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Short