a clear day, with the mountains behind it, are a vista worthy of any film. Sadly, I was not there filming but more excitedly, there to interview Vincent Lambe, a new Irish director/producer on the film landscape and winner of Best Irish Short at the festival.

According to Vincent Lambe’s website he is ‘an award-winning director and producer from Ireland. He is a graduate of the National Film School of Ireland and has worked with a wide range of companies and broadcasters including TG4, Nemeton Television, Vico Films, Sony Music and Universal Music.  He is a double winner of the Young Director Award at the Cannes Lions, winning both the Gold Screen Award and The Special Jury Prize and an unprecedented standing ovation for his latest film Detainment. The film premiered at the 58TH Krakow Film Festival where it won its first award and it won the Grand Prix at the Odense International Film Festival, which means it is officially Oscar qualified and goes on the longlist for the Academy Awards.

Vincent has a long distinguished list of films and accolades under his belt, which is not only impressive but a little intimidating. His docudrama Detainment is a story about the two ten year-old boys who are detained by police under suspicion of abducting and murdering a toddler in Liverpool in the early 1990s. ‘A true story based on interview transcripts and records from the James Bulger case which shocked the world in 1993’. This film is already on the longlist for the Oscars and is not for the faint-hearted; it is disturbing, heart-wrenching and also thought provoking.

This is a very timely short, in light of the rise of TV genre of True Crime documentaries. Viewers all over the world are switching onto Netflix and its ilk, wanting to see why some people commit murder.  What makes this film so compelling is that it not only looks at the murder of 2-year-old Jamie Bulger but also at the children, Jon Venables and Robert Thompson, who committed the crime. The film doesn’t glorify what they did or make excuses for them but puts the details in front of the audience in order for them to make up their own minds, which is a fantastic feat. So being able to interview Vincent, the mind behind the film was too good an opportunity to pass up.

Making a film like Detainment, was there a fear that no one will give you funding, what was the reception like for the idea?

Well, I didn’t get funding. I did try and it was tricky. I knew it was going to be tricky though, it was a risky one. I can understand that if RTE or the Film Board funded it, there is a risk that it could be either be really really good or just terrible. I just got so frustrated with the whole process I just saved up money and put €35000 of my own money into it.

How are you finding the reception from the Irish filmmaking establishment, now that the film is finished?  Are they taking notice of the film?

Yes, just lately, in Galway where the film had its Irish premiere, they showed the whole 30-minute film, which is tricky as this is long for a short film. It’s hard to programme for festivals and I knew this. I went against my own advice on it, short films should be short, thus easy to programme. I also knew that it is not right for all festivals either. The ones that it is right for seem to really like it. So Galway was first, now here (Kerry Film Festival) and the Richard Harris Festival. It’s not right for everything.


The timing is also important for a film like this.  If you think of when the boys were arrested, there was little media, not like we have today.  If they committed such a crime now there would be blogs, youtube, social media and it would have been all over the media and internet, so there would be little your film could offer to the discussion. But your film explores the story from an angle we never really were allowed to see at the time. Do you think now is the right time to re-tell this story?

I don’t think there is any good time to tell a story like this. I mean its 25 years since the murder happened and, while I had been thinking about this for such a long time, it had not been talked about in the media in such a long time. Then I saw it was back in the news due to the anniversary and it felt really strange, as I was not the only one thinking about it anymore. It was not good news stories either, Jon Venables going back to prison, which was bad. Also it was not a popular opinion I had, that this was a tragedy for three families. People are more comfortable of looking at those boys as those evil monsters.

The boys’ Liverpool accents in the film are so good, considering they’re from Dublin and Galway; did they have to work hard at it? What was the process that you used with them to get the accents so good?

They worked hard with a dialect coach and he was great, that’s Gavin O’Donoghue from the LIR. Leon is brilliant. He was able to drop in and out of the accent; he picked it up really quickly.  The dialect coach said he did very little with him. Ely found it trickier. He’s from Galway, and the vowel sounds are very different. He had a few sessions with the dialect coach, it made a huge difference. It was fascinating that it involved things like the placement of your tongue in your mouth to get that strong ‘th’ sound in things like ‘I think so’. They had to press their tongues against the roof of their mouths and the back of their teeth. Ely was saying ‘tink so’. I now know so much about the Liverpool accent that I didn’t know before; I could probably do a great job on it myself.

You’ve mentioned before that the two boys were not seasoned child actors but in fact natural non-actors? This seems to becoming more and more the way film directors want to go, directors like David Leigh and Ken Loach. Why did you do it?

I thought at first, to be honest that we would take one of the kids from the local drama schools. I was surprised who we ended up casting. It was as much about the right actor for the part rather than the most accomplished. Ely has never studied acting, never acted in anything or taken an acting class.  I knew that I could workshop with them and not have that unnatural ‘on’ acting that kids do on stage but rather reacting to the situation. Ely never tried to act, all he can do is tell the truth, which was a dream to direct. Leon had been doing drama but this was his first film, he’s also a really versatile actor. For example, his first audition for Jon was amazing. The fact that he could also do Robert, which was fascinating for me, as it is so far from who he really is. He’s shy and timid, which people really don’t get after they’ve seen the film. He’s such a sweet kid that if you forgot your lunch money he’d give you his lunch and not eat himself.

It’s hard to get them, the young actors, to get into the minds of Robert and Jon, as we can never really know why they murdered Jamie. How did you overcome this?

I tried to get to understand, as much as I could by the evidence that is there, for example Robert’s family dynamic. Robert was just left to his own devices, six boys in a house where, if Robert was beaten up, instead of taking it out on his older brother, he would take it out on his younger brother, Ryan, who was 6. So when they are in the shopping centre Robert says ‘let’s get a kid, I haven’t hit one in ages’.  That’s where that came from. What helped me understand was not that they came from disadvantaged backgrounds, that’s too easy to blame and plenty of people in that position don’t commit murders. For me it was the relationship and dynamic between the two boys, more so, than background that influenced what they did. Robert had this tough guy persona he created for himself and he had to live up to that and Jon was completely different, he was weak but didn’t want to look like that to Robert. So once the task was set, neither one of them could back down, for those reasons. For me that is more why what happened, happened. Their background and upbringing is relevant but it’s their toxic relationship which led them to do what they did.

I’m not sure if they even set out to murder Jamie. In the opening sequence of the film they are just hanging around the shopping centre to steal… whatever; it didn’t matter. The fun part is the stealing. Everything in the sequence happened; they poke an old women and steal a toy soldier, play with it on the escalator and break it, then throw it down the moving steps.  It’s almost like a metaphor for what they eventually do, there is no enjoyment in just taking the toy soldier and put it neatly back the shelf, then leave. After they have taken the boy, it’s like what do we do with him now and to just bring him to a police station wouldn’t have given them any satisfaction.  It’s very dark when you think of it. When you try to get into their heads, it’s like they didn’t know what to do. But there is also the fact that Jon wanted to look tough in front of Robert and Robert wanted to be the same, neither wanted to do the reasonable thing, it would have been lame. This is an example of that toxic relationship and its consequences. It’s a tricky concept to understand and most of us don’t want to understand. The case is so horrific a lot of people just want to shy away from it, than absorb all the facts about it.

The case is on most psychology courses now, to study, which is weird. Child psychologists are trying to understand the relationship that led to the awful murder. It’s a real interesting case to study.




Detainment screened on Saturday 20th of October, 2018, at Killarney Cinema as part of the Kerry Film Festival



Vincent Lambe: www.vincentlambe.com/





Kerry Film Festival  – INDUSTRY EVENTS


The 19th Kerry Film Festival will run from 17th – 21st October 2018 screening short and feature films from around the world along with national and regional short film programmes. The festival will also host industry and networking events along with the annual awards ceremony.


Kerry Film Festival presents industry networking events to encourage film makers to network and to engage with industry professionals. On Friday 19th October, Film Network Ireland bring their speed networking event, Coming down here, Watching all our Films to Killarney bringing film makers from around the world together to connect and network.


On Saturday 20th, Festival Formula present an event, You’ve made your film, now what? to help filmmakers understand the importance of film festivals, the benefits they can bring, and how best to prepare for the film festival circuit.


Panel Discussions and In Conversation events will include a panel discussion on working with children in film,Children On Screen with director, Vincent Lambe and young actors, Ely Solan and Leon Hughes from Detainment and director David Lam and assistant producer Louise Ashby  from Misplaced.


A panel discussion on the making of documentary film called Building the Picture – Creating the Documentary, features Leslie Ann Coles (Melody Makers), Keith Walsh (When All is Ruin Once Again) and Moira Sweeney (Keepers of The Port) and director, Hugh O’Conor (Metal Heart) will discuss his debut feature and more in an In Conversationevent at Killarney House.


Kerry Film Festival will present the Maureen O’Hara Award 2018 to Deirdre O’Kane at a special event on Saturday 20th October followed by the annual Awards night event.


The Kerry Film festival runs from 17-21st October in Killarney.


Full details on  kerryfilmfestival.com






Kerry Film Festival – Highlights


The 19th Kerry Film Festival will run from 17th – 21st October 2018 screening short and feature films from around the world along with national and regional short film programmes. The festival will also host industry and networking events along with the annual awards ceremony.


Short film programmes are a vital part of the Kerry Film Festival programme and the festival will screen selected world premieres alongside new programme categories, music video and advertising. The shorts programme features significant acting talents including Luke Norris, Jessie Buckley, David Gyasi and Dominic West while the European premiere of short film, Hero starring Charles Dance and directed by Freddie Fox will screen as a featured short.


In the Children Through the Lens shorts programme, powerful performances from young children feature in Misplaced, a true story about two half Chinese children and their Irish mother abandoned in rural 1980’s Ireland and award winning film, Detainment,a true story based on interview transcripts and records from the James Bulger case which shocked the world in 1993.


Other festival highlights include, the Irish premiere screening of Melody Makers,from director Leslie Ann Coles telling the true story of the rise and fall of the most influential music publication in history, Melody Maker magazine. The Irish premiere of Mad Hannans directed by Martin Shore is a film about brothers and musicians Jerry and Seán Hannan, chronicling their rise, fall, and ultimate reconciliation. A live performance with Jerry Hannan and band in J.M Reidy’s, Killarney will follow the screening.


Irish feature film, Metal Heart,starring Jordanne Jones and Moe Dunford will screen on Friday 19th October with director, Hugh O’Conor in attendance. The festival will host the Irish Premiere of 2018 SXSW grand jury prize winning feature film Thunder Road from Jim Cummings. The Discovery Feature programme presents No Party for Billy Burns and Around Here.


There are screenings of award winning documentary films, When All is Ruin Once Again and The Man Who Wanted To Fly while the festival features a 100th anniversary screening of 1918 silent film, Knocknagow with live music accompaniment.


Romanian feature film Hawaii brings a story of 1980’s Romania to the big screen while documentary Keepers of the Port looks at Dublin Port and those who work there. Kerry feature films Tradition and Con screen on opening night and closing night respectively.


The annual Maureen O’Hara Award will be presented to Deirdre O’Kane in 2018. In presenting the Maureen O’Hara Award, the festival acknowledges the wealth of female talent in all sectors of the film and television industry, women in front of and behind the camera, who shine through for their exceptional talent and commitment to their craft.


Speaking about the 2018 Kerry Film Festival, festival director, Maeve McGrath noted, “The quality of films submitted in 2018 was outstanding, the short films in the 19th edition of the Kerry Film Festival are the cream of the crop from around the world. There is a marked rise in the appearance of high profile actors starring in short films submitted to the festival and it reflects the importance of the short film form”


Maeve added,“We are incredibly proud of our feature film presentations this year, we feel that there is something for everyone in the 2018 programme and we look forward to sharing the KFF 2018 programme with the local and visiting audience.”


The Kerry Film festival runs from 17-21st October in Killarney.



‘Con’ a 7,000 Euro Irish Feature Film



In Con, we follow successful filmmaker and actor, Con Keogh, as he leaves rehab and prepares to reunite with his estranged father after 25 years. He agrees to participate in a documentary following his every move and with emotions running high the production takes a few twists and turns.

Below, Bertie Brosnan gives us the lowdown on his latest feature, which will premiere at the Kerry Film Festival on the 21st of October, 2018.


Development & Pre-Production

 One thing I want to make abundantly clear from the beginning is that producing a feature film for 7,000 euros in total (from idea all the way to screen) is not easy. You have to think outside the box. The point is this: you have to be prepared to do what it takes and be relentlessly resourceful.

First things first, you have to know your budget. In our case, I knew for a fact that I had 3,000 euros cash to work with for the production budget – this was an investors stake (I would pay him back when the project was starting to bring in money). I could put in around 1,000 euros of my own cash for extra production money. And, I had faith in an Indiegogo Campaign that I had planned to raise for the post-production money after the shoot. I am reasonably good at fundraising small amounts through crowdfunding campaigns, so I gambled on the few grand coming through once we had the film shot.

Secondly, you have to be utterly realistic as to what you can shoot and who your crew and cast will be with the money you have. Think of it this way, “What can you really do with 7,000 euros of a full production budget?”

