#IRISHFILMFESTA 2015 – Your Comments



Thanks to our guests and audience for interacting with us through social media during the 8th edition of Irish Film Festa.

Ecco una raccolta dei vostri commenti:

Ghost Train and The Ledge End of Phil are the winning shorts of Irish Film Festa 2015

Ghost TrainPP


The winning short films of the 8th edition of Irish Film Festa (March 26th – 29th, 2015) are Ghost Train by Lee Cronin (live action) and The Ledge End of Phil by Paul Ó Muiris (animation).

Special mentions to The Break by Ken Williams and Denis Fitzpatrick, The Good Word by Stuart Graham and The Measure of a Man by Ruth Meehan.

The juries were composed by Emanuela Martini (Torino Film Festival director), Emiliano Liuzzi (journalist, Fatto Quotidiano) and Áine O’Healy (Professor at Loyola Marymount University, LA) for the live action category, and by Thomas Martinelli (journalist and DOCartoon director) and Kay McCarthy (musician) for the animation one.



Three questions to… Julien Regnard, director of Somewhere Down the Line

Somewhere Down the Line02
Julien Regnard is the director of Somewhere Down the Line, one of the animated short films in competition at Irish Film Festa 2015. The short is produced under the Irish Film Board’s Frameworks scheme, exclusively dedicated to animation, and in collaboration with Cartoon Saloon (Nora Twomey, co-director of The Secret of Kells, is involved as executive producer).

Somewhere Down the Line shows a man’s life, loves and losses through the exchanges he has with the passengers in his car.


How did you develop this story about the passing of time?

I moved places a lot during the past few years, from Montpellier to Paris to Brussels and then to Ireland, and it made me realized how difficult it was to keep contact with the people I had met, how short and fragile were the human relationships compared to the infinity of time and space. So the film is a metaphor of this idea, a man driving on the road, getting older and older and leaving the people he meets behind him along the way.


How did your work on the characters animation and their integration with the backgrounds?

For the characters animation, it was pretty simple because they are drawn in 2D, we used a software called TvPaint and then did simple compositing. The tricky part was the car and the animated background. We had to paint all the views of the car in Photoshop and then project them onto the 3D model. Same for the rolling backgrounds, we painted several views of the landscape and then projected them on a 3D map. It took us a while to figure it out but in the end it was working fine.


The music plays a big part in Somewhere Down the Line: how did you work with the composers?

The music was composed by 3epkano which is a band specialized in doing impro live on silent films so I was very interested in working with them. We met a first time and they believed in the film straight away, we had very little money and time but they only cared about the artistic value of the project. I think they did an amazing job in the end and brought so much to the atmosphere of the film.


Three questions to… Paul Murphy, director of The Weather Report

The Weather Report Still

Paul Murphy is the director and screenwriter of The Weather Report, one of the short films in competition at Irish Film Festa 2015.

1944. Ted (Edward MacLiam, Run & Jump) and her wife Maureen (Marie Ruane) are the Blacksod Lighthouse keepers, in County Mayo. One day they receive a misterious phone call which questions one of their routine weather reports. What’s happening?

The Weather Report won the GFC/RTÉ Short Film Award and was later selected at many international festivals, including the Galway Film Fleadh, the IndieCork Film Festival, the Boston and the Chicago Irish Film Festivals.


Why did you choose to tell the story of Ted and Maureen Sweeney?

I love the idea of ‘ordinary’ people going about their lives and inadvertently finding themselves at the centre of events far beyond their own lives.
Interesting things often happen at the edge of a country, in this case it is also the edge of Europe.


How did you cast Edward MacLiam and Marie Ruane?

Casting Maureen was easy, really. As soon as I saw Marie Ruane in the short film Foxes, I knew she was perfect for the part and I was delighted when she agreed. Casting Ted was difficult. There is such a great choice of Irish male actors to play this kind of part. When I decided to ask Ed, I was delighted when he came on board. Both were fantastic to work with.


Did you actually shoot at the Blacksod Lighthouse?

We did shoot at Blacksod Lighthouse. It was important for me to shoot at that Lighthouse. It is the only Lighthouse in Britain and Ireland that has a square top. It is in such an isolated place, even for the west of Ireland, that there is very little obstruction to filming and basing your story in the 1940’s.

IRISH FILM FESTA 2015 line-up


The 8th edition of IRISHFILMFESTA (March 26th – 29th, 2015) takes place as usual at the Casa del Cinema in Villa Borghese, Rome, showcasing Irish feature films, documentaries and short films, and providing conferences and public interviews with special guests.

