I have been privileged to write and direct three short films with Kildare Young Filmmakers, and on other films had roles including cinematographer, editor and assistant director. The short films I have directed have been nominated and won awards at Irish film festivals.
My interest in filmmaking began when I was a child, and with my younger brother I would spend days making stop-motion lego films. When my friends came to visit I would attempt to make live-action short films mostly in the horror genre.
When I joined Kildare Young Filmmakers my passion for filmmaking developed. I was given the opportunity to write and direct three short films with them: ‘I Don’t Know’ in 2018, ‘Witch Hunt’ in 2019, and ‘The Inspector’ in 2020. With each film my creativity, confidence and technical knowledge has grown. I enjoyed the collaborative process in filmmaking, and I found it invaluable to work with a group of young people with an interest in different areas of film.
I have been fortunate my films made with Kildare Young Filmmakers have been nominated at Irish film festivals, with Witch Hunt being well received and winning awards at the Fresh Film Festival (Best Group), NoiseFlicks (Best Director), Galway Film Fleadh (2nd Future Filmmaker), and the HER International Film Festival (2nd Best Young Filmmaker).
Summer courses with London Film Academy, National Youth Film School at Kilkenny, and National Festival of Youth Theatres. Attended Workshops hosted by Jim Sheridan, Sarah Gavron, Paul Mescal and others, and worked on the feature film set of “Sweetness in the Belly”.
Completed the ‘Young Filmmaker’s Academy’ at the London Film Academy in 2018, where I was introduced to filmmaking from financing through to distribution. I directed a short film ‘Break A Leg‘ with actors, high-end equipment and a crew of like-minded young filmmakers. My father lives in London so I could commute to the Academy, an opportunity other Irish filmmakers may not have.
In 2018 worked as a Trainee Assistant Director on the film set of ‘Sweetness in the Belly’ directed by Zeresenay Mehari, a great insight into the inner workings of a film shoot. My jobs included running errands for Producers, taking care of young actors, and even standing in for Dakota Fanning for camera set up! It introduced me to the unglamorous aspects of filmmaking, long days, bad weather and so on, yet I came away convinced filmmaking was for me!
In 2019 attended the National Youth Film School, where I boarded with other young filmmakers at Kilkenny College. We created short films using quality equipment, and I had the opportunity to be the cinematographer on ‘What Time Is She Coming At?‘. I learned a lot about lighting indoors and outdoors which proved to be invaluable in my subsequent films, and I now have a network of like minded friends to share filmmaking ideas.
At the London Film Academy and National Youth Film School I attended Specialist Workshops in camera, lighting, sound and editing. I was trained to use Canon C100 and C200 cameras, industry standard lighting, sound equipment, and edit with Final Cut Pro and Adobe Premiere Pro. The three short films I directed, I also edited with Final Cut Pro.
I believe it’s important to know what is happening around me. I have been involved in campaigns on a local, national and international level, for example, arguing for an arts centre in my county, against gas exploration off the coast of Ireland, and the climate crisis.
I joined the School Strike for Climate campaign and was a speaker at the Dublin demonstration where I addressed over 10,000 people. I wrote an opinion piece for the Irish Independent entitled ‘Green wave is not a trend’ on my thoughts about the Climate crisis which was published as a two page spread.
I also wrote an article about the Irish government’s decision to grant an Offshore Exploration licence, which poses an environmental threat, however, this article did not get published. I do think the environment is a big issue which cannot be ignored, however, it is unfair to put the responsibility solely on the public, when the core problems are caused by corporations who are unregulated.
I have tried to be pro-active in other areas that I am passionate about, for example, homelessness. I volunteered with the Peter McVerry Trust in one of their centres, and I got to talk to people there. This gave me a sad insight into the homeless crisis in Ireland.
I made the case for a Local Arts Centre at a municipal council meeting, because there is a huge lack of recreational facilities in our area. This is an issue that is ignored despite the huge population growth. Unfortunately, this campaign came to nothing, but hopefully planted seeds.
Involved in modern theatre through the Connections Theatre Festival held across Britain and Ireland. Acting in original new plays by upcoming playwrights tackling contemporary themes, and performing in theatres in Kildare and Belfast.
I have been a member of the PlayActing Youth Theatre group participating in the annual Connections Theatre Festival organised by the National Theatre of England. We performed original contemporary plays, for example, ‘Variations’ by Katie Hims which explored personal development, and ‘These Bridges’ by Phoebe Eclair-Powell which highlighted the climate crisis. These plays gave me an opportunity to perform in theatres in Kildare and Belfast, and inspired my love for acting.
My youth theatre group had the opportunity to have personal workshops with lots of theatre professionals including the actor Paul Mescal. He taught us how to express and tell stories through movement and music. This was invaluable for our performance of ‘These Bridges’, which became a very experimental play, and instead of dressing the stage for each scene we used our bodies to suggest the location – even becoming the river Thames!