Principal photography begins today (February 20th) on Testimony, the debut short film from writer/director Kamila Dydyna.
The film is based on true events which took place in Poland in 1991 and has been adapted for an Irish audience as European courts acted similarly. The film revolves around 9 year old Catherine O‚ÄôNeill, played by Olivia Daly (Why Guy and Clue Crew on RTEJnr), and is a courtroom based drama. The film sees the young girl called into court to testify against her father, Neil Fleming (Game Of Thrones, Fair City) after her mother, played by Clodagh Downing (Patsy Dick, Darkness At The Edge Of Town), accuses her father of domestic abuse.
The cast includes Barrington Cullen (Game Of Thrones, The Inquiry), Gillian Daly (ICE, Rumour Room), Hilary Cotter (I Am Spoon), and Ellen Corcoran (Seduction of Chaos). Alan Rodgers is Cinematographer, with James Fitzgerald (Skunky Dog) as Gaffer, Ian McIntyre (Skunky Dog) as Sound OP, Susan Gorzalczynska as 1st A.C, Gwen Jeffares-Hourie (The Raven, Sing Street) as Costume Designer, Steven Tully as Storyboard Artist and Script Editor, and Laura Horgan as Stills Photographer.
Testimony is produced by Eamonn Tutty (Reckoner Productions; Anna, Mirror Image) and Cara Bamford (Foxrock Productions; Feather Light and Paper Thin, Kaleidoscope).
[quote style=’1′ cite=” title=’Kamila Dydyna – Writer/Director’]This story has been close to my heart for years. It always struck me that this actually happened, that there was no one there who said: “Whoa, hold on a sec, this isn‚Äôt right. You can‚Äôt ask a child to testify in a mammy vs. daddy case, while literally looking into their eyes.”
I wanted to show what it‚Äôs like to be growing up in a world where neither your family, nor the state is able to protect you (as even the female judge‚Äôs severe demeanour is an honest depiction of the actual judge who presided that case). Contrary to appearances, there are no bad guys or good guys in the story either. The family members are entangled in a complex web, playing roles enforced by the presence of alcoholism and resulting physical and emotional violence as this family struggles to survive.
Today, no court would allow an underage child to testify in the physical presence of the defendant, not to mention if the defendant was the parent. However, kids still have to deal with the effects of addictions and violence in their families. I wanted to show them they‚Äôre not alone.
I hope my film will inspire those parents who struggle with their own addictions or violence to seek help, by showing them a little-known way in which their kids get damaged. After all, even if their kids don‚Äôt end up in a courtroom, they‚Äôll still create court hearings like that in their imagination, playing them out in the only way a child can – by finding ways to assign blame to themselves, and never to their parents.
Lastly, I‚Äôd like the film to serve as an educational resource to institutions and organisations who help adults and children suffering from the results of violence and/ or addiction.[/quote]
[quote style=’1′ cite=” title=’Eamonn Tutty – Producer’]This is a very special topic. My previous body of work which I have written, directed & produced have all been on topics of a sensitive nature, and there is none more sensitive than domestic abuse. The devastating effects it has on young children can lead to more apparent mental health issues later on in adolescents. Ireland has a very high suicide rate in Europe with figures showing that young children have taken their own lives. It is more relevantly higher in young adults, and this is due to factors of not being able to cope with situations, normally exterior factors, but also around close family issues. So when I was asked to come onboard this production I knew it was a special topic that needed to be investigated and given a voice.[/quote]