Irish Short Film Review: Lily

Sarah Cullen takes a look at Lily, Graham Cantwell’s short film about a girl with a secret, who is faced with the greatest challenge of her young life. 

“I’m not homophobic. I have lots of gay friends,” scoffs a character in Graham Cantwell’s Filmbase-produced short film Lily. Indeed, it is claims such as this that seem to ring out, almost like a refrain, across our so-called tolerant society: a society in which bigoted actions are often cloaked in liberal speech. The character who speaks these words is here is a secondary school teacher (Lynette Callaghan), something that shouldn’t come as a surprise. After all, in our post-referendum society, many Irish schools are still unwilling or unable to address the requirements of its gay, lesbian and transgender students. Lily deftly illustrates this failure, taking as its focus the lack of adequate LGBT information provided in a sexual education class. It’s just too early for Ireland as a nation to start patting itself on the back in relation to LGBT rights: if we continue to fail some of our most vulnerable members of society – children – how can we claim to be inclusive?

This is what the eponymous protagonist discovers when she attempts to come out in school. After confiding in her friend, Violet (Leah McNamara), about her sexuality, Lily (Clara Harte) becomes the target of bullying from fellow students. As a result, she suffers a violent encounter in which a group of girls corner her in the bathroom and leave her with some serious injuries. Lily discovers that her parents are of little help and turns instead to her close friend Simon (Dean Quinn). Simon is already known around the school for being out and “in-your-face,” and brings Lily to meet Oonagh (Amy-Joyce Hastings), a young woman who takes Lily under her wing. Oonagh advises Lily to adopt a new persona, and to tough it out: things get better after school, we learn.

Director and writer Cantwell should be lauded for his light touch which addresses so many current issues regarding LGBT experiences in Irish society. It’s important to recognise that marriage equality is not the be-all and end-all for many gay and lesbian individuals in Ireland, and indeed this is alluded to in Lily’s portrayal of Oonagh’s decision to choose her own path. To this end, director of photography Eimear Ennis Graham successfully illustrates the confining nature of its school in comparison with the wider potential of Dublin city. The film also examines Simon’s performativity as a young gay man in a heteronormative environment, highlighting how such personas can be used as a defence against the hostility of straight society.

The film’s denouement, in which Lily confronts her bullies, is similarly commendable in the way it handles the complexities of its issues. The film does hint at better days to come, and while Lily should of course be celebrated for her bravery (and Harte gives an admirably spirited performance), a sense of pathos and loss remains: that no LGBT child should be forced to endure their school days, and their survival should not be dependent upon the thickness of their skin. Lily’s recent success testifies to its resonances with audiences around Ireland and abroad: it was both nominated for an IFTA and won the 2017 Iris Prize Youth Award. I’d argue that Lily should be added to the school curriculum: although I suspect it may hit too close to home for those who would like to ignore the continuing failures of the Irish education system. After all, how could they be homophobic? They probably have gay friends…

 

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Lily has screened at over 50 international festivals worldwide, including the prestigious Savannah Film Festival and the Rhode Island International Film Festival. It won the Youth Award at the Iris Prize Festival, the Blue Riband event on the LGBT festival circuit, known as the LGBT Oscars. It was nominated for Best Irish Short at the 2017 Irish Film and Television Academy Awards, was nominated for an Irish Writers’ Guild Award and won the Best Irish Short Award at the two biggest festivals in Ireland, The Galway Film Fleadh and the Audi Dublin International Film Festival, qualifying for Academy Award consideration in the process. At the Santa Fe Film Festival Lily was awarded the Best International Short Film award and Director Graham Cantwell was honoured with the Courage in Cinema Award. The film also won awards at the Underground Cinema Film Festival in Dublin and in San Diego, North Carolina, Barcelona and Durban in South Africa. Lead actress Clara Harte was voted Best Female Actor at the Pune International Queer Film Festival in India and at the Underground Cinema Awards, where Amy-Joyce Hastings also won the Best Supporting Actress award.

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‘Lily’ Gets IRIS Prize Nomination 2017

 

Graham Cantwell’s IFTA-nominated LGBT drama Lily has been selected to compete for annual LGBT short film award the IRIS PRIZE, the world’s largest LGBT short film prize. Presented annually during the October film festival of the same name in Cardiff Wales and dubbed the LGBT Oscars, the winner will receive a £30,000 prize funded by The Michael Bishop Foundation.