Here’s how my mind worked: 1/3 on the Cinematography/Editing; 1/3 on the Sound Recording and Mixing and 1/3 on the rest of Post-Production and Production Expenses.

Simple as that, I had to find a way to complete every area of the production for the money we had, it helps that you develop your entrepreneurial spirit!

This brings us to what I could film for such little money: I had a few scripts in the works, but I knew that none of them were feasible on such a micro-budget, so I had to compromise. I knew that I would have no lights, no gaffer, no prominent actors, no special effects or anything that would cost a significant amount. I also knew that I wouldn’t have many shooting days, so the turnaround had to be very quick. What this did to my producer’s brain was quite weird actually, it began to take a story I was thinking about years previously where a local celebrity shoots a movie about himself and his name was Con Casey. I started to visualise a film that was breaking the third wall and a run-and-gun or guerrilla style film. What we ended up with was by definition a “Mockumentary” or “Fictional Documentary” – the latter term I prefer.



Writing the screenplay

After spending time in the film industry and working on the scene as a filmmaker and actor, I knew the independent biz and how it operated. I also knew about alcoholism or addiction through personal experiences and family members and friends. I also know about loss of loved ones to cancer and how that can affect the mind. So I wrote what I knew as the old saying goes and thus Con was born. The film is an interweaving of prominent social issues into one specific premise, i.e.

The story of a relatively successful filmmaker and actor, Con Keogh, who leaves rehab and takes part in a documentary to reunite him with his estranged father after 25 years.

I felt that shooting “mockumentary” style would be doable and cheap; but, I hate the term “mockumentary” and prefer fictional documentary or in our case a straight drama with some light humour. Our screenplay and ultimately the film came from what was necessary and feasible rather than the other way around where debut filmmakers put incredible amounts of pressure and strain on themselves financially. I will never do that to myself!

Lesson 101 – do not go into significant debt for your first film! There will be plenty time for that!


Filming a tiny micro-budget feature film

Shooting Con was a dream because I acquired some actor friends and new actors to come on board and help out. I didn’t have the money to pay actors. Having people on board that were supportive and wanting to create a film for themselves was key to keeping the costs down. Of course, there are huge arguments against “free” labour with artists, but I stress that everyone involved wanted to create this film and get the credit. I have myself been involved in many projects for free because I wanted the credit and understood that there was no money involved. In total there were only three people in the crew:a cinematographer, a sound recordist, and an assistant director.

I shot Con in my hometown of Tralee, County Kerry, Ireland and regarding costs, this was vital because all the locations were free, and most of them were in the family. I have many contacts in Tralee, and I used local businesses and apartment complexes to house the actors and to support the film. Tralee is a small but commercial town, so it was a novelty for most people to know that a film was being shot here. Our footprint was so low we could manoeuvre all over the town and in and out of locations very quickly; all this helped with the style of Con, very naturalistic and “fly-on-the-wall”.

We were blessed with the weather also as we shot during the most prolonged heat-wave in recent memories in May 2016. It lasted several weeks, and our shoot happened right in the middle of it. In Ireland, we experience a lot of rain, and this was always a concern for us. If anything it was probably a little too bright at times, but for the most part, our lighting consistency was good. Because it was a mockumentary, we could get away with a slightly edgy look or a rough and ready style. We shot 4k, and in hindsight, it wasn’t necessary, but hey, you live and learn. But, the images are insanely crisp so maybe it was a good thing. Shooting HD with a micro-budget is much more suitable and efficient in the editing room, timewise.


Equipment & locations

We used a Panasonic GH4 owned by the cinematographer, Brian O’ Connor. I highly recommend this camera for newbies to filmmaking because you can shoot beautiful images and it’s a very mobile camera. I shot another short film, Last Service with Brian on this camera too.

The key to filming on a tight budget is locations, and how far they are apart. I like to think of a “Nucleus of Locations” where you have Unit Base in the centre and every location within a few miles of that base. I learned this trick on my short film Sineaterwhich is currently distributed with Shorts TV and SoFY TV worldwide. The more moving you do, the more expensive everything is. Simple as that. We shot Sineater in one night and Con in eight days. Preparation is key. Visiting locations beforehand and nailing the shot composition for the most critical moments in a scene. Once you know what you are doing before you arrive on set, it makes life so much easier. I have worked on sets where the director is arguing with the DoP, and there is nothing worse than that.


Working with actors

Rehearsals with the actors are essential when possible. I am a great believer in playing to people’s strengths. I like knowing what actors are good at and feel comfortable doing and using that to save time and effort. Actors are beautiful beings – usually. I love actors as I am one. I enjoy the creative process of speaking about the character and working on the dissection of a scene. If you do not know what I am talking about – I urge you to take acting classes and understand how actors work. The most prominent skills I have is the ability to express myself to actors. One of the most influential elements to Con is the realness of the piece. People think it’s real at times. All I did was use what actors had already in their consciousness and exploited that – in a nice way. Everything I did was to save time, hassle and to make sure we got a quality story. The acting was very strong and  much of the feedback confirmed that.


Post-Producing Con

Brian O’ Connor and I edited the film right away after shooting. I don’t recommend that, but we had to do it. I made a deal with Brian for 20 days, so I had half of that for filming and half for the post. It worked out a treat. I hired an old colleague for Color Grading – Phillip Morozov who coloured all my pieces, and he did a fine job. I was able to get a bulk deal for Con and two short films. You have to be a lean entrepreneur if you are to create films on a budget.

People told me to spend two years on a screenplay, to wait until I get a 100,000 euros, wait for a certain actor, or find a shit hot producer – how long will I be waiting? Will I still be alive?

I get things done. That’s how I learn. This is my film school. I have never paid for film school. I produce my films as my experiments. Films should be experiments. Experiments in creativity.

To get back to the post-production, we finished the edit and colouring, and I hired a sound mixer and designer, Nikki Moss and we finished the mix in Gorrila Post Production in Dublin. I obtained a cool track Bright Stars from a band Exit:Pursued by a Bear. I know these guys well and was always a fan so they were delighted to be in the film.

I managed to get so much for free because most people are just awesome and the others gave me great deals. I am eternally grateful for the help and the people I met along the way.


Con will screen in the Killarney Cinema  at 7pm 21st Octobers as  part of the Kerry Film Festival



Bertie Brosnan (Brackenmore, Sineater, Jacob Wrestling With The Angel) wrote, produced, directed, starred and co-edited Con while Brian O’ Connor (Con, Message, The School) shot and edited the film. Con was coloured by Phillip Morozov (Sineater, Jacob Wrestling With The Angel, Con). Sound Design was by Nikki Moss (Patrick’s Day, Charlie Casanova), Music by Bensound www.bensound.com & Exit: Pursued by a Bear.

Starring in the film are Owen Barton (The Crown and the Dragon, Soulsmith, Lift), Jean Law (Fair City, The Guarantee), Michael O’ Sullivan (Jacob Wrestling With The Angel, Remembering Yesterday), Cristina Ryan (Red Room, Zenith Protocol), Tadhg Hickey (The School, Ronanism), Laura O’ Shea (Narcan), Aidan Jordan (Striking Out, The Clinic) and Bertie Brosnan.


Review # 1: http://lzlark.com/the-con-movie-gives-fresh-insight-into-life-after-rehab/

Review # 2: http://onefilmfan.com/indie-film-review-con/

Review # 3: http://www.themoviebuff.net/2017/09/con-nr/

Review # 4: http://www.scottsmovies.com/films_c.html#conbrosn


Kerry Film Festival – Lies we Tell


Eleanor McSherry checks out Lies we Tell at the Kerry Film Festival.

This screening was in the largest screen of the cinema, cinema one. There was a very large crowd, as expected for this one, so seating was at a premium.  The audience was very mixed, which was good to see.  The film was introduced by Maeve McGrath Kerry Film Festival’s hardworking Artistic Director, and Andy McDermott, the film’s producer and writer, they both expressed her joy at the film being screened.

Directed by Mitu Misra, Lies We Tell introduces us to Donald, a man in his 50s, who is a salt-of-the-earth-Yorkshire-man. When his billionaire boss, Demi, dies, Donald is tasked with destroying evidence of his ‘other women’. But Donald doesn’t account for the effect meeting Demi’s hauntingly beautiful 26-year-old mistress Amber will have on him.

Despite trying to keep Amber at arm’s length, Donald has to collude with her to delete a sexy video that would implicate his boss and mean certain death for Amber.

Donald embarks on a journey that leads him face-to-face with Amber’s notorious gangster cousin KD. He discovers Amber was forced to marry KD when they were sixteen, and after being raped by him she risked hell by lying to get an Islamic divorce, leaving both sides of the family devastated.

Now fully qualified as a lawyer, Amber is set to escape to London when the bombshell hits: KD is to marry her naive sixteen year-old sister, Miriam. But soon, we realise it’s part of KD’s twisted plan to win back the love of his life, Amber. The only woman he has ever wanted.

Nursing his own tragic past, Donald is compelled to help Amber, and is dragged deeper into a world of hypocrisy, betrayal and ultimately murder, leaving an honest man broken’.

I will admit from the beginning this is not a world that an Irish girl would know very well or have much access to; it is alien to us and the set up of the film was well executed so that we were led into this world one step at a time. While we have access to British television and the internet, we really don’t often see the diversity of British culture in this way.  Its level of social realism was excellent, though often to the point of being unbelievable. I don’t like reading too much of other people’s criticisms or views on a film as I usually don’t agree with them.  For me, what’s important is, is the story great, are the characters believable, is it shot well and do I feel something.  This film ticked all of those boxes.

The film is boasts a stellar cast with Harvey Keitel, Gabriel Byrne and Sibylla Deen, with Mark Addy and Jan Uddin.  Sibylla was wonderful as the main character, Amber, who is a very western girl with a traditional Pakistani background. She was so believable as a successful trainee lawyer who was trying to go places but caught by her traditional background. This is such a contemporary dilemma. There was plenty more revelations to the character’s story but I will not ruin the film for you. In one way you could say that we should not be shocked by what happens to her but in another we should be, as this still goes on in this day and age.

Gabriel Byrne, for me, is such a fantastic actor that we should see more of on our big and small screens.  His portrayal of Donald, Demi’s (Harvey) professional driver and reluctant friend, was amazing. Maybe it’s because I’m Irish but I really could feel everything that Donald was going through and sympathised with his dilemma.  The other characters were also good but it was the relationship between Amber and Donald that really drove this film home.

Mark Addy, who played Donald’s brother-in-law Billy, he deserves a special mention as we just did not see enough of him and he really was wonderful every time he appeared on screen. He really made the best of such a small part. I loved his character and would have liked to have seen more of him but that’s just me!

The production values were excellent, considering the amount of paperwork and cost involved in so much location shooting.  Cinematographer Santosh Sivan did well to capture the wonders of the city, and its seedier sides in contrast with the rural location for Donald’s home. With a first time feature director, Mitu Misra, there would be a fear that there will have been massive over-budget runs, difficulties and clashes of personalities on set but this did not seem to have been the case here. It also must have been difficult to face the issues like, arranged marriages, abstinence from alcohol, yet indulgence in narcotics in the playgrounds of the young, in the film having grown up around this community.

Bradford and Leeds are the setting to the film which was a refreshing choice of location, going to one of the heartlands of the Pakistani community in the UK.  There should be more filming in this part of the UK and it was good to see the diversity and choice of rural and urban locations available there. This is something that should be noted also here in Ireland.

The storyline was hard-hitting and did not shy away from topics that they knew might seriously offend.  It was excellent to see that they did not take the easier route and tie everything up in a nice bow, which is harder to do nowadays. Having spoken to Andy, at the festival, I know that an awful lot of work had gone into the story to make it as real and authentic as possible and it really shows.  If they had gotten government financial support would they have been able to tackle these issues, I think not.

It is one of those kinds of films that has to be seen to be believed, my review is only one opinion.  I would highly recommend it though that you go along, with an open mind and a willingness to see what it’s really telling you about this world. Gabriel Byrne had a very telling remark about this project, he said “the subject matter is most original and unique, the culture clash between the Asian and the Western perspective of the world.” For him, “that’s very relevant and pertinent in today’s world.”  We also have to support more independent films or else we will lose them.  Their biggest strength is story and real character development that is, at times, lacking from the more expensive movies. They also tackle hard-hitting issues which few blockbusters do now.  So get out there and see this film and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.


Lies we Tell screened on Saturday the 21st of October, 2017 at 7.15pm in Cinema Killarney  as part of the Kerry Film Festival  


Further information: http://www.bifafilms.co.uk/


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Instagram: www.instagram.com/LiesWeTellFilm



Kerry Film Festival – T.A.L.K: What is your Film Festival Action Plan?


Eleanor McSherry was at T.A.L.K , a set of industry sessions that include panel discussions at the Kerry Film Festival.

The second discussion was What is your Film Festival Action Plan?, hosted by Maeve McGrath, in discussion with Katie McCullough from Festival Formula, who guided us through the vast film festival landscape and offered advice and tips on building a festival profile and action plan.


Maeve: I would like to introduce Katie McCullough from Festival Formula. What is it that you do?

