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Makers of Normal People and Derry Girls to judge Irish short film competition

By Rory Cashin

January 13, 2021 at 3:49pm

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The competition will see €150,000 invested into the short films.

Lenny Abrahamson (Normal People, Room) and Lisa McGee (Derry Girls, The Deceived) are among a very impressive panel that will judge a shortlist of Irish short films, all of which will participate in the 2021 Virgin Media Discovers & Screen Ireland Short Film Competition which has an overall fund of €150,000.

Each of the ten shortlisted films will be granted €9,000 each to invest in the development of their scripts, before the two finalists will each be given €30,000 each to produce the final ten minute short film.

The two finalists will be chosen based on the final scripts in March, with the panel choosing the winners including Abrahamson, McGree, actor Niamh Algar (Raised By Wolves, Calm With Horses), screenwriter Ursula Rani Sarma (Red Rock, Delicious), and more.

Paul Higgins, the Vice President of Virgin Media Ireland, said the following of the nominations:

"We’re thrilled to be supporting a remarkable group of writers and film makers at a crucial stage in the development of their work.  By providing the funding, support and national broadcast platform, we hope the Virgin Media Discovers Short Film Competition will have a significant impact on the advancement of these ten projects.  I’m uplifted by the courage of these ten filmmakers and their treatment of diversity and inclusivity in their subject matter, while they are fighting to be heard and make a change, and we’re very happy to be in a position to help broaden the awareness and appeal of their work."

Andrew Byrne, the Television Project Manager at Screen Ireland, added:

"We are delighted to support a broad, diverse collection of film projects and filmmakers as part of this year’s Virgin Media Discovers Short Film competition in association with Screen Ireland. Investing in new and pre-existing talent, building careers and reaching new and wider audiences both locally and internationally, is at the heart of this film scheme, which is funded as part of the TV production stimulus funding announced by Screen Ireland last year."

The ten entries on the final shortlist are as follows:

Nannie (Drama) Writer/Director: Louise Lowe

An up close and personal meditation of those at the frontline of addiction and homelessness.

Ahmed & Ayomide (Thriller) Writers: Aoife Kelleher & Bulelani Cornelius Mfaco

A tragic love story set in a direct provision centre.

Adagio (Drama) Writer: Hana Hall, Director: Fiona Aryna 

A teen violinist desperate to make an audition falls foul of a Garda whose harshness stems from his own heartache.

Superhuman (Drama) Writer/Director: Mícheál Fleming

After being rejected from professional football and diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa, an African Irish Leaving Certificate student is guided towards the Paralympic games; all while learning to deal with his new identity and the discrimination that has surrounded him all his life.

Water Under the Bridge (Drama) Writer/Director: Rehan Ali 

After a long journey, Bilal and his mother have come so close to tasting freedom. Now the restrictions of hostel life keep him from true liberty.

Pediment (Drama) Writer: Derek Ugochukwo 

A precocious biracial boy embarks on a day’s journey to reconnect with an estranged relative, unaware of a long-existing dispute between both sides of the family. 

Punch Line (Black Comedy) Writers: Allie O'Rourke & Becky Cheatle 

On the night of a transphobic attack a transgender comedian processes her feelings the only way she knows how, via stand-up comedy.

Slip Away (Fantasy) Writer/Director: Mark Cantan

A girl with no gravity struggles to find her place on the world.

Goodnight Girl (Drama) Writer: Hiram Harrington

A group of queer friends reunite at the funeral of their trans friend, only to find her conservative family is burying her under her dead name and refusing her last wishes. They team up to concoct a heist to steal her ashes, and have their own funeral for her.

Headspace (Drama) Writers: Aisling Byrne & Mark Smith

As the frustrations and tensions of living in a shared community house begin to close in on him, a young man with Down Syndrome, seeks to end a nightly disturbance, by any means available.

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