Dave Svedberg, Writer of ‘Caper

 

A film about two guys who want to blow a guy up but forget to bring a lighter.

Film Ireland nips out to the garage in the middle of a homicide to chat to writer Dave Svedberg about his short film, which screens at the Underground Cinema Film Festival.

 

The initial creative spark for Caper came from our producer Eoin Naughton. For years he’d been wanting to do something in his home town of Tullamore and a fantastic location he’d been sitting on, The Old Texas shopping centre, had just been scheduled to be sold and redeveloped. The upcoming Filmbase/Film Offaly short film award would prove the last opportunity he’d have to actually use it. It was incredibly good fortune that at this time I was desperately struggling for ideas. I reached out to Eoin on the off chance that he might have something to work with inspiration wise and was astounded when he got back to me in under two minutes with a rake of photos from this beautifully dilapidated shopping centre.

 

I’m a firm believer in writing about what you know ,which is unusual because I’m admittedly a mild-mannered man from a relatively nice area who decided to do a short about hardened gangsters trying to explode someone. Ultimately though, Caper‘s really not a short about gangsters or explosions, I wrote it in a more or less improvised way with no ending in sight and the whole ‘trying-to-find-a-lighter’ plotpoint wound up dominating the whole film. Everyone’s had one of those nightmare days where trying to accomplish a mundane task just utterly cripples you with a string of bad luck, and it’s that relatable sense of unrelenting failure and adversity in the face of something trivial that informs the film’s humour. It’s not really a parody or subversion of the gangster genre, it’s just a comedy of errors in which people just happen to be hired murderers and thieves.

 

I wrote the film quite pragmatically, cutting out anything too expensive or intimidatingly complicated to the film that might scare off potential directors. Much to my delight, once director Brian O’Neill got on board, his first piece of feedback was that these elements needed to be added back in. It wasn’t that I had told him that these things were originally there and now missing, he had independently arrived at the same conclusions I had, and then repeated them back to me. As someone who’s cautious about handing my work over to other people, this solidified instantly that we were on the same page and I’d picked the right man for job.

 

The only issue we butted heads over during the course of re-writing was the relatability of our characters. With a black comedy it’s quite difficult to strike that perfect balance where someone’s awfulness is just excessive enough to be humorous but not so bad as to become loathsome. The issue resolved itself once the film was cast. There’s just something inherently likeable about Johnny Elliot and Peter O’Byrne that allows the audience to let them away with anything, while Brian Fortune brought a perfect mix of menace and humour to the film’s more villainous role.

 

Production was an absolute breeze on account of the community being 100% behind us. We paid no fees for any of our locations, and got astounding rates for the construction of our film’s hero prop, a towering cast-iron safe from All Set Scenery. We fit our entire crew into the Central Hotel in Tullamore, again at a generously reduced rate, which added a great sense of community and camaraderie between the crew’s 50/50 mix of industry professionals and eager up-and-comers, as it turned the three days into an ongoing experience rather than just a job that people clocked in and out of. The town even put up a screening with an open invitation to encourage the locality to take an interest in local filmmaking. Caper owes just as much of what it is to where it was filmed as it does to the people who filmed it.

 

The film really came together in post, Brian was editor as well as director, which meant that none of J.J. Rolfe, our incredibly talented D0P’s work was wasted on the cutting-room floor. Paul Bushe’s colour grading combined with Kevin O’Brien’s light jazzy score gave the film a wonderful noir aesthetic that perfectly accentuates the film’s old-school slapstick vibe.

 

I am insanely grateful to everyone mentioned above, as well as the rest of the cast and crew, for making this film what it is. We’ve had a wonderful festival run, which will be culminating this Saturday at the Underground Cinema Festival in Dun Laoghaire where I hope people have as much fun watching it as we all did making it.

 

Caper screens as part of the shorts programme on Saturday, 2nd September as part of the Underground Cinema Film Festival 

 

Buy tickets here 

 

The 8th Underground Cinema Film Festival takes place in the Royal Marine Hotel in Dun Laoghaire from August 31st to September 3rd.

 

 
 
Caper is up for 5 awards at this year’s Underground Cinema AwardsBest Comedy – Directed by Brian O’Neill 

Best Supporting Actor – Peter O’Byrne

Best Editor – Brian O’Neill 

Best Sound – Arran Faye 

Best Score – Kevin O’Brien

 

 

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Stephen Clarke Dunne: How We Made ‘Thank You Come Again’

Director Stephen Clarke Dunne takes us into the world of adult shops in Thank You Come Again, which screens at the Underground Cinema Film Festival.

Thank You Come Again is a feature-length drama comedy day-in-the-life type story with a mosaic of seemingly unrelated characters centered around an adult shop. Dillon, Mary and Fergus have a life-changing decision to make as a ruthless diamond smuggler comes to realize their precious inventory has gone missing. Meanwhile, Harry has one last chance at getting that one last job to see him to retirement, Fr. Francis has to decide which passion he must follow in life, Lisa goes looking for her missing husband James – who likes a good refund, Fr. Rejoice has serious concerns about his young understudy who is spending too much time with a certain ‘local parishioner’, Naomi has to balance dating an adult-shop owner with working for a psychotic boss, and Bridget has to keep bringing her dear son Timmy to confession cause he can’t seem to keep himself out of a certain shop of sin.

The idea came about completely randomly as myself and John Sweeney [co-writer] were walking through the city one day. As we walked past an adult shop on the way to shoot a scene for John’s showreel we both turned to each other with the same thought in mind – wouldn’t it be hilarious if we set a film inside of one of those kooky-looking adult shops! Later that evening we had come up with the story and most of the characters in the film. As we discussed how to sum up the film in a one sentence we came up with the tag line there and then: “A Porn Shop, Priests and Blood Diamonds… What Could Possibly Go Right!?” The film was mostly self-funded by myself and John with Fingal County Council providing funding towards post-production.

Along the way, we encountered our greatest hurdle – tragically our wonderful cast member and great friend Steve Harris was killed in a workplace accident. With almost half the film still to be shot, and Steve Harris due to be in most of it, it looked as if the project was finished. Myself and John Sweeney talked about it and decided we wanted to finish the film after all the hard work everyone had put in, and especially for Steve. We managed to re-write large chunks of the remaining film and somehow got the film finished. The film is now dedicated to Steve Harris and his brother Alan who also died in the accident.

The cast and crew are really looking forward to the Irish premiere of Thank You Come Again after three and a half years of hard work against all the odds. To top it off, we have been selected as the closing film.

 

Thank You Come Again screens on Sunday, 3rd September as part of the Underground Cinema Film Festival 

 

Buy tickets here 

 

The 8th Underground Cinema Film Festival takes place in the Royal Marine Hotel in Dun Laoghaire from August 31st to September 3rd.
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Emma Carlsson & Aisling O’Halloran, Producers of ‘The Randomer’

 

Film Ireland talks modern love with producers Emma Carlsson and Aisling O’Halloran of The Randomer, which screens at the Underground Cinema Film Festival.

Produced by the Filmbase Masters in Digital Feature Film Production Programme, The Randomer introduces us to Meg, who is trying to find a way to be a mother on her own terms. Co-producer Emma Carlsson begins by explaining how the Filmbase Masters programme prepared the students for making a feature film. “Everyday you’d have a masterclass where professionals would come in and talk about their profession. Mix that in with a lot of practical assignments where you get to try different roles within the crew, and voilà – you’re as ready as you will be! With film you learn best by doing, so I’d say the best way to prepare yourself/teach yourself how to make a feature film is to make a feature film. Filmbase gave us that opportunity.”

Aisling adds that “there is no doubt at all that Filmbase is a practice-based course, with workshops taking place in lieu of traditional lecture-based masters. There are several practical shoots throughout the year so you are really thrown in the deep end. I was a producer on our first assignment – a three-day shoot, having never worked as a producer before. It was trial by fire, but this heavily influenced my decision to pursue producing on The Randomer.”

 

The film was directed by three of the students, Naji Bechara, Caoimhe Clancy and Iseult Imbert, and Aisling admits that it was a little daunting for everyone, both cast and crew, coming into the project. Fortunately, any nerves were soon calmed when they sat in a room with the three directors for the first time. “They presented a cohesive and singular vision from the get-go. Luckily this remained strong throughout the shoot, thanks to their extensive work in pre-production.” Emma seconds that approach: “Having a clear, cohesive idea from the beginning and working with one DoP who knew how the directors wanted the film to come out was key here.”

 

According to Aisling, “the process of dividing the script did not come until much later in the project, less than half a week before the shoot began. The directors worked as one the entirety of the shoot, with complete artistic cohesion across style, vision, etc. Any director could direct any scene, knowing the core of what was needed, falling into the shoot based on scheduling. Fairly enough, each director eventually directed a third of the film.”

 

The project was always on terra firme with a script from Gerard Stembridge, whose credits include Ordinary Decent Criminal and About Adam. “The script was a complete revelation,” says Aisling. “A feature film depicting a woman who is making her own choices about her life, and is unapologetic about them. That is totally refreshing in film. Dublin is portrayed as a vibrant, young city, which is rare in the gangland, grey landscape that has been the trend in the last few decades. Gerard made a script that was very easy for a young film crew to get behind, energy wise.”

 

On using Dublin as a location, Aisling recalls how one of the directors likened their vision to that of a French film: “you know that it’s set in Paris, yet you never see the Eiffel Tower. They wanted this for Dublin in The Randomer,and that was what sold their pitch to me personally and heavily influenced the project for me. We have a young, energetic team who have experienced Dublin in a different light to generations before – let’s try and get some of that energy to The Randomer. Where is the newest, best cafe? What are people listening to? Where are they drinking? That thread is something we hope shines through in the film.”

 

Looking back over the whole experience, Emma and Aisling talk about the challenges they faced and the lessons they learnt making a feature film. “When trying to get actor’s availability work with location’s availability you face a lot of scheduling difficulties,” Emma says. “I’m so proud of our crew for pushing through. While most of our crew were a part of our class, some of them did it just for the experience, and showed up everyday with a smile on their face! We were honestly so lucky to attract such an amazing group of people. Same goes for our actors, who did everything in their power to make sure we got the best film we possibly could. Something that I truly learnt throughout this project is to take one thing at a time, that problems will keep coming – but so will solutions.”

 

Aisling agrees on the challenges of scheduling. “Definitely with low-budget filming. You are at the mercy of people’s kind generosity with their time and availability, and working around this. This cafe can do this for free today, but this crew member has to work until 8pm. The make or break of a film is in pre-production. We had less than two months for pre-production and shot it, something I would definitely not recommend! Many lessons learned in such a short time period though.”

 

The Randomer screens on Sunday, 3rd September as part of the Underground Cinema Film Festival 

 

Buy tickets here 

 

The 8th Underground Cinema Film Festival takes place in the Royal Marine Hotel in Dun Laoghaire from August 31st to September 3rd.

 

 

This is an edited version of an original article published as part of our Galway Film Fleadh coverage.

 

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Noel Brady, Director ‘Self Tape’

Jim Dunne, a disillusioned actor attempts to make a self tape audition piece. Time and time again he tries to record himself, each time failing more than before. What started out as a ‘Self-Tape’ ends up being a life-lesson, and a hard lesson to learn.

Film Ireland points the camera at Noel Brady and asks him some questions about his short film Self-Tape, which screens at the Underground Cinema Film Festival.

 

 

What can you tell us about the origins of Self Tape.

I first heard about Self Tape from John Duggan while we were in production on my feature film Full Circle. John had written the monologue some years ago as part of an acting course. At that time, John had shown the script to Pat Nolan who helped him develop it a little further.  Back to the present day, while making Full Circle, John had asked if I would direct and shoot the monologue at some stage, which I happily agreed to do.

Self Tape was never meant to be anything big, with a little direction from yours truly the idea was just to get John’s words off the page and on to the screen. By this time, my feature film Full Circle had begun production. John had one of the leading roles of Ross Stapleton in the film, so Self Tape was put on the long finger.

A little time went by and production on Full Circle was on a break.  It was at this point that I really looked at the script and was very impressed with both the bravery and honesty of John’s writing.  I could see how much depth was contained within the writing and within the character, so much more than merely an actor making a self tape.

 

Talk us through the process of script to screen?

In the script for Self Tape we see a man that represents a modern male in today’s society.  A man that struggles with being a Father and a Husband. But more than this, this is someone who struggles with what it means to be a man in the 21st century.  The pressures to ‘be strong’, to ‘suck it up’, to ‘be a man’.  And yet this pretense fades to darkness, as a stifled small voice so lonely, lost and desperate crying out for help…  And yet is never truly heard.

The script touched on many issues that I felt gets over looked in today’s society.  So much so that I was compelled to make it into a short film.  And so I picked up the phone, rung John and asked if he would mind if I expanded on his writing to develop it into a screenplay and ultimately into a short film.  He loved the idea and told me to go for it, and so I did.

In the original script the character ‘James Dunne’ is performing a piece for Self Tape – the piece is ‘The Boor’ my Anton Chekhov.  This was originally performed three times, with the character stopping having made mistakes.  I edited this down to two times, and from here I made only minor changes to the original script.  However, I felt that the original script was more suited for stage.  As the character speaks, we learn of his thoughts of suicide in the form of a proposed car trip up in the Wicklow mountains. To add a new dimension to the script, I elaborated on the car trip and turned it into the character walking in the Wicklow mountains instead, walking to his end.

I felt that this new element gave the script a good juxtaposition.  Having the character walking in the wilds of the Wicklow hills would be a stark contrast to him seated in front of the camera.  This particular element really opened up the script and made it more filmic.