Katie: We help filmmakers to navigate the festival circuit. All films, all genres, as long as it’s good. In 2014 we launched our business. We saw a gap in the market. It’s an area that filmmakers don’t really have the knowledge of once they make their film, how to navigate the festival market.

Maeve: You have nine shorts and a feature in Kerry Film Festival. Your films were of a high standard. How do you select the films?

Katie: You send us your link and we watch them. If we like your film, if it is of a high quality and we think we can market it then we take it on. We make sure we get the right festival for you. We do the research so you don’t have to. We make sure that your film is strong enough, quality-wise, for the film festival market. Also, if the story is strong it will do well. In some ways if the story is strong it can trump the quality of the production. We approach each project individually, assess its structure, in some cases look at if before it’s finished, help with it if we can then set our budget (what you can afford). We can give feedback on edits and advise to help make your film more marketable.

My background helps, as we are writers, to help be that brutal voice, edit it or trim it, as some filmmakers can get too precious and their films can be too long for the market. We can also manage expectations, it’s not our business to not be honest with you. Some films that have done the rounds but have failed to screen anywhere might need a helping hand and not see what is really going on. We can help with that.

It can be obvious to us what is wrong with the film. That’s our job. For example it might be a narrative issue, a camera issue and, once fixed, we can help telling you which festival will suit your film.

Maeve: Are getting your film to festival’s expensive?

Katie: Festivals can be very expensive. Include money for it in your initial budget and deliverables, as few do. There are some amazing festivals and we can help you gain access to them. €600 will get you into an amount of festivals, it’s a good budget.

Have good assets, that can be a great selling point, like: a female director, a person in your cast or crew that has a disability or good life story or a film that is for the specialist market like horror or genre circuit.  The higher the quality of the film, the better festival we can get you into. There is a lot of admin when going to send your film to a festival and this is where we step in and help you focus.

Maeve: You have built a relationship with the Northern Film School.

Katie: Yes, we have been lucky with this relationship. We get to pick and choose the best films from over 40 films from the school. We are very selective and they also tend to have a small budget. We create a strategy for them and have relationships with many festivals, this all helps to sell the film. It’s not about who you know in film festivals but about the strength of the films you provide and the we can only do that with a good budget. It’s not a closed door industry.

Maeve: What are the pitfalls to submitting?

Katie: Duration is a big one. While there is no magic running order.  Short films run from 10 mins to 40 mins. Programming will deal with long films but shorter films are easier to place and have a larger scope.

Every film festival has its own rules and regulations. US festivals prefer to get a film with premiere status. Shorter films are the best for them. Shorter films get programmed quicker and get screened the most. 30-minute films, unless out of this world, are harder to place, harder to programme. There aren’t many festivals to pitch to for them.

Short shorts work very well and the better the short the longer the run.  You also don’t have to have credits at the beginning and at the end. That can add minutes to your film or slow long credits, there is no need. Short, concise credits are best. The killer is Kickstarter funding credit lists, they can go on and on, find a way of giving credit without have a very long list.

Maeve: Do you watch every film you get in from beginning to end?

Katie: We watch all the films from beginning to end. We feel we have to.

Maeve: From our point of view at Kerry and what we are looking for from a filmmakers is: to send us in images, your trailer, synopsis and a cover letter.  We need to have all that material for the festival. Contact details are vitally important and you’d be surprised how many people leave them out of their letter or on the title page of their script. Passwords need to be simple and not big long complicated ones that no one will remember.  Do not annoy the festival director – you want them to screen your film. Also, read the terms and conditions carefully, make sure this is the festival for you.

What do you do to make the filmmaker’s job easier?

Katie: Essentially we offer two packages: 1) look after submitting for you, of your film.   currently have 68 films on our slate. All films have their own style and different turn around. Read them and make sure it is done.  Do you need BluRay for instance?  That takes time and money.  Make sure you send a back up.  2) Film festival strategies – what festivals are the best for your money and film. You need to also have all your paper work done for us, it makes it easier and we don’t have to chase you for them. Things like stills, posters, synopsis, crew list and cast bios, etc.

Maeve: what makes a good film? What ticks all the boxes?

Katie: Obviously a good story, narrative, make it exciting to watch and remember. But not necessarily only drama films. Compelling and interesting, and any genre you want can work just as well.  Sound is also very important, if it’s bad it won’t get picked no matter how good the rest of the film is. Oh, and also don’t have your credits too long, short credits are best.

Maeve: Thank you Katie for your time, we could have talked all day.


T.A.L.K: What is your Film Festival Action Plan? took place on Saturday 21st from 3pm-3.30pm in the Killarney Plaza Hotel  as part of the Kerry Film Festival          

Kerry Film Festival – T.A.L.K Creative Kerry Abroad

Further information on the speakers:


Katie McCullough is the founder of Festival Formula Ltd, a consultancy company focusing on filmmakers covering festival strategy. We create personalised festival strategies taking into account length, production values, genre, stories in front and behind the camera, and budget limitations.

With over 13 years plus experience she’s hosted workshops and seminars for a broad range of audiences including: Encounters Film Festival, Shooting People, East End Film Festival, Independent Cinema Office, Cork Film Festival, Aesthetica Short Film Festival, BFI Flare, Glasgow Short Film Festival, LOCO London Comedy Film Festival, Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival, FilmFest Dresden, and many training events at the BFI Southbank.

The company was recently a co-sponsor of Screen International events at Berlinale and Cannes 2017.

Further information: https://festivalformula.com/





Kerry Film Festival – T.A.L.K Creative Kerry Abroad


Eleanor McSherry was at the Creative Kerry Abroad session of T.A.L.K, a set of sessions including panel discussions, in conversation and Q&A sessions.

The first of the T.A.L.K sessions was Creative Kerry Abroad, hosted by Alex Fegan (The Irish Pub), in discussion with Kerry natives Maura Kelly (Emmy-winning Producer/Purple Mountain Media) and New York producer John Flahive (Kevin Roche: The Quiet Architect) London, about working abroad in film and media.


Alex: Maura what led you to New York?

Maura: Well I was born in Killarney and due to financial hardship my family emigrated to America.  It was out of economic necessity that my parents took their four children to the US. New York offered opportunities that Ireland just didn’t have any more.  In our neighbourhood there was not many Irish, so we had to develop a real survivor mentality. Also, how to embrace change which all happened at an early age. It helped me get to where I am today.

John: I went to London. I had attended UL to become an accountant but I was interested in film and joined the Film Society. At that time, there was no real film industry in Ireland and certainly not down in Limerick. The Film Board had just shut down and so I moved to London. I joined the BFI as an accountant, got involved in Film Sales and then became an Independent filmmaker.

Alex: Maura, what got you into media and entertainment?

Maura: I went to Manhattan with my friend and got jobs. We worked very hard. We hadn’t a clue what we were doing. I reached out to people, as I am a people person and made great contacts. I went back for my masters in New York University, working in a restaurant to fund it. And then worked as a personal assistant and worked my way up.  I was lucky as the United Nations was nearby and they had great contacts in the media industry.  I met those people in the restaurant, including an Indian media consultant in the UNDP (United Nations Development Programme) and helped him. It sparked a big interest for me in the media. I ended next on Wall Street and got some intense training there working with traders. Then I spent 15 years at PBS where I honed my skills and learned from the best filmmakers, like Ken Burns.  I watched them all and realised that you needed to get the right people involved, then get out there and just make things happen.

John: Maura, as a person from Killarney and John, as someone from Annascaul, how do you help people from Kerry?

John: You need the right person, the right project then you can take it forward and help the person.  You help them to pair up with the right people and make further connections.

Alex: So being from Kerry helps you, do you think?  Do the Irish Diaspora help?

John: Having that local knowledge, that same connection definitely does.  Having a project that can sell on an international level helps and being able to share, my knowledge, with people from Kerry is a big advantage to them. For example, a project like Pilgrim Hill, while a very Irish local story, was an easy sell as there was a market that understood it. This can help people from Kerry and helps me to be able to support the idea.

Maura: The Irish Diaspora help others to understand both places, Ireland and abroad, they bridge the gap. I’m always glad to help others abroad and am interested in them. The New York Women in Film and Television is an example of a group that help others. It is a group I am heavily involved in and is a very strong movement in the media industry. It is a very large organisation and as its director of programming I have worked to encourage co-productions with Ireland. As a TV executive, I recognise there is great television talent in Ireland and Ireland is great for TV. Animations, for example, are a huge growing industry in Ireland and companies like CBS are always looking for more animations from here.  They are always looking for reels from Ireland. I have also organised events and been to events with Irish filmmakers. I am very tapped into what is going on there and also here and   I share this information with the people I work with in New York.  For example, I introduced the guys from Vikings to New York filmmakers and pushed how fantastic Ireland was as a location to film in.

Alex: There are currently two ways projects get to an Irish-American audience, like the 1916 stories and through Irish stories abroad. Is there a possibility that we could find another way, like an online network to reach out specifically to the Irish Diaspora audience, specifically with film?

Maura: I think in LA and New York on the ground there would be no way to centralise a network like that. The buyers and producers really come over to Ireland and find their own content. It’s a tough industry and more and more connections are being made at film festivals. The government also has trade missions that do this kind of work.  So I’m not sure if we need another network on top of that.  The films that are currently being made and showcased abroad really help to sell Ireland as a location for production and have gotten people partners in America. Also, people have worked with Irish Central and groups like that to help get their work out there. Each side gets something out of it.

John: There are resources already online and projects are there looking for money. There are many vehicles that they can use already available. As Maura said there are trade missions, culture Ireland doing great work but people who have good projects need to get out there and meet face to face to do the job effectively.

Alex: so its all about the project and does it necessarily have to be Irish?

John: You want to help people but it’s depends on the project.  You see so much stuff at festivals that are good but will they travel, can they be universal.  The Irish Diaspora is great but do you want your film to be exclusive to them only.  It can limit their appeal.

Alex: How do you think things have changed in Ireland?

John: Now we have a film industry in Ireland. In the past we had made about ten features in ten years now we are making that in one year and it is fantastic. We now have experience skilled filmmakers and a great infrastructure with good investment but there needs to be more to sustain it. TV needs to be sorted to be like other countries and there needs to be better support for independent filmmakers here.

Alex: Maura do you agree?

Maura: Yes, we produce some television films but not enough for the market like other countries do.  I still believe festivals are the way to go but someday television will also catch up.

Alex: Is it easier to get into the UK market with a higher percentage of Irish-oriented content then getting into the US?

John: Oh yes, it is harder to reach a specifically Irish audience in the US, where there are bigger cultural differences there. However you have a better history of Irish philanthropy from the Irish American Diaspora than from the UK.  The UK has a better track record on public funding.  The Diaspora there are not as well off and are more reluctant to support their own. The Irish Diaspora is more London-centric and with its proximity to Ireland there is no need to create new Irish content about the Irish when they can import it.

Alex: How can we improve that though?

John: There needs to be more money in Ireland invested into helping get our work out of Ireland. Groups like Culture Ireland can’t do enough. There needs to be more work done on the ground to encourage people here to connect with our people abroad more.

Alex: What advice would you give to young filmmakers?

Maura: Develop relationships in pre-production to build your audience. Don’t watch until your film is finished and then get distribution partners.  It’s too late.  Contact university libraries, Irish Centres, etc. Get productions with them going and build those relationships.  Build your audience through these key contacts. Get them to screen your film abroad. Then they will, next time come to you. Do Q&As, do interviews and build your success.  They will want your film because of you.

John: Do your research. Look at what everyone else is doing and learn from other’s experiences.  What they have done right and what they have done wrong. For example, there are niche markets – find them and exploit them.  They will probably have their own platforms and you can find great information at festivals. Always make sure you speak to the right person, do your research.

Alex: Finally, what can Kerry do to improve to get big films here?

Maura: I’m not involved in film but I will do whatever I i can to help.  Star Wars has helped immensely to highlight the landscape and this kind of exposure cannot be underestimated. There has been a lot of press internationally about it and how wonderful Ireland was to film in.  Anyone who films in Kerry needs to be doing press about it and shout loudly about it to the world.

John: Pilgrim Hill is another example but that was the filmmakers themselves creating the hype about how great it was to film here.  There needs to be serious investment in the independent film scene, courses and local filmmakers encouraged to work here.  They need to be supported all year round not just once in blue moon.


T.A.L.K Creative Kerry Abroad took place on Saturday 21st at 2pm-3pm in the Killarney Plaza Hotel as part of the Kerry Film Festival

Further information on the speakers:

John Flahive: John Flahive emigrated to London in 1987 after studying business at the University of Limerick. After some years working in accountancy and then for the British Film Institute, he now runs Wavelength Pictures, his own film distribution and production company.

John is the producer of documentary Kevin Roche: The Quiet Architect


Maura Kelly:

Maura Kelly is an Emmy-winning producer, development executive and principal of Purple Mountain Media, a consultancy practice in NY.

A Killarney native, her career spans leadership positions in broadcast television at PBS/ WNET (Executive Producer) where she built media franchises and helped raise over $15mm for programming – to working with global companies: The Jim Henson Co, Tile Films, Tribeca Film Institute & PBS Kids.

Maura was elected to the Board of Directors of NY Women in Film (2013-2016) and is a member of the Writers Guild of America and a contributor to the HuffPost.