This year there will be 15 short films in competition; a special section dedicated to Ireland’s Gaelic language featuring An Bronntanas (The Gift), a thriller directed by Tom Collins set in Connemara, and the short film Rúbaí by Louise Ni Fhiannachta, both filmed entirely in Gaelic; and a tribute to the Irish film  director Lenny Abrahamson, best known for his films such as Adam & Paul, Garage and Frank. Abrahamson will also be on hand to give a masterclass open to the public.

Film highlights of the four-day festival include Terry McMahon‘s award-winning Patrick’s Day, with Moe Dunford in the role of 26-year-old schizophrenic who experiences love for the first time; and Niall Heery‘s comedy Gold with James Nesbitt, David Wilmot, Kerry Condon and Maisie Williams, about a man who returns home after years only to find his family dynamic utterly changed.

GOLD by Niall Heery
GOLD by Niall Heery

This year’s programme also includes three documentaries, all filmed in 2014: A City Dreaming by Mark McCauley, dedicated to the city of Derry and narrated by the late Northern Irish broadcaster and author Gerry Anderson; Ballymurphy by Sean Murray, on the killing of 11 civilians in Belfast by the British army’s parachute regiment in 1971; and Brendan Behan – The Roaring Boy by Maurice Sweeney, in which the actor Adrian Dunbar travels to the cities associated with the popular but controversial Dublin writer. Dunbar, who has played the role of Behan on stage, is expected as a guest of the festival.

The feature film programme veers from the romantic comedy Poison Pen to the thriller ’71 by Yann Demange, as well as screening Tomm Moore‘s animated film Song of the Sea, which recently received an Oscar nomination.

SONG OF THE SEA by Tomm Moore
SONG OF THE SEA by Tomm Moore

IRISHFILMFESTA, founded and directed by Susanna Pellis, is produced by the cultural association Archimedia in collaboration with the Irish Film Institute; with the support of Culture Ireland, the Irish Film Board, Tourism Ireland, Irish Design 2015; and the patronage of Ireland’s Embassy in Italy.



Facebook: facebook.com/irishfilmfesta
Twitter: @IrishFilmFesta
YouTube: Irishfilmfesta Roma

Michela Giorgini IrishFilmFesta Press Office
mobile: + 39 339 87 17 927 | email: giorginimichela@gmail.com

Three questions to… Ruth Meehan, director of The Measure of a Man


Ruth Meehan is the director and scriptwriter of The Measure of a Man, one of the short films in competition at Irish Film Festa 2015.

Jay Brady (Andrew Simpson, who played Cate Blanchett’s teenage-lover in Notes on a Scandal) is a young man who struggles to come to terms with the death of his father as he gets fitted for his first suit made by a tailor (Ronan Wilmot).

Ruth spoke about the cathartic meaning of the film, inspired by a true story.


How was the script developed?

I developed the script with my brother Kenneth after our friend Gary Henderson shared a story with us. Gary had recently lost his father and told us of getting a suit made by his father’s tailor. It had been a cathartic experience which had made him feel closer to his father.

This little film was a real gift, the rare kind that takes you by the hand and shows you where to go. It is and was very personal, cathartic and healing for us all and remains one of my dearest and most cherished experiences during a very dark period of time.


How did you cast Andrew Simpson and Ronan Wilmot?

At the time I was working with producer Tony Deegan on another project and he had just finished working with Andrew Simpson and told us how brilliant he was. Andrew had just been cast in a big BBC show, The Life and Adventures of Nick Nickleby, but the story resonated with him. He had also recently lost a close friend and we were really lucky that he made the time to be in the film.

Ronan Wilmot was another suggestion by a friend. He had the perfect sensibility for our tailor and was terrific.


Where was the The Measure of a Man shot?

Louis and Adrian Copeland are the foremost tailors in Dublin, and we were incredibly fortunate that they opened their doors to us. Their alterations room had been recently refurbished, but they introduced us to Denis Darcy, who was just about to retire, and whose studio was a designer’s dream. Denis had a very tight deadline on the day that we were filming with him, so he kept working around us. Sometimes the close-ups of hands trimming fabric are his, although even we can’t tell which ones anymore!

Special thanks to the producer Tamsin Lyons


Irish Design 2015 to sponsor Irish Film Festa 2015

ID2015Irish Design 2015 will sponsor the short films competition at this year’s Irish Film Festa, funding travel and accommodation for the two winning directors.

ID2015 is a government-backed programme exploring, promoting and celebrating Irish design and designers through events and activities in Ireland and internationally.

