Eleanor McSherry conducts a report from Orchestrate – Shorts Programme at the Kerry Film Festival.

Orchestrate, the first of the screenings I attended, straight off the bus from Limerick, was a real education. This selection of short films were chosen as they exemplified the mastery of the film score and, to be honest, they did not disappoint. It is surely one of the most difficult parts of making a film, selecting the most appropriate music to match your story. It is a very important skill that is usually way down the list of priorities when making the film, which is a big mistake.

There were seven short films selected for this screening, covering a very diverse set of themes from paramilitary shootings, faith, salvation, Irish Myths, expressive dance and tragedy.

The films screened were: The Visitor (Bel), The Long Wet Grass (Irl), The Yellow Room (USA), Pendulum (UK), Maeve and the Moon (Irl), Wrongheaded (Irl) and Milo’s Home (Swiss) .

Two of the films deserve special mention and these are: The Visitor and Wrongheaded.

The Visitor – Directed by Ali Baharlou

A priest faces an unexpected problem while preparing the church to welcome and help out some guests. It is holiday and a pipe has burst in the church. It seems that he cannot find any plumber, until a mysterious man shows up to help.

This film uses dialogue very cleverly. A fairly minor discussion on plumbing hides the real discussion about God, trust and faith. It is beautifully shot in a church and the music is fantastic. Not surprisingly it has won the Best Music Award at Frame by Sound Festival in Dominican Republic and screened all over Europe.  The immensely talented composer, Raf Keunen, best known for his work on the Oscar nominated film Bullhead composed the music for The Visitor. It was a magnificent collaboration, with hopefully more to come.


Wrongheaded – Directed by Mary Wycherley  

A dancing body’s response to the 8th amendment, bringing together spoken word poetry, film and dance.

Not surprisingly this film won best music score at the festival. It is a fantastic dance film beautifully choreographed by award-winning Liz Roche and Score by Ray Harman. I always feel so amazed by how dance films can give so much meaning through the merging of music, lighting, dance and film. Voice-over was by a new young political poet, Elaine Feeney, while dancers Sarah Cerneaux and Justine Cooper moved elegantly in the piece. It is a wonderful movement that stretched the very boundaries of film. I often wonder if I am qualified enough to even comment on these kind of films. It was a very moving and beautiful piece!



ORCHESTRATE – Shorts Programme took place on Friday, 20th October 2017 at Cinema Killarney as part of the Kerry Film Festival (19 – 22 October 2017)


Full Screening Details: 


1. The Visitor (BEL)

A broken pipe in a church triggers the meeting of a priest and a mysterious man.

2. The Long Wet Grass (IRL)

In a remote lakeside location, a strong-willed woman and a dedicated paramilitary are at an existential impasse. Can their interwoven past save her?

3. The Yellow Room (USA)

Through a series of lush encounters, two dancers are forced to confront their inherent dualities

4. Pendulum (UK)

Two friends seek spiritual salvation in India before the collapse of the Cosmos.

5. Maeve and the Moon (IRL)

After hearing her mother is ‘asking for the moon’, a young Irish girl takes the expression literally – setting off to find the moon and bring it home.

6. Wrongheaded (IRL)

Intense physicality in confined spaces and abstract poetic narratives portray a deep sense of desperation, struggle, loss and unrest.

7. Milo’s Home (SWISS)

A tragic event causes Dagmar to face her own loneliness.





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