Review of Irish Film @ Kerry Film Festival: Irish Stories – Shorts Programme


Eleanor McSherry finds strong stories being told at the Irish Stories – Shorts Programme at the Kerry Film Festival.

I attended the first screening of the morning, which was a very hairy experience to be honest as I had to battle my way down through storm Brian to get there. This is the lengths this reporter will go to for film! There was a good crowd considering the weather at this screening and I, for one, was delighted that the cinema was well insulated as it was raining buckets outside. Maeve McGrath, Kerry Film Festival’s Artistic Director introduced the screening and acknowledged our bravery for coming out in a storm. The selection was good but some of the films had minor issues with sound and lighting, which let them down a bit, however, the stories were strong. Again, what might look fine and you might get away with on the small screen looks awful or sounds awful on the big screen.

There were nine short films selected for this screening, covering a very diverse set of themes from dealing with an alcoholic parent, time travel, lost love, love, extreme stress/depression, fairytales, heroic historical women and father/son relationships. There were four films in particular that impressed:


Gone (Patrick Maxwell)

The story of Paul, who returns to his hometown to find that his ex-lover has a child with another man. As old sparks reignite, jealousy and revenge lead to fatal consequences.

This was a well executed film with a sad, challenging storyline, told with great care and attention to detail. It had an excellent cast with some lovely performances from Ryan Andrews and Niamh Algar. It’ll be interesting to see when Maxwell’s obvious talent will be stretched to a feature and how he deals with it. Maybe slightly too long at 16 minutes.

Stacey Lee (Jennifer Meade)

Stacey loves books, Spencer loves his dog, neither need each other until they do.

A lovely bonkers short, short movie, beautifully shot except for the lighting, which was slightly off and a bit ropey. But the story was wonderfully told in a Wes Anderson style. Not a bad piece at all, I loved it!

Narcan (Peter McNamara)

Narcan tells the story of Sean Ryan an Irish paramedic working the unsympathetic streets of New York City, every day he struggles to manage a fractured personal life, with his only son refusing to speak to him and the void between himself and his wife Sinead growing bigger with every passing day. The death and darkness of the job begins to creep inside Sean’s head clouding his judgement. It is during the course of one particular twelve hour shift that decisions with irrevocable consequences are made; Sean must call upon every ounce of his stringent resolve to try discover balance.

Nice performances from Malachy McCourt, the fantastic young Limerick talent Harris McNamara and the brilliant Peter Halpin. This film is at the end of its festival run and has had many deserved accolades thrown at it. I’m delighted to have been given the opportunity to have seen it. Well done to Peter McNamara for having tackled a very difficult shoot. This one is well worth seeing!


Tell them our Names (Mary Moynihan)

The performance and film are creative re-imaginings of moments from the lives of women during WWII recalling stories of bravery, sacrifice and love amidst the horror of war, as the women stood up against Fascism and totalitarianism and refused to accept oppression.

This is a short film produced by Smashing Times Theatre and Film Company as a small part of a much bigger project telling the stories of women from WWII, which includes a theatre production and a digital book. For me, the beginning was a little bit confusing, I wasn’t sure what was going on but once it got clearer it became obvious how powerful this film was. The lighting was, at times a bit off and the sound a bit too loud but this did not matter, the story was extremely strong, empowering and yet tragic.

It offered valuable thought-provoking insight into the lives of important European women, Marta Hillers (Germany), Mary Elmes (Ireland), Maria Eugenia Jasinska (Poland), Neus Catala Palleja (Spain) and Dolores Ibárruri, La Pasionaria (Spain). The sad thing is most people have never heard their names before, until now. A wonderful film with a very important story to tell.

Further information


Irish Stories – SHORTS PROGRAMME screened on Thursday, 19th of October, 2017 at Cinema Killarney as part of the Kerry Film Festival (19 – 22 October 2017)

Full Programme:

1. For You (IRL)

A young girl struggles with her alcoholic mother and environment, until she finds strength to love.

2. Rememberer (IRL)

The world has ended. There is nowhere to go. Except back.

3. The Long Line (IRL)

Set in Ireland amid an immigration crisis, will Liam’s troubles push him to the edge?

4. Gone (IRL)

On seeing his ex-lover again, Paul stirs up events that spiral out of his control.

5. Stacey Lee (IRL)

Stacey loves books, Spencer loves his dog, neither need each other until they do.

6. Narcan (IRL/USA)

An Irish paramedic in New York, struggles every day to manage a fractured home life as well as death and depravity on the streets.

7. The Final Fairytale (IRL)

A woman looks back at a fading memory of her father and of fairytales.

8. Tell Them Our Names (IRL)

Creative reimagining of moments from the lives of five powerful women during WWII.

9. Man To Man (IRL)

A touching story of friendship, between father and son, catching up over a quiet pint.






Review of Irish Film @ Kerry Film Festival: The Crest


Eleanor McSherry was at the Kerry Film Festival for opening night film, The Crest, a story of family, immigration and the value of tradition and culture. which follows two descendants of an Irish King who meet for the first time in Ireland. 

This screening was in the largest screen of the cinema, cinema one. There was a very large crowd, as expected for this one, so seating was at a premium for the opening Night film.  The film was introduced by Maeve McGrath, Kerry Film Festival’s hardworking Artistic Director, who expressed her joy at the film, which was partly shot in Kerry, being screened at the festival. She also welcomed the team behind the film who were in the audience.

Butter Flavored Films produced this narrative surf documentary, which, according to its synopsis features “two cousins who grow up on opposite sides of America, both surfers and both unaware of the other’s existence, discover they are both descendants of An Ri, the last King of the Blasket Islands, a collection of rocky islands off the western-most point of Ireland, surrounded by treacherous ocean and once home to a community of people whose culture was untouched by outside influence. The cousins meet for the first time in Ireland on a quest to explore their shared heritage, learn what has been passed down to them from those who came before, and to surf the waters of their ancestors”.

Mark Covino directed the film, whuch has garnered a string of awards and acclaim on the film festival circuit, having co-directed A Band Called Death, which won an audience award at SXSW (among others) and was well reviewed by The Hollywood Reporter, Variety, Rolling Stone, and The Huffington Post.

Surfing has become one of the biggest growing sports in Ireland today.  You cannot pass a beach on the West coast without spotting the hundreds of wet-suited teens bobbing in water. It attracts thousands of tourists every year from all over the globe.  This is what makes the opening film of the Kerry Film Festival so special.  Its story is so timely in its content to the Ireland of today and yet it tells a story that will resonate in every corner of this island, the story of emigrants coming home.

This family’s story is wonderfully told with the use of voice-over, interviews, historical pieces, extracts from the great Blasket writers and at its heart, a personal family reunion. At times you kind of feel that you are imposing on this family’s story, that we should not be feeling what they are feeling rediscovering their heritage, connecting back with the island, its people, their people. This is nothing new to Ireland, we have many stories like this, but what is unique and different about this story is Dennis and Andrew’s shared love of surfing.

Dennis Kane and Andrew Jacob both have a love for the sea, surfing, family and a land neither of them has ever seen.  This yearning to learn more about who they are centres on their shared family history and stories of their ancestor who was the King of the Blaskets and his son, who was a fiddler. The story begins with their discovery of each other and moves onto The Gathering, an Irish Government Initiative in 2013,  where an opportunity is presented to travel back and reunite with other members of the extended family in Kerry and to visit the Blasket Islands, off the coast of Ireland.

They learn a lot about their ancestors on the way, as do the audience, their life on the Islands and what forced them to leave.  The guys also get many opportunities to surf and there is some fantastic footage of the Kerry coastline which is awe-inspiring. This documentary is a real education but told in a heart-warming personal way. It’s hard not to reveal the whole story to show how moving and wonderful this documentary is… you will just have to go and see it for yourself to get the real emotion behind the film.

The production values were relatively good. I admire this crew as I’d say it was a difficult shoot, due to some very dodgy terrain, bad roads and the weather, which would have played a huge factor here. They used a mix of cameras and style of shots. For example, chasing a bunch of surfers across fields on the Blaskets and filming from boats was shot in a rough guerrilla, old-school documentary style. Interviews, which were authoritative and well-researched, were shot in the classic interview mode with the subject static and centred.  The rest was more observational in style with iconic wide and aerial shots from, I’m presuming, a drone, which produced some beautiful establishing shots. There was also some go-pro style shots from the surf boards, for that close-up feel. Though, at times the shots were a little rough, shaky and on the odd occasion out of focus, also lighting was ever so slightly off in some of the interviews but if you weren’t looking for it, to be honest, you wouldn’t have noticed. The views of the Kerry coastline were amazing and the surf shots were inspired. They have done a fantastic job and should be really proud.

It was a perfect start to the festival; a surfing emigrant documentary shot in Kerry and in a small part America, screening at the Kerry Film Festival, a no-brainer really.  It is a very relatable movie and should be a must for any Irish person, home and abroad.  What is surprising is why aren’t we seeing more films like this one. We should be documenting the Ireland of today for the next generations. What we also have to ask ourselves is why these guys had to crowd fund?  Why did they not get better financial support from our government or any Irish government agency?  It’s great falling over ourselves for Star Wars but it’s the hundreds of independent films like this, that cost so much less and have such little private support, that need our help too.  This film is going to do a lot for our tourist industry.


The Crest screened on Thursday, 19th of October, 2017 at Cinema Killarney as part of the Kerry Film Festival (19 – 22 October 2017)



Further information: http://crestmovie.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheCrestMovie/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/butterflavored

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/butterflavoredfilms/



Kerry Film Festival – Score

Eleanor McSherry takes note of Score at the Kerry Film Festival, in which Hollywood’s top composers take viewers inside the musical challenges and creative secrecy of the world’s most beloved and mysterious music genre.


St. Mary’s Church, tucked in up the road, on the corner near the Killarney Cinema, provided a very appropriate place to host the screening of the Irish premiere of the documentary Score, written and directed by Matt Schrader, who “brings Hollywood’s premier composers together to give viewers a privileged look inside the musical challenges and creative secrecy of the world’s most widely known music genre: the film score.”

St. Mary’s church has a beautiful gothic interior and features added to a cool peaceful ambience, which made it the perfect location to screen this particular film. There was a very large crowd in attendance and seating was at a premium. What was particularly heartening was that the audience was predominantly young people.  What was even more fantastic about the amount of people at the screening was that we were expecting storm Brian in the early hours of the next day and were already feeling its effects with lashing rain and strong winds.

The documentary was introduced by Maeve McGrath, Kerry Film Festival’s hardworking Artistic Director, who expressed her joy at getting the film and to being able to show it in such a great location.  She hoped we enjoyed it and off she went.

We have all left a film with some sort of emotion, be it happy, sad or mad. We have also all come out humming the theme tune of our favourite films, like Indiana Jones, Star Wars, to name the most iconic.  But how does the composer make that happen? How are the decisions made about what music goes where and who makes those decisions?  This documentary gives a small insight into that process?

Score is a very enjoyable and educational film. It is a must for anyone who wants to understand the importance of music and the music score to filmmaking.  It features the whose who of music film composers, like: Hans Zimmer, Quincy Jones, Trent Reznor, James Cameron, Randy Newman, Tom Holkenborg/junkie Xl, Howard Shore, Mark Mothersbaugh, Rachel Portman, Steve Jablonsky, Brian Tyler, Bear Mccreary, John Debney, John Powell, Mychael Danna and Garry Marshall, to name but a few.  The one thing I did note, however, is that there were very few female composers and I’m not sure why.  Maybe this is something that should be explored. For more names of composers and their profiles check here.

This documentary contains a mix of film music, interviews with prominent film music composers intertwined with the historical journey/evolution of the film music score. It was fascinating to watch and thought-provoking, as a filmmaker. It gave insight into the great lengths that the composer will go to, to get that perfect sound, to evoke the right emotion from the audience, from isolation chambers to going out to the middle of the desert to listen to the wind. As an audience we don’t realise how vitally important it is but that is as it should be. The audience should not be aware that they are being manipulated.  The music should wash over you without a thought about it.  As filmmakers, however, we should be more aware of its significance to our films and give it due respect.

The documentary highlighted the strength and importance of the collaboration between the director and the composer.  It is vital that this happens in order to get what’s in the directors mind onto the screen. He or she might not have the technical knowledge of music to articulate exactly what they want but a good composer will interpret the director’s needs and produce something, at the very least, close to what they want.

The music supports the scene, compliments the action and evokes emotion. Hans Zimmer stated, in the documentary, that the audience will ‘get drawn into the film through the music’.  The composer watches the film with the director while taking notes, watches it on their own then produces the music, then watches it again with the director.  It is a highly skilled, time-consuming and complicated process but when it works, we the audience, don’t even see it, but we do feel it.

This film is a must for any filmmaker or anyone who is thinking of becoming a film music composer. It was not only compelling but highly entertaining.  You could not hear a pin drop while the film was on and this is no mean feat in a room full, of predominantly, teenagers. I felt buzzed when I came out from it and had a new respect for the art. The audience were also very impressed and I overheard many conversations about it after the screening, which is impressive. Well done to Maeve McGrath and her team for getting this one.

