Irish Indie Filmmaker Spotlight

Sam McGrath

Irish film-maker and photographer Sam McGrath may not have made a feature film yet, but you have definitely seen his work. Responsible for music videos for Irish artists such as Kojaque, Luka Palm, La Galaxie and Soulé, McGrath is already leaving his mark in the Irish film scene. His concepts are unique and executed with slick professionalism; you would never guess that he had only been making music videos for a little over a year and a half. Graduating from BESS (Business, Economic. Social Science) in Trinity, McGrath himself has said that he felt lost and wasn’t happy to continue down that path; a path which would include applying for accountancy firms and working a desk job, climbing the corporate ladder and so on. It was around that time that he began to make short films and play around with different styles. After realising that this was what he wanted to do with his life he began to work with local Dublin musicians, the most fruitful collaborations being the ones with Soft Boy Records. Date Night, the track by Kojaque and Luka Palm, as well as their follow up single AirBnB are two masterful projects, which both boast videos with high-concept, slick transitions and vibrant colour. They also have a very distinct grounding in a particularly Dublin feel, which seems to permeate all of McGrath’s work. He has said that his main goal is to make a feature film and if his work on music videos is anything to go by, we can expect incredibly exciting things. McGrath’s work situates him squarely in the ever-expanding Dublin art-scene, and in an age when our clubs keeps closing and our rents keep rising, McGrath is an important voice in the ever-resistant realm of Dublin artists. You can keep up to date with McGrath’s work from his Instagram, @sadmcgrath.

Natasha Waugh

Natasha Waugh is an Irish director whose timely and masterful work firmly situates her as an increasingly prominent voice in the Irish film scene. As a graduate of UCD’s own film programme, and a previous auditor of the UCD Film Society, Waugh should be on the rader of any filmically minded UCD student. Waugh co-founded the Dublin based Filmmaking/Videography Company “Fight Back Films” in 2013. Her directorial style and talent truly shines in her short films, of which she has directed five to date, and co-directed another. Amongst these are Terminal (2016), which Waugh wrote and directed. An incredibly topical film released ahead the repeal of Ireland’s Eighth Amendment, Terminal packs an emotional punch and deals with the struggles faced by women under the Eighth Amendment with an insightful and intelligent touch. Waugh’s honest and empathetic voice shines in Terminal, and her dedication to her craft is evident. It stands to reason, therefore, that Terminal was deservedly nominated for Best Short Film at both the 2017 Irish Film and Television Awards, and the London Critics' Circle Film Awards, and won Best Irish Short Film at the Indie Cork Film & Music Festival in 2016, amongst others.

More recently, Waugh has directed Mother, which stars Hilary Rose (Young Offenders) as a loving and hard-working mother, with a seemingly perfect family life. However, the arrival of a new kitchen appliance upsets the family balance; trust me, Mother is a short film which cannot be done justice on paper. Mother premiered at the 30th Galway Film Fleadh 2018, and was funded by Galway Film Centre and RTÉ. Mother was produced with the mentorship of Emmy winning director, Dearbhla Walsh, and is currently making the rounds at a variety of film festivals. Most recently, Mother was awarded Best Short Film at the Clones Film Festival, and was also featured in the Dublin Feminist Film Festival.

Waugh has also recently worked with LGBTI+ foundation BeLonG To Youth Services, creating a series of videos as part of their Stand Up week, which runs from November 11th-15th, and aims to encourage people to take a stand against homophobic bullying, and which screened before UCD Film Society’s screenings in the same week.

Natasha Waugh is an already-established voice in the Irish film scene, and her insightful and topical work only goes from strength to strength.