Fís Éireann/Screen Ireland is delighted to announce that ten new short films have been awarded funding as part of the 2023 round of Focus Shorts, the agency’s cornerstone short film scheme for the making of live-action, fiction films that act as a proving-ground for Irish creative talents aspiring to write, direct and produce films for the cinema. €600,000 is being invested in the production of these original short films, with each film receiving €60,000. The completed films will go on to screen in festivals around the world after a Screen Ireland-supported World Premiere at home.
Emma Scott, Head of Distribution & Short Film Production at Screen Ireland, said, “the overall calibre of this year’s Focus Shorts applications was phenomenal, making the panel’s job of selecting the final teams particularly difficult. This high bar is testament to the fantastic talent in our industry and their high quality work. Everything that was supplied as part of the applications, from the scripts to the producers’ notes and the directors’ visions, was of exceptional quality, proving that emerging talent is in an exciting place right now. I look forward to working with the selected teams to bring their hard-won projects to fruition and help them on the next steps of their careers.”
Focus Shorts aims to encourage strong, original storytelling, visual flair, and production values appropriate to the big screen. It offers an opportunity for producers, directors and writers to work in a professional environment that will bring their experience up to a higher level and can be seen as a stepping stone for more ambitious projects. Since its establishment in 2016, short films produced under the scheme have seen international success at the Tribeca Film Festival, the BFI London Film Festival and the Clermont-Ferrand Short Film Festival. The most recent slate of Focus Shorts are fresh from their World Premiere at this year’s Galway Film Fleadh, with Lochlainn McKenna’s ‘Two for the Road’ winning two awards at the festival: the Tiernan McBride Award for Best Short Drama and the Donal Gilligan Award for Best Cinematography in a Short Film, which was accepted by cinematographer Eoin McLoughlin.
We are delighted to congratulate the ten successful teams, which were selected as part of a highly competitive process with 92 applications this year. Discover the upcoming projects from the selected emerging talent below:
- A Punch Up At A Wedding
Written and directed by Jamie O’Rourke, produced by Aisling Magill.
Strange people and occurrences at an Irish wedding leave a dislocated man struggling to fit in.
- Naked Lights
Written and directed by Jeda De Brí, produced by Gregory Burrowes.
When a masked stranger threatens to burn down a 24-hour petrol station, disaffected night shift attendant Emma is all that stands in his way.
- The Quiet Ocean
Written by Barry Smyth, directed by Katie McNeice, produced by Fiona Kinsella.
In a futuristic Irish motel where people go to end their lives, a receptionist finds herself falling for a guest.
Written by Lauren Larkin, directed by Barry O’Connor, produced by Maria O’Neill. Lauren Larkin and Lloyd Cooney act in the lead roles.
A hard working Dublin couple are forced to reassess their relationship as they navigate the emotional and financial strain of fertility treatment.
- Come Back
Written and directed by Helen O’Reilly, produced by Nathan Griffin.
11 year-old Jenny wants to rekindle her once close relationship with her older sister Lisa but Lisa’s new friends have other ideas.
Written and directed by Alan Hopkins, produced by Husni Hafid.
A bereaved father ekes out an existence in a cave until injury forces him to return to civilization through a dangerous and starving countryside.
- Cat & Mouse
Written by Clare Monnelly, directed by Michael-David McKernan, produced by Mícheál Fleming.
Disguised as a mouse, an inept thief makes an unlikely connection with a disgruntled waitress during a bungled diner robbery.
Written and directed by Aisling Byrne, produced by Killian Coyle. Kilian Walters (Editor) and Daniel Keane (DOP) will work across production through Arcade Film.
Following a sudden, tragic bereavement, a West Cork cleaner must decide if she will uphold a tightly hidden secret whilst navigating the fast paced pressures of a tourist property turnaround.
Written and directed by Suri Grennell, produced by Deirdre Levins.
Richard’s world is turned upside-down when, after following a young, drunk woman home, he wakes up pregnant with an extra-terrestrial baby.
- Like Me
Written by Ivan Cush, directed by Aisling Brady, produced by Séamus Waters.
An androgynous, beast-like monster who goes through life wearing a humanistic mask meets a seductive stranger at a grungy gaff party who is remarkably similar to them.
Source: Fís Éireann/Screen Ireland