In the script his words sounded of desperation, hinting at suicide.  Suicide is always a tricky one to tackle, it’s something that pops up a lot in short films.  So the challenge I had was not to make it the focal point of the film, rather a crossroads, and more importantly a choice.  With this in mind I finished the first draft of the script with the small changes and the added scenes of the character walking.  I crossed my fingers and sent it off to John to see if he would like it.  Thankfully, John came back to me and loved what I had done and we agreed to set about taking the words off the page and up onto the screen.

John and I had met up and thrashed out the finer details of the script.  We decided that we would only see the main character in the film, with his wife only being mentioned and seen in an old photograph.  His son would remain off camera and would be represented by toy ‘Nerf’ bullet.  This choice would prove crucial in the final film with the ‘Nerf’ bullet becoming a key device in the telling of the story.

 

Let’s chat about shooting the film…

Production of the film was over two short days of about 5 hours each, with a crew consisting only of yours truly.  Day 1 was shot in my house using only natural light that flooded in the front window.  A reflector was set up on the opposite side of John to bounce the natural light.  Sound was achieved by a carefully hidden Zoom H4 on the table.  In essence the film was shot on two different cameras at the same time. With a third camera acting as a prop.  Needless to say, this was a no-budget production.

The character in the film is using a simple camcorder to record his self tape.  This particular camera was a prop, the actual footage that we see in the film is coming from a Canon 600D DSLR.  The screen on the back of the camera was in turn shot on a ‘Black Magic Pocket Cinema Camera’, the same camera I’m shooting Full Circle on.  The idea of shooting the same scene at the same time using two cameras lends an extra level to the film.  We see how the character is in front of the camera that he performs too, while on the main camera we see how the mask falls.  This was a technique that I also used on a short I previously made called Alicia’s Mask, starring Doey Mulligan.

 

The story itself is non-linear.

The chronology of the film is deliberately mixed up, hoping back and forth on the time line to tell the story.  As the films begins we’re in the present tense and are introduced to the character as he walks a lonely path in the Wicklow mountains.  His voice is heard as he performs his monologue from ‘Anton Chekhov’.  As we leave the  hills of Wicklow his voice over leads us into the past tense.  We cut to where we now see the character sitting in front of the camera.  Here just as he breaks the fourth wall, he turns the camera off.  Cut to black and the title of the film fades up.

By opening up the film in this way, it informs the viewer of the proposed disjointed style of story telling, and they understand the jumping about in the time-line.

In the film the character continues with his self tape, his voice becomes a voiceover as we cut to days earlier, dark days reflecting the characters journey and his slow decline.  Again only natural lighting was used, shooting interior I let the light of the window blow out, the character in essence becomes a shadow, a reflection of how his self worth is slowly eroding.

As a contrast to these images we follow the character as he walks a lonely road high up in the Wicklow mountains.  I knew exactly where I wanted to shoot this sequence but could not remember how to get to the location.  I had shot at this location before on a TV pilot I produced called ‘Ghostriders’ starring Pat Nolan and Dave Duffy. Gerry Wade was also involved in that production so I rung my old friend and asked if he could bring myself and John up to the location.  He kindly obliged and production began on day 2 of Self Tape.

This sequence was once again shot on the ‘Black Magic Pocket Cinema Camera’.  Sound was recorded on camera for this part of the shoot, but was not usable.  The sound for this entire scene was achieved through sound design and a little foley work. I did however record John’s footsteps on the Zoom as this is the first element we hear in the film before truly being introduced to the character.

It was a challenge to shoot Self Tape with no crew, but with just John and I on the shoot it made the production one of the most personal film experiences I have ever had, and a privilege to share with my friend.

 

Self Tape screens as part of the shorts programme on Saturday, 2nd September as part of the Underground Cinema Film Festival 

 

Buy tickets here 

 

The 8th Underground Cinema Film Festival takes place in the Royal Marine Hotel in Dun Laoghaire from August 31st to September 3rd.

 

 

 

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Stephen Horgan: How We Made ‘Behind the Veil’

A young man begins to investigate why someone is leaving him Occult-like cards, and why a mysterious masked figure is watching him. Meanwhile, an apparently supernaturally-gifted young woman attempts to escape her oppressors and start a new life for herself.

Writer/Director Stephen Horgan takes Film Ireland Behind the Veil, which screens at the Underground Cinema Film Festival.

 

 

I went into writing Behind the Veil drunk on David Lynch films. I loved and was fascinated by the narrative and visual freedom that Lynch’s surrealist style gave him within a film. I basically set out wanting to make a visually vibrant and also hopefully fairly exotic film that felt a bit like a cinematic acid trip. As well as that, the plan was just to make something that didn’t look or feel typically Irish -maybe it does now, I’m not sure… this was back in 2012/2013.

It was originally going to be a less wacky film about an eccentric delinquent in a mask, and then one image just changed it all – a foreign girl, in what looked like a burqa, holding a set of cards that had a supernatural ability. Somehow this image got in there and the whole thing became about a group of sinister folks who use this girl’s supernatural abilities. A bit like the Solitaire character from Live and Let Die. I was originally actually going to use normal playing cards and tried to find out if any cultures applied special meaning to any playing cards. That came to nothing, and I decided I’d just make up a set of cards and give them names and symbols  -although the symbols were the work of Fiona Patten, the film’s production designer. I wanted there to be some sort of Asian influence on the film, so I watched a few Japanese films, such as Audition and Death Note. I actually watched a few others too, but whether you’d see the influence or not, those two films were the only ones that really gave points of inspiration.

I did a bit of casting my friends for the most part, rather than casting experienced actors  -although there were a few of the latter, such as Emma Dunlop and Emily Lamey, and Dave Duffy from Irish television, and, as someone who does fancy himself an actor, I did indeed cast myself.

Getting the necessary funding was only made possible because of the generosity of producer Victor McGowan’s family. I’ve known Victor since I was five, so I think his family took that as enough reason to help us as much as they did, and they really did. We held various fundraisers and launched a crowdfunding campaign, but every step of the way we only got what we needed thanks to the McGowans and Dawsons – both sides of Victor’s family.

Shooting was initially only supposed to last two weeks and a bit in 2013  -we thought this was going to hit festivals in 2014 – but it became clear after an early screening in January 2014 that four additional scenes plus a reshoot were needed, and shooting only concluded in July 2014. This was followed by a long, long pre-production phase during which I wrote another feature, directed a short, actually gave up on Behind the Veil because of the sheer amount of work clashing with a degree I was doing, re-edited the movie on better software, re-edited it from scratch three more times due to the new programme crashing… and then finally it got fully finished at the end of last year!

As for the look of the film… I like things that look weird. The main influences in terms of the cinematography were Argento’s Suspiria in terms of the surreal, crazed colours and the music video for The Dead Weather’s ‘Die By The Drop’, in which I liked the modern gothic feel and the way the video played with its shallow depth of field. We basically went crazy with the lighting, and it was a really collaborative process. We felt it was okay to play around this much because at the end of the day, the film we were making essentially features a clash of black magic and mad science. If you can’t go wild with lighting that, you can’t really go wild with lighting anything.

The sound of the film was hugely influenced by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross’ work on Fincher’s The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. I spent weeks, probably months, trying to just figure out how they created those sounds. Very obsessive, I know. Still haven’t figured it all out, but I do feel like I got somewhere with it. I actually made a lot more music for the film than what you hear in it, but it was all worth it. I also wanted to add in an exotic feel to go along with the Deepthi character and the black magic – which in the film is called ‘Ikhru’, so you’ll hear bits and pieces that are trying to sound like Eastern music. I’m hoping it works!

 

Behind the Veil screens on Saturday, 2nd September as part of the Underground Cinema Film Festival 

 

Buy tickets here 

 

The 8th Underground Cinema Film Festival takes place in the Royal Marine Hotel in Dun Laoghaire from August 31st to September 3rd.

 

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Brian Stynes: How We Made ‘Penitent’

In between cups of tea, Brian Stynes tells Film Ireland about Penitent, his first foray into features, which screens at the Underground Cinema Film Festival.

 

Brainstorm, brainstorm, cups of tea, brainstorm. I had just finished shooting my last short film (1914 Street) and I looked around at the small crew assembled in my tiny flat and blurted it out: “I want to try a feature”, silence, I hadn’t even started to edit the short but I knew I wanted to put the experience of the many short films  to bigger use. “We can do it, if we break down the individual scenes, and shoot it like a lot of short films, we can do it”

So that’s how it started; hadn’t even got a story but that’s where the cups of tea (and brainstorming) came in.

Partner in crime, Michael Linehan who had always been a fixture in the short films was well versed in writing screenplays, that coupled with my laziness and ear for a good story, was the basis for many meetings where we would take an idea and expand on it.

Initially, the story was just about a paroled man dealing with the guilt of killing a child accidentally until we researched and discovered that this would not warrant a custodial sentence, there would need to be intent, or, if the person was under the influence, in which case it would be a case of dangerous driving causing death.

We learned a lot while researching the ins and outs of laws, well, laws pertaining to our story but that was great – we could now embellish, add layers to the story and lead character, we discovered as we wrote, I say we, meaning Michael wrote while I scratched my chin and said “no” a lot. Writing actually became very easy due to the central complex scenario, ie. a man goes to jail for having contraband in his car; contraband was discovered during a garda search of the car; car was involved in a fatal accident; driver had just received some very bad news, and was not aware that the contraband was in the car. That set-up alone allowed us to introduce the satellite characters, which adds even more complexity yet still keeps the central idea as its driving force, a man dealing with an unforgivable crime.

I knew from the start that Penitent was going to be bleak with a no hope ending, I didn’t shy away from this because I know there are people living who have had to deal with this very situation and I feel it’s important to show how helpless and hopeless a person finding him or herself in this predicament will feel.

Script finished,  I begin the task of breaking it down into scenes for budget requirements, I don’t know any producers so I have to do it myself. Script broken down, big excel sheet with all the requirements complete, I start making the phone calls, emails, letter writing to get locations, crew, services, stuff in general. Then I cast, After years of making short films, I tend to stay with people I like, added to that, I will approach actors that I have just seen in a play and ask if they would test for a role.

Cast and crew in place, locations acquired, shootings begins on January 30th 2016. It would continue until March 2017 and I’m editing as I go. I like to edit early on in case I want to do a re-shoot, which happens a few times. The biggest concern is continuity – a shoot over that length of time will be a nightmare, but, if I shoot all scenes with satellite characters in one go, it will only leave the central character to worry about. Michael, who plays the lead in the film,  was very diligent with hair/beard growth, what clothes he wore for what scenes – another good reason to edit as you go, Michael can see what he was wearing in a scene leading to current scene.

Guerrilla-style would be an understatement. We shot the lead character in prison (Spike Island) while tour guides brought visitors into the cell we were shooting in. On two separate shoots, members of the public tried to intervene in the action that was being filmed, an off-duty doctor pulled her car in during the filming of the car accident scene and rushed over to the actor playing one of the paramedics, while a scene where one actor was hitting another actor saw a passerby trying to stop the fight despite multiple cameras and sound equipment highly visible. I had a gut feeling we were getting good footage!

We had a screening for cast and crew and their reactions said it all. They hadn’t expected the film to be this good – an insult and a compliment all rolled into one, but I was happy with the result. Penitent is not an easy watch by any means and whatever problems the characters are going through are still there at the end of the film. No neat bows, no answers given. Just as in life.

 

Penitent screens on Saturday, 2nd September as part of the Underground Cinema Film Festival 

 

Buy tickets here 

 

The 8th Underground Cinema Film Festival takes place in the Royal Marine Hotel in Dun Laoghaire from August 31st to September 3rd.

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Sean Breathnach, Writer/Director ‘Beyond The Woods’

Sean Breathnach (Pic: Marcin Lewandowski)

 
Beyond The Woods is a supernatural horror film set in an isolated house in the middle of a forest, where a gathering of friends is thrown into chaos by the opening of a mysterious fiery sinkhole. Stephen Porzio braved the woods with writer/director Sean Breathnach ahead of his debut feature screening at this year’s Underground Cinema Film Festival.

 

The film feels uniquely Irish. For instance, characters give serious thought about leaving their house to get more drink while bad stuff is clearly happening. Was it fun to take the American brand of horror  – confined friends being terrorised by unknown force – and place it in a distinctly Irish setting?

 

You know, I never thought of it that way really, but you are right in your description. It was always going to be very Irish – you have to be true to what you know, and it is set here in Ireland after all. The cottage is very Irish, and the characters are all Irish. It plays to its strengths. We wanted to appeal to an international audience but the film was always going to be an Irish film. Though we do mention ‘Police’ instead of ‘Gardaí’ just to avoid confusion abroad!

 

 

The sulphur plot-point is a really good backdrop for the film. It serves as an ominous threat, as well as a symbol for the toxicity between the characters. Where did that idea originate from?

 

Like all good ideas this one has a solid base in reality, believe it or not. The idea actually came from an  article I read in a newspaper. It was about a sinkhole that had opened up in China and locals were holding branches of trees over the hole and watching as they burst into flames. Some of the dialogue in the film comes directly from that article – “Gateway to hell! Fiery sinkhole opens up on Chinese mountainside spewing fumes at 792C”. I read that article at just the right time. I had the idea of the friends in the isolated house in the woods, and the dramatic conflict, and the terror, but I wanted to do something new with the horror element. Reading that article was the lightbulb moment. That’s when everything really came together.

 

 

The characters and their interactions feel quite naturalistic. How did you go about choosing your cast and did you take any steps to make sure they felt more real… maybe using improv?

