Mechanic (Tom Sullivan, Feidlim Cannon)
Laura Gaynor picks her ten favourite shorts from this year’s Galway Film Fleadh.
This year I did what (I think) is known as the shorts marathon. It is an almost self-explanatory term and involves going to all the short films at the Galway Film Fleadh.
One of the reasons I like going to shorts screenings in particular is because of the range of stories told in contrast to just one type of story during a feature. Hence, value for money. However, if you’re a full-time chancer like myself, you might be able to get a free ticket. The cool thing about film festivals is that the people who worked on the film are usually in the cinema. I always find it funny when you settle into a screening and realise afterwards how the lead actor was sitting beside you the whole time. Lastly, the main reason I prefer film festivals is that people applaud after the movies. As small as this sounds, I hate when you go to a regular cinema and no one claps. It feels unnatural to watch a performance and not applaud. Applause concretes the shared experience that is watching movies in the dark. Without further ado, here are my favourite ten shorts – in no particular order:
The Beauty Of Ballybrack
Old Bríd McNamee turns her house into a homestay for Spanish students but when the young divas cannot be tamed, Bríd returns to her witchy ways.
Director: Megan Woods
Producer: Amber Miles
This film was a graduate piece from the National Film School. I really enjoyed last year’s grad films and made a point of checking out their website to see how many would get through this year. The short centres on an old woman living alone in Dublin. Young at heart, she fancies the postman and writes letters to herself in a bid to advance their relationship. Bríd turns her house into a homestay for Spanish students but has ulterior motives. The film was good fun and had a great sense of colour. It was bilingual and was in no uncertain terms: hilarious.
Mark is struggling with an unexpected change in his life when he meets Sara, opening his eyes to a new perspective of the world around him.
Director: Steven Daly
Producer: Oisin O’Driscoll
This was another IADT graduate film, with a clever idea to it. I liked its hook at the beginning with the secretive lead actor. It had great art direction and some nice lighting. The makers of this film left free paper cranes outside the cinema to coincide with one of the main ideas of the film. Who doesn’t like freebies?
I Can’t See You Anymore
Having woken up from a coma after an accident, psychotherapist Aidan Clifford is forced to confront the consequences of his own actions.
Director: Michael Kinirons
Producer: Ailish Bracken
A very original short about a man who’s dealing with the fallout of a car accident. My favourite part was the conclusion of the film but also the tension created throughout the film with flashbacks. It also had a commendable score and cinematography.
The Missing Scarf
(WINNER Best Animation)
A black comedy exploring some of life’s common fears: fear of the unknown, of failure, rejection and finally death. Narrated by George Takei.
Director: Eoin Duffy
Producer: Jamie Hogan
A brilliantly abstract animation by Vancouver-based animator Eoin Duffy. I mainly liked this one because of its style, characters and script.
Alia is an Afghan-Irish girl torn between two lives. When her secret relationship with an Irish boy comes to her sister’s attention, it forces the family to make a decision that could ultimately tear it apart.
Director: Clare Dix
Producer: Nodlag Houlihan
Since most of the films seemed to centre on adults or young children, it was refreshing to see one in there that was about teenagers. I thought this short had a nice understated feel to it. Hat’s go off to the guy who played Alia’s Dad – he was fantastic.
Eoin’s life is turned upside down when an unexpected mix of regulars and strangers turn up during his shift at a local petrol station.
Director: Phillip Kelly
Producers: Dave Leahy, Liam Ryan
Starring a man who said he’d let his face be used as a tee box for a winning lotto ticket, this film easily garnered the loudest response of the Fleadh. During an impossibly boring night shift, a first-time mugger attempts an ill-prepared raid of the shop. Although he has a gun, both the shopkeeper and customer call his bluff to hilarious effect. The actors had a great sense of timing and worked from a well-written script.
In the wilds of Connemara, a mischievous boy discovers a creature from Irish folklore washed up on shore. They embark on a journey that sparks an unlikely friendship.
Director: Adam Kavanagh
A very unusual story, but I loved it. When a Connemara boy meets a Loch-Ness-type creature, they become the best of friends. A beautifully animated short from Ballyfermot College of Further Education.
Heart And Hand
From its humble roots in the fishing village of the Claddagh, the Claddagh ring has identified the Irishness of its wearer, both living and lost.
Director: Emma-Kate O’Reilly
Producer: Galway Film Centre
Of the short documentaries I saw in the Fleadh, I noticed how lots of them could work from really simple ideas. This film was about a man who sells Claddagh rings – but it explored it in a very interesting way.
(WINNER of Best First Short Film)
Agus an rang á ullmhú don Chéad Comaoineach, dhiúltaíonn Rúbaí é a dhéanamh, ag maíomh gur ‘atheist’ í.
While the class are preparing for their First Holy Communion Rúbaí refuses to do it, claiming she is an ‘atheist’.
Director: Louise Ní Fhiannachta
Producer: Gemma O’Shaughnessy
The only film to take home both an award and a special mention, this was by all means the best gearscannan of the week. Much of the charm of this film stems from an engaging performance by young Doireann.
(WINNER of Best Short Drama)
A mechanic fixes up an old car and drives into the Dublin Mountains to end his life, but old age catches up with him..
Directors: Tom Sullivan, Feidlim Cannon
Producers: Tom Sullivan, Siun O’Connor, Derek O’Connor
What seemed like an impossibly dark film at first ended up as one of the best plot twists I’ve ever seen. The film itself was very simplistic and didn’t veer from the inside of a car. This was one of the last shorts I saw during the Fleadh and definitely my favourite of the week. I was not surprised to see it take The Tiernan MacBride Award for Best Short Drama.