#IrishAbroad: Seven Irish short films head to Palm Springs International ShortFest

The 2016 Palm Springs International ShortFest & Short Film Market has announced this years line-up, which will showcase 327 films including 46 World Premieres, 63 North American Premieres and 13 U.S. Premieres. This year’s festival will feature 7 films from Ireland.

A Coat Made Dark

Animated short A Coat Made Dark directed and written by Jack O’Shea will feature, having previously been selected for the world renowned Sundance Film Festival and the prestigious Clermont-Ferrand festival. In the short two burglars strike it rich after stealing a mysterious coat.  So begins a comic tale in which Midnight, an anthropomorphized dog and his human servant Peter struggle for power, courtesy of the coat. Produced by Damien Byrne for STILL Films LTD it features the voices of Hugh O’Connor, Declan Conlon and Antonia Campbell Hughes. The film which premiered at the Galway Film Fleadh last year was produced under the Frameworks short-film scheme, which is co-financed by Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board, RTÉ and the Arts Council.


Breathe, directed by Donegal native James Doherty and starring John Connors (Love/Hate), will have its North American premiere at the festival. Breathe is set amongst the Irish Travelling community. It questions to what extent a Father is willing to go when the one who’s threatening his legacy and his reputation is his own son. Patrick’s (John Connors) reluctance to accept his son, for who and what he is (becoming) spirals out of control; pushing him too far, with devastating consequences. Can Patrick bring about change in his son, or ultimately is he the one that needs to change? Breathe was produced with Film London and shot on location in Co. Offaly in the summer of 2015, with Tullamore local Peter Brennan producing. Scannain managing editor Niall Murphy acted as executive producer. The film also stars Lynn Rafferty and Lee O’Donoghue, and completed post production with editor Breege Rowley and Outer Limits in Dun Laoghaire.


Also having a North American premiere is Stephen Kenny’s Coil,  produced by Collie McCarthy’s Dublin and London based production company Forty Foot Pictures,  The film stars Joe Mullins (Pilgrim Hill) as a lonely priest in a small rural community, who has his world turned upside down when a strange trinket is left anonymously at his front door. This offering sparks in him an uneasy curiosity leading Patrick towards a dark encounter with the occult.


Another animated tale, Geist is written and directed by Sean Mullen, Ben Harper and Alex Sherwood, and sees a shipwrecked fisherman take shelter in an abandoned house on a remote island, only to realise that he is not alone. The short is produced by Daniel Spencer for Giant Animation. The film scooped the Best Animated Short Film award at the Irish Film and Television Awards, as Best Irish Short accolade at the Audi Dublin International Film Festival in February.Geist was produced under the Frameworks short-film scheme, which is co-financed by Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board, RTÉ and the Arts Council.

How Was Your Day?

Damien O’Donnell’s Silver Dragon-winning How Was Your Day? will also play at the festival. The film, which was¬†also written by O‚ÄôDonnell (East is East),¬†was adapted from a short story by Nollaig Rowan. The film stars Eileen Walsh as a woman who is excited about the approaching birth of her first child, but soon after is overwhelmed by post-natal depression and can’t cope.¬†Produced by Emmaline Dowling for Suitable Films Limited, How Was Your Day? also stars Se√°n Duggan, Aidan McCardle, Janet Moran, Eamonn Hunt and Molly McNamara.¬†How Was Your Day? was funded by Bord Scann√°n na h√âireann/the Irish Film Board‚Äôs Signatures short film scheme.¬†Last year How Was Your Day? won at the Foyle Film Festival, which is a qualifying festival for the Academy Awards Short Film Category, and earlier this year won the Short Film Grand Jury Award for Narrative Shorts at the South by Southwest (SXSW) Film Festival.

The Party

One of the After ’16 shorts, the¬†Andrea Harkin-directed¬†The Party,¬†also features. The film marks the¬†screenwriting debut of¬†actor Conor McNeill, who will soon be seen in the Jamie Dornan-starring Jadotville. Laurence welcomes his friend and man- on-the-run Mickey to a party of drinking, dancing and young love. By morning, reality catches up with them. The film was one of 9 commissioned by Bord Scann√°n na h√âireann/the Irish Film Board for their once-off short film initiative to commemorate, celebrate and ruminate on 1916.


Last of the seven to play is¬†Maurice Joyce’s Violet. Violet is the dark cautionary tale of a young girl who despises her reflection. On the night of the school ball, tired of the abuse, Violet‚Äôs reflection decides she‚Äôs not going to take it anymore. The film is produced by Nuria G Blanco and Mark Hodkinson. The film won the James Horgan Award for Best Animation at last year’s Galway Film Fleadh, and has played and won at a host of international film festivals.

Designated by AMPAS, BAFTA and BIFA as an award-qualifying festival, and accredited by the International Short Film Conference, the Palm Springs International ShortFest & Short Film Market, one of the most acclaimed short film showcases in the world. There are 56 curated programs, which will screen from June 21st to 27th, at the Camelot Theatres in Palm Springs. More than 4,100 of the festival submissions are available in the Film Market for industry attendees to view. The ShortFest Forum programs are a four day schedule of seminars, panel discussions, roundtables and master classes staged free of charge for attending filmmakers

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