Score screened on Friday, 20th October 2017 at Cinema Killarney as part of the Kerry Film Festival (19 – 22 October 2017)

Further details:   https://www.score-movie.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/scoremovie

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ScoreMovie/

Film trailer: https://youtu.be/9K6RwDM8VFE


Tales from Kerry Film Festival 2017


Eleanor McSherry was at the Kerry Film Festival and sent us on a flavour of what went on this year.


Review of Irish Film @ Kerry Film Festival: The Crest

Kerry Film Festival – Orchestrate – Short Programme

Kerry Film Festival: Student Tales – Shorts Programme

Kerry Film Festival – Score

Review of Irish Film @ Kerry Film Festival: Irish Stories – Shorts Programme

Kerry Film Festival – T.A.L.K Creative Kerry Abroad

Kerry Film Festival – T.A.L.K: What is your Film Festival Action Plan?

More to come…


Kerry Film Festival: Student Tales – Shorts Programme

Eleanor McSherry goes back to college for the Student Tales – Shorts Programme at the Kerry Film Festival.  


Student Tales are selected from the short films that were sent in by students. There was a very international flavour to this screening and it was well attended. It was screened in the smaller of the two cinemas on offer.  Student films are always a mixed bag and you are never certain what you are going to get. There seems to be a need though to mention, if any students are reading this, that there needs to be more effort put into sound and lighting in many of the short films. It mightn’t show up on the smaller screen but at a festival on the big screen with surround sound believe me your flaws are blatantly obvious.  I have watched so many films over the years and this is something that never changes. If you want to make your mark, these areas need serious attention. I’m delighted to say that at this particular screening most of the films did not have these problems.

There were eight short films selected for this screening, covering a very diverse set of themes from Sci-Fi, dysfunctional family relationships, first impressions, aging, family movies and growing up.

Three of the films deserve special mention: Impression (UK), Sophie (Irl) and Three Red Sweaters (USA).

Impression – Directed By Joseph Simmons

Impression is a comedy/heist film that centres around the character of Reza, a Middle-Eastern entrepreneu trying to get a large-scale business off the ground without financial support. He works at a car wash to make ends meet, but has plans for a different life. For Reza to be successful he must con high-class executives into thinking he is a legitimate businessman. Reza looks to have the expensive car, the sharp suit and the backing of a professional company, but in fact has none of those things. Instead, Reza must convince potential investors to believe in his idea, through a smokescreen of favours and bribes, in order to become who he pretends to be.

At first, I wasn’t really sure what to make of this film. The set-up was a bit confusing and I didn’t know where the story was going. I soon realised, however, what was really going on, the main character was a man leading a double life, a man working in a car wash, who looked like a bum and also trying to be an international business man, while faking the trappings of wealth to get this goal. It was a great way to illustrate the dilemma facing many immigrants into Europe who have to take menial jobs but yet are extremely qualified people. It is a very cleverly put together film.

For more details at impressionshortfilm/

Trailer here

Sophie – Directed by Philip Ledingham (IADT, Dun Laoghaire)  

Sophie is a short science fiction film, focusing on Archer, a time-travel dealer, who is plagued by a traumatic event of his past.

This compelling film takes the viewer on a fantastic journey with lead actor Graham Molloy in terrific form with a stellar performance. Sophie is a fascinating film, boasting a concept that should be further developed into a feature story.

More details at sophiefilm2017

Three Red Sweaters – Directed and Edited by Martha Gregory

A filmmaker explores memory and the way that we use technology to record our lives — sometimes at the expense of being present for them — through her grandfather’s Colville-esque 16mm home videos.

This was a lovely nostalgic documentary that documents not only a wonderful family relationship but also the art of home movies. It uses the home movies and stills with a voice-over of interviews carried out with the grandfather of the director. You could tell the love and care that went into the film by the carefully chosen pieces that wove together with the audio of the interviews to tell the story of an avid amateur cinematographer and photographer. It is not surprising that it has previously won Best Documentary at the 2017 Aspen Shortsfest and I’m sure it will not be the last award it receives.


Further details at marthagregory.com/three-red-sweaters


Student Tales Short Films took place on Friday, 20th October 2017 at Cinema Killarney as part of the Kerry Film Festival (19 – 22 October 2017)


Full Programme: 


1. More Than This (IRL)

An unexpected discovery. A series of revelations. One worker questions his fate.

2. Las Cenizas [The Ashes] (US/CUBA)

In the wake of a domestic tragedy, a turbulent pair of siblings travel to Cuba.

3. Impression (UK)

A man tries to get his business launched whilst working at a carwash to survive.

4. La Douleur Exquise (IRL)

On the brink of his 50th birthday Michael begins to reflect upon his past decisions.

5. Sophie (IRL)

A time machine operator is plagued by an event in his past, for which he feels responsible, but believes he can reverse.

6. Three Red Sweaters (USA)

A filmmaker explores memory and the way that we use technology to record our lives, through her grandfather’s 16mm home videos.

7. Faith (RUSSIA)

An old widower, a former radio operator, perceives the flashing bulb as his late wife’s messages.

8. Too Old To Grow Up (IRL)

A portrayal of three women as revealed through their enduring bond with their childhood teddy bears.


Mieke Vanmechelen, Director of ‘Rath’

Rath is a personal story about one man’s relationship with the land and the past. A wealth of information is in danger of being lost, as knowledge which was always passed down orally through the years has never been recorded. Rath harnesses the strength of the past and helps preserve a legacy.

Director Mieke Vanmechelen takes us behind the scenes of her documentary.


I arrived in Ireland when I was six years old, and settled with my family on a farm in the Caha Mountains. I felt at home straight away, and though the ’80s were tough times, I had what I consider to be a very idyllic upbringing. Together with six neighbour girls, we had a kind of freedom which is not available to children anymore. Summers spent by the river and hikes over the mountain to the Lakes for trout fishing were formative experiences.

I never strayed far, spending four few years in Dublin studying, but returning and raising my own family in Kerry. I always felt drawn to the valley where I grew up and see it is a remote but rich microcosm. I work my own farm, combining this life with my career as an artist, which though challenging is extremely rewarding. Over the years I have seen many people leave and others fade into distant memory. The psychological landscape is changing, people go, communities die and we forget.

I have known Brendan O’Sullivan from childhood and have seen his family grow up. Brendan is the last person with a very particular kind of wisdom, born, bred and still living in the townland of Rath.

As his neighbour, I felt it was my duty to undertake the work of recording him as he walks his farm, a process which took over a year to complete. The film focuses on historical facts while there is an underlying personal story.

Many people collaborated and gave their time and knowledge willingly. I was lucky to have the involvement of Luka Bloom and traditional musicians and local singers adding a very emotive soundtrack. I got some help from Kerry County Council and was delighted to be included in the Dingle International Film Festival. Being a part of Kerry Film Festival is yet another bonus. As Kerry Filmmaker in Residence 2017 I’m travelling the county, encouraging young people by opening up filmmaking to then as a valuable source of visual expression. I am interested in the interconnectedness people have with place and the beauty that exists in the simple things.


Rath screens at the Kerry Film Festival @ 6pm on Saturday, 21st October  at the Methodist Church, Killarney.

Kerry Film Festival runs from 19 – 22 October 2017



Kerry Film Festival Launches Programme

Lies We Tell

The Kerry Film Festival has launched its 2017 programme. The festival takes place in Killarney, Co. Kerry from the 19th to the 22nd of October 2017 and showcases the best in Short, Feature and Documentary Cinema from at home and abroad, and introducing Discovery Features, a platform for first time feature film makers.

Kicking things The Crest documents the journey of two descendants of an Irish king who journey to the island where he once presided — not to reclaim the land, but to surf the waves. Surprising, scenic, and brave adventures The Crest is a portrait of a family estranged by time and distance, but united by a peculiar devotion to the dangers of the Sea. Other epic journeys unfold in both Emer Reynolds’ stunning The Farthest, which follows the Voyager Space Probe as it prepares to leave our Solar System some 12 billion miles away.

Other Irish highlights include From The Land of Mhúscraí (Ó Dhúthaigh Mhúscraí )a creative documentary exploring the works of contemporary artist living in the Múscraí Gaeltacht of West Cork. And Drimoleague-born director Pat Collins’ poetic and arresting portrait of celebrated Sean-Nós singer Joe Heaney in Song of GraniteIreland’s submission for Best Foreign Language Film at the 90th Annual Academy awards.

Another Irish Feature Premiere, Lies We Tell features Golden Globe winner Gabriel Byrne as the faithful right-hand man of a dead gangster who finds himself pulled into a dangerous showdown where he must deal with his boss’s mistress and her gangster ex-husband, while Kevin Roche: The Quiet Architect is a profile of the Pritzker Prize-winning Irish-American architect. Although Roche has reached the top of his profession, he has not sought fame, and little is known about him here. He is best known in Ireland as the architect of Dublin’s Convention Centre.

The Festival closes with A Captain Unafraid, which follows the strange adventures of ‘Dynamite Johnny O’Brien’ who, despite being born in Manhattan to Irish parents, managed to get involved in revolutions in Haiti, Colombia, Texas and Mexico before finding his destiny in the 19th Century Cuban War of Independence.

The Kerry Film Festival will also present the Maureen O’Hara Award for 2017 to Emer Reynolds to celebrate her contribution to the film industry and in admiration for her work which continues to engage audiences and inspire fellow filmmakers. The Kerry Film Festival inaugurated the Maureen O’Hara Award in 2008 to celebrate outstanding women in cinema. The award was named in honour of O’Hara, one of Hollywood’s best loved and most inspiring actresses.


For tickets and more information see http://www.kerryfilmfestival.com/



Film Festivals 2017 – Here & Abroad



Call For: Stories for Kerry Film Festival


Kerry Film Festival are looking for great storytellers.


#Mynameis, a new collaboration between the Kerry Film Festival and StoryStock.com, is asking people to submit stories of love, lust, romance, loss and triumph. The competition is looking for real stories about real people around the world. Ten stories, which should be videos of 3 minutes or less, will be selected for a live screening as part of the Kerry Film Festival.

The winner on the night will take home a prize fund of 1500 euro with the runner up taking home a prize fund of 500 euro.


 Maeve McGrath, Artistic Director of the Kerry Film Festival, described the collaboration as “a great way to bring storytelling to the fore of filmmaking.”




For more details, check out http://www.kerryfilmfestival.com/storystock/




Call For: Submissions for Kerry Film Festival

In its 18th year, Kerry Film Festival will continue to provide a platform and audience for the screening of short film programmes including international film exchanges, music documentary and selected feature films.

Kerry Film Festival, which takes place from 19th to 22nd October 2017 has previously featured successful shorts such as the Oscar® short-listed “Head over Heels” and Oscar® winner “Mr Hublot” and 2016 Oscar® winner “STUTTERER”. Four short films that screened at KFF in 2016 were nominated for the IFTA awards in 2017.

Filmmakers will have the chance for their work to be seen by a prestigious panel of adjudicators which has in recent years included Academy Award winner Benjamin Cleary, Directors Lenny Abrahamson and Paul Greengrass and Producer Finola Dwyer.

KFF 2016 saw the introduction of the Short Film Market in Killarney which brought industry speakers and guests including Sundance Grand Jury prize winner, Jim Cummings to the festival.

Closing date for submissions to the 2017 competition is July 14th 2017 www.kerryfilmfestival.com

Submissions are via FILM FREEWAY  (https://filmfreeway.com/festival/KerryFilmFestival)




Kerry Film Festival – Making it


Eleanor McSherry attended the premiere of Making It, which opened this year’s Kerry Film Festival. 

Family man, Mike McMahon loses his job and enters a filmmaking competition to win a big cash prize. With little talent and large ambitions, his efforts soon land him in hot water with both sides of the law.

This local Kerry-made feature film, Making It, enjoyed a second screening at the Kerry Film Festival, following its opening night screening. This did not deter the audience though, as there was another great crowd for the Sunday morning. Anyone who has ever been to a film festival in Ireland will know that Sunday morning is a hard sell but they are here and this is a testament to the great support local film has in the Kingdom. The film was shot in Listowel and Tralee in Kerry.

Making It is an original feature film produced by the National Digital Skills Centre at the Kerry ETB Training Centre, Tralee.  Written by Eamonn Norris and Fred O’Connor, the film is based on a story developed with Brian Nolan. It features a large cast of Kerry actors and the crew was made up of industry professionals, graduates and recent trainees from the Broadcast Production Course at the Kerry ETB.  It is also directed by Norris, who has made several short films prior to this and is a director at TG4s hit show, Ros na Rún.  Seamus Hughes, who plays Mike McMahon (the lead), is one of  main cast in the IFTA-winning TG4 series, An Klondike, and also appeared in Ken Loach’s Irish-made film, Jimmy’s Hall.  Moya Farrelly, also stars, she has appeared opposite Aidan Quinn in the popular film This is My Father as well as in RTÉ’s Bachelors Walk and Single Handed. The real stars though of the film are the less experienced actors, who seemed to really be enjoying themselves on screen and the audience enjoyed it as a result.

