Workmans yet again saw one of their rooms overcrowded by student filmmakers and movie lovers for the third monthly meeting of The Film Scene, curated by Trinity film student Hannah-Kate Sheridan. The Film Scene, as Sheridan puts herself, is “a platform to learn from each other” as she and her fellow students hand out name tags and markers in the hope that producers will meet writers, actors will meet musicians, and the student filmmaking scene will come together and make some sweet movie magic. The five films screened were a perfect example of what that can look like.
First up was The First Dance directed by Darragh Goan and produced by Caoilinn Handley, students at IADT. The film was the result of an assignment given with the challenge of featuring no dialogue. As a result, dance is used to tell the story of Annie and Ross and takes an alternative approach to the depiction of love, marriage and the concept of “forever” between two people. What steals the show is the facial and bodily acting of the main actress Eliza Belward. Not only is her talent for lyrical and expressionist dancing impeccable, but her facial expressions let the audience know exactly what she is thinking and how she is feeling without opening her mouth. Goan cited Darren Aronofsky as an inspiration, which can be seen through similarities to Black Swan, and the lack of dialogue makes for an enthralling visual experience.
Next was a horror short by Tom O’Brien titled Intransigent, a black and white gothic-styled zombie film. To the delight of many audience members, surprise, there was little gore! The main source of fear and excitement was the film’s eerie, tense and gothic atmosphere. When asked what sets an effective horror film apart from a mediocre one, O’Brien claims it is the creation of atmosphere that elevates the standard of a horror film. It is a fresh break from the overkill on gore, blood and guts that the zombie genre has earned a reputation for. O’Brien claims that to keep the genre fresh and new, the film should focus on the harm and pain we inflict on each other as a society rather than what hurt the dead can inflict on the living, which is the key theme of Intransigent. The film is dedicated to the memory of famed horror director George A. Romero, whose influence is seared into the film. It was clear throughout the room that Ireland’s own Wes Craven was amongst us.
“To the delight of many audience members and many horror-fans surprise, there was little gore, but the main source of fear and excitement was the film’s eerie, tense and gothic atmosphere”
This Is Not Consent was a deeply moving and empowering film by Gemma Bovenizer, a UCD student. With an all-female cast, the film shows girls removing pieces of clothing in front of a projecting that shows articles of the recent Irish rape trails such as the Paddy Jackson case and the Cork rape trial where a joke of a barrister used the victim’s thong as evidence. The film resonated with every woman in the room and (hopefully) some men, and brought to the light the issue of consent that is sweeping Ireland in the present day. When asked whether Ireland in particular has a growing problem regarding consent, Bovenizer acknowledged that consent is indeed a global issue, but Ireland is particularly suspect as it is not as openly talked about, hence her desire to discuss it in her filmmaking. An audience member also asked whether she considered having the girls in the film dressed in formal rather than casual attire as night outs are usually the common backdrop to rape cases in Ireland. Bovenizer summed up the thoughts of every girl in the room when she explained that that was the point of the film; when it comes to consent, it shouldn’t matter what we are wearing. An important and truthful film that should be watched by people of all genders and ages that will hopefully help open up the discussion around consent in Ireland.
Mugged Off was up next, a comedy short by Connor Howlett, Peter Horan, Grace Kenny and Lola Flemming from Trinity. The film is a result of a forty-eight hour competition in the Trinity Film Society and won the award for Most Creative. Mugged Off surrounds a young man who falls in love with a mug but loses it in Stephens Green and must move on, only to find another love sooner rather than later. The film is a light-hearted, funny and well-crafted short with little details such as a mug travelling on a Dublin bus with a Leap Card receiving a room full of laughter. The group have a radio show on Trinity FM called ‘Foryourconsideration’ and if it’s even half as funny as the film, it is well worth a listen.
“With an all-female cast, the film shows girls removing pieces of clothing in front of a projecting that shows articles of the recent Irish rape trails such as the Paddy Jackson case and the Cork rape trial where a joke of a barrister used the victim’s thong as evidence”
Last up was a film by Alexander Wilson-Flynn, a film student from UCD with his film Unforgetton. A film that challenges viewer expectation and with a double twist, there was many an “Oh My God” and gasps throughout the screening. The film concerns the plight of Joe, an elderly man who has not received a visit in his three years in a nursing home. Just when our sympathy and desire to cuddle Joe peaks, a new patient, Alex, arrives at the home, and we realise that Joe is not as sweet and lovable as we think. The film’s double-twist ending could give M. Night Shyamalan a run for his money and is crafted and shot so skilfully, it’s hard to believe it’s Wilson-Flynn’s first film. The film was shot in Toronto in 2016 and its subject matter coincides with Trump-era America, making the film extremely relevant and emblematic of the issues facing the world today. The film has won ‘Best Overall Film’ at the Cineyouth Film Festival, Chicago, ‘Best Drama’ at The Southern Shorts Awards, Roswell, and ‘The Gold Prize for Short Film’ at both the Filmmakers of the Year festival Indonesia and the Mexico International Film Festival, Mexico City. It has also screened at the Oscar-affiliated Foyle and Chicago International Film Festivals.
The night ended yet again on a hopeful and inspirational note as the Dublin students returned to their respective college dorms and student houses. We screamed, we laughed and we were moved and filled with the joy that cinema can so effectively bestow upon us. The Film Scene is a monthly event and the date of the next night along with all their other details about entering your film are on their Facebook page; come along and join the film scene!