On Tuesday night, in the hip and relaxed Workman’s club, the inaugural meeting of The Film Scene took place. The night was curated and hosted by the bubbly and welcoming Hannah-Kate Sheridan, a second year film student in Trinity who took it on herself to provide student filmmakers from various colleges in Dublin a platform to show their work. Trinity, like UCD, has a theory-based film course and little to no practical filmmaking is involved. So, it’s up to the students to get networking and start sharing their work with other aspiring Quentin Tarantinos and Wes Andersons because, as Sheridan says, the film industry is “all about who you know”.
The night kicked off with a film named Catharsis by Melanie O’ Donnell, who has been making scripts and films since she was in fifth class. Catharsis follows Ciara, a patient in a mental facility who finds solace from the loud, torturing voices in her head by painting with her body. The contrast of Ciara’s vibrant blue and yellow foot and handprints with the white bare floor creates a gorgeous visual experience, and a twist at the end involving her psychiatrist leaves the audience wanting answers and justice for Ciara. When I asked Melanie if filmmaking was cathartic for her, she said “when I’m not creating I feel really sad”, which really hit me in the heart as I am sure I’m not the only person in that room who related. You can find more of Melanie’s work on YouTube at username blueroseslane.
“It’s up to the students to get networking and start sharing their work with other aspiring Quentin Tarantinos and Wes Andersons because, as Sheridan says, the film industry is ‘all about who you know’”
Next was a deeply moving short and an official selection at the 2018 Cork Indie festival by Luke Murphy. Feel follows a young girl looking back on a relationship and the pain she has suffered since. For a reason we will not disclose so as to not spoil the ending, the film resembles a Black Mirror episode with its eerie suspense and morality-challenging subject matter. Murphy credits the original Blade Runner as an inspiration, but the film takes a less futuristic approach, filmed in student accommodation and Copan in Rathmines with some stunning shots at Killiney Hill. The film was reminiscent of Blue Valentine with its grey-blue colour scheme that sketches the pain and suffering that comes with falling in love. What adds to both the romance and suspense of the film is the music by Thomas McGovern who perfectly captures the essence of the film and draws you deeper into the characters’ love story and the protagonist’s pain. Luke is also an accomplished photographer and you can check out his work at his Instagram @lukeoftheirish.
Next up was the short but effective horror film Shoes by Craig Johnson, which he shot in one day and created entirely by himself. Craig is home alone watching TV with his adorable dog Moby when he encounters a paranormal presence throwing shoes down his stairs. Craig satisfies horror fans’ lifelong wish when he sees the shoes rolling down the stairs and immediately makes for the door to get the hell out of there. The two-minute film evoked roars of laughter in the audience which suits perfectly as Craig described the film as a “visual joke” and “a long lead up to a punchline”. The shortest of all the films screened, the film underlines the saying “quality over quantity” and answers the question; “if horror film characters made better choices, what would happen?”
“the talent and creativity in the Dublin student scene is remarkable”
Abigail Woods was next to screen her vampire documentary called Hunting: A Documentary, which followed a hundred and eighteen-year-old vampire called Cecil on his first “hunting” where he must stalk and kill his first human. He is joined by his cocky older brother Solomon who is a decorated and experienced hunter. Apart from the extraordinarily well-casted actors, the film’s star quality is its direction. Woods storyboarded and plotted the entire film, but the choreography seems completely natural with the cameraman knocking into Cecil and the awkward, inexperienced stalking techniques of Cecil, you feel like you really are watching real footage. Funnily enough, Woods had never seen Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi’s What We Do in the Shadows when she thought up the idea but her film shares its deadpan, understated humour, all while holding onto its unique style and even better characters.
The night concluded on a lighter note with Susannah Hunt’s Colin the Pantomime Horse. It depicts, well, a pantomime horse called Colin. In a world where he feels like no one will accept for who he really is, Colin breaks out into Dublin and finally finds his true home, the stage. The bizarre story behind the production was a highlight of the entire night. Susannah (with some serious luck) was given funding when she was at the Cannes Film Festival with another film she edited. Susannah said that she pitched Colin at a contest in Cannes, where she said many of the other ideas were about death and abortion which really highlights the beauty of Colin as it shows that a film doesn’t need to be about suicide, murder or heartbreak to move audiences. It just needs a powerful message, and Colin’s is a celebration of individuality and acceptance of one’s true self. With a mysterious investor based in LA and some serious talent that is waiting to be expanded, I am certain that Susannah is on the road to some great things.
The Film Scene was a great reminder of the importance of artistic expression. It sounds like such a cliché, but our generation, growing up with social media, are so in tune with the horrors and suffering of the world. Our anxiety levels are through the roof, and, like Melanie’s film so poignantly points out, we need art to help us get through the day. It also highlighted the importance of networking, sharing with and learning from other filmmakers. From paranormal shoes to granny-eating vampires and your not so typical love story, the talent and creativity in the Dublin student scene is remarkable. Sheridan summed up the night perfectly at the end of her opening speech as she said “we’re the next generation of filmmakers, so let’s go!”
Like and watch The Film Scene on Facebook to find out how you can submit your work as well as details on the next event, where you might just meet the next Hitchcock or Spielberg.