The tag line for the film is ‘lights, camera, chaos!’ and let me tell you it does not disappoint.  It is a whirlwind of madness, mayhem with a convoluted plot that actually works.  It’s a great romp!  Ok, so at times some of the acting is bit ropey but it shows some real potential, especially with such a mixed cast.  The special effects were interesting and at times the plot totally bonkers but I loved it and it is totally entertaining.  The main character of Mike McMahon is believable, and hilarious to boot.

It is a film within a film and has a timely premise, as the main character is laid off from work but that is where the normality ends and the madcap plot springs up.  He decides to enter a film competition encouraged by his son. This is where the film goes bats in the belfry and hilarity ensues.

What’s fantastic is that this film is made by a mix of students and professionals, predominantly locally sourced. This is a great achievement in itself and it must have taken a lot of determination and perseverance to get off the ground. Having watched the film it was all well worth the effort. There is real talent in there and it is great that they get the opportunity to be involved with a feature made in their hometown.

Eamonn Norris, Making It Director, brief Q and A.

Q: Script?

Eamonn: The first draft was completed in two weeks. It had four drafts in total, the completed script took 5 months. We were particularly pleased to give each character their own arc within the film.

Q: What’s it like seeing it on the big screen?

Eamonn: I’m delighted. It’s getting laughs and I hope everyone is enjoying it, which they seem to be.

Q: What is the next step now?

Eamonn: It will go on a festival run and we are so grateful to the Kerry Film Festival and the ETB for this screening, it means a lot. We couldn’t have made the film without the great support from the people of Kerry.  We are so lucky that the Kerry ETB are so supportive and came on board straight away. We couldn’t have made it without their help.

Q: How do you keep the cast inspired on such a little budget?

Eamonn: We filmed it in eighteen days, there wasn’t time to be unmotivated. It was a very intense experience.

The film was a great achievement and I personally hope it won’t be the last project of its kind in Ireland!

For more information on the film please check out their Facebook page


Making It screened on 19th & 23rd of October 2016

The Kerry Film Festival took place from the 19th to the 23rd of October 2016.





Kerry Film Festival Short Film Market: Panel Discussion with Michael Creagh & Jim Cummings


Eleanor McSherry reports from the  Kerry Film Festival Short Film Market panel with Michael Creagh, who received an Oscar nomination for his short film The Crush, and Sundance winner Jim Cummings (Thunder Road) in a discussion on their journeys in short filmmaking so far. This discussion was chaired by Festival Director Maeve McGrath.



The event began with a screening of the clip for Thunder Road and a clip from The Crush


Jim: Just so you know, (in relation to the clip screened) I am not a dancer or a choreographer.  It was all filmed in one shot and I practiced it a lot but the audience in the film didn’t know what I was going to do.

Q: All in one shot that is amazing.

Jim: I was working full time at a comedy club and on the drive to work I came up with a monologue for an actor, so effectively I did my rehearsals in my car.  I used a voice memo app to record what I was doing and the good stuff I came up with I transcribed into a script.

Q: Michael, your film got shortlisted for the Oscars, can you tell us a bit about that.

Michael: Well, it is a very Irish narrative. We were also self-funded. It was totally our own project. I wrote it on the train in a notebook – jotted it down. I feel you need to do at least one short film before you leave your thirties. I felt I just had to make this short film. We all have these projects we really need to do but we just have to stop talking about it in the pub and get out and do it.

We began by chasing the money to make it while scribbling the script at night. The idea was little but it grew and I didn’t need to force it – it was easy to get it.  It took only a couple of days to write.  The script ended up slightly different from the original idea. Great ideas set you on fire. You can’t wait to get them down on the page.  ejected ideas, on the other hand, don’t usually see the light of day.

Q: How hard was it to get into the head -pace to act in the film?

Jim: it was miserable!  I had to get into the mind frame of the character but also find the humanity in him. We had no funding for the film but didn’t really need it. I tried to tell a traditional story about a funeral, which is a classic structure.

Q: What was your route to the Kerry Film Festival?

Michael: We had success in the Tribeca Film Festival which really turned the whole thing around.  Up until then we had had some rejections. It hadn’t, at this stage, played in Ireland, which was worrying. After America and Tribeca, there was a domino effect… very fast it was in demand.  Then came Foyle Film Festival and the Oscar route. At that time Foyle was the only festival to offer this.  This finally opened many doors for us.

Jim: When we got accepted to Sundance, we knew nobody. We had firstly been too late for the normal dates on Withoutabox, so we found the programmer on twitter and persuaded her to let us in the back-door. We got a waiver for the last date and had to pay a late fee but it was worth it.  Then our next problem was that we didn’t have the rights to Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Thunder Road’.  We had to get onto Park City and try to persuade them to let us use the song.  You are supposed to have this sorted out for festivals but we didn’t.  So in the end, after getting nowhere down the traditional routes, we wrote an open letter to Bruce and posted it online. They got back to us and gave us the rights for one year, we had to pay €1000 and had to take down the open letter.  It was a bit scary there for awhile but it was worth it.

Q: Distribution?

Michael: We are in talks with Network Ireland – it’s the dream to get a distribution deal.

Jim: Online is such a different route to distribution.  Sundance cost us €3000 just to go to the festival.  You don’t make short films to make money. We just wanted people to see the film.

Q: After the year, that you agreed, for the rights to use the song ‘Thunder Road’, what will you do?

Jim: We have to take the film down from the internet.

Q: One take for your shoot Jim – how long did that take?

Jim: We had a couple of takes. The actors gave some great reactions to the piece. It’s five minutes of a monologue and every take I had to restart again, which was tiring.

Q: Michael, what was the journey like to the Oscars?

Michael: Let me just clear one thing up firstly, I did not wear a Dunnes Stores suit to the Oscars, despite the rumours!  I wore one alright to nominees lunch.  But for the Oscars we got a suit from a tailors in Balbriggan and I still have it.

Q: Was it a great feeling to have been there?

Michael: It’s all a bit surreal really to be honest.  It definitely opens doors. We suddenly got meetings with the Irish Film Board, which we couldn’t get before.  Things were way slower without. It is scary though, your life goes into a flux.  It’s a strange rollercoaster but in a good way.

Jim: Sundance is a strange place to win an award and for awards. To get it though leads to acclaim and more accolades, it definitely opens doors. It can lead to serious production offers. There is a lot of interest suddenly in you but you still have to still generate stuff – you can’t just sit and admire your achievement, instead you still have to work.  You still have to make more movies.  It does put you on a path though which is good.

For further information on Jim Cummings and Thunder Road follow him on Twitter or like the film’s Facebook page

For further information on Michael Creagh and The Crush follow him on Twitter:


The Short Film Market Panel Discussion with Michael Creagh & Jim Cummings took place on Saturday the 22nd of October, 2016

The Kerry Film Festival took place from the 19th to the 23rd of October 2016.




Kerry Film Festival – Masterclass with Jim Cummings: Thunder Road – Breakdown of a Journey to Sundance


Eleanor McSherry was at Kerry Film Festival’s Masterclass with Jim Cummings, an award-winning producer, writer and director. Jim presented a masterclass on the key stages of production on his short film Thunder Road. The case study film also screened at the session, plus a discussion and Q&A. 

Jim Cummings, actor-director, is the award winning person behind the film Thunder road that won the Sundance Film Festival award for best short film.  He had submitted before but was unsuccessful – but this time he won. He took a chance by entering his film to the festival – a one-take film, which is unusual.  Sundance not only screened the piece but also awarded the film the festival grand-jury prize for short film.

There was a good crowd for the workshop with a good mix of ages and film experience.  We were located in a boardroom around a big table in front of a big screen for the workshop.  It was nice and intimate.

The workshop began by watching the Sundance award-winning short film, Thunder Road:

Jim, scripted, directed, edited, sound mixed, and starred in the short film, which is one long shot of a police officer eulogising his mother at her funeral. Gradually, over the course of the eulogy, the officer starts to lose his composure, eventually breaking out in a rendition of Bruce Springsteen’s titular song.  It is a very human, funny story told in a brilliant way.

His amazing journey began when he got the call on the 19th of November last year saying, ‘We’d like to screen this at Sundance.’  He could not believe it and in facts says, “I never thought it would get into a big film festival. And then we won, which was crazy.”

How it all began:

Jim believes that anyone can do what he did, which is a very humble thing to say.  His story begins with making that first decision to make his own film and stop making other people’s.  He had been acting for other people for so long he wanted to give himself a chance.  So he decided to jump in and make his own film for a change.  He never thought that it would win.

The idea:

The idea for a dancing, mourning messed-up cop (single take) was thought out in his car on his way to work while listening to the radio.  Then he heard Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Thunder Road’ and felt it was the perfect song for the film. He practiced and practiced every day and recorded himself and wrote down the best bits in his car.  Jim feels lucky that the film’s twelve or so minutes has a good enough mix of comedy, tragedy and human interest to keep the audience interested.


What Jim feels makes his character in the film so sincere to the audience is that he is very human. The Bruce Springsteen song evoked strong emotions for the character, Jim asserts, of family, legacy and parenthood.  The character offers emotional punchlines right from inception, to try and get the audience to identify with him.  In a way comedy is tragedy but in film it happens to someone else.  If it is a one-shot film it forces the audience to take in everything that is happening.  In this long take he fits in love, empathy, parenthood and a host of other emotions.  While it wasn’t an easy shoot he feels it was the best way of doing what he wanted with the film.

He believes there should be more single-take films produced.  Single locations aren’t as hard as you think and there is a lot you can do with it.  There is no flashy production values or special effects – just the character baring his or her soul on the screen.

It is difficult performance-wise; there is no audience to react to you. There were no ‘marks’ on the floor that he had to make, as each time he did the take it was slightly different.  He stressed that when it was being edited that the audience was to be paramount in their minds.  It had to work for an audience… or what was the point?


According to Jim, “We ran a really cool crowdfunding campaign with a great video. You need a teaser trailer to get funding so it’s worth doing from the beginning.  We bugged our friends and spammed Facebook groups to get what we needed. We then put up fliers in expensive restaurants and yacht clubs. The thing about crowd funding is to offer big and small rewards because everything helped. We only asked for what we needed. We had family investors on stand-by at the deadline in case we got nothing.  It worked out ok though!”

The music, the Boss:

How he got the rights to the music is a very interesting story.  He hadn’t gotten them before he uploaded the film to Sundance.  When the film was selected they realised that maybe that wasn’t a good idea to not have gotten them before.  So they asked for the rights by email from the music company, Springsteen’s lawyers and agent.  There was very little in the way of a reply. They tried many different routes to secure the rights but to no avail.  So in the end, with the festival looming, they put an open letter on the internet begging the Boss to give them the rights. The letter caught the imagination of social media and we can only guess that the Boss was hounded by people saying ‘go on’, give the guy the rights.  The music company eventually got back to them and gave it to them for one year but the open letter had to be removed straight away.


You submit blindly to Sundance. They get approx. 870 submissions a year in the short-film category.  They have an 8-10 short programme.  He not only submitted to Sundance but also to SXSW as well but nothing came back from either initially.  One bit of advice Jim gave was that if you are planning your film, keep them 12 minutes or under – it is easier to get them screened at festivals if they are that short.  They travelled with the film to Sundance.  It cost approx. $4500 for ten days in Sundance, over the course of the festival, which is a lot of money on top of making your film.  It is well worth going though, as it not only is a fantastic experience but you also have great networking opportunities.

They had such fun making the film that they decided to make a documentary of the trip to Sundance Festival.  He did a series for one of the movie magazines, Filmmaker Magazine, about the experience but as opposed to playing it straight, they made a spoof. It is hilarious and Jim felt it was even funnier considering they won.


Jim told the group, “As you know there is a limited lifespan really for a short film and I just want as many people to see my films, so in that vein, we released our movies online for free. Then we reach out to blogs and media outlets asking them to help promote the releases. We gave them the advantage of being the first to break the story and the bonus is we get as much of our stuff seen.

After Jim spoke, he opened up the discussion to the people attending the workshop.



Q: how much did your film cost to make?

Jim: Production was €8000, post €80. Sundance cost a lot but that came after and was an unexpected expense.

Q: The audiences that have watched the film, do they all get it?

Jim: I’d like to think so.  We get a lot of laughs at the screenings I’ve been to which is what you want.  When you practice and practice the dialogue you aren’t sure what was hilarious the first time is still funny.  Definitely some people just got it and there are a few that didn’t but that is ok!

Q: Did you have to have many takes?

Jim: Six takes, the best ones then were decided in the edit. Especially when you are dealing with young actors, their reactions cannot be rehearsed really, beforehand.

Q: What is the meaning of the film, was there one you decided before?

Jim: No, the film contains many meanings and interpretations.

Q: Did you write a script, in the traditional sense?

Jim: Sure, there was a lot of dialogue and every time I practiced it, I’d add a bit more.  But it was all written down in the traditional format.

Q: What influenced the dialogue?

Jim: Well, every time i practiced it in the car, it changed.  I also had discussions with my DoP and producer, so they had a say in it too.

Q: How was the shoot planned?

Jim: We had a very tightly planned shoot.  It was very well planned and we also had a couple of rehearsals.  It helped me to get my part perfect or at least to where I was happy with it.

Q: Where was the rest of the dead woman’s family, her children?

