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Ones to watch

'The industry is coming to Ireland in a big way': Bright future for Irish film with these talented graduates

Ireland’s future film-makers hope to stay in Ireland as the industry grows.

YOUNG IRISH FILM-MAKERS have big hopes for the future – and particularly for the industry in Ireland.

The latest graduates from the National Film School (NFS) at IADT recently showcased their final year productions to the public and to industry professionals.

The film selection includes a vast amount of different genres from drama, documentary and horror to also include one children’s television show concept.

Following the graduate exhibition, the films will now be distributed and entered into a number of festivals in certain categories including Cannes and the Berlin Film Festival 2016.

Last year, production activity for independent film, television drama and the animation sector increased to €195 million – the highest production activity levels on record for the third year running.

This year, the Irish Film Board said it was committed to growing the talent base for the Irish film industry, stating that it is important for the sustainability of a strong film industry.

Children’s television

The only children’s television production to come out of the NFS this year is called “Smart Alley” – written and directed by Christian Daly.

“I was seeing what my daughter and her friends were watching every day on television and there was nothing like it,” said Daly, explaining why he wanted to venture into the world of children’s TV.

“The only thing similar out there, in terms of children learning something, is Sesame Street and Art Attack. At the moment there is no Irish product out there.”

Since showcasing “Smart Alley” at the IFI this weekend, Daly says the feedback has been great, with a few interested parties.

Daly said “Smart Alley” could be broadcast internationally, but it would be great to have it shown on Irish television, stating his hope is that one of the three broadcasting channels would pick it up.

“I think nurturing home-grown talent and making ‘Irish’ television needs to be looked at – there just isn’t enough. I know all my daughter watches is US television. She’s home from school and turns on Nickelodeon straight away. It would be great to see her tuning in to an Irish children’s programme.”

“There needs to be more collaboration between the Irish Film Board and the colleges to ensure that Irish talent is developed here and stays here.”

Christian Daly / Vimeo


A film by Hanan Dirya called “Diving Within” is an insightful documentary about a Malaysian woman living in Ireland.

She recounts her story about her life as a Muslim woman who once wore the hijab. However, she now feels the need to integrate more into Irish society and chooses to not wear it anymore.

Marie-Valerie Jeantelot / Vimeo

“I met Sharina at an event and I heard her read a poem out. I thought, ‘this woman is interesting’ and I wanted to know more about her life here.”

Dirya wanted to make a documentary about immigrants in Ireland and decided to tackle the subject of the hi-jab, stating:

“When we see the hi-jab all we see is the material – we never see or think about the woman under it. I wanted to let Sharina speak about how she felt wearing it. I myself am from a Muslim background, but I wanted to see what Irish people would think about Sharina, and why she feels she needs to change her appearance to integrate more into society here.”

Diyra said she would one day like to make a feature documentary and work here in Ireland.

“I would love to see more linking up with the Irish Film Board and the colleges. It has been a tough year for all the graduates – a lot of us have struggled this year. My short documentary had a small budget, which was funded through friends who helped me out. More funding for graduates would be a great.”

Emma Keane produced a touching film “Aquarium”, which is directed by Adrian Moylan, about a father and son who live in a camper van together.

Speaking to, she said she always wanted to make films about social issues. She commended the actors in her film, stating that just two weeks before production her actors dropped out and the roles had to be recast.


“The scene in the Aquarium was my favourite to shoot. We decided not to let the actors into the aquarium before shooting as we wanted the experience to authentic for the actors.”

She said there are a lot of creative support for young talent, stating that the IFB encourage them to come in or call about any future projects. Keane said she would like to see more financial supports for graduates as renting equipment can be costly.

“You can’t make great films without great equipment”.

“The best thing about the last four years is studying with people I hope I will be working with for the rest of my life. I’d like to think we have unique creative relationships and I would hope to collaborate with them of future projects.

the end

“Denoument” – an emotive short film by Aran Hennessy tells the story of an elderly woman who has died and relives her life.

“I majored in cinematography so I wanted to test my abilities with the camera. I decided to do it with one long take, telling the story of an old woman who has died that goes on a journey through her life in moments in her house.”

“I am hoping it leads to bigger things.”

Hennessy said he wouldn’t mind having to leave Ireland to work.

“When the financial supports dry up here, you can really see it, as the industry becomes stagnant.”

“When I started my degree I didn’t think it would be possible to stay here in Ireland as there wasn’t much going on, but now with the likes of The Vikings, Penny Dreadful and Game of Thrones kicking off here, the industry is coming to Ireland in a big way.”

Here is a flavour of the talent from this year’s graduates:

Marie-Valerie Jeantelot / Vimeo

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