 

I’m glad that comes across, because that was exactly what I was going for. Independent films, in particular, rise or fall based on the quality of the acting. It was my number one priority with this film – getting the right people both in front of and behind the camera. I had worked with most of the cast before on short films. I knew what they were capable of. I also crafted the characters around them. I did encourage improv, and I think it worked really well. But there isn’t as much improv there as you’d think, and that’s a testament to the quality of the acting. That being said, we didn’t stick rigidly to the dialogue on the script all the time. I had a direction for the scenes, some plot points to be hit, but if the actors found a more natural way of getting there then that’s the way we went. We did the same with the camera – we shot a lot of handheld scenes so we could follow the actors and keep things flowing. Páraic and Kieran didn’t thank me for that – I should have had a masseuse on set to take care of their backs and shoulders at the end of those long days shooting, or at the very least a hot bath – but you don’t get that stuff on an independent shoot!

 

 

Two moments in the film evoked memories of John Carpenter movies  – the mirror scene in Prince of Darkness and the driving scene in In the Mouth of Madness. Was he a conscious influence and were there any other directors whose work you were channelling?

 

I am a huge fan of John Carpenter, and I love In the Mouth of Madness. When I wrote the film I wasn’t thinking of any films or directors in particular, but there’s no doubt that I am influenced by the films and books I’ve enjoyed since I was a kid. Particularly the mood of those movies and books, that sense of creeping dread. The build-up of tension. Showing the audience things before our characters see them so the audience knows the danger they’re in. There are little homages in there to a few of my favourite directors, and probably a few more homages that I amn’t even aware of. I’m sure I must channel the work of many of the directors I admire in some way – you can’t help but be influenced by the greats. But, yes, it was a conscious decision to keep the mood of the film Carpenter-esque.

 

There’s been a new wave of very solid Irish horror cinema – just this year there’s been A Dark Song, Without Name and Nails. Why do you think there’s been such a resurgence for the genre in the country?

 

I don’t know is the short answer! We’ve always been a nation of storytellers, right back to Celtic times. I recall my grandad terrifying me and my sister with tales of the Ban Sidhe, haunted houses and big dogs that would appear and disappear in the fog – so there’s no doubt we have a tradition of spooky dark storytelling.  I don’t know why horror cinema has been on the rise in Ireland at the current time. But there have been a lot of great horror movies coming out of Ireland recently. Personally, I’ve enjoyed Ivan Kavanagh’s and Brian O’Malley’s work to name but a few.

 

Beyond The Woods screens on Sunday, 3rd September as part of the Underground Cinema Film Festival 

 

Buy tickets here 

 

The 8th Underground Cinema Film Festival takes place in the Royal Marine Hotel in Dun Laoghaire from August 31st to September 3rd.

 

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Paddy Murphy: How We Made ‘The Three Don’ts’

Two lads receive a simple job with a big payout. All is not as it seems and if they break The Three Don’ts, they could be in for a world of hurt.

Ahead of its screening at the Underground Cinema Film Festival, writer/director Paddy Murphy tells Film Ireland about his neo-noir, black comedy film set in Limerick. 

 

Back in April of 2015, I had shot three short films. These films had been plagued with a variety of issues and I was kind of losing my love of the industry and was thinking about packing it all in and going back to my day job. That was when I met Brian Russo Clancy; a musician and writer from Limerick. Brian and I had a coffee in mid-April and I was convinced to draft a script based on his concept for a short film called ‘The Three Don’ts’.

Two years later and many, many hours spent on set and in post-production, I can safely say that was one of the best decisions of my life. Through Brian, I was introduced to a cinematographer named Barry Fahy, who was Director of Photography on the original short. Barry and I had an immediate bond and since then we’ve gone on to shoot over a dozen shorts together and even set up our own production company – along with Brian Clancy and constant co-conspirator Aaron Walsh.

So what is The Three Don’ts? The film is a neo-noir, black comedy set in Limerick, Ireland. It tells the story of two young, naive lads named Jason McCarthy (Brian Russo Clancy) and Benson Yau (Nathan Wong) who want nothing more than to make a few bob. Benson finds out through his Uncle, that a group of lads led by an enigmatic and powerful character named Banger (Adam Moylan) are looking for someone to do a simple job, for a big payout.

What they don’t realise is that this “Simple Job” will bring them in contact with feuding families, a pair of assassins and a drug kingpin who has a hold over all involved. If they can follow ‘The Three Don’ts’ they might just make it through the night alive. But what are the chances of that…

After we had shot the original short film – which ran to 30 mins – we held a screening in our local Odeon Cinema. We filled the place out with over 400 people in attendance and we knew there had to be more to this story. Brian’s brother, Eric Clancy, who also plays Crunchie in the film, came on board and drafted concepts for two further long-form shorts. I then took these three arcs and worked to bring them into one feature-length screenplay with story input from Brian.

We originally had a 2 hour and 23 minute long cut of the film in May of 2016. While at the Cannes film festival, myself, Adam, Aaron and Barry met an Australian producer by the name of Judd Tilyard who came onboard the film as Executive Producer. He gave advice and insights on reshoots to try and bring the ridiculously long run-time down and to tighten up the plotline and arc.

Reshoots began in September of 2016 and lasted through to October. After two years, the film was finally in the bag thanks to an incredible cast and crew whose passion for the film seeps through in every frame. A huge thanks must be extended to every single person who helped make this film a reality. Without the help and support of them, this wouldn’t even exist.

Over two years, we’ve worked on this film and are so excited to be finally having the film premiere at the Underground Cinema Film Festival (UCFF). The film has already been screened for industry professionals like Nicholas Burman Vince [Hellraiser] – who also moderated the Q&A at the film’s test screening in Limerick, May 2017 – who said the film made him laugh until he cried… then started laughing again.

The Soska Sisters, directors of the films Dead Hooker in a Trunk and American Mary, were huge inspirations to me. We were so lucky to have them take a look at the film as it was nearing completion and they gave us some incredible feedback and advice. They also said The Three Don’ts was “A really fun, batshit crazy film!”.

Getting to meet all these amazing professionals and even work with them has been amazing, but not as rewarding as the knowledge that a group of friends went out together and made this film happen. That is the thing that matters most to me about the last two years. Now we are looking to the future. After UCFF, the film has a few more festival acceptances to announce.

We also have some more work to do on our sound mix, so we might run a kickstarter to cover the costs of getting that done. Our aim is to release a limited run of Blu-Rays of the film that will only be available to about 100 people. We really want to get this film out there and into the hands of genre fans everywhere.

This experience has taken me from the brink of giving up and turned this into my career. It wouldn’t have been possible if I hadn’t taken thirty minutes to go have a coffee with a friend.

 

The Three Don’ts screens on Saturday, September 2nd at 3pm at the 8th Underground Cinema Film Festival.

Get tickets here

The 8th Underground Cinema Film Festival takes place in the Royal Marine Hotel in Dun Laoghaire from August 31st to September 3rd.

 

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‘Red Room’ to Open Underground Cinema Film Festival

Director Stephen Gaffney’s horror debut Red Room is set to open this years Underground Cinema Film Festival on August 31st

Red Room observes Kyra, Alison, and Lily – three girls snatched off the streets and held captive in a rural Irish home where they await their turn to enter the Red Room. The film is the final chapter of Gaffney’s “Deep Web Trilogy” – a combination of thriller, crime, drama, and horror which delves into the darkest corners of the Dark Net.

Written by Stephen Gaffney and Erica Keegan, the feature stars Amy Kelly (Red Rock), John D’alessandro (Class-A, Cardboard Gangsters), Eddie Jackson (Game of Thrones), Brian Fortune (Game of Thrones), Alan Sherlock (Lift), and Fionna Twamley-Hewitt (Red Rock, Charlie), alongside Saoirse Doyle (Class-A, Crone Wood), Rodrigo Ternevoy (Fair City), Aisling O’Neill (Fair City), and more.

Red Room is produced by Marc Hughes (Sicario Pictures) and is released by Deep Web Film and will be screened at the Royal Marine Hotel, Dun Laoghaire at 6:30pm on Thursday, August 31st.

Tickets are priced at €10 ($12 USD) and can be purchased via the following link; http://filmfreeway.com/festival/ucff/tickets

 

 

 

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‘Beyond the Woods’ @ Underground Cinema Film Festival

 

Fresh from winning Best Feature Film awards in London and Montreal, Seán Breathnach’s debut horror film is set to get its Dublin premiere at the Underground Cinema Film Festival in Dun Laoghaire on Sunday September 3rd at 1pm.

 

Written and directed by Breathnach, Beyond the Woods tells the story of a gang of friends who meet up for a weekend away in an isolated holiday home in the middle of a forest. Unfortunately for them a fiery sink-hole has opened nearby, roads have been closed and there’s a real stench of sulphur. The friends won’t let a small thing like that spoil their plans to party, but as the weekend progresses some of them start acting out of character, one goes missing and little by little they realise that it’s not just a sinkhole that opened up nearby but something altogether more horrific.

 

The film stars Irene Kelleher (Game of Thrones), Seán McGillicuddy (Game of Thrones), Ross Mac Mahon (Penny Dreadful) and Claire Loy (Casualty).

 

Tickets are available here – https://filmfreeway.com/festival/ucff/tickets

 

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Call For: Submissions for 8th Underground Cinema Film Festival


The Underground Cinema Film Festival takes place in the Royal Marine Hotel, Dun Laoghaire, Co Dublin in Ireland from August 31st. Over the three days of the festival over 100 independently produced films from all over the world will be screened.

 

Awards & Prizes

  • Best Independent Feature Film
  • Best Independent Short Film
  • Best Student Short Film
  • Best International Short Film
  • Best Animated Short Film
  • Best Documentary
  • Best One Minute Short Film
Click Here to Submit Your Film
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Irish Film Review Urban Traffik

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Clare Murray & Damien Guiden

Stephen Porzio looks at Jason Figgis’ feature Urban Traffik. A seemingly homeless man with a dark intent, faces tough choices in Dublin’s underbelly when a free-spirited, intended victim forces him to revaluate his life.

 

Urban Traffik is an interesting movie that, for the most part, rises above its low-budget conception. Set in Dublin, it centres upon Adam (Damien Guiden) and Annie (Claire Blennerhasset), two siblings who become embroiled in illegal activity. Adam works as a “runner” for brothel owner, Dan (Anthony Kirwan). His job is to seduce women on the fringes of society into sex work. Meanwhile, Annie, in between taking care of her and Adam’s now paralysed but previously abusive father, begins a relationship with Dan. However, it’s unclear whether she is aware of her lover’s dodgy dealings.

The movie features an unusually murky but peculiarly striking cinematography. There is an emphasis throughout on the graffiti-strewn backstreets of Dublin, which succeeds in conveying how grim post-recession Ireland can be in certain areas of the city. Yet, despite this, the movie manages to catch the viewer off-guard with a handful of eye-catching images, such as these recurring, dream-like tracking shots of the women Adam “recruits” walking through Dublin’s city centre. Also, the scenes of Ireland’s capital at night, where even huge buildings become obscured by the blackness of the night sky, create a real gloomy atmosphere, mirroring the darkness of its central characters’ lives.

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Damien Guiden as Adam

There is also a pro-women undercurrent to the movie which unexpectedly sneaks up on the viewer. Despite its story’s focus on women being exchanged like currency, Urban Traffik’s female characters are its most interesting. For a large portion of the drama, one thinks writer-director Jason Figgis is setting up his male protagonist as a potential hero. Adam becomes romantically involved with Amy (Clare Murray) who he had originally planned to sell to his employers, putting him in conflict with Dan. However, although one would think Adam would be the person to make a stand against his boss, he instead falters. It is actually Annie who becomes the heroic figure, taking the step her brother would not. Also, at a time where movies such as Noel Clarke’s Brotherhood still get criticised for the gratuitous nakedness of its female characters, it’s refreshing to see a movie dealing with prostitution to feature little to no nudity and not sexualise the portrayal of its victimised women.

In its final moments, the film’s low-budget roots rare their ugly head. Figgis ends on a climactic moment, evoking memories of the finales of Taxi Driver or even the recent Dheepan. However, he employs slow-motion to such an extent that cheapens the movie’s denouement. That said, I think the reason this scene sticks out so much is because it jars with Figgis’ knack for authenticity. He mines very natural performances from his cast, particularly from Blennerhasset and Murray (who both convey so much sadness with limited screen-time), while the world he creates feels real and lived in. He is clearly a writer-director to watch and with a bigger budget could produce something quite special.

 

Urban Traffik premiered at the Underground Cinema Film Festival on 11th September 2016

 

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‘Storm Warning: The Story Of Count Tornado’ Screens at

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Storm Warning: The Story Of Count Tornado will screen at the Underground Cinema Film Festival on Friday, 9th September at 5pm.

 

The  feature-length documentary is a slightly comical, bizarre and very moving story about a well known artist in the Irish music scene called Count Tornado.He has been playing shows since the 1980s and is known by more or less everyone on the Irish music scene. His live performances are known to be completely surreal but extremely entertaining despite the fact many believe he can not play music.

 

According to the film’s director Stephen Corri, “Many people ask if it is all an act or a case of mental issues, the film tries to answer this question.”

 

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‘Don’t Run’ Screens @ Underground Cinema Film Festival

Official Don't Run Poster

 

 

Don’t Run is a 6-minute short film from Reckoner Productions telling the story of ‘The Architect’ played by Eoin Quinn (Fair City, Portrait of a Zombie, Limp, Mirror Image) who receives a strange call in the middle of the night from someone claiming to be him, giving only one simple message – “Don’t Run.” From here ‘The Architect’ is led to a discovery that will change his fate forever.

Shot on a zero budget, both Alan Dunne (Against The Wall, IDLE) and Eamonn Tutty (Anna, Mirror Image) wanted to create an unnerving story that plays on the mind and stays with you long after the credits.

