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

Submissions are via FILM FREEWAY  (


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.