Interview: GearrScannain talks Stolen with director Yvonne Keane

Yvonne Keane’s multi award winning short film, Stolen airs tonight on RTÉ2 at 12:55am, as the latest Short Screen. Ahead of its national television début we caught up with the director to chat about the film.

Stolen is produced by Chris Cullen from EPIC Productions, with Justin MacCarthy as DOP and score by Julie Feeney, The film stars Lydia Punch, Sinead O’Riordan, Maureen Prendergast, Trevor Somers, and Sam Allman Walsh.

Yvonne.. where did you first get the idea for this film?

Well, it‚Äôs a subject that touched our family and something I wanted to give some exposure to, but from a side that’s often forgotten or ignored.

Without giving too much away this film touches on a very sensitive and important subject. How has this film been received?

It’s been very well received, especially by people with similar experience or those working with people who have been impacted. I was worried about how audiences would feel about it and the last thing I would want is to offend anyone so I’m really happy to gain the support of all involved. It cemented my belief that I was doing the right thing in the script and getting out an accurate albeit dramatic account of the realities faced.

Did you receive any funding/support in the making of this film, given the nature and topic of the film?

Unfortunately none at all but I expected that in my first short. I am surprised though that even with the success we have had with Stolen, we’re still struggling to get any support for future projects. I imagined a successful short would have opened funding opportunities but alas that has not been the case. It may delay the next short but it certainly won’t prevent it.

Stolen did very well in the festivals worldwide. How did you feel about its reception?

I certainly wasn’t expecting the great reception it got. Many writers-directors try to bury their first short and I assumed id be no different. I had an amazing cast and crew to bring my vision to life and we were all very happy with the finished film. It’s very nerve racking putting it out there for others to judge and as film is so subjective, it’s tough to predict the reception anything will get. We were all blow away by how if was received at home and abroad. To know our short appeared all over Ireland as well as LA, Washington, Vancouver, Lille, Rome to name a few. It’s amazing. One aspect that has really touched me is when my cousin based in Australia who works with people impacted by the subject matter told me that she shows Stolen to new starters and can see it has changed their approach to the people they are caring for. To know our film is actually helping people has trumped every award.

Was it hard to film such a sensitive issue?

Yes, It was very hard at times, especially the ending. We were all wiping away the tears and trying to hold it together. The performances were so poignant and believable, particularly the scene between Sinead O’Riordan and Maureen Prendergast,it was virtually impossible not to shed a tear or ten! That’s how we knew we were working on something very special. The actors really gave their all to this and huge credit is due to each and every one of them.

Are you a little nervous ahead of tonight’s debut screening on RTÉ2 ?

Truth be told, I’m not. I’ve already tested it in the film circuit worldwide and as already mentioned it has received tremendous feedback. I’m hoping that those who see it tonight for the first time will be affected by it, and hopefully it should resonate with a lot of people out there.

Have you any other work in the pipeline?

Yes. Lots of ideas for shorts and features but funding is slowing down the progress. There’s a huge expectation to repeat the success of Stolen which adds a bit of pressure but spurs me on too. I’ll aim for the next level and for me it’s more important to do that right than to do it quick!

If you miss the screening on TV, then you can watch this great short below.

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