ID2015 offers a unique opportunity for Irish designers to highlight the significant role and impact that design has in every facet of life. High-profile events and activities at home and abroad will position Ireland at the heart of a design-focused, forward-thinking, creative international economy.

The ID2015 programme aims to encourage more people, businesses and organisations to invest in design and design thinking, and to promote Ireland’s talents around the world.

Michael D. Higgins, President of Ireland, is Patron of ID2015 and the initiative has been included in the Irish government’s Action Plan for Jobs. ID2015 is being convened by the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland (DCCoI), in collaboration with partner organisations, on behalf of the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Enterprise Ireland.

Find out more at irishdesign2015.ie

Three questions to… Louise Ní Fhiannachta, director of Rúbaí

Irish Film Festa 2015 competition features a short film shot in Irish Gaelic: Rúbaí, directed by Louise Ní Fhiannachta and produced under the Irish Film Board’s Gearrscannáin scheme.

As her classmates prepare for their First Holy Communion, 8-year-old Rúbaí (played by newcomer Doireann Ní Fhoighil) announces that she is an atheist and refuses to participate.

Louise Ní Fhiannachta spoke about the beautiful characteristics of the Irish language and how it was like to direct such a young actress.


Rúbaí is the only short film of this year’s competition shot in Irish Gaelic: why did you choose to use it?

The script was written in the Irish language so, as a native Irish speaker, it was only natural for me to continue the process in its original form. An Ghaeilge is a huge part of my identity and of those involved in Rúbaí, and I think that energy comes through in the film. It’s a very indirect language with gorgeous nuances and characteristics.

Of course, the beauty of film is that it’s a universal language which an audience can understand on a global level. Despite cultural differences, emotions are the fundamentals of the human condition, be they hope, fear, joy, etc.


How did you work on the script by Antoin Beag Ó Colla?

When I read the first draft of Rúbaí, I was immediately charmed by her character. Rúbaí, a Catholic, doesn’t want to make her Holy Communion and is instead enamoured by Darwin’s Theory of Evolution. This independent, yet sensitive, little girl had captured my heart and I knew I needed to go on her journey, question her motives, get to hang out with her. Antoin had already adopted a quirky tone at first draft and it was vital for me that we achieved this.

We felt there were elements missing from the story, for example the fundamental question of why Rúbaí had decided to become an atheist was never addressed.

Previous drafts of the script were also dialogue-heavy and I knew it would be a huge ask to find an eight-year old actress capable of remembering reams of dialogue while simultaneously giving a stellar performance. Thus we embarked on a rigorous developmental process with the script focusing on action and emotion rather than on big chunks of dialogue. It really paid off!


How did you cast Doireann Ní Fhoighil, the young girl who plays Rúbaí?

About three months before shoot, we auditioned 43 girls. I was amazed by the talent available to me and made a short list of 10 and held a workshop for them. This was a valuable exercise and a beauty to behold as each one of them gained confidence and flourished in those few hours.

Finding the right Rúbaí in Doireann Ní Fhoighil was a gift. I was captivated by her intelligence, wit and adorability from auditions right through to the shoot. Her understanding of the story and her trust in me was key as was the (continued!) support of her family.

The other 9 girls got to play Rúbaí’s classmates and each one of them was excellent. Because of budgetary constraints, we shot over three days so I knew that simple visual compositions were imperative. Performance always came first; it always does with me – I’m an actor’s director! Communicating my vision and collaborating with a very dedicated and creative team to put Rúbaí on screen was a journey I’ll always be grateful for.


Doireann Ní Fhoighil and Louise Ní Fhiannachta
Doireann Ní Fhoighil and Louise Ní Fhiannachta


Three questions to… Anna Rodgers, director of Novena

Novena Still3 copy (1)
Novena by Anna Rodgers is the only documentary selected for the Irish Film Festa 2015 short films competition.

When a mother from his church in Dundalk told him about her gay son feeling rejected by the Catholic community, Fr. Michael Cusack decided to invite two members of the LGBT community, Kay Ferriter and Stephen Vaughan, to make a speech during a Novena mass.

«When we heard about this event, we felt that it had to be documented despite not having funding or production company behind us», says Anna Rodgers.


Why and how did you choose to record the speeches from Kay Ferriter and Stephen Vaughan and use them for a film?

Stephen Vaughan approached me about the event a few weeks in advance. He is married to a man who worked with my mother, so we had a previous connection and he had seen a gay & lesbian documentary I had made. Initially we thought we would just record the event, but as we spoke about it I became aware of the significance of the invite for him and Kay to come speak at the Novena masses. It was something which had never happened before in Ireland, so I felt it was worth investing in hiring a professional crew and filming it properly. I wasn’t sure it would become a film at the time, but my gut instinct was that it was important and someone should make a record of it.