Jim: we purposely left them out to give the impression that there was family conflict.  What it is, is hard to say but I wanted him on his own, a loner, who had little support, even from his own kid.  We see that in the film and at the end.

Q: Since you have won, what has happened?

Jim: Well it’s a bit crazy, as everyone wants a piece of you.  You get a lot of meetings with people who wouldn’t even return your calls before.  You have to have other projects you would like to pitch though.  You can’t have these people’s ear and say nothing.

I am also working on other projects at the moment.  One was filmed in April straight after Sundance with six different characters and we filmed 10 minutes of their lives, called Minutes. It was single location piece, which had the advantage of being cheap and short.  You can make stories anywhere.  Features need more money and as a result are commercial entities but short films don’t and that his a huge advantage.

Q: Can you give us some idea of the breakdown of the finances for the film?

Jim:     Camera: $250

Permits: $812

Insurance: $250 (1 Million dollar coverage)

Fisher Dolly: $250 ($2500 deposit for the day)

Location: nothing but a $2500 deposit

Extras: $40

Craft: $250

Gaffer/focus puller: $350

Lenses: $750

We also paid people, different amounts depending on their experience etc.


Q: A Feature next?

Jim: Not sure!  I would love to work on a feature as a writer/director or as an actor.  My acting is going ok and I have an agent.


Q: Did you study film theory?

Jim: in so much as I watched, watched and watched movies.  You can’t make movies or good ones without being a fan of movies, it’s just not possible.


Q: Did you get any money for winning Sundance?

Jim: $8000


Q: Actors?

Jim: If you use the same pool of actors it can make the shoot go smoother.  They know you and you know what you can get out of them.  It’s great. If you can produce something that people like then you have an in.  There is such freedom in short filmmaking, there are no commercial pressures and you can make anything you want.


Q: Have people sent you scripts?

Jim: I get sent scripts and some are great but some are really bad.  I have been sent some interesting projects and they are great.  I’ve also been working on a treatment for Fargo TV, a one-off series.


Q: Collaboration?

Jim: It’s best if you are collaborating on a script that you meet a person face to face.  Doing it by email or over the phone doesn’t really work.  Skype is ok but can be hard to get across what you want or see.  Start your collaboration with a great character and a broad idea.  It’s a good place to start.  Keep your audience in mind as well, that’s important.


Q: Pitching for funding, any advice?

Jim: Keep your pitch to ten sentences, at the most.  If you can’t sell it in ten sentences you won’t be able to sell it.  Also you should act part of the script out, it’ll give the producers, or whomever you are pitching to an idea of what you are trying to get at.  It can be very effective.  Also having a short promo can also be good.  Impressing people enough to give you funding for a short film or any film is the hardest part of the whole process. If you can get that right you are doing very well.


At the end of the workshop, Jim offered help to everyone who attended and he hoped everyone to follow him on twitter.  He comes across as a very down-to-earth, funny and a generous guy who is genuinely nice. Jim wanted everyone in the room to just go out and make films.  He truly felt, and listening to him you believed him, that anyone can make a film and the younger you start the better but age has very little to do with it.  Shorts open doors, he assured us and once the door is open the sky is the limit.  Everyone really enjoyed the workshop and felt that it was well worth attending.  It left me with a huge amount of food for thought!


If you want more information on Jim Cummings follow him on twitter: @jimmycthatsme or check out his vimeo page



The Masterclass with Jim Cummings took place at the Killarney Plaza Hotel on the 22nd of October, 2016.

The Kerry Film Festival took place from the 19th to the 23rd of October 2016.





Kerry Film Festival – ‘Mattress Men’ and Q&A with director Colm Quinn


Eleanor McSherry reports from the screening of Mattress Men and the Q&A with director Colm Quinn at the Kerry Film Festival.

Mattress Men is an Irish feature documentary film directed by Colm Quinn and produced by El Zorrero Films, which is Dave Clarke and Ciarán Deeney.  They are an independent production company based in Dublin, Ireland with over ten years experience. 

The Kerry Film Festival premiere of this film played to a packed audience. The film is the true story of Mattress Mick and Paul Kelly, the man who made Mick a legend in the world of mattresses.  The story goes that Paul and Mick, were the creators of the eccentric online persona ‘Mattress Mick’ and through the film they have their friendship challenged as they try to earn a living in a recession.

It is a very timely film that symbolises the struggle of the ordinary guy who is trying to make a living in order to provide for his family in a very competitive environment.  The documentary is told in a very ‘fly on the wall’ way and at times you feel that the Paul and Mick forget that they are in front of a camera and crew.  They are two excellent characters and both are real Dublin men, who wear their hearts on their sleeves. Paul Kelly, though, is the real star of the documentary and was very brave to allow for his family life to be filmed in such an open way.  His story adds the real grit to this film.


There was a short Q&A after the screening with Colm Quinn, the director. 

Q: How did you do it and make it so endearing?

Colm: The film was made really by the honesty and openness of Paul and Mick.  They were so open with us and this made the film.  They never stopped us from filming something.  By the way, Brian ‘the mattress man’ Traynor is a true hero as well. 

Q: It’s a very frank story, you had all the elements, like conflict, how could you know to be there at all the right moments?

Colm: We never left the place and were so lucky to have been there for nearly three years.  Paul is the protagonist and Sean was happy to be the villain.  Paul’s family were very open and honest.  This film though took a couple of years of footage, so you can image there was a lot and we really didn’t know what the real story was until we watched it back.  The story takes Paul on a journey, there is no science to it.  We waited for the story to evolve naturally and then it hit us. 

Q: Where did the idea come from?

Colm: We met Paul on Pearse street and he pitched the idea to me.  When we met him, he immediately started talking about himself.  I think he heard about us and thought that what they were doing, the Mattress Mick idea, might make a good documentary.  All Paul’s goal was to get a good secure job to support his family and this is all he actually wanted.  He wanted Mick to give him that job security and he didn’t giving up until he got it.  You have to admire him for that. 

Q: How well has it done internationally?

Colm: It has gone to Niagra Falls which is amazing.  It is a very understandable universal story.  It has also gone to Spain, Germany and all over Europe. 

Q: When you met Paul first, how did you know then it would be a good story?

Colm: We reckon Paul might have known us as we were only a couple of doors up from the shop where he works.  Talking to him, I felt, it was a great story.  He wasn’t reluctant and was anxious we knew everything.  We never knew where the story was going to go and that was exciting. 

Q: So you just let it take you there?

Colm: Yeah, that’s exactly it. The story evolved naturally.  We didn’t have funding which at times was scary but we knew we had something. 

Q: How did you finance it in the early days?

Colm: It was a labour of love and we did it very cheaply, we had no choice.  We don’t get a financial return from it for a long time.

Q: When did you know you had something?

Colm: We set mini goals along the way. You’ve got to remember this was a three-year process.  We had to respond straight away to any development.  For example a friend in Switzerland told us Stephen Fry tweeted about ‘Mattress Mick’ and we just had to drop everything and go to get something on that.

Q: How’s that we never see anyone buying mattresses in the shop?

Colm: Oh, they did get sold!  The shop was doing ok financially. 

Q: Did Paul get his house in the end?

Colm: Not yet!  He’s doing ok though but is still separated from his family, which is sad. 

Q: Did you find it hard to distance yourself from the storyline about his family?

Colm: Paul talked to us and was a mate.  It was hard to distance ourselves and get on with Mick when we saw what was happening.  Mick is a straight-talker but Paul is the one who was more open about his life and hardships.

Q: Did you expect such an emotional reaction to the film due to the fact of the political (austerity) content/context?

Colm: As a filmmaker you are always looking for that universal subject that people can relate to.  From the get-go this felt like it was going to give us that.  Austerity, family, Dublin, poverty; there were lovely little moments that located this documentary in a bigger world.  It was special in that way.

If you want to get more information about the film please look at their Facebook page

Mattress Men screened on Saturday, 22nd of October, 2016 at Cinema Killarney

The Kerry Film Festival took place from the 19th to the 23rd of October 2016.


Kerry Film Festival – Kerry Connection


Eleanor McSherry reports from the Kerry Connection programme at the Kerry Film Festival highlighting the wealth of talent creating film in the county.

Maeve McGrath, the Artistic Director of the Kerry Film Festival, noted the success of the Kerry Connection programme moving to the bigger screen after selling out. “This meant there were approximately 400 people at each screening. This is very heartening to see as there is always a fear that if you show local films there won’t be the same volume of audience. This was not the case in Kerry.”

At the Kerry Connection – Discovery Shorts Screening, the films covered subjects such as domestic abuse, environment, miracles, landscape, talent, coming out, bad decision-making and oddity.  There was also a mixed bag of animation, documentary and short drama.  The first session had eight films: The Black – Director Mark Riordan (pictured), Save our Seas – Director Aoife King, Uisce Beatha – Director Elaine Kennedy, The Uncharted Atlas of Iveragh, LEFTLINE Shane O’Donovan – Director John Kennedy, Blue Shawl – Director Mike O’Dowd, Deadly View – Director Malcolm Willis and lastly Tale of a Tinkerer – Director Ben Hutchinson.

The most notable films were: The Black, Save our Seas and LEFTLINE Shane O’Donovan.

The Black: ‘Jane interviews Sarah about a violent incident that happened between her parents’.  This was shot in black and white with flashbacks.  The plot centred on a young child’s perception of an incident that took place between her parents.  It is a film with a message but not one that you might expect!  For more information on the film please look at their facebook page:


Save our Seas: ‘a short animation raising awareness of the problem of over-fishing and its impact on our seas’. It is a very colourful, ‘stop-motion’ short short animation with a message about the Irish environment, especially our seas.  It offers factual information in a very interesting and palatable way.  It also raises a serious issue that we should all be thinking about, the over-fishing in the waters around the Irish coast.  A nice reflective piece and a well-made film!


LEFTLINE : ‘this short documentary offer a glimpse into the life of Cork-based artist Shane O’Donovan’.  This was a clever little short profile documentary that gave a brief insight into the process of one of the country’s ‘up and coming’ artists.  It is different to the previous documentary in style as it is observational with narration to camera from the artist himself which has a very intimate feel to it.  The short offers a window into this world and is well shot, with very good sound.


There was another sold-out session for the the Kerry Connection – Reflection Shorts Screening. This session offered five films: Animus – Director Ryan Higgins, Banna Strand, County Kerry 1916, The Day After – Director Des Fitzgerald, Lemon Drops – Director Kevin Kelleher, Fred – A Journey Home – Director Paul Dolan and lastly Apis Andreniformis – Director Shay Nolan.  This offering covered a mix of gangland, 1916, dark comedy, cycling and hollywood.

My personal picks are Banna Strand, County Kerry 1916 – The Day After and Animus.

Banna Strand, County Kerry 1916 – The Day After: ‘ a seven year old is curious on seeing book prints coming out of the sea on the day after Roger Casement landed’.  A beautiful black and white short short, Banna Strand,is shot in one location with no dialogue. It is just a very simple short film.

Animus: ‘a retired thug is dragged back into the world he has tried to forget when he is forced to help an unlikely friend, a 17 year old boy’.  The film is a cross between Jack Reacher meets Love/Hate. Its plot is very fast-paced and energetic. Maybe a bit long for a short film, that could have had a minute or two shaved off.  The fight sequences, of which there are many, are choreographed well and, though a little bit staged, are effective.  The main character gives a very credible performance.


The Kerry Connection programme took place on Sunday the 23rd in the Killarney Cinema


The Kerry Film Festival took place from the 19th to the 23rd of October 2016.







Kerry Film Festival – Nickel Film Festival Shorts Screening



Eleanor McSherry reports from the Nickel Film Festival Shorts Screening at the Kerry Film Festival 


The Nickel Independent Film Festival began in 2001 in St. John’s, Newfoundland. Inspired by a need for local filmmakers to show their films, the Nickel occurs each year in the third week of June at the historic LSPU Hall. With diverse selections from every genre, it continues to expand its programming, and screens local, Canadian and foreign short films, features, documentaries, animations, music videos, and experimental films. Along with 5-8 screenings of independent films, the festival offers workshops, panels with filmmakers, and special events as well as showcasing local performing and visual artists.

The Kerry Film Festival once again connected with the Nickel Film Festival in an exchange of short films this year. They sent over six short films that screened at the festival: Wide and Death – Director Matt Wright, Terra Nova Matadora – Director Rhonda Buckley, Touch – Director Noe Harris and Mark O’Neill, Olilo – Director Ao Li, The King of the Hill – Director Anh Minh Truig and lastly Marie’s Dictionary (pictured) – Director Emmanuel Vaughn Lee.  This films covered subjects such as death, matadors, poverty, love, the future and a dictionary.

My personal selection are: Tera Nova Matadora, Touch and Marie’s Dictionary.

Tera Nova Matadora: ‘the incredible story of Carolyn Hayward, who in 1957, began her career as a famous professional bullfighter in Spain, Mexico and throughout South America’.  It’s about a female bullfighter from Newfoundland, named Carolyn Hayward. This was a documentary told by Carolyn’s daughter through stories, old footage of interviews, pictures, newscasts and newsprint.  It was shot well with a wonderful musical score.  It was very interesting to see how someone, especially a women, survived in such a male-dominated sport.