 

Cantwell commented: “The Iris Prize is the blue riband event on the LGBT festival circuit, so to be chosen to compete with such an incredible selection of films is truly an honour. Our inclusion in the festival, the Iris Outreach programmes and the Iris partner festivals will help us to bring our anti-bullying message to a much wider audience.”

 

 Lily has had a very successful run on the international festival circuit worldwide. and upcoming festival screenings include Taiwan, Barcelona and Kansas.

 

The film tells the story of Lily, a girl with a secret, on the cusp of becoming a young woman. With her best friend, the fiercely loyal and flamboyant Simon, she navigates the treacherous waters of school life. When a misunderstanding with the beautiful and popular Violet leads to a vicious attack, Lily is faced with the greatest challenge of her young life.

 

Lily was produced by Sharon Cronin, executive produced by Film Venture, Filmbase and Powerscourt Pictures and was shot on location in Dublin. The film is internationally distributed by Network Ireland Television.

 

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‘Lily’ Success @ Santa Fe Film Festival

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Lily has won the award for Best Narrative Short at the Santa Fe Film Festival. Directed by Graham Cantwell, Lily was made in conjunction with the students on The Filmbase Masters programme.

The film tells the story of Lily, a girl with a secret, on the cusp of becoming a young woman. With her best friend, the fiercely loyal and flamboyant Simon, she navigates the treacherous waters of school life. When a misunderstanding with the beautiful and popular Violet leads to a vicious attack, Lily is faced with the greatest challenge of her young life.

 

Lily was executive produced by Film Venture, Filmbase and Powerscourt Pictures and was shot on several locations in and around Dublin.

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‘LILY’ Screens @ Savannah Film Festival

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Following its Oscar-qualifying success winning the Tiernan McBride Best Short Drama Award at the 28th Galway Film Fleadh, Lily, a new LGBT drama, written and directed by Graham Cantwell, will continue its journey on the film festival circuit at the Savannah Film Festival this coming October as part of the Global Short’s Forum.

The film will also screen at the Cork Film Festival in November and the Kerry Film Festival in October.

The film tells the story of Lily, a girl with a secret, on the cusp of becoming a young woman. With her best friend, the fiercely loyal and flamboyant Simon, she navigates the treacherous waters of school life. When a misunderstanding with the beautiful and popular Violet leads to a vicious attack, Lily is faced with the greatest challenge of her young life.

The film stars Gaiety graduate Clara Harte and introduces Dean Quinn in the leading roles of Lily and Simon respectively. Amy-Joyce Hastings (The Callback Queen), Paul Ronan (Veronica Guerin), Aisling O’Neill (Fair City), and Lynette Callaghan (The Yank) come together as the supporting cast, alongside newcomers Leah McNamara and Hallie Ridgeway.

Lily will be internationally distributed by Network Ireland Television. Sadhbh Murphy of NITV says, “We are very proud to be representing Lily, which has already seen great success in Ireland, winning the top award at the Galway Film Festival, and now about to screen in competition at the Cork and Kerry Film Festivals. We anticipate it will have similar success in the international shorts’ scene.”

 

Sharon Cronin, Indah Pietersz, Emma Carlsson and Ciaran Byrne produced, with Eimear Ennis Graham as Director of Photography, Sonja Mohlich as Costume Designer, Tom North as production designer, Marina Granville as Key Makeup and Hair Artist and Keith Ward as Stunt Coordinator. The score was created by two time Emmy nominated composer Joseph Conlan. The film also features music tracks by JD Kelleher, Peter M Smith and Hello Monroe.

Sharon Cronin, producer says “We are really proud to be playing the film at the Savannah Film Festival, the festival has such a rich history of screening the very best of films from all over the world. I think we found a really great home for our US premiere.”

Lily was executive produced by Film Venture, Filmbase and Powerscourt Pictures and was shot on several locations in and around Dublin.

For more information on the film follow it on facebook: facebook.com/LILYshortfilmIR/ and twitter @LILYshortfilm.

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Filmbase @ the Fleadh

The-Randomer

 

This year’s Galway Film Fleadh features a wealth of films supported by Filmbase over the last year. From shorts to features there’s a whole host of talent on offer at this year’s Fleadh, starting with The Randomer. Written by Gerard Stembridge (About Adam, Ordinary Decent Criminal, Nora), The Randomer is a modern comedy about sex, love and procreation.

Free-spirited Meg thinks she has everything she wants, a great job and a vibrant city life full of trendy bars, cafés and social nightlife. But her life is suddenly turned upside-down when she finds herself needing the one thing that she least expected – a baby. With the clock running out before she hits the dreaded 40, it’s a race against time to find an uncomplicated man for the perfect baby.