Don’t Run for me was such a great project to make. We had a small but incredibly talented cast and crew. We wanted to tell an original story that would stay with the audience long after the credits rolled.  Creating the look and feel of the film was a challenge but amazingly it turned out better than we could have imagined. We were able to achieve this by working with our small crew and following strict rules we set for ourselves during the filmmaking process” says Alan Dunne.

“Securing budgets and raising funds is always a hard task, but the worst thing is getting complacent while waiting on news of development. It is important to keep active, hone your skills and practice. I felt this was a piece that could do just that, challenging Alan on a technical level for a vfx heavy piece, challenging ourselves with organising the shoot and getting the best team to push it to completion. Eoin did a fantastic job getting the subtleties and nuances right for the character. The whole team did a great job and you can see it on screen,” says Eamonn Tutty.

“Working on Don’t Run was quite an experience. Not just an acting challenge but also blocking was very important so that post-production would look perfect. It was great to be involved in such an original shoot that I feel will leave the audience scratching their heads” says Eoin Quinn.

The film was directed, edited cinematography by Alan Dunne and written by Alan Dunne and Eamonn Tutty, produced by Alan Dunne and Eamonn Tutty, starring Eoin Quinn, with Sound Op’s from Tadhg Collins & Tom Stafford, sfx mua Niamh O’Malley, music by SL – 88, sound mixing and& mastering by Luis Diaz, and colour grading by Sean Buffini.

Don’t Run will have its official premiere at the Underground Cinema Film Festival in Dun Laoghaire on Saturday September 10th at 3pm in the Royal Marine Hotel.

For tickets, click and follow the link below.

http://www.ucff.ie/

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Call For: Submissions for 7th Underground Cinema Film Festival

Underground Cinema presents a new generation of adventurous independent filmmaking, in which boundaries are explored, pushed and often broken. The festival takes place in the  Royal Marine Hotel, Dun Laoghaire, Co Dublin in Ireland from September 9th to the 11th.

Over the three days the festival will screen over 100 independently produced films from all over the world and host a number of free filmmakers workshops from industry experts and will stage the actors showcase.

Another new addition to this years festival is the short film screenplay competition. The UCFF screenwriting contest is designed to give screenwriters the opportunity to get their scripts into the hands of industry professionals.

 

Awards & Prizes

  • Best Independent Feature Film
  • Best Independent Short Film
  • Best Student Short Film
  • Best International Short Film
  • Best Animated Short Film
  • Best Documentary
  • Best One Minute Short Film
  • Best Irish Short Film Screenplay
  • Best International Short Film Screenplay
Click Here to Submit Your Film
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‘Spiders Trap’ Wins Best Feature Film @ Underground Cinema Film Festival

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The 6th Underground Cinema Film Festival came to a close on Sunday night with the awards ceremony that saw Spiders Trap, directed by Alan Walsh, win Best Feature Film.

Spiders Trap follows Steve Wilson, a former criminal with a talent for cracking safes, who finally gets his chance to make things right. As he sits on the edge of a record deal, a childhood friend and brutal manipulator delivers an ultimatum to drag Steve back to a life he left behind.

 

Other winners on the night were:

Best International Feature Film: Imperfect Sky
Best Short Film: Swerve
Best Student Film: Battle
Best International Short: Mediation
Best One Minute Film: Love at First Night
Runner Up One Minute Film: Shot on the Red
Winner of the Actors Showcase: Anto Seery
Runner Up for the Actors Showcase: Cherley Kane

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Call For: Submissions for 5th Underground Cinema Film Festival

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The 5th Underground Cinema Film Festival will take place in Dun Laoghaire from September 10th through to the 13th.

This year’s festival will see well over 100 films being screened from all over the world, workshops from some of the countries leading experts in film making and this years highlight, the Underground Cinema Drive In.

The festival will be accepting festival submissions from April 28th up until June 30th. Submissions will only be accepted online

Awards for this year’s festival will be awarded as follows:

Best Irish Feature Film
Best International Feature Film
Best Independent Feature Film
Best Independent Short Film
Best Funded Short Film
Best International Short Film
Best Student Short Film

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5th Underground Cinema Film Festival Kicks Off This Weekend

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The 5th Underground Cinema Film Festival kicks off this weekend running from September 11th to 14th in Dun Laoghaire.

The festival opens with A Nightingale Falling, Garret Daly and Martina McGlynn’s Irish War of Independence drama and closes with Jeff Doyle’s Jack and Ralph Plan a Murder.

This year boasts an impressive range of Irish feature films, including Kerri Kutcha’s Maidens of the Sea, Van Poynton’s The Late Men, Michael McCudden’s Sodium Party, Patrick Ryan’s Darkness on the Edge of Town, Tom Ryan’s Trampoline, Ray Hyland’s Riffed, Donal Nugent’s North Circular Road, Michael Rob Costime, Mark Gaster and Brian O’Neill’s How To Be Happy, and Limp from director Shaun Ryan.

The festival also features various different workshops and panel discussions. This year’s free workshops will be held by Ciaran Creagh, Len Collin, Debs Leonard, Stunt Media Services, Sean MacGabhann, and Paco Torres.

A panel discussion on ‘low budget doesn’t not mean low quality filmmaking’ takes place in the Laurel Suite of the Royal Marine hotel with filmmakers, Garret Daly (A Nightingale Falling), Ciaran Creagh (Parked), Terry McMahon (Patricks Day), Conor Horgan (One Hundred Mornings) and Mark O’Connor (King of the Travellers).

In addition, the Underground Cinema are bringing their new Drive In Cinema which will be located in the Ferry Terminal in Dun Laoghaire.

The Drive In will begin on September 11th and will run throughout the festival and onwards until December 8th.

Click here for the full programme

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‘Limp’ Screens at Underground Cinema Film Festival

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Shaun Ryan’s Limp is set to screen at the Underground Cinema Film Festival on Sept 14th at 7pm.

The movie is an abstract horror which follows Mr Grott, a lonely man who is so infatuated by a woman that in order for them to be together he murders her. Now Mr Grott lives out his dream of having someone to love and be loved by in a chaotic and disorientating world. All of this however, cannot last and ultimately no good can come from this relationship.

The film stars Eoin Quinn (Fair City, The Hit Producer, Portrait of a Zombie) as Mr. Grott and Anne Gill (Quirke, Kings) as the unfortunate victim of his lust. The film also stars Laura Canavan Hayes (Shamocracy, Idir Mná ) Shane Lennon (Fade Street) as an inner-city couple that have their own complications.

The 5th Underground Cinema Film Festival will take place in Dun Laoghaire September 11-14
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‘Stalker’ wins Best Film at Underground Cinema Film Festival

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Stalker

The 4th Underground Cinema Film Festival came to a close this weekend with the screening of the Irish fantasy film adventure The Shadows, directed by Colin Downey plus the festival party in Dun Laoghaire.

This year’s winners at the festival were:

Stalker, Mark O’Connor’s latest film, won Best Film, following on from being runner-up Best Feature Film at the Galway Film Fleadh earlier this year. O’Connor’s film has just secured a cinema release for the New Year.

Richard Wolstencroft’s documentary, The Last Days of Joe Blow, was awarded Best International Film.

Maurice O Carroll’s version of the classic Bryan MacMahon story Windows of Wonder won Best Short Film.

Hannah Finlay’s Éimear won Best Student Film for its study into the representations of women in Northern Ireland ‘Troubles’ films.

And Best Music Video was awarded to Razorblades and Ashtrays (We The People), directed by Paul Lynch

Check out the trailer for Stalker below.

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Interview: Seamus Hanly, director of ‘BenD’

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BenD, the first feature-length film from Dublin-based writer and director Seamus Hanly, will be screening at the Underground Film Festival in Dun Laoghaire on Thursday, 12th of September. Also co-starring in the film as a mysterious time-traveller, Stacy Grouden caught up with Seamus to find out more about the film.

 

So tell me about BenD – is it ‘Bend’ or ‘Ben D’? 

In my mind it’s bend. It wasn’t until about halfway through filming that people started calling it Ben-D and then after I finished it and showed it around a little bit, that happened a lot more. It is an ambiguous title, the protagonist is named Ben Dexter, and it’s about his life taking a bend, so I guess it could be Bend or Ben-D.

 

Can you outline the story of BenD? 

BenD is about a man called Ben Dexter, played by Colm Kearns, who has been living in his deceased parents’ home for a while, sort of squatting there. He’s already in a strange state of dissociativeness, he’s had some sort of accident and feels alienated from reality. He’s overwhelmingly fatigued during the day, but at night he starts to meet strange people and piece together exactly what’s going on around him.

 

What inspired you to write BenD?

After my first year of college – I was studying film –  I felt nothing I was doing there was going in quite the direction I wanted. I knew I wanted to make feature films and to write something ‘odd.’ Also it was the summer, so it comes from living at home, and not really having much to do, and becoming nocturnal, then suddenly realising from a photographic standpoint how nice the streetlights were on my road… I know I had some ideas for the characters for a little while that all came together in BenD, like the man with the fedora who appears to sort of guide Ben through it all…

 

You play the character with the fedora, did you always intend to act in the film as well?

Yes, I either would have played him or the main character I figured it would be too self-indulgent to play Ben! I remember talking about it but not really able to remember when I decided what role I would take. I suppose when I cast Colm as Ben things fell into place.

 

Tell me about casting your lead, Colm Kearns, as Ben. 

Colm had appeared in a short film called The Chance of Striking Gold by Eoghan McQuinn. I remember talking to Aisling Lynch, who is also in BenD and was a friend of Colm’s, and saying ‘what about Colm? What do you think he’d be like in BenD?’ I got in touch with him and things just started to happen. He’s really excellent, he brings out the humour in the role and he doesn’t over-sentimentalise the emotional side, although the character doesn’t respond that much. I think that Ben, unlike Colm – very much unlike Colm! – is well-meaning, but he’s not the quickest thinker, but with Colm you can tell when there’s something going on.

I would definitely like to work with him again and to give him a more energetic role that would suit his own humour. The more I filmed this, the more I realised how very unlike the character Colm is, but he was excellent.

 

Tell me about how you went about getting the film made, on quite a low budget, in Dublin, mostly at night!

I originally wanted to film this in the summer of 2009, but it didn’t come together. It wasn’t until after I’d graduated from college that I decided I had to make something at that point. I came across the script again and thought, I really like this, I’ll try and get this off the ground again. I guess I knew how I wanted to film it, I had pretty reasonable expectations about what I could do with what I had. Even though it’s quite low-budget it actually felt more like I was taking a step up from making something quickly with a camcorder and a few friends.
Also, certain things that people tend to avoid when filmmaking, I tend to really like, like a slightly grainy look. I wanted this movie to have a kind of a rawness about it, you feel like you’re discovering something at the same time as the characters. I shot it in kind of an old-fashioned way, a couple of odd exposures and things like that, which excited me, to make the film look and feel like it was older.

 

What inspires that visual aesthetic in your work? 

The jumping off point was the streetlights, I wanted to try and evoke what comes to my mind when I see the streetlights, which is what inspired me to shoot at night. I think there are a couple of obvious influences, definitely David Lynch, John Carpenter, and also Kathryn Bigelow’s movie Near Dark is a huge influence. I watched that film and the Lance Henriksen character really stood out, he’s got this long hair and these goggles, and so I knew I wanted the film to have that kind of look.

 

And would they have similarly influenced the narrative style of BenD? Are there other influences in the film on its storytelling and narrative style? 

Yes, it’s definitely drawing from David Lynch, John Carpenter, Near Dark. Structurally as well, I remember thinking it was similar to The Third Man – Ben is like Holly Martins, trying to uncover what’s going on around him, and each new person he meets moves things forward, starting with my character. He’s of the same ilk as Ben, but just from a different century – he could be a medieval priest, he could be from the ’40s, I liked that it was kind of ambiguous where he was from, and that it was a similarly odd character interacting with Ben.

 

It’s a little like Doctor Who in that way, too…

Yes, I’d just started watching Doctor Who the year before so there’s definitely a huge Doctor Who vibe to it. A friend’s dad watched  BenD and called it ‘Beckett’s Doctor Who’, which was great to hear.

 

One of the people Ben meets in the film is the mysterious Elizabeth, played by Aisling Lynch, but she’s not a straightforward love interest -was it a conscious decision to downplay the romantic element in the film? 
Writing the script, it made sense that there would be a femme fatale character, but it just didn’t naturally develop that way and would have gone against the tone of the film, I think. BenD is kind of about what happens when nothing happens which is about what happens when nothing happens. Colm and I talked a lot about how Ben is seeking catharsis in this film, and how his cathartic moment is ultimately accepting the lack of catharsis.

 

Have you seen the programme for the Underground Festival? What are you looking forward to seeing?

I’m hoping to see some of the short films – Patrick Thompson’s film Isolation; Megan Woods’ The Beauty of Ballybrack; Horror School Reunion, and Float On, which is on the Saturday… The feature films all look really interesting, too, like Demon and Dark by Noon… I’m kind of intimidated but also proud that there are all these great films on before BenD, which I’ve described before as ‘a no-budget fantasy,’ so hoping it stands up. It’s a good line-up.
What have you been up to since wrapping BenD

I’ve actually been acting quite a bit. It’s been almost a year since we wrapped BenD and I’ve met a few people through screenings of the film and been working on other projects of theirs. I’ve been in a few music videos, I have a small part in the upcoming Taryn Barker: Demon Hunter by Zoe Kavanagh, and I’ve just wrapped a film being released by Constant Motion Pictures called The Veil, directed by Stephen Horgan. Finally, I’m getting around to working on the follow-up to BenD, hoping to shoot that next summer. I really would encourage people wanting to work in film in Ireland just to make something, it convey s that you’re serious about what you’re doing and you’ll meet people in the industry that way as well.
 