Touch: ‘When a single mom, facing eviction, is offered a nights work, she unsuccessfully seeks a babysitter for her two small children.  Desperate, she reaches out to the last person she wants to ask for a favour’.  This tale starkly lays out the story of a single parent who lives in poverty. She has little support and must rely on the charity of others to survive.  It is a very moving film that is lovingly shot and is very sad.  It is a film that a lot of people can relate to, sadly.  For further information on this film see its facebook page


Marie’s Dictionary: ‘this short documentary tells the story of Marie Wilcox, the last fluent speaker of the Wukchumni language’. This is a fascinating story that we, as Irish people, can relate to.  This woman wants to save her dying native language and so began a very detailed dictionary.  Today, more than 130 Native American languages are endangered, with several languages on the verge of extinction. The documentary, while observational in style, has a couple of interviews as well. It is heart-warming and important.  It illustrates one woman’s passion for her native language and sheer determination to see it survive.


The Nickel Film Festival Shorts Screening took place on Sunday, 23rd October at 2pm in the Killarney Cinema.

The Kerry Film Festival took place from the 19th to the 23rd of October 2016.







Kerry Film Festival – ‘International’ Shorts Screening


Eleanor McSherry reports from the ‘International’ Shorts Screening at the Kerry Film Festival.

There was a great crowd at the screening of this year’s International Shorts after being moved from the smaller cinema screen that the films were screened on Friday and Saturday into the bigger screen for Sunday.

There were seven films in this selection, ranging from Northern Ireland to the USA.  They covered diverse subject matter such as time-travel, suicide, murder, disability, rain collecting, twins and great loss.  The films were: Northern Ireland’s The Way Back (pictured) – Director John Carlin,   Australia/Greece’s 3000 – Director Antonis Tsonis, USA’s Hunter – Director Jane Geisler, UK’s Dreaming of Peggy Lee – Director James Everett, UK’s The Rain Collector – Director Isabella Wing-Davey, USAs Twinsburg – Director Joe Garrity and Switzerland’s Frail – Director Ares Ceylan.

There are always some films that just stand out and this year they were: The Way Back, Dreaming of Peggy Lee and Frail.

The Way Back, ‘Faye tries to discover the real truth behind the disappearance of her young sister 25 years ago’. This film is a clever SciFi movie with a heart-wrenching analysis of the effect of the loss of a sibling on those that are left behind.  Told through a mixture of flashbacks and present, you don’t want to miss a minute of this as you aren’t really sure where it is going.  It’s shot cleverly with sterling performances from all the cast and has a killer twist.  For more information look on twitter

Dreaming of Peggy Lee, ‘Two children escape their oppressive care home to sneak into a 1940’s jazz club in London’. This multi-award winning film was my personal favourite of the whole festival. It won the award for Best International Narrative.  It is a beautifully shot, brilliantly acted film – especially seeing as the main actors are so young – and it’s a fantastically uplifting tale.  There is very little dialogue but it does not matter.  The story really got to me and looking at the audience I wasn’t the only one.  A very simple idea very well executed and uniquely told.  One I’d definitely highly recommend viewing!  For more information look on twitter

Frail or Puppenspiel, ‘Ruben is orchestrated by his father’s rules.  Everything changes when he enters the forbidden workshop’. This film is ingenious and for the first couple of minutes threw me down a very blind alley.  I thought I knew what it was about but at the end it was not where I saw it going at all. The location for the shoot was beautiful – an old style cabin, which gave it a very sinister look and feel.  It came off as a thriller but it was not what you’d expect at all.


The ‘International’ Shorts Screening took place on Sunday, 23rd October at 12pm in the Killarney Cinema.

The Kerry Film Festival took place from the 19th to the 23rd of October 2016.


Kerry Film Festival: ‘Irish Stories’ Shorts Screening



Eleanor McSherry reports from the ‘Irish Stories’ Shorts Screening at the Kerry Film Festival.


The Irish Stories Shorts Screening presented 6 stories that had an Irish theme to them, covering the auld Irish stories of the mean teacher, coming home after emigration, coming out, losing your child in an odd place, reflection and mid-life crisis.

The films screened were: The Boring Diary of Frances Noone – Director Cara Holmes, Homecoming – Director Sinéad O’Loughlin, Lily – Director Graham Cantwell, Gridlock – Director Ian Hunt Duffy, Pause – Director Niamh Heery and Wifey Redux – Director Robert McKeon.

Three deserve special mention: Homecoming, Lily and Gridlock.

Homecoming, ‘a young man struggles to find his place in life after returning to Ireland’.  It is a poignant take on the subject of emigration, family, opportunities lost and how austerity affected rural areas.  It’s a very relevant film in the times we live in and is well written.  The acting was spot-on with a great performance from David Greene.  This film deservedly won the best ‘Irish Narrative’ award at the festival and I think that director  Sineád Loughlin is one to look out for in the future.

For more information on the film follow it on facebook and www.homecomingshort.com

Lily, ‘is a girl with a secret on the cusp of becoming a young woman, is faced with the greatest challenge of her life’.  It is a ‘coming out’ story but told in a very different way.  Without wanting to give too much away, it shows that since the vote on marriage equality not too much has changed.  I was expecting something that was going to be clichéd and done before, but was pleasantly surprised. It was shot well with good performances from Clara Harte and Dean Quinn.  It was a very brave script.

For more information on the film follow it on facebook and twitter


Lastly, Gridlock, ‘when a little girl goes missing in a traffic jam, her father forms a desperate search party and soon everyone is suspected’.  It stars the rising star that is Moe Dunford and is a ‘wow’ film. A thriller, it starts with that age-old story of telling your child to stay where they are and they just don’t.  I was totally clueless about where the film was going and just when I thought I’d figured it out, it spun me a 180 degrees.  It was such a clever and well executed script.  Well done to Ian Hunt Duffy and co.!

For more information on the film follow it on facebook:



‘Irish Stories’ Shorts Screening took place on Saturday, 22nd October at 1.30pm in the Killarney Cinema.

The Kerry Film Festival took place from the 19th to the 23rd of October 2016.



Kerry Film Festival Kicks Off


Kerry Film Festival opens Wednesday 19th October for five days of short film, feature film and film industry events. The festival will open with the sold-out World Premiere of Kerry made Feature Film, Making It.

The festival will open and close with the World Premieres of two Kerry feature films, Making It produced by the National Digital Skills Centre at Kerry ETB and Brackenmore (pictured), produced by Caragh Lake Films who collaborated with a number of local organisations including Kerry County Council and the Kerry ETB. The production of these films is a testament to the determination of production companies filming in Kerry and the wealth of locations in Kerry suitable for filming.

The short film programme is an integral part of the Kerry Film Festival schedule and this year there are 16 programmes of short film. With an international focus on short film reflected in the programme including a new exchange of films with the renowned Kendal Mountain Festival, there is also an overflowing programme of Kerry short films in the KERRY CONNECTION programme highlighting the wealth of creative talent creating film in the county.

Filmmakers and Industry professionals will gather in Killarney on October 22nd for the SHORT FILM MARKET where panel discussions and conversations will take place with industry guests discussing short film and and a special focus on the diaspora in the Irish International Film Festival panel. Jim Cummings, winner of the Grand Jury prize at Sundance will take a Masterclass on hi s journey to Sundance with Thunder Road and there is a casting workshop for actors with ‘Sing Street’ casting agent, Louise Kiely.

Critically acclaimed feature films include A Good Wife which opened in Sundance this year and in keeping with the festivals tradition of focusing on music in film, KFF also hosts the Irish premiere of Paul Thomas Anderson’s Junun and the acclaimed music documentary, We Are X. With a documentary on the Life of Ken Loach, Versus and the Kerry Premiere of Mattress Men with director Colm Quinn in attendance, a selection of films that will appeal to all.

So put the dates 19th-23rd October in your diary and journey to Killarney to enjoy the cinematic delights of the shorts, features and events of the Kerry Film Festival 2016.

For more information on these screenings and others at Kerry Film Festival please log onto www.kerryfilmfestival.com or just call 066 712 9934.



Kerry Film Festival Programme Announced




The 2016 Kerry Film Festival (KFF), which runs from 19th -23rd October, has announced the programme which includes the world premiere of two kerry features, Making it (pictured) and Brackenmore, the Irish premiere of two music documentary films, Junun and We Are X, a special 1916 film commemoration to include a screening of Mise Éire in a association with the IFI and a curated selection of Irish and International Short Films and Events

The 17th edition of the festival will present 16 programmes of short film in 2016. The short film programme is an integral part of the Kerry Film Festival schedule and this year films were submitted from Kerry to Japan to Peru and further afield. With an international focus on short film reflected in the schedule there is also an overflowing programme of Kerry short films in the KERRY CONNECTION programme highlighting the wealth of talent creating film in the county.

Artistic Director of the Kerry Film Festival, Maeve McGrath said, “The festival will open in Cinema Killarney with Kerry Made feature film, Making it from Director Eamonn Norris. We are delighted to showcase a film produced and filmed in Kerry as our opening film in the festival. Another Kerry Made feature film, Brackenmore will close the festival.”


For more information on these screenings and others at Kerry Film Festival visit www.kerryfilmfestival.com or call 066 712 9934.




‘The Black’ Screens @ Kerry Film Festival


Mark Riordan’s The Black is set to premiere at the Kerry Film Festival in October.

Jane (Detective) is interviewing Sarah, about a Domestic Abuse incident that happened between her parents the night before. Sarah’s father has a dangerous and violent past and Jane believes that he is violent against Sarah’s mother. Sarah is her last hope in this case…


The Black shows how Domestic Abuse can affect a whole family. One striking aspect is that it shows how males can be affected too. The film asks the question, what’s really going on inside and the Kerrymen behind the film, said they wanted to encourage people to think differently.


Speaking to Film Ireland, Mark Riordan says,  “Nobody ever knows what is going on inside someone else’s mind. We never know what internal struggles people are going through and  sometimes we can be too quick to judge. Myself and Aaron (Producer) hope that The Black can help encourage people to be more aware of this. We got AV3 Productions and an excellent cast on board and I am delighted that we are premiering it at the Kerry Film Festival next month”

Call For: Artistic Director @ Kerry Film Festival

Artistic Director


Job Title:  Artistic Director Kerry Film Festival 2016

Appointment:  Six-month contract

Responsible to:  Board of Directors


Kerry Film Festival (KFF) is an internationally recognised short film festival which takes place across the County of Kerry. The 17th annual festival will take place in Killarney from 19th – 23rd October.  Its mission is to select and screen national and international feature films of the highest standard for local visiting audiences, create a year- round programme of events and promote the county as a major filmmaking destination.


The role of the Artistic Director

The Artistic Director will be responsible for the artistic vision, creative programming, and leadership of the Kerry Film Festival in October 2016. The Artistic Director will report to the Board and will ensure that the Festival achieves its artistic, film, audience and financial objectives to the highest standard.


To select, secure and /or approve high quality Judges, all guest directors, producers, visiting actors, overseas guests.


To develop the widest possible audience for the Festival, in the county of Kerry, nationally and internationally.


To work in close collaboration with the board, to lead, direct and oversee Kerry Film Festival Fund raising strategy and foster strong relationships with existing patrons and potential sponsors.


To broaden and diversify sources of income through fund raising and explore all opportunities to ensure the Festivals Future growth and expansion.


To ensure the effective and responsible financial management of funds and present financial reports to the board when attending meetings.


To implement the Board’s business plan and vision for future development of the year- round programme.


To oversee and manage staff in accordance with best practice and standards.




Skills and experience

Clarity of artistic vision and ambition, passionate about film.


Experienced and a proven track record with the ability to programme, collaborate and work to the highest standards.


Knowledge of marketing, media, and audience development.


Good knowledge of film and arts funding.


Ability to inspire and motivate, delegate, negotiate and manage.


Excellent communication skills, verbal and written and presentational.



Salary:   c €18-20K as per 6 month contract


Please forward CV and Cover letter to:


Closing date for receipt of application Friday 20th May










Call For: Short Films for Kerry Film Festival


The Kerry Film Festival, which will take place from 19th to 23rd October, is now inviting entries for its short film competition in categories such as Best Narrative, Best Documentary, Best Animated Film, and Best Original Score.

KFF has previously featured successful shorts such as the Oscar short-listed Head over Heels in 2012, the 2014 Oscar winner Mr Hublot and in 2015 the Academy Award winner Stutterer by Ben Cleary.

Emerging filmmakers are at the core of the Kerry Film Festival programme, with the short film competition geared towards showcasing their work and bringing it to a wider audience both at home and throughout a growing network of partner festivals across the globe.

Filmmakers have the chance for their work to be seen by a panel of adjudicators which has in recent years included leading lights such as Richard Baneham who is an Academy Award and BAFTA winning Animator, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes Screenwriter Mark Bomback, Directors Lenny Abrahamson and Paul Greengrass, and Producer Finola Dwyer.

With an early bird deadline of 11th May and a final closing date for submissions to the 2016 competition on 11th July, there’s plenty of time to send your film.

Check out www.kerryfilmfestival.com for full details on how to submit your entry.