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Irish film about dad's cancer battle aims to show impact of illness on families

The film stars Love/Hate actor Kieran O’Reilly.


Source: Clann Films/Vimeo

LOVE/HATE ACTOR Kieran O’Reilly stars in a new Irish film that aims to show the impact of cancer on families.

The film, For Molly, is about a young couple, Evan Brady and Laura Butler (O’Reilly and Maura Foley), who are expecting a baby and about to be married when they discover Brady has cancer. The film was shot over five days on a shoestring budget. 

Director Cathal Kenna told TheJournal.ie about the inspiration for the independent film.

“In the last couple of years I’ve encountered a number of people, both family and friends who have been impacted with the disease and it was at the forefront of my thoughts when I was looking for a new project to work on,” he said. “Some of my own family and friends, some very close neighbours had been affected. Cancer is something that’s very topical and is featuring in the news at the moment. It’s quite scary as well when you look at the statistics. 

“I just thought that I could use my own experiences and those of people I know to mould a film.”

In the film, Brady’s uncertain prognosis leads him to start recording a series of home movies for his daughter. “He wants to impart some family advice and document who he was in the event that he is not there for her when she grows up,” says Kenna. “It’s looking at an intimate telling of the story through the home movie vlog approach.”

He believes that audiences in Ireland will connect with the story. “They are a very  normal relatable couple in a set of circumstances that we think most people in the country can identify with – at least certain sections of the story at a minimum.”

Cancer care

He hopes that the film will “highlight some important issues relating to cancer care and prevention by raising awareness, particularly among younger sections of the population”.

I also hope the film will serve as a tool to promote the great work performed by local cancer support groups, services and advocates working to ensure that the best possible care is available to those experiencing the impact of the disease in Ireland.

Kenna himself had been able to access services through the Irish Cancer Society’s daffodil centre, and wanted to use his experience as inspiration.

“We spent some time down at the hospice in Harold’s Cross [before filming] and they were extremely good for us,” he said.

As part of the release, the team behind For Molly are linking in with local cancer support services in the locations where they show the film. They will donate their portion of funds from the film’s opening night box office proceeds across the country to 10 Irish cancer support groups.

“It’s a small gesture on our part to raise some funds for the services,” said Kenna. “We are trying to promote their services any time we can through media engagement. It’s been brilliant. We’re raising money and awareness in parallel but the cancer services are more interested in the awareness aspect of that piece, letting people know about their services.”

Through dealing with the services in the making of the film, Kenna said he “learned things I never anticipated, like some people who are living in rural areas or are certain ages mightn’t be as confident at accessing those support services”.

“We are saying the people that run those services are great people and people should be aware there is help and support there and they shouldn’t be afraid about accessing or using them,” he said.

Kenna’s first film was a documentary about emigrants who were returning to Ireland. “It’s very challenging,” he said of filmmaking. “I love doing it.”

The vast majority of people on the set of For Molly worked for free, and Kenna described it as a “real labour of love and a passion project”.

For Molly will be screened in Dublin, Cork, Kerry, Longford, Sligo, Wexford and Waterford – for more details on the screenings, visit the website.

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