Stay: Preview of Irish Film at the Galway Film Fleadh



Fri 11th July



Stay, the lastest film from director Wiebke von Carolsfeld, has been selected to screen at the 26th Galway Film Fleadh. Co-produced by Samson Films, it stars Orange is the New Black‘s Taylor Schilling as a young Canadian woman who decides to leave her life in Conemara when she discovers the father of her unborn child has no interest in raising the child.

Wiebke Von Carolsfeld told Film Ireland, “I am absolutely thrilled to bring Stay home to Ireland. It was a blast to shoot the Irish part of the film in Connemara. The crew was an absolute delight, working with true dedication under sometimes less than ideal conditions – we managed to shoot the film in the rainiest June on record. The actors were uniformly inspiring”.

Shot across Co. Galway and Montreal, the film is an Irish-Canadian co-production between Dublin’s Samson Films and Canadian-based production companies Amerique Films and Submission Films.

Schilling plays Abby, the woman who’s life is rocked when the man she loves Dermot, played by Aidan Quinn, want nothing to do with their unborn child. Stay is an exploration of how our past defines our present and our need to engage with others defines our future.

Tickets are available to book from the Town Hall Theatre on 091 569777, or at


Producer Martin Paul-Hus will attend the screening.

Director: Wiebke von Carolsfeld

Cast: Aidan Quinn, Taylor Schilling, Michael Ironside

Script: Wiebke von Carolsfeld

Producers: David Collins, Martin Paul-Hus, Andrew Boutilier


JDIFF: Irish Film Review – Stay


Stacy Grouden reports from the screening of Wiebe von Carolsfeld’s latest drama Stay.

The title of Wiebe von Carolsfeld’s latest drama Stay suggests a longing, a desire for stasis and stability, and follows its cast of characters as they seek to get somewhere they can comfortably remain. If your gut reaction to this is that the quest for equilibrium for the sake of equilibrium seems antithetical to drama, you might be on to something.

Adapted from Aislinn Hunter’s 2005 novel, Stay opens with Abbey (Schilling), a young Canadian ex-pat, who lives by the sea in Connemara with her older lover Dermot (Quinn), a former Archaeology professor with a troubled past. When Abbey discovers that she’s pregnant, she returns to her native Montreal to reassess her life, uncovering some painful truths about her parents in the process. Meanwhile, in his ‘home at the end of the world,’ Dermot, an unwilling candidate for fatherhood, distracts himself by helping a recently-returned single mother (McGuigan) adjust to her new life, as well as enlisting a mitching schoolboy (Keoghan) to build him a fence.

While this is very much marketed as a drama about a May-December romance in crisis, writer/director Von Carolsfeld has described this as more of a story about a number of the residents of this barren Connemara periphery looking for a place to stay, to call home.  Indeed, the subjects of this introspective epistemological quest are well-chosen; along with the clichéd ‘man in his 50s having a mid-life crisis,’ shifting the focus to a pregnant 30-something, a teenage boy, and a mother of a newborn potentially offers a variety of interesting results and opposing perspectives as to where each character sees themselves going – or staying – in life. The fact that they all come to seemingly very similar conclusions, however, is disheartening. It feels more like a generic narrative wrap-up than a fully-satisfying conclusion.

Von Carolsfeld does some interesting things with language and geography, neatly contrasting the chic urban French-Canadian Montreal with the Connemara Gaeltacht giving each locale a separate, multi-sensory identity. Yet this representation of Ireland, while thematically connected with Dermot’s narrative, is questionable at best. Even as the romanticisation of this bleak rural landscape is mocked within the world of the film itself – as Dermot expresses his disgust at the ‘Idyll by the Sea’ cottage development proposed by his neighbour – it clings to the rustic, outdated view of Ireland, at least this part of it, as a retreat from modernity. While Dermot’s self-imposed exile from Dublin is certainly complemented by his surroundings, details like JFK paintings in badly-weathered houses where the dead are waked in their own beds clutching daisies give the film a stage Irishness that is not altogether comfortable for a contemporary Irish viewer to experience.

The performances in Stay are rather uneven. The most convincing come from the young Irish cast members, Barry Keoghan and Nika McGuigan, who subtly infuse their light and aimless conversation with a keen sense of how lost and adrift youth make sense of the world. While leads Quinn and Schilling have both proven capable of low-key performances in the past, and each have quiet, graceful moments in this film, there are times when conversation between the two sounds less like a call-and-response, than two actors merely reeling off their learned lines. This hit-and-miss chemistry expends to most of the rest of the cast, with even the father-daughter relationship enacted by Schilling and Michael Ironside appearing even more strained than that between their characters. Some weak scripting and awkwardly-forced exposition only further detracts from the naturalistic tone a modernist film like Stay – heavy on personal relationships, light on plot – requires to work.

Taking an interestingly decentred approach to some complex themes of intimacy and belonging, Stay undoubtedly has its moments and great potential for something more, but ultimately doesn’t build a world in which one would wish to linger.

Click here for further coverage from the 12th Jameson Dublin International Film Festival.



JDIFF 2014: Irish Film Preview – Stay



Saturday, 15th February 2014

8:00PM @ Cineworld

Stay is about a group of people caught at a crossroads, each struggling to find a place to  stay, a place to call home.  Abbey (Taylor Schilling of Orange is the New Black) finds  herself in love with Dermot (Aidan Quinn), a disgraced professor in his 50s who’s retreated to the rugged expanse of Connemara years ago. Their happy existence is  upended when Abbey finds out that she is pregnant and Dermot is too immature to  consider the idea of fatherhood. Uncertain about her own feelings, Abbey decides to  return home to Canada.

Initially relieved, Dermot reclaims his tiny cottage by the sea, once again master of his  own domain, albeit a small one. In an attempt to keep the outside world at bay, he  begins an archaeological dig which renders unexpected results, including a budding  friendship with Sean, a lost boy from the neighboring village, and Michael, a former  colleague who knows too much about the past for Dermot’s liking. In the end, however, it  is his encounter with Deirdre, a pregnant big city girl who returns to the village because  of her mother’s sudden death that opens Dermot’s heart to the idea of nurturing his own  child.

Back with her dysfunctional father Frank, Abbey realizes that Montreal no longer feels  like home. Repeating an age-old pattern, she turns to self-destructive behavior but in the  end, it is a painful discovery about her own mother that sets her free.

Spaeaking to Film Ireland, director Wiebke von Carolsfeld said that she is “absolutely thrilled to bring Stay home to Ireland. It was a blast to shoot the Irish part of the film in Connemara. The crew was an absolute delight, working with true dedication under sometimes less than ideal conditions – we managed to shoot the film in the rainiest June on record. The actors were uniformly inspiring. Aside from working with proven local actors like Brian Gleeson, Darine Ni Dhonnchadha, Fred McClosky, Carrie Crowley and Chris McHallem, it was the discovery of talents like Nika McGuigan and Barry Keoghan that was truly gratifying. Both give fabulously layered performances in Stay, especially considering that for Nika this is her first feature film.”

Tickets are available to book from Filmbase or online here

Click here for the trailer

Director: Wiebke von Carolsfeld

Cast: Aidan Quinn, Taylor Schilling, Barry Keoghan

Duration: 99 minutes


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


The 12th Jameson Dublin International Film Festival runs 13 – 23 February 2014.