Deirdre de Grae picks out her highlights from the New Irish Shorts 3 programme at the 29th Galway Film Fleadh.
The shorts programme was introduced by Eibh Collins, the Galway Film Fleadh shorts programmer, an enthusiastic supporter of short film in Ireland. The seven short films in this programme shared the theme of relationships and included films by established and debut filmmakers. This selection of shorts all had very high production values, demonstrating the impressive standard of new Irish filmmaking. Two of these stood out in terms of character, story, and professionalism: For You, directed by Brendan Canty, and Gustav, directed by Ken Williams and Denis Fitzpatrick.
For You (Brendan Canty)
Canty shows a clear filmmaking style and For You is a very mature short film, surprisingly his first of the format. He has extensive experience directing commercials and music videos, and was nominated for two MTV VMA awards in 2015, for Hozier’s Take me to Church. For You offers an intimate window into the life of a young woman living in high-rise Dublin flats, and her relationships with both her mother and boyfriend. The portrayal seems very realistic, with a mature, gentle performance from Gabby Murphy, balanced with Barry Keoghan’s undeniable, innate screen presence. Keoghan was shooting Dunkirk during the same time period, and For You was shot around his schedule. The shooting and editing style is reminiscent of Andrea Arnold’s work, notably Fish Tank (which screened at the Galway Film Fleadh in 2009), and Red Road, also set in high-rise flats. But more than the technical decisions, the depth of character and honest performance of the young female lead is testament to Canty’s directorial instincts and skill. Perhaps due to Canty’s music video background, I found myself mentally re-playing (the accomplished) ‘Get Out’ video by Frightened Rabbit (dir. Greg Davenport), which is similarly focused on the emotional turmoil of young women in an urban landscape. This is a very professional production, using highly talented and experienced crew. I would hope that Brendan Canty will devote more of his time to filmmaking alongside his commercial work, and look forward to his future feature films, hopefully in the Fleadh in the next few years!
For You was produced by Hinterland films.
Gustav (Ken Williams)
Directed by Ken Williams and Denis Fitzpatrick, Gustav is a short comedy starring Seán T. O’Meallaigh, the premise of which centres around the notion of an ‘ear worm’-that phenomenon when a tune or song ‘gets stuck in your head’. The filmmakers have taken this notion literally, and in this short film, we realise that the composer Gustav Mahler has taken up residence in the lead character’s head. I had recently heard that an earworm is caused by not fully remembering the entire song and it can be ‘cured’ by listening to the whole song. The filmmakers played with the audience here and never played the end of the piece of music, even in the credits. I found this to be a very funny film, I am a music-earworm sufferer and could relate to the main character’s frustration. This is a laugh-out-loud, cleverly edited short. O’Meallaigh is perfectly cast and he is in his element playing this comedic role. As with all successful comedies, this film juggled the essentials of good editing and comedic timing with a sharp script.
Gustav was written by Ken Williams, James Mather was DOP, Shane Callan was Editor. It was produced by Steven Daly of Brainstorm Productions.
Short films screened in this programme:
For You (dir. Brendan Canty), Gustav (dir. Ken Williams), Beside Himself (dir. Nick Rutter), Leap of Faith (dir. Mark Smyth), Peel (dir. Annika Cassidy), Seedling (dir. Stevie Russell), and Mum (dir. Anne-Marie O’Connor)
New Irish Shorts 3 screened on Thursday, 13th July 2017, as part of the 29th Galway Film Fleadh (11–16 July 2017).