Article by Robyn Kilroy
The energy was high last Monday night in a tiny, old-worldy room in the infamous hipster bar/club Workmans for the third evening of The Film Scene. The Film Scene, started by second year Trinity College Film and English student Hannah-Kate Ní Shioradáin, has become a popular event for Dublin-based student filmmakers to show off their work. It’s also a useful place to network with other young cinephiles and filmmakers, with the option to wear a name tag stating your area of interest in the industry (I self-indulgently wrote “Film Journalist”).
The event was packed this time around, with many commenting on the fact that the turnout was much larger than the previous two events. This was my first time attending the Film Scene (much to my chagrin), however I took the growing number of attendees as a sign that this event was becoming an integral part of the student filmmaking community in Dublin.
The night started off with the film The First Dance, directed by IADT student Daragh Goan and produced by Caoilinn Handley. The film was made as visual project, where there had to be no dialogue. To substitute for the lack of speech in the film, Goan and Handley utilised dance and movement in order to convey the emotion of the main character, a young woman (played by former Trinity drama student Eliza Belward) who is having second thoughts about her marriage to her husband on their wedding day. The dance scenes were wonderfully filmed and choreographed, though Goan commented on how challenging they were to film during the interview after the film. If you like Darren Aronofsky then you’ll certainly enjoy this film!
The First Dance was followed by Intransigent, directed by Ballyfermot student Tom O’Brien. Intransigent was an experimental zombie film about a lone survivor during a zombie apocalypse. I’ll admit that while I find the zombie horror genre overdone, I very much enjoyed O’Brien’s take on the genre. The use of lighting, sometimes sparse mise-en-scène and the black and white tone created a Lynchian nightmare that conveyed the sense of dread one would feel during the zombie apocalypse. O’Brien is a horror fan and he wears his inspirations on his sleeve, dedicating this film to zombie film juggernaut George A. Romero. When I asked him about keeping such a genre that’s been done so many times fresh and interesting, he responded by saying that zombies are a reflection on our society; meaning that they’ll always stay fresh as our issues evolve.
The third film of the night was The Is Not Consent, written and directed by Gemma Bovenizer of UCD. This film explores the issues of sex and consent that has become a topic in the forefront of the Irish psyche. Bovenizer was inspired to make this film after the fairly recent rape trial in Dublin that concerned clothing and consent. The film shows a number of women standing in front of a wall with images projected onto it. The projections were made up of colourful visuals, footage of protests over recent controversial rape trials, and the line “this is not consent”. The women, all dressed fairly casually, then began to take off items of clothing, invoking a message; that whatever someone is wearing, it doesn’t imply consent. While this topic has been approached countless of times, whether from big names in Hollywood, the #MeToo movement or through other movements online, I believe that it is important to continue to address this topic, especially on the student level. With that in mind, I commend Bovenizer for making this film and for adding more to the conversation.
The next film of the night proved to be quite a change in tone from the previous film. Mugged Off, created by Peter Horan, Grace Kenny, Connor Howlett and Lola Flemming (all TCD film students), was a short film created for the DU Film Society’s 48-hour smartphone filmmaking competition. The film, which won the competition in 2017, tells the story of a young man’s relationship with his mug. After his mug goes missing however, our protagonist must come to grips with the loss of his love (…a mug). The film was certainly creative and very entertaining and had the audience laughing at its sheer silliness, and at Howlett’s comedic performance. Horan, Howlett, Grace and the star of the film, the mug, were all there to chat about the film afterwards, with Horan jokingly stating that “the most striking thing about Mugged Off is that it’s not very good.” However, the group used the short amount of time they had and the limited equipment they could use creatively, making it an impressive film overall.
The last film of the night was Unforgotten, a film with a twist so good that I could not stop thinking about it when I was trying to sleep that night. The film, directed by Alexander Wilson Flynn (UCD) has already racked up an impressive collection of prizes, winning ‘Best Overall Film’ at the Cineyouth Film Festival in Chicago, ‘Best Drama’ at The Southern Shorts Awards in Roswell, and ‘The Gold Prize for Short Film’ at both the Filmmakers of the Year Festival in Indonesia and the Mexico International Film Festival. The film tells the story of an old man in a retirement home who must face his past. That’s literally all I can say without spoiling the twist. To say that I was impressed with this film is an understatement. I honestly thought that some professional filmmaker had accidently submitted their film to the event. However, Wilson Flynn is in fact a student filmmaker who already has an impressive amount of connections in the US and Canadian film scene. There is no doubt that we’ll all be seeing more of him in the future.
The Film Scene is an event that continues to strengthen its position in the Dublin student filmmaking community. I am frankly delighted to see a platform such as this for student filmmakers from around Dublin to showcase their work. Through doing so, connections are made and the community strengthens, something that’ll hopefully aid the Irish film industry in the future.