Why did you choose the short documentary form?

I am a documentary filmmaker so it was the natural approach for me to take with the film. I could have recorded the sound only and done something for radio, but then so much of the experience would have been lost. We tried to communicate the atmosphere on the day and all of the unspoken things. Short documentaries can be very impactful. Even though I have made longer formats before, I still really enjoy telling shorter stories this way as there are less rigid rules and narrative expectations about the short format.


How was the response from the audience?

We’ve had an overwhelmingly positive response to the film in Ireland. It’s won a number of awards which we’re very grateful for. The completion of the film was possible through a crowdfunding website called Fund It, and many people came forward to assist us in getting this film across the line and they showed us huge support. The film was screened on RTÉ in Ireland, our national broadcaster, and it’s also shown at numerous festivals and events. It has reached an audience beyond the LGBT community which was really important to us. I know that Stephen, Kay and Fr. Michael Cusack received great praise for what they did. I’m very glad we got to communicate the story of that day for all those who didn’t witness it.


Three questions to… Steve Woods, director of Keeping Time

Keeping Time_interview
Steve Woods is the director of Keeping Time, one of the ten live action short films selected for the Irish Film Festa 2015 competition.

Keeping Time is an original dance film project in which the story is told not by words but through movements and music: Kenyan dancer and coreographer Fernando Anuang’a plays a modern power station worker who meets Maasai warriors and dances with them combining traditional moves with modern dance.

Steve spoke about his work with Fernando Anuang’a and how it is like to make a dance film.


How did you come up with the idea for this story?

I have always been interested in history. History can be a story with a beginning, a middle and an end. Like a book. But at the same time, history is part of the present. Indeed there are people living a life style today that appears ‘historic’ to contemporary Europeans. Like the Maasai in this film. Ireland is full of things that remind us of our past. History is alive in Ireland.


How did you work on the coreography along with Fernando Anuang’a? And what about the music?

Working with a choreographer is interesting. It’s like working with an actor who is also the scriptwriter. I know some dance filmmakers have found it a difficult experience. I’ve been lucky. Maybe because I’ve always researched the choreographers work first and checked out their shows. I know exactly what I want from the dancers because I’ve seen them do it on stage. I also rehearse the shots with the choreographers and explain why I’m putting the camera here or there. So there is a relation in place before we make the film.

As for the composer, Ray Harman. Ray worked for nothing once for me on a film called Eternal which turned out very well. I promised him if I got a budget for a dance film I’d come back and hire him again and this time pay him! I really admire his work. He ‘gets’ film. He sees where the tension should be. He can pace a film. I like his work so much that his music is there from start to finish.

Actually another reason why I choose the Maasai is because they don’t use musical instruments – not even drums. So we had a clear soundscape to work on.


Where was Keeping Time shot?

I shot Keeping Time in two locations in Ireland. In Loughcrew where there is an ancient monument, some 5.000 years old: older than the pyramids and probably the oldest roofed structure in the world. The second place was a very modern power station which burns peat from the local bog to make electricity. So I’m putting two opposites together, the ancient and the modern. Which is the theme of the dance and the film.


An Bronntanas, Patrick’s Day & Gold at Irish Film Festa 2015

An Bronntanas The Gift image 1
An Bronntanas

The 8th edition of Irish Film Festa takes place from March 26th to 297h, sas usual at the Casa del Cinema in Villa Borghese, showcasing Irish feature films, documentaries and short films.

This year there will be fifteen short films in competition (ten in the live action category and five in the animation one); a special day dedicated to the Irish Gaelic language featuring An Bronntanas (The Gift, 2014), a thriller directed by Tom Collins set in Connemara, and the short film Rúbaí by Louise Ni Fhiannachta, both filmed entirely in Irish.

Film highlights of the four-day festival include Terry McMahon’s award-winning Patrick’s Day, with Moe Dunford, in the role of 26-year-old schizophrenic who experiences love for the first time, Kerry Fox e Philip Jackson; and Niall Heery’s comedy Gold with James Nesbitt, David Wilmot, Kerry Condon and Maisie Williams (Arya Stark from Game of Thrones), about a man who returns home after years only to find his family dynamic utterly changed.

Irish Film Festa 2015 will also pay tribute to Lenny Abrahamson, the director of Adam & Paul, Garage, What Richard Did (all screened at the festival) and Frank.

The complete line-up and schedule of Irish Film Festa 2015 will be announced on March, 17th.