If only Meg can avoid the pitfalls of modern dating, she might suddenly discover that the perfect no-strings-attached man isn’t so random. 

Produced by the Filmbase Masters in Digital Feature Film Production Programme, The Randomer screens on Wednesday, 6 July in the Town Hall Theatre at 22.00.

More details on the Filmbase Masters programme can be found at www.filmmasters.ie.

Buy tickets here

Cardboard Gangsters

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Stalker Films and Five Knight Films in association with Filmbase present Mark O’ Connor’s latest feature film. A group of young cardboard gangsters attempt to gain control of the drug trade in Darndale, chasing the glorified lifestyle of money, power and sex.

Cardboard Gangsters screens on Saturday 9 July in the Town Hall Theatre at 22.00.

Buy tickets here

It’s Not Yet Dark

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It’s Not Yet Dark, produced by Filmbase/RTÉ Short Film winner and Filmbase tutor Kathryn Kennedy, is a feature-length documentary telling the story of Simon Fitzmaurice, a talented Irish filmmaker who is living with motor neurone disease. He was diagnosed at the age of 34, after his short film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. His wife was expecting their third child and they were left shocked and reeling.

Simon refused to give up and started to work on the script for a feature film – My Name is Emily. Now, five years later, the father of five children, he is completely physically incapacitated.

It’s Not Yet Dark screens on Saturday, 9 July at the Town Hall Theatre at 16.00.

Buy tickets here

 

Foxglove

Foxglove

In the wilds of Connemara, an engineer and his daughter are targeted by an ancient and angry force from within the earth itself.

Directed by Brian Deane, Foxglove was funded through the Filmbase/RTÉ Short Film Awards.

Foxglove screens as part of New Irish Shorts 1 on Thursday,  7 July in the Town Hall Theatre at 10.30.

Buy tickets here

We Have Each Other

We-Have-Each-Other

A young couple try to survive a crisis, but the real danger may be far more personal than either of them realise.

We Have Each Other is produced by Filmbase student Roisin Kearney and stars Filmbase tutor Patrick Murphy.

Directed by Naomi Sheridan, We Have Each Other screens as part of New Irish Shorts 4 on Friday 8 July in the Town Hall Theatre at 12.00.

Buy tickets here

Lily

LilyClara_Harte-300x169

The story of Lily, a girl with a secret, on the cusp of becoming a young woman. With her best friend, the fiercely loyal and flamboyant Simon, she navigates the treacherous waters of school life. When a misunderstanding with the beautiful and popular Violet leads to a vicious attack, Lily is faced with the greatest challenge of her young life.

Lily was produced by the students on the Filmbase Masters in Digital Feature Film Programme and written and directed by Graham Cantwell.

Lily screens as part of New Irish Shorts 4 on Friday 8 July in the Town Hall Theatre at 12.00.

Buy tickets here

Check out our preview of all the Irish films at this year’s Galway Film Fleadh here 

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‘Lily’ to Premiere at Galway

Lily(Clara_Harte)

Lily, a new LGBT drama written and directed by Graham Cantwell, will premiere at the 28th Galway Film Fleadh in July.

The film tells the story of Lily, a girl with a secret, on the cusp of becoming a young woman. With her best friend, the fiercely loyal and flamboyant Simon, she navigates the treacherous waters of school life. When a misunderstanding with the beautiful and popular Violet leads to a vicious attack, Lily is faced with the greatest challenge of her young life.

The film stars Gaiety graduate Clara Harte and introduces Dean Quinn in the leading roles of Lily and Simon respectively.

Director Graham Cantwell says, “This film is really important to me, dealing as it does with the very sensitive issue of bullying. Some of our especially vulnerable young people are members of the LGBT community, and I’m very grateful to the BeLonG To organisation for their advice and support while I was writing the script.”

Sharon Cronin, Indah Pietersz, Emma Carlsson and Ciaran Byrne produced, with Eimear Ennis Graham as Director of Photography, Sonja Mohlich as Costume Designer, Tom North as production designer, Marina Granville as Key Makeup and Hair Artist and Keith Ward as Stunt Coordinator.

The score was created by two-time Emmy-nominated composer Joseph Conlan, whom Cantwell previously collaborated with on The Callback Queen. The film also features music tracks by JD Kelleher, Peter M Smith and Hello Monroe.

Lily was executive produced by Filmbase and Film Venture, and was shot on several locations in and around Dublin.

Full details of the screening will be announced by the Galway Film Fleadh shortly.

 

 

 

 

 

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