BenD, produced by Seamus Hanly and Tony Flynn, is showing as part of the 4th Underground Cinema Film Festival on Thursday, the 12th of September at 1pm. More information about the film can be found at www.enlightenmentpictures.net  and about the festival at www.undergroundcinema-filmfestival.com

 

Read Film Ireland‘s interview with David Byrne, the Director of the Underground Cinema Film Festival here

 

 

 

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Interview: David Byrne, Underground Cinema Film Festival Director

Dave

 

 The 4th Underground Cinema Film Festival (12 – 15 September 2013, Dun Laoghaire)

 

The 4th Underground Cinema Film Festival runs from September 12th to the 15th featuring a fantastic selection of short films from award-winning filmmakers from all over the world and a feature film program with something for everyone. This year’s opening film is Dark by Noon, an Irish sci-fi thriller directed by Michael O’Flaherty and Alan Leonard. The closing film is the Irish fantasy film adventure The Shadows directed by Colin Downey.

Festival Director David Byrne took time out from his busy run-in to the festival to tell Steven Galvin about the history of the festival and what people can expect this year.

What was the thinking behind setting up the festival?

 
Back in 2009 Underground Cinema began screening a selection of short Irish films on a monthly basis in the Kingston Hotel in Dun Laoghaire.  The idea was to showcase emerging young Irish filmmakers on a monthly basis.  As these screenings grew in popularity we realised that there was a need for a film festival that specifically championed independent filmmakers

 

Can you tell us a bit about your background and how you got involved in Underground Cinema.

My background is in theatre.  I first started treading the boards back in 1985 and turned professional in 1991.  A number of young actors that I worked with in Dun Laoghaire formed one of the first professional theatre companys in the town called the Blue Moon Theatre Company.  Since ’91, Blue Moon Theatre Company has staged over 50 shows all over Ireland and the UK.  During those years I did some TV work and worked on the odd film here and there.  It wasn’t until 2008 when I was directing Dracula in the Pavilion Theatre that I realised how big the independent cinema scene was getting.  A number of the cast members used to turn up late for rehearsals.  The reason why they were late was because they were working on various different short films.  When they explained to me the story lines of the films they were working on I used to get excited and say, ‘when are we going to get to see this film?’.  I’d then get the same reply, ‘Maybe if it’s accepted in to the Galway Film Festival or the Foyle Film Festival, etc. etc. you’ll get a chance to see it’.  It was then that I came up with the idea of Underground Cinema which was to become a platform for independent filmmakers to showcase their work and to get the recognition that they deserved 

 

How has the festival evolved over the last 4 years?

The first festival was a short film festival held over two days in the Screen Cinema in Dublin.  It went down really well with independent filmmakers and we knew that we were on to something good.  There weren’t too many film festivals out there that championed independent work.  We therefore decided to make the 2nd festival even bigger with the introduction of workshops and feature films. 

In early 2010 I had met Terry McMahon over a cup of coffee in the Twisted Pepper in Lower Abbey Street.  He had a new film he wanted me to take a look at called Charlie Casanova.  Without even seeing it we discussed the possibility of Underground Cinema doing a private screening of Charlie in the Screen Cinema.  The idea was to showcase the film to the cast and crew and to a selection of those people who were in the industry and that were involved in independent filmmaking.  To be honest I don’t think Terry even knew what he had.  I think he felt that he’d either made something incredible and brilliant or something that could end his career.  He needed an honest opinion from an audience that wasn’t going to biased.  It was only when I got home and watched Charlie Casanova that I realised what Terry had done.  He had broken all the rules of conventional filmmaking and created an incredible piece of independent filmmaking.  Although our private screening fell through in the Screen Cinema (it eventually went on to have its private screening in the Sugar Club), I did approach Terry to submit Charlie Casanova to the 2nd Underground Cinema Film Festival.  I was delighted that he accepted our invitation and the rest, as they say, is history.  The film generated enormous interest within the industry and helped put our event firmly on the film festival map in Ireland.

As word got around on how well the second film festival went, it was inevitable that the next festival was going to be even bigger.  It was a big ask for us as your continuously asking yourself, how are we going to top this one.  Our third year saw us changing the festival from a three-day event to a four-day event.  It was a bit of a gamble, but it worked out well for us.  By extending the festival an extra day meant that we could introduce more workshops and offer an even bigger selection of screenings. 

 

Looking back, is there one particular personal highlight that springs to mind?

I think the Q&A session that I did with Roddy Doyle prior to the 20th Anniversary Screening of The Commitments was one of my favourite highlights over the past four years.  He was such a great guy to interview, very relaxed and down to earth and he was just brilliant with our audience.  Earlier in the day I had been sitting down chatting with another hero of mine Jim Sheridan.  I was with Terry McMahon and we were discussing filmmaking in general.  Terry excused himself from the table for a few minutes and while he was gone Jim whispered to me ‘What do ye think of that McMahon fella’, I just told him with a smile ‘He’s one to watch out for in the future’.  Jim smiled, he knew exactly what I meant.  So that whole day was quite surreal for me, chatting away to some of our working class heroes, which was the theme for the festival that year.

 

Tell us a little bit about Dun Laoghaire as a location.

Some of the best film festivals are beside the sea.  Galway, Cork, Foyle, Waterford, Dingle and Fastnet are all located by the sea.  Even the most prestigious film festival in the world, the Cannes Film Festival is located by the sea.  Dun Laoghaire is a beautiful seaside town undergoing an enormous rejuvenation project.  By 2014 Dun Laoghaire will see the completion of a €65m library and civic centre.  Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council Community Development Department, the Arts Department and the Planning Department are working around the clock on numerous different projects to ensure that Dun Laoghaire will be one of the most important artistic hubs in the country.  The Pavilion Theatre has also recently installed a state of the art 4K Sony Projector which we will be using to screen the opening film [Dark by Noon] this year.  It is our intention to use the Pavilion a little bit more next year.  The town is extremely easy to get to with a regular bus services to and from the city centre.  The town is also along the DART line, which makes it easy to get to North Dublin or all the way to Greystones.

 

 What can people expect from the festival this year?

This year’s festival will see another 100 films from all over the world being screened.  It will also see the introduction of music to the festival, a giant inflatable screen for screening outdoor movies and  the introduction of the Underground Cinema Expo.

We have 12 bands from all over Ireland playing at the festival.  At the end of each day these bands will play live every night in the Dun Laoghaire Club.  There will be a party atmosphere there every night with a Barbeque each evening, freshly made popcorn, slushee machines and our festival bar with drinks served at club prices.  We will also be screening some classic films on our giant inflatable screen that we had shipped in from America.  You’ll be able to sit down under the stars and watch on the giant screen the 30th Anniversary Screening of Return of the Jedi and Sidney Lumets classic, Dog Day Afternoon.

Finally we have the Underground Cinema Expo.  The exhibition that takes place on the opening day of the festival will see some of the country’s leading service providers there to meet filmmakers who may be interested in working alongside some of these businesses.  The whole idea is to create a networking event that is mutually beneficial to exhibitors and filmmakers alike.  We’ve no doubt it’s going to be enormously popular.

 

Can you tell us about this year’s workshops?

I had met John Dawson twice before.  Once was at an Underground Cinema Screening and the second time was after a show I directed called The Woolgatherer in the New Theatre.  He’s a guy that is extremely passionate about the arts.  I had heard great things about his classes by a lot of acting friends who had attended. He was a natural choice for us for the festival.  His workshop ‘Acting for the Camera’ is almost completely full.

The first time I met John Phelan was at the first Underground Cinema Awards in Fitzpatrick’s Castle back in 2010.  John’s film No Justice, which he had produced had picked up two awards at the ceremony, Best Score for Joe Conlan and Best Director for Alan Walsh.  After the ceremony we got chatting at the bar and I was amazed at his knowledge on Section 481.  Section 481 can be quite complicated and difficult to get a grip on, but John made it sound so simple.  I knew I had to have him at one of our festivals to give a talk on the subject.  Again John’s talk looks like it will be full to the rafter.

The very first film screened at Underground Cinema back in 2009 was a film called Duality by Noel Brady.  It really was a great piece of independent filmmaking.  Over the years Noel and I collaborated on a number of corporate projects together and it was during this time that I found out that Noel did various different workshops for the Attic Studio.  These workshops were unique and quite fun so it went without saying that I would ask Noel to do one for us this year.  Noe’ls workshop this year is entitled ‘Filmmaking on the Fly’.

Finally, our Makeup Workshop with Debs Leonard is a result of a visit by Karen Hughes (assistant festival director) to Closer2Fabulous, a beauty boutique based in the heart of Dublin.  Karen was so impressed by Debs’ work that she invited her to participate at the festival this year.  Debs is also the Beauty Editor for the Irish Wedding Diary Magazine.  This is also another workshop that will have big numbers.

 

This is an exciting time to be involved in Irish independent filmmaking.

As technology allows greater access to short and feature films as well as filmmaking tools, an increasing number of people are turning to filmmaking as a form of expression and an opportunity to explore creative freedom. The fact that we received 200 more submissions in this category than last year speaks to that. Within them we saw a wave of truly original and outrageously distinctive films united by their uncompromised spirit. 

 

Anything in particular you’re most looking forward to?

I’m looking forward to so much at the festival it’s hard to pick out a favourite.  I’m particularly looking forward to the outdoor screenings as this is something that I will like continue throughout the year, weather permitting.  We’ve already had a number of requests from different organisations to bring the big screen to various different locations around Dublin.

Some of the features to watch out for this year would be Dark by Noon, The Shadows, Plot For Peace which won the Best Documentary Award in Galway this year, Stalker, Demon, Wrath of Crows, The Last Days of Joe Blow and Harry, Hamlet and I

 

Tickets for the Festival are available at the  Box Office on the Top Floor of the Dun Laoghaire Shopping Centre or at the Box Office in the Royal Marine Hotel.  You can also book tickets online at www.undergroundcinema-filmfestival.com/apps/webstore/products

For the full program visit  www.underground-cinema.com

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Underground Cinema Film Festival Comes to a Close

 

The 3rd Underground Film Festival came to a close inDun Laoghaireon Sunday night after the screening of over 100 films, 50 festival premieres and three world premieres.

 

Special guest Jack Sargeant, a writer specialising in cult, underground and independent film and the Program Director for the Revelation Perth International Film Festival, had this to say about the underground genre.

 

‘Underground film artists make films without money or connections. What they do have is a vision. The result is edgy, confrontational and habit-breaking.  It’s the voice of the artist or creator and nothing else. I don’t think people are afraid of Underground cinema, just not enough people know about it. If people open their minds to it, they would enjoy it. Blockbusters are like eating junk food, there’s an instant rush but it doesn’t last. A good film will affect you. It will stay with you and make you think about it for a long time after the credits roll. The film changes the way you think about something, for example, it will change the way you engage with cinema or artistic practice.’

Carmen Bryce

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Report: Ciaran Creagh, writer of ‘Parked’, at the Underground Cinema Film Festival

Irish playwright and scriptwriter Ciaran Creagh rose to attention in the film industry last year when his screenplay Parked was made into a cinema-released feature film starring Colm Meaney (The Snapper) and directed by Darragh Byrne. The film picked up numerous awards internationally.

This year, Creagh embarked on his directorial debut with his forthcoming short film The Note starring Aidan Gillen (The Wire, Game of Thrones, Love/Hate) and Ruth McCabe (Single-Handed).

At his workshop, hosted at the Underground Film Festival in Dun Laoghaire this morning (Saturday), the Dubliner had this advice to those hoping to become screenwriters:

“The key advice I’d give to anyone interested in scriptwriting is to listen and learn. Learn from your mistakes and listen to people who aren’t afraid to tell you that what you’ve written is crap.

The writing process is about 5% inspiration and 95% perspiration. You must be used to people telling you no.  You have to trust yourself. I came to scriptwriting late in life. I was 35 and married with kids before I got into it. Before this I’d barely read a book. I had my fair share of rejection and bad reviews.

It doesn’t matter who you are, your work can still get rejected. Don’t give up and never lose heart. If you keep going and keep yourself open to constructive criticism all the time, you will succeed in the end.

You need a good, strong story. If you don’t have a strong story, you may as well not bother. There is no such thing as a new story, just a different take on the same story, and it’s this different version that must be unique. It’s after you have this good idea that you can create your characters and build a script.

Your characters must be believable. If the audience doesn’t believe in the character or understand their motivation behind any single action, you’ve lost them. It is important to have a complete back-story to your characters. You have to know what motivates your characters, where they are in life and where they want to be. It’s up to you how much of this you disclose to your audience and at what point along the way, but you must have it in your own head before you create a character or else he is just floating in space.

You must have a structure to your story – a start, middle and end. When you start writing the script, you will know the end, you just won’t know how you get there. The script will flow after that.

Open your eyes to real people around you. This is where the good stuff comes from. Writing dialogue for a character is easy. We all know people – funny people, nervous people, heavy drinkers, gobshites. The things people do can’t be made up from the top of your head. The minute details are what count and what makes a character real – how someone crosses their legs, bites their lip when they are nervous,  a friend’s facial expressions when they are drunk.

It is vital to strip away the dialogue which is one of the hardest things to do as a scriptwriter. You have to be ruthless when cutting dialogue. Edit, edit, edit. Be inventive and put your trust in the actors to convey meaning without words. You’ll find that so much can be said without pages of dialogue. The audience are smart and more importantly, they know real life and real people, so will pick up on meaning without you having to spell it out for them.  A simple look, gritted teeth, body language, can all convey meaning without words.”

