GAZE International LGBT Film Festival Roundtable

From left to right Katie McNeice, Tom Speers, Maya Derrington, Gemma Creagh and Roisín Geraghty

In this podcast, we welcome three filmmakers whose works are screening at this year’s GAZE International LGBT Film Festival (1 – 5 August). Maya Derrington, Katie McNeice and Tom Speers join Gemma Creagh to talk about their films and filmmaking.

Plus festival director Roisín Geraghty pops in to give us a quick look at this year’s programme.

Frida Think (Maya Derrington)

A woman walks into a party dressed as Frida Kahlo, only to find that her version of unique has mass appeal.

In Orbit (Katie McNeice)

A hypnotic and beautiful love story between two women that crosses both time and space.

Boy Saint (Tom Speers)

A sumptuous short film of friendship and adoration between boys, based on a poem by Peter LaBerge.

The GAZE International LGBT Film Festival runs from 1 – 5 August 2019. 

The Irish Shorts programme screens at  6:30pm at the Light House cinema on Sunday, 4th August.

Full programme & tickets here.



Film Ireland Podcasts


Pyjama Girls

Pyjama Girls

DIR: Maya Derrington • PRO: Maya Derrington, Nicky Gogan • DOP: Suzie Lavelle • ED: Paul Rowley

Anyone who frequents Dublin’s inner city knows to whom this title refers: a particular social group who walk the streets wearing obnoxiously brightly-coloured pyjamas. These girls are not from one particular area of Dublin but often seem to be found near Dublin City Council flats. Maya Derrington’s intimate documentary chooses one such girl and follows her for a few months in 2009.

The wonderful thing about Pyjama Girls is that it does not try to be shocking, it doesn’t try to attack the culture that bred these girls, it doesn’t try to condescend to anyone; the film merely shows, very personally, the lives that these girls lead. Our leading lady, Lauren, while not always likeable, is brave and honest and clearly never allows the camera to influence her actions and reactions. She proves a perfect subject as she hides nothing, nor is she ashamed of anything.

Her reasoning for wearing pyjamas is slightly odd though, as she claims they wear them around ‘the flats’ because they are like one big house and it feels normal to just wear your pyjamas around. So why wear them into town? Who knows? That question was left unanswered, but the film alludes to the idea that society cares little for these girls so they care little for society’s norms. This may be a rather grandiose claim, but one that may, in some way, be true.

Personally I was expecting a documentary about the phenomenon of the pyjama girls and how widespread it is, but what this film does is far more intimate. Perhaps my questions about these girls who swarm all over my local Spar were left unanswered, but the content itself was sincere and touching enough to make up for that and this is ultimately an engaging and enjoyable human drama.

Charlene Lydon

Rated 15A (see IFCO website for details)

Pyjama Girls is released on 20th August 2010

Pyjama Girls/Still Films – Official Website



Nicky Gogan and Maya Derrington

As part of Film Ireland‘s coverage of Still Films week at the IFI, in this podcast Ross Whitaker talks to the makers of the feature documentary Pyjama Girls, director Maya Derrington and producer Nicky Gogan.

Pyjama Girls opens exclusively at the IFI on Friday 2oth August coinciding with the Still Films Season.

The filmmakers discuss their inspiration, funding sources, their festival strategies and the challenges involved in structuring a feature length documentary.

This is a podcast of approximately 31 minutes duration.




Spotlight on 'Pyjama Girls'

Pyjama Girls

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pyjama Girls is released in the IFI on 20th August