Filmmaker Anne Marie Kelly tells us about her short film ‘God Given Opportunity’, written in response to the Papal Visit of 2018 and those who came together to Stand4Truth.

Dublin Northside filmmaker Anne Marie Kelly took advantage of the extra time afforded by the year of lockdown by putting the finishing touches on the thought-provoking short film God Given Opportunity.  With an interesting CV of alternative career paths, she attests that her roles of singer, writer, director, actor and psychotherapist blend and embellish each other in their core values of the pursuance of truth.  It is in this pursuit that the genesis of God Given Opportunity developed. The film was written in response to the “Stand4Truth” gathering which took place as the Pope said Mass in the Phoenix Park.  

Kelly talks of having been a young child in the ’70s when Pope John Paul visited.  “I remember the wide-eyed excitement”, she says, “how the whole country seemed lifted up, lit up with hope.  When I listened to Colm O’Gorman speak at Stand4Truth, of how, as the Pope promised his love for the Irish people, he was also fully aware of the rape and abuse of children, a light went out in my memories of my childhood.  This film is my attempt to say to those who would not listen, who were irritated by the calls for atonement, to think about what child abuse really is, the evil it is, and how the silence of the bystander enables it.”

Taking a leaf from the ultimate teller of stories, she chose a fable-like framework to work within, which gives a timeless feel to the story, but bookending the film for reference and context – at the start and end we have no doubt that we are in Dublin, in the Phoenix Park, waiting.  It is an allegorical take on the corruption of an ideal, taking us back to the early message of the Church-love.  With a combination of creative cinematography married with a soundscape so subtle evoking our primal selves, our trust as the viewer becomes integral to the story, leaving questions and discomfort in the hearts of those who watch.  

Written and directed by Anne Marie Kelly with Enda Brady joining as co-producer the film features Jamie McClean (David Freyne’s The Cured, Ian Adam’s Manhunt, Kelly’s Ma) and Dmitry Vinokurov (ITV’s Intruders, Stuart Drennan’s short United and Herself).  Cinematography and editing was by Ciarán O’Donnell with music supervision and sound design by Johnny Kelleher.  A number of the tracks on the film are performed by Kelly herself.  With festival screenings underway, she is seeking a grapevine distribution of this piece, to reach an audience she feels may be difficult to access.

Kelly won Best Actor at the Disappear Here Film Festival in 2018 for her performance in her own short film Ma. which tells the harrowing tale of a Mother whose son has killed another man. It also stars Jamie McClean and has enjoyed a prolific festival run.

Also in 2018 Kelly released ‘Virgin Mother Whore…Woman’, an exhibition held in FilmBase in Dublin. This piece was a culmination of many years of work on songs around the disconnect between the representations of females in the media and the reality of life as a woman.  Detailed and layered, the presentation was in song, video, still image and 3D representation with contribution art pieces from artist Enda Brady.  

Says Kelly, “My wish for any project where I have ever left a footprint is that someone will be emotionally moved, aroused, provoked, confused, discomfited, on a level deep where words are of little use.”


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