Carmen Bryce

This year’s Underground Cinema Film Festival runs from Thursday, 13th – Sunday, 16th September.

The Underground Cinema Film Festival (UCFF) in Dun Laoghaire celebrates the best of Irish Independent Cinema screening a selection of some of the best short  and feature films made by Irish independent filmmakers. The festival takes place 13th-16th September.

Click here for the festival’s full schedule

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Underground Cinema Film Festival: Sunday Preview

Short Film Program 1 – The Maretello Suite at 10am:

1. Area 51 – The Duke is called in for an emergency delivery Directed and Produced by Carl Collins – Running Time 13 Mins
2. Impetuous – On her way to a party with some friends, Kerrie is in a sudden car accident and awakes tied up in an abandoned shed unable to move Directed & Produced by Dave Thorpe – Running Time 12 Mins
3. Suitcases – When twins spend the summer with their grandfather, they uncover a tragic family secret. Directed by Alan Dunne – Produced by Alan Dunne & Elaine Dunne – Running Time 15 Mins
4. KaraKara is a dark drama that sees a young woman follow a nightmarish creature to an isolated farmhouse where she starts to uncover memories that she has repressed. Directed & Produced by Traolach Ó’Mhurchú – Running Time 7 Mins
5. Beach – A lonely man finds himself on a secluded beach after a nights heavy drinking and becomes aware of a presence that seems to want something. Directed by Thomas J Smyth – Running Time 3 Mins
6. Prodigal Son – Shadowy US medical company Prodigal Inc. bring a Dublin mobsters son back from the dead, to the horror of his devoted mother, and without reckoning on the son’s enigmatic killer returning to finish the job Directed by CJ Scuffins – Produced by CJ Scuffins & Ellis Mernagh – Running Time 18 Mins
7. The Hatch – Set against the backdrop of a stormy night onboard a small rural fishing trawler, Jeremiah the skipper and his Ronan witness an unearthly glowing object fall into the sea. Directed by Enda Loughman & Mike Ahearn – Produced by Gary Moore – Running Time 14 Mins
8. Solaria – Alex Russell, a geneticist on-board the Solaria Research Station has devoted his life to test subject Rachel, a comatose woman who is immune to the ageing process. Directed by John Hoey & Produced by Craig Broughton – Running Time 11 Mins
9. Walt – James is an abandoned young child who meets Walt. Walt befriends him and teaches him how to fish. The pair become friends. But Walt is not all he seems Directed & Produced by Randal Plunkett – Running Time 23 Mins
10. Sliced – A mysterious voyeur catches a young couple inside a house. In this eight minute ‘one take’ film, not all is as it seems. Directed & Produced by Alex Fegan – Running Time 8 Mins
11. Refugio 115 – 1938. The population of Barcelona is devastated by the continued indiscriminate bombing. In one of the refuges something unknown is hidden in the darkness, hidden and waiting to take people one by one. Directed by Ivan Villamel & Produced by Maria José Garcia – Running Time 6 Mins
12. Hell Cat – Charlotte lives alone with the internet sensation Charlie, her adorable talking cat. However she begins to suspect what Charlie is saying might not be so innocent. Directed by Ged Murray & Produced by David Lestor Mooney – Running Time 9 Mins
13. He Moved Through The Fair – Mick was a simple man, never spared a thought for yarns. Yet this man with no time for superstition, finds himself facing a nightmare he can scarcely believe Directed by John Hennesey & Produced by Jack Kavanagh – Running Time 13 Mins

 

Student Short Film Program 1 – The Maretello Suite at 10am:


1. Red Bear – While documenting the Bosnian War in the early nineties, a lonesome Irish conflict photographer experiences life on the other side of the lens. Directed by Ricardo Deakin & Produced by Conor O’Farrell & Max Ramsbottom – Running Time 12 Mins
2. Ambrose – A day in the life of ill strucken Ambrose takes a turn from the mundane when Samuel receives an unexpected letter Directed by Gavin Butler & Produced by Robert Mulligan – Running Time 9 Mins 3. Flippin The Bird – Two ignorant bird watchers suffer the consequences of taking a hungry magpie for granted. Directed by Adam Kavanagh, Maureen Walshe, Barry Keegan & Mike McCann Produced by Ballyfermot College of Further Education – Running Time 3 Mins
4. Following Strangers – A chronic stalker leaves his previous relationship in order to find true love. Directed by Chris Kelly & Produced by Vanessa Malone – Running Time 3 Mins
5. Imbalance – Owen Hunt is living a double life. While he leaves his wife Lydia at home to care for his young child, he keeps up a tawdry affair with his mistress Clarissa. His two worlds collide when he is kidnapped by the mysterious Yohannes Riyadi and forced to make a heartbreaking choice. Directed by Daniel J Doody & Produced by Patrick Thompson – Running Time 10 Mins
6. Muddy Feet Mountain High – Set back in the time of the Celts. One Celt races to get to his comrades. Does he get there in time? Directed & Produced by Benjamin Barry – Running Time 3 Mins
7. Nunday – A documentary short about a town in Kerry attempting to break the world record for the most nuns in a single place to raise awareness about suicide. Directed and Produced by James Keating – Running Time 5 Mins
8. Trapped – An autobiographical film told in a chase sequence of a fox character getting chased by demonic dogs in a claustrophobic environment Directed by Laura Murray – Produced by Ballyfermot College of Further Education – Running Time 3 Mins
9. Chat – Chat is a short film about the connection between two people, Adam & Jane Directed by David Cullinan & Produced by David Cullinan & Elliot Murphy – Running Time 7 Mins 10. Marionette – A man who has recently lost his wife discovers a marionette puppet made in her image. What follows is the man finding his own way of saying goodbye. Directed by Sam Banahan & Produced by Kieran O’Byrne – Running Time 5 Mins
11. Flight of the South – A young boy builds a robot to help him escape the violent reality of his stepfather. Directed & Produced by James Fitzgerald – Running Time 15 Mins
12. Oddity – Oddity is a story about Alex, a young teenager who is just now ready to ‘Come Out’ to his parents. He soon finds he must learn to cope with pre-judgments about his sexuality in a world where prejudice is rife. Directed by Eoghann McEntee & Produced by Emer Flaherty – Running Time 8 Mins
Student Short Film Program 2 – The Maretello Suite at 3.45pm
1. Red Flag – Two friends attempt to find the last safe place on earth, in this post apocalyptic world. Directed and Produced by James Fitzgerald – Running Time 7 Mins
2. Right of Way – Documentary short about the legal battle faced by two men who claimed a public right of way over private land. Directed & Produced by James Keating – Running Time 5 Mins
3. Ar Scáth a Chéile – Adopted from a Joyce short story, ‘A Painful Case’, taken from his book ‘Dubliners’, this Irish language short tells the story of a bachelor, reflecting on his time spent with an old flame. Directed by Daithí Ó’Cinnéide & Produced by Daithí Ó’Cinnéide & Seán Breathnach Running Time 11 Mins
3. Ciarán – A documentary film based around the life of a twelve year old boy with a sever mental disability which has never been diagnosed. Directed & produced by Diarmuid Hayes, Shauna Farrell & Jane Wilson – Running Time 22 Mins 4. Taryn Barker – When Taryn’s young sister is abducted from school, she must journey to the darkest corners of the city to save her. Directed by Zoe Kavanagh & Produced by Steve Jackson – Running Time 13 Mins
5. Unheard – Unheard tells the story of a young piano teacher and aspiring open mic musician, Aisling. With the help of her loyal friend Joanne, she tries to cope with losing her hearing without losing the music in her life. Directed by Carla Maria Tighe & Produced by Lynda Bradley – Running Time 16 Mins
6. Shellshock – Ireland, 1923. A young man returns home after having served with the British Army during World War I. He struggles to readjust to civilian life, his memories of the trenches far from his mind. Directed & Produced by John Corcoran – Running Time 11 Mins

 

Features:

Deadlift – Screening in the Dargan Suite at 10am

World Gym is the last of Dublins traditional bodybuilding establisments. Unlike the plethora of lifestyle fitness centres around the country, it is a bastion of old school power lifting. DeadLift will cast an acerbic but affectionate all seeing eye on a vibrant and vital Dublin institution.

Directed and Produced by Patrick Cooney

Running Time 40 Mins

Who Is Dervla Murphy – Screening in the Dargan Suite at 1115am
Who Is Dervla Murphy?

A profile documentary of Irelands foremost travel writer Dervla Murphy

Directed by Garret Daly

Produced By Martina McGlyn

Running Time 65 Mins

The Looking Glass – Screening in the Martello Suite at 11.45

The Looking Glass is a surreal thriller from writer-director Colin Downey.
The film follows Paul, a troubled young man who lives in a rural cottage
with his pregnant girlfriend Claire. Paul’s world is turned upside down one night when Claire’s sinister, predatory mother Agnes arrives at their house
to visit.

Paul is instinctively afraid of this witch-like woman who seems to know all
of his darkest secrets and fears. Agnes begins to exert a malevolent influence
over Paul’s life. One of her patients, a terrifying burn victim, starts to stalk Paul
with murderous intent.

Directed by Colin Downey

Produced by Eimear O’Kane

Running Time 75 Mins

The Raj In The Rain – Screening in the Dargan Suite at 12.45pm

The Anglo Irish Ascendancy were Medieval immigrant gangsters who for centuries led the life of Riley in the wild pastures of Ireland. But in Celtic Tiger.com, their numbers have dwindled to a few hundred, with even fewerliving in the crumbling ramshackle palaces that great great grand daddy built

Directed & Produced by Patrick Cooney

Running Time 90 Mins

The Song For The Year – Screening in the Dargan Suite at 2.30pm

Living between Waterford and Mahattan, Pierce Turner has been lauded for over 20 years by a cult following, receiving the sort of press better known acts only dream of. He has been championed by Americas most important modern composser Philp Glass, and found himself immortalised by the folk legend Christy Moore’s tribute recording ‘I love the way Pierce Turner Sings’

Directed and Produced by Colin Murnane

Running Time 60 Mins

Fight or Flight – Screening in the Dargan Suite at 6pm

Filmmaker Peter McCarthy was randomly attacked on a night out in Galway, leaving him badly scarred and threatening the vision in his left eye. On his recovery Peter came across an article on Muay Thai boxing in a newspaper and decided to leave Ireland for Thailand and learn how to defend himself.

Fight or Flight documents Peter’s journey over a year and a half in Thailand as he goes from novice in Muay Thai to fighting in semi-professional bouts in arenas full to capacity around Thailand. Through the course of his experiences in Muay Thai, Peter learns that behind his compulsion to fight lies fear and ultimately a deep-seated anger that has driven him to risk his body in the ring. Fight or Flight is a compelling first person account of Peter’s journey as he tries to come to terms with the anger within him.

Directed by Peter J McCarthy

Produced by Shane Sutton & Peter J McCarthy

Running Time 78 Mins

 

The Festival Awards

The Festival Awards will take place in the Martello Suite at 7pm

The Festival Awards will be presented in the Martello Suite at 7pm.

Awards will be presented for the following:

Best Indepedent Feature Film
Best Short Film
Best International Short Film
Best Student Film
Best Documentary
All are welcome to the awards ceremony

Derelict – Screening will be in the Carlisle Suite at 9pm

Four desparate men try to change their fortunes by kidnapping a bank manager and his family. It should be a simple job. But when they think someone might be watching them things start to fall apart.

Directed by Frank Kelly

Produced by Frank Kelly, Ricahrd Quinn & Elliot V. Kotek

Running Time 74 Mins

The closing film will be held in the main function room of the Royal Marine Hotel, the magnificent Carlisle Suite. After the closing film is screened the final festivities will begin with the Closing Festival Party with music and food provided. Tickets for the closing film and party are priced at €10

Click here for the festival’s full schedule

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Interview: Geraldine McAlinden (‘Portrait of a Zombie’) at the Underground Cinema Film Festival

Carmen Bryce braved the undead to catch a few words with Geraldine McAlinden, who stars in Portrait of a Zombie, which opened the Underground Cinema Film Festival on Thursday. It was the film’s Dublin premiere.

You’re very new to the acting world. Is this your first feature film?

No, I was lucky enough to have a part in Anton directed by Graham Cantwell in 2008 and I also have a small part in Meeting on the Stairs, directed by Lorna Fitzsimons and  was screened at this year’s Underground Festival. Portrait of a Zombie is my biggest role to date and I’m delighted to be part of a film that there’s such a buzz around. I only gave up my day job as a lawyer this week to commit myself more to acting, which is scary but exciting at the same time.

Tell us a little about your part in Portrait of a Zombie.

I play Lizzy Murphy, the mother of a family living in an estate in Finglas, Dublin. Lizzy is the mother of three children and her eldest, Billy, was turned into a zombie during a zombie invasion of Ireland. Instead of ‘getting rid of him’ the family decide to look after him, keeping him upstairs, chained up with a muzzle. The neighbours aren’t happy; they see Billy as a threat, a danger to the whole community. The local gangsters aren’t happy, and they’re the ones who are having to clear up the whole zombie mess as there’s no real presence of police or army. The family have invited an American documentarian and a film crew to film their situation. The plot thickens and by the end of the film, we see just how far a mother’s love is willing to go.

So it’s a horror?

The film is really a family drama with layers of social commentary. There is also a lot of black comedy thrown in. It’s Dawn of the Dead meets Shaun of the Dead.

What attracted you to the role?

I got the script on a Saturday morning and I was asked to be at the audition at 4pm that day. By the time I was half way down the second page I knew I really wanted to be in the film. I loved the black comedy and  the twist to the traditional zombie film.  It’s a really smart script and it was a pleasure to be in it. There was such a great cast to play alongside and working together from morning ‘til night, shooting some pretty intense scenes , on a really tight budget, meant that we were really close by the end of filming. The film was three years in the making. The director Bing Bailey went back to it a few times, to tweak, improve and build on it so you’d get new scenes to film every time he did.

What is the social commentary behind the film?

Billy could represent any person in society that the neighbours wouldn’t want around – a drug user for example, or  a paedophile. I wouldn’t be a horror fan at all, Dr Who scares me! I’m told though that traditionally zombie movies represent society’s deterioration, whether it’s mass consumerism or slack morals. They have taken their eye off the ball and now they’re going to pay for it. There is an element of that in the film too.

How challenging was it to play the loving mother of a flesh-eating zombie?

In a way it was very challenging because Billy is very far gone, he’s a monster, and yet I’m playing a woman who only sees her darling son in front of her. On the other hand, it wasn’t challenging because if acting is reacting, then the talented Patrick Murphy – who plays Billy – was a dream to act alongside. Even as a mother who recognises her son in the zombie, there is still fear in the back of her mind.

Do Independent films struggle in Ireland?

I think they can struggle as they don’t have the budgets for marketing. On the other hand, word of mouth works very well in Ireland. This can create interest – friends coming to see it and passing on their own review works wonder. There is a lot of media support for independent films in Ireland which goes a long way on a very small budget. Festivals like Underground are brilliant at boosting interest in Independent films too. Somebody might go along to a festival such as Underground and want to go to more where they’ll be exposed to a variety of indies. What we’re trying to push as well is the idea of showing short Independent films before mainstream films in cinemas instead of a conveyor belt of ads for blockbusters and other big budget films. They used to do this a lot more, I don’t know where it went. It gets the message out to a wider audience.

Carmen Bryce

 

The Underground Cinema Film Festival (UCFF) in Dun Laoghaire celebrates the best of Irish Independent Cinema screening a selection of some of the best short  and feature films made by Irish independent filmmakers. The festival takes place 13th-16th September.

Click here for the festival’s full schedule

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Interview: Underground Cinema Film Festival: Dacre Stoker, great grand-nephew of Bram Stoker

Listen to them - children of the night. What music they make

Carmen Bryce was able to suck some blood from Dacre Stoker, great grand-nephew of Bram Stoker and author of Dracula: The Un-Dead and The Lost Journal of Bram Stoker, the Dublin Years, who is appearing at the dead of night at the Underground Cinema Film Festival which is currently taking bloody place in Dun Laoghaire from 13th-16th September.

Q- How are you involved in this year’s Underground Film Festival?

A – I’m at the festival to give a bit of background to this amazing story Bram Stoker wrote with Dracula and the mysteries behind the story. Screening at the festival is the 1992 Francis Ford Coppola adaptation of Dracula written by James Heart, which I will be introducing. In my opinion, and many others, Coppola’s version is a really close adaptation, with a few twists of its own, of Bram’s novel. It’s been a very difficult novel to adapt into a movie as it was written in the epistolary style but Coppola did a great job in achieving this. I will also be introducing James Heart with a Skype link from New York. He will be talking about how and why he wrote the screenplay the way he did.

Q – Dracula is perhaps the most famous horror figure ever created. Can you explain the longevity of Stoker’s story and our fascination with his monster?

A- The story of Dracula is immortal itself. Even today, the modern vampire craze shows that the myth of Dracula is still very much alive today. Ironically, the novel wasn’t instantly classified as a classic and it wasn’t until the 1970s that the public recognised it as one. One of the reasons the story has stood the time is that it’s a story that can be interpreted on many different levels. It can be viewed as a portal into Victorian society and all the issues they were dealing with – women’s rights, sexuality, modern technology. The one theme that I personally feel is prevalent is immortality. The story revolves around a creature that is immortal and every person at one stage ponders their own immortality, it’s an alluring subject. It makes the creature of Dracula and the story, endlessly exciting. Dracula is a complex character. He longs at times for a human connection. At times he is repulsed by who he is and what he is and yet other times he embraces and flaunts it. He’s not just a monster. He was a romantic but he was also a survivor, a brutal predator. This complexity cannot be solved and therefore continues to be examined and re-defined by various directors, producers and writers.

Carmen Bryce

James Heart Skype call, Saturday, 15th September, 5pm, Laurel Suite, the Royal Marine Hotel, Dun Laoghaire.

20th Anniversary Screening of Francis Ford Coppola’s Dracula, introduced by Dacre Stoker, Saturday, 15th September, 8.15pm, Martello Suite, Royal Marine Hotel, Dun Laoghaire.

The Underground Cinema Film Festival (UCFF) in Dun Laoghaire celebrates the best of Irish Independent Cinema screening a selection of some of the best short  and feature films made by Irish independent filmmakers. The festival takes place 13th-16th September.

Click here for the festival’s full schedule

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Underground Cinema Film Festival: Friday Preview

This year’s Underground Cinema Film Festival kicked off on Thursday.

The Underground Cinema Film Festival (UCFF) in Dun Laoghaire celebrates the best of Irish Independent Cinema screening a selection of some of the best short  and feature films made by Irish independent filmmakers. The festival takes place 13th-16th September.

Check out what’s going on Friday:

Friday Short Film Program 1 – Screening in the Martello Suite at 12pm

Short Film Program 1 – The Maretello Suite at 10am
1. Bogman – Set in the Irish midlands, a quiet man’s lonely existence takes a mysterious turn when he uncovers something out cutting turf. Directed by Garret Daly & Produced by Martina McGlynn – Running Time 14 Mins
2. Mass – Mass, an underground street fighter wakes up in an interrogation room after an unlikely confrontation. Directed by Robbie Hamilton & produced by Lauterio Zamparelli – Running Time 8 Mins
3. Case #377 – A Crooked cop cons an odd ball hazmat team into helping him locate a mysterious duffel bag in a banshee infested labyrinth Directed and Produced by John Gigrich – Running Time 9 Mins
4. Rose – Rose is a short documentary that portrays a daughters despair as she comes to terms with having to put her own mother into a nursing home due to the onset of Alzheimer’s. Directed & Produced by Peter O’Brien – Running Time 7 Mins
5. An Cluiche – This short film tells the story of a man who loves his team more than his girlfriend. Directed & Produced by Cathal O’Cuaig – Running Time 8 Mins
6. The Road of Souls – A moment in time in 1950’s that captures the imagination of an eleven year old boy. Directed by Garret Daly & Produced by Garret Daly & PJ Curtis – Running Time 18 Mins
7. No Messages – Dave, a beleaguered Dublin barman, awaits an important phone call. Directed by Cian McGarrigle & Produced by Eoin Lynch – Running Time 18 Mins
9. Fifty People – One Question – One Town – Fifty Different People – One Very Difficult Question Directed & Produced by Kamil Krolak – Running Time 11 Mins
10. Partly Cloudy – Fiona is dealing with the trials of being bridesmaid to her demanding sister Gillian. The stress is about to takes its toll. Directed by Mark Cogan & Produced by Amanda Ferriter – Running Time 15 Mins
11. The Arrival – Michael and John have been married for two years and are ready to take the next step into fatherhood. Having failed to adopt a baby through all the legal routes, Michael discovers a website where pregnant women sell their babies little knowing that these women are not what they seem. Directed by Christian Kotey & Produced by Jonathan Clancy – Running Times 16 Mins

Short Film Program 2 – The Maretello Suite at 4.15pm
1. Lose the Booze – Two estranged best friends wake up one morning after the night before in the mountains in a beer delivery truck, a full load of kegs and no clue how to undo the mess they are in. Directed by Declan Reynolds & Produced by Declan Reynolds, Ronan Connolly & Conor Hipwell Running Time 11 Mins
2. Channel 31 – Edgar Allen Poe has nothing on this macabre tale of burial, CB radios and graveyards. Cosmo helps his dying brothers fear of being buried alive in a most unusual fashion. Directed by Dermot Tynan & Produced by Lara O’Connell – Running Time 11 Mins
3. Breaking Up – After his girlfriend throws him out, Steve realises he doesn’t have his wallet. He hides and waits for her to leave, then sneaks back into the apartment to look for it. Directed & Produced by Tim Hanan – Running Time 3 Mins
4. Bayonet – Jack is intrigued by his Grandfather who fought in WWII. When his house is broken into, Jack takes matters into his own hands to avenge his Grandfather Directed by Anthony Downes & Produced by Caitriona Costello – Running Time 8 Mins
5. Jeremiah O’Dea– Hand carving works of art is my key to the walled garden, my way down the rabbit hole, my looking glass, my chosen path, my inspiration – Jeremiah O’Dea Directed and Produced by Kamil Krolak – Running Time 6 Mins
6. It’s A Wonderful Death – A suicidal man gets a new lease of life after hearing the world is about to end. Directed by Liam Upton & Produced by Big Salad Productions/Snugboro Films – Running Time 10 Mins
7. Premiss – 1969: A British intelligence officer is assigned to debrief a colleague returned from Soviet captivity. He soon suspects a link between the murder of a Russian defector in the US years earlier and a possible double agent in his department Directed by Bryan Tyrrell & Produced by Raymond Lamb, Aodán Ó’Coileáin & Bryan Tyrrell Running Time 11 Mins
8. Unusual Victim – An Abduction takes place, the pursuer becomes the pursued. Directed by Jason Figgis & Produced by Jason Shalloe – Running Time 8 Mins
9. For Sarah – For Sarah follows Sarah Jordan in the wake of her boyfriends death. She was the last person to see him alive and two days later, she remains the only person to have seen him dead. Alone together in their small apartment Sarah finds herself besieged by the demons of her past. Directed & Produced by Vincent McEntee – Running Time 16 Mins
10. The Court Astronomer – Life mirrors class as a Bishop, Knight and King try to outwit each other. Directed and Produced by Alex Fegan – Running Time 15 Mins
11. Spare Change? A homeless man is in desperate need for some extra cash – but what are his intentions? Directed by Jordan Ballantine & Produced by Jordan Ballantine & Patrick Murphy – Running Time 4 Mins
12. Uisce Beatha – A young man leaves his home in rural Ireland to cross the ocean on the doomed Titanic. But a night of celebration beforehand results in a twist that will effect his fate drastically. Directed by Shaun O’Connor & Produced by Aideen Wylde – Running Time 8 Mins
13. Trust – This is a tragic story of hurt, of how a meaningless sexual act can have a disturbing effect on the people we love. In one moment…. with one selfish Act…. you can ruin everything Directed & Produced by Alan Mulligan – Running Time 13 Mins

Jack Sargeant – A Journey to the Darkside a Full Day Program – The Dargan Suite from 12pm Onwards

12:00pm – 1:00pm Introductory Talk Jack Sergeant

For Jacks. full Bio, click here

1:15pm – 2:35pm ANTIPODEAN EXPERIMENTALISTS

Australian found footage, plunderphonics and experimentalism, exploring the nature of film as a physical medium, as a form of visual pleasure and as the mise-en-scene of the unconscious.

NUDE STUDIES Stefan Popescu 9 mins, 2012. HOLLYWOOD BURN Soda_Jerk 60mins, 2011, HOLIDAY Tony Lawrence 6:45mins 2012

3:00pm – 4:00pm LLIK YOUR IDOLS Angelique Bosio

This documentary introduces the Cinema of Transgression and – beyond that – the subcultures that informed it. Featuring Richard Kern, Nick Zedd and artist Joe Coleman, amongst others.

5:00pm – 6:30pm THE CINEMA OF TRANSGESSION

Because you asked for it. Because you deserved it. Because – more than anything else – you need it. A selection from the legendary New York post-punk Cinema of Transgression movement from the 1980s. These films breathed new dark unhealthy life to underground film, creating short sharp and black humoured movies that sacrificed all sacred cows. Expect nudity, sex, violence and mayhem.

SUBMIT TO ME NOW Richard Kern, NYMPHOMANIA Tessa Hughes Freeland & Holly Adams, BLACK HEARTS BLEED RED Jeri Cain Rossi, INSTINCT: BITCHES SIDE Tessa Hughes Freeland, 13mins, 2007., POLICE STATE Nick Zedd, FINGERED Richard Kern

7:00pm – 8:30pm FROM EYE CANDY TO HEAD FUCKAGE
A rare screening of legendary extreme underground movies culled from the glorious sewer of the nineties and noughties, plus a couple of new treats too. Expect some of the most confronting, shocking, gleefully perverse, offensive, informative and damned essential underground films you’re likely to see. Featuring contributions from Huck Botko, Carey Burtt, Shawn Durr, Usama Alshaibi, Aryan Kaganof and others. Expect: cakes, Merzbow, sex, serial killers, nudity and meat.

GASH Usama Alshaibi 2:11mins 2008, BAKED ALASKA, Huck Botko, 7:42mins, 1997, WASHING MACHINE, Cacaca 5:45mins 2007, THE PSYCHOTIC ODYSSEY OF RICHARD CHASE, Carey Burtt 6mins, 1999, CHEESECAKE, Huck Botko, 7:23 1998, BEYOND ULTRA VIOLENCE, Aryan Kaganof, 15mins 1998, LIKE A PIG IN SHIT Samantha Sweeting 5mins 2007, BOVINE VENDETTA Bob Judd, 3mins, 1998, ORGAN MOLLY Usama Alshaibi, 7mins, 2008, MEAT FUCKER Shawn Durr, 32mins, 1999

8:45pm – 10:30pm FUCKED UP SEX AND SEXED UP PSYCHEDELIA
THE AMATEURS Usama Alshaibi, WE AWAIT Charles Pinion

Warning

Jack Sargeant’s full day program is strictly for over 18s only. If you are easily offended please do not attend

Tickets for Jack Sargeants Journey in to Darkness are free of charge to the first 50 people requesting a place for the program. Your ticket will give you access to the entire program for the day. You can choose to stay for the entire program or you can come and go as you please. To register your interest, please email

info@underground-cinema.com

Treekeeper – Screening will be in the Martello Suite at 215pm

 

Treekeeper tells the story of a young mans struggle to protect his inherited woodlands from being developed as a landfill site.

Directed & Produced by Partick O’Shea

Running Time 89 Mins

Friday Short Film Program 2 – Screening in the Martello Suite at 415pm

The Solution – Screening in the Martello Suite at 6pm

 

This film explores the greed, apathy, prejudices and racism of a society transformed by an ‘economic miracle’. Jerry has done well during Irelands recent economic boom. A wealthy property man, he has recently married a younger woman. They live with his physically disabled son from a previous marriage. It looks like he has the perfect life, but if we scratch the surface there is something very dark and disturbing underneath.

Directed by Ivan Kavanagh

Running Time 90 Mins

G.B.H. – Screening will take place in the Martello Suite at 630pm

 

London 2011. As the worst riots the capitol has ever seen in decades rages, a lone wolf cop must choose between his friends or his duty as two worlds collide in this violent uncompromising crime epic in the tradition of The Long Good Friday and The Sweeney.

Directed by Simon Philips

Produced by Jonathan Sothcott

Running Time 80 Mins

Flower – Screening will take place in the Martello Suite at 830pm


Flower, a celebration of being different. A loveable imperfect man, a dying father, an estranged beleagured brother, unrequited love, street bullying and the realisation that nobody’s perfect.

Directed by Ger Thompson & Peter Thompson

Produced by Eileen McCarthy

Running Time 90 Mins

Trina Cheile

Underground Cinema Are Delighted to Welcome Trina Cheile to the World Premiere of Flower. Trina Cheile will be playing before and after the screening of Flower in the Martello Suite

Trina Cheile are a group based in Youghal Co.Cork. With the legendary Youghal Pipe band being a large part of who they are particularly as Bodhran player Tommy Mc Carthy and bag pipes player Brian Mc Carthys grandfather was its founder. Plans are underway for a centenary celebration to Chicago in 2014.
They began as a session band but when lead singer Ger Thompson joined the group they found themselves drawn into a variety of influences from Paolo Nutini to Mungo Jerry and Bruce Springsteen to Johnny Cash which with mainly traditional instruments creates a unique blend. Ger also writes a lot of his own songs many of which are in his feature film Flower. The group are often found entertaining in the East Cork and West Waterford area.”

The World Premiere of Flower is supported by Waterford County Council

 

Click here for the festival’s full schedule

 

 

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Underground Cinema Film Festival: Thursday Preview

 

This year’s Underground Cinema Film Festival kicks off on Thursday.

The Underground Cinema Film Festival (UCFF) in Dun Laoghaire celebrates the best of Irish Independent Cinema screening a selection of some of the best short  and feature films made by Irish independent filmmakers. The festival takes place 13th-16th September, with the opening gala on Thursday, 13th.

Panel Discussion:

Orla Murphy will chair a panel consisting of award-winning Directors Kirsten Sheridan and Marian Quinn, DoP Kate McCullough.

‘Making your First Feature: If I knew then what I know now…’

The panel discussion will be focus on how these talented women got into film in the first place, the relationship between cinematographer and director, what elements have evolved and are evolving in their creative practice from film to film – as well as some practical business lessons learned along the way. There will also be a Q&A with the audience and this will be followed by a screening of Kirsten Sheridan’s new feature DollHouse.


Short Films Directed by Women – Screening in the Martello Suite at 10am:


1. A Scare Less Ordinary – Fast paced film following Una who thinks she may be pregnant, while slugging glasses of wine and searching the net for symptoms. Directed & Produced by Rita Marie Lawlor – Running Time 7 Mins

2. Losing Memories – An elderly lady is losing her memories. This mood piece is seen through her eyes. Her past and present merge. She becomes the child she once was. Directed by Orlagh Heverin & Produced by Paddy O’Connor – Running Time 9 Mins

3. Off The Board – Off the board is a short poetic documentary dealing with a sense of fear through the experience of diving. Directed by Siobhan Perry & Produced by Roisin Linnie – Running Time 8 Mins

4. Rapunzel – The Blonde Years – Rapunzel is desperate to escape. The handsome prince comes to rescue her, but discovers there are situations where size does really matter. Directed by Fiona Ashe & Produced by Trish Groves – Running Time 2 Mins

5. Clues – William wakes up to find himself locked in his bedroom. he must solve a series of elaborate clues created by his girlfriend Sam, in order to win his freedom. Directed by Kathy Kelly & Produced by John Lynch – Running Time 6 Mins

6. Two Margaritas And One Daiquiri -Three girls with a very particular way to have fun when going out. Directed by Carmen Reig Llabata & Produced by Carmen Reig Llabata & Carmen Montero – Running Time 14 Mins

7. The Deal – Five players, two peelers, a bag, a drop of blood and a pile of puke in the Belfast docks set the scene for this black comedy about a heist that doesn’t quite go to plan. Directed by Delyth Thomas & Produced by Diane Shorthouse – Running Time 11 Mins

8. Out of the Blue – A bitter sweet comedy about finding friendship when it is least expected. Directed & Produced by Katherine Murphy – Running Time 11 Mins

9. The Legend – A struggling playwright turns to whiskey and his idol, Arthur Miller to overcome writers block, when he meets a blonde bombshell in the local pub, he discovers real inspiration. Directed & Produced by Shannon Moncrief – Running Time 18 Mins

10. Riders to the Sea – A surfing duel breaks out between a male and female surfer off the West Coast of Ireland. Breaking waves, racing hearts, and the treachery of Lycra. Directed by Orla Walsh & Produced by Ian W. Davis – Running Time 5 Mins

 

Feature Films Screening:

Eden – Screening in the Dargan Suite at 10am

Eden deals with what could possibly be a future for most people caught up in the current economic climate in Ireland and how we have taken a bite of the financial apple and borrowed beyond our means. We follow Adam who has been left unemployed and homeless throughout one of his days on the streets and the people and situations he finds himself in on a daily basis.

Directed and Produced by Robbie Walsh

Running Time 70 Mins

 

A Fistful of Diamonds – Screening in the Dargan Suite at 11.30am

A modern-day Irish Western in which a wayward stranger, a wronged thief and a bereaved daughter collide in the search of an elusive stash of stolen diamonds.

Directed by David Keeling

Produced by David Keeling & Keith Hennigan

Running Time 87 Mins

 

32A – Screening in the Martello Suite at 11.45am

After casting many envious glances at other women’s busts (even the nuns’), 13-year-old Maeve finally gets her first bra, size 32A, but no one expects her to get the local heartthrob. Marian Quinn’s coming-of-age comedy drama has multiple awards under its belt and features Aidan Quinn and Jared Harris.

Directed by Marian Quinn

Produced by Tommy Weir & Roshanak Behesht Nedjad

Running Time 89 Mins

 

The Gingerbread Men – Screening in the Dargan Suite at 1.15pm

The Gingerbread Men is a dark comedy, set in Dublin, Ireland. It follows two final year Trinity College students, Charlie (womanizer) and Ken (virgin), over the course of 2 (two) life-changing months. After Ken enlists Charlie to help him lose his virginity, things don’t go to plan for either of them.

Directed by Dáire McNab

Produced by Dáire McNab, Simone Cameron Coen amd Robert Kearns

Running Time 105 Mins

 

Meeting on the Stairs – Screening in the Martello Suite at 1.30pm

Molly, student, meets Dave, artist, they form a relationship, all goes well till Dave discovers that Molly is pregnant to someone else.

Directed by Lorna Fitzsimmons

Produced by Carl Shaaban

Running Time 73 Mins

 

Snap – Screening in the Martello Suite at 3pm

Snap begins with a documentary crew invading the home of Sandra who has agreed to be interviewed despite her caustic tongue and what seems like a burning desire to antagonize the filmmakers. She is one angry woman: sometime in the very recent past, her teenage son kidnapped a toddler and created a national panic/sensation. Both Stephen and Sandra have become public enemies, with Sandra having been all but crucified, made into the kind of media scapegoat tabloid readers love to loathe.

Directed by Carmel Winters & Produced by Martina Niland – Running Time 120 Mins

 

Dollhouse – Screening in the Pavilion Theatre at 4.30pm

Dollhouse explores a night in the life of a group of street teens from Dublin’s inner city who break into a house in an upper class suburb. The break in quickly moves into a night of frenzy, driven by a series of revelations that will leave lasting marks on each of them, and resulting in an emotional conclusion that they will carry with them.

Directed by Kirsten Sheridan

Produced by John Wallace

Running Time 95 Mins

 

Gloves and Glory – Screening in the Laurel Suite at 5.15pm

Feature documentary focusing on female amateur boxing in Ireland.

Directed by Caitriona Costello

Produced by Caitriona Costello & Rita Marie Lawlor

Running Time 103 Mins

 

The Other Side of Sleep – Screening in the Martello Suite at 5.15pm

 

The film looks at the tensions just beneath the surface of a small community; as it supports and isolates its own at the same time. This unique suspense film follows Arlene through her world, seeing life through her eyes as her fear and paranoia mount and a community searches for a killer.

Directed by Rebecca Daly & Produced By Morgan Bushe & Macdara Kelleher

Running Time 91 Mins

 

The Nixer – Screening in the Martello Suite at 6.45pm

Two petty criminals tired of living on the breadline and begging for scraps, decide to branch out on their own into a life of crime. They pull off their first job but quickly realise they’ve messed with the wrong person. Time is now running out as they try to escape retribution.

Directed by Fiona Graham

Produced by Lisa McNamee

Running Time 77 Mins

 

Portrait of a Zombie – Screening in the Pavilion Theatre at 8pm

A working class Irish familiy decides to care for their zombie son much to the annoynace of the neighbours and the local crime boss and all under the gaze of an American documentary film crew. Will the Murphy’s love of their son be enough to protect them from a Dublin zombie outbreak? Or will they discover that blood truly runs thicker than water? One thing is for sure. For the zombies in Ireland, THE FAMINE IS OVER.

Produced by Bing Bailey and Laura Morand Bailey

Directed by Bing Bailey

Running Time 90 Mins

 

Click here for the festival’s full schedule

 

 

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Unveil secrets of Independent Film at the 3rd Underground Cinema Film Festival

(Portrait of a Zombie)

The third annual Underground Cinema Film Festival (UCFF) will take place from the 13th- 16th of September 2012 in the Royal Marine Hotel Dun Laoghaire.

 

The Festival will be officially launched in the Pavilion Theatre on Thursday September 13th at 7pm by an Leas Cathaoirleach Stephen Fitzpatrick.  Following the launch, the Festival will begin with its opening film, the Dublin Premiere of Portrait of a Zombie.  From thereon in, UCFF will screen over 100 films, 50 Festival Premieres and 3 World Premieres

 

We are delighted to announce that in association with the Irish Film Board this year’s special guest will be Jack Sargeant. Jack Sargeant is a renowned author and an authority on underground and cult film and has devised a special programme for us. Jack is also curator of Revelation Perth International Film Festival and we at Underground are honoured to forge a link with such a prestigious festival.
Other special guests include a trio of pure, powerhouse talent, the inimitable Terry McMahon (Charlie Casanova, last year’s opening film), Ivan Kavanagh (Tin Can Man, last year’s closing film) and Conor Horgan (100 Mornings) in a full day devoted to underground/cult/punk-rock film at this year’s festival.

The festival will be divided into four parts this year. Our opening day, entitled “Women in Film”, will feature panel discussions with women from every aspect of the industry and culminate in a screening of Kirsten Sheridan’s innovative feature Dollhouse. Some of the guests on this day include, as well as Ms. Sheridan, Marion Quinn (32A), Edwina Forkin (Zanzibar Films), actress Olwen Fouere (The Other Side Of Sleep, This Must Be The Place) Other guests TBA

 

We are extremely excited to announce that, in association with the Bram Stoker Estate and Barnabus Bailey Greatest Show Unearthed USA and with the support of the Victorian Vampire SocietyUK, for the first time we will host ‘Horror-fest’ at UCFF. In celebration of Bram Stoker’s centenary, we will host a 20th anniversary screening of Francis Ford Coppola’s Dracula, as well as other special screenings, guests and exhibitions TBA.

 

This year’s festival will also include a segment on screen adaptation wherein writers and directors will discuss the adaptation process from page to screen and we are proud to have Bernard McLaverty (Cal), Colin Bateman (Divorcing Jack) and, schedule permitting, David Caffrey (Divorcing Jack, Love/Hate) joining us, as well as other special guests TBA.

The UCFF team are incredibly proud of our packed programme this year. Along with our usual screenings of short and feature films, we will host a number of free workshops with some of the top professionals working in the industry today, including Vinnie Murphy (Accelerator) and Ciarán Creagh (Parked).

Our festival will finish with the festival awards ceremony on Sunday September 16th, presented by An Cathaoirleach Tom Joyce.  The awards will then be followed by the World Premiere of the eagerly anticipated feature Derelict, directed by Frank Kelly and the Official Closing film of the festival.

 

The festival is proudly supported by Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, Radio Nova, Gazette Group Newspapers, The Royal Marine, The Pavilion Theatre, Yelp, Bram Stoker Society of Ireland, Barnabus Bailey Greatest Show Unearthed USA and the Victorian Vampire SocietyUK.
For more information and to book tickets please log on to: www.undergroundcinema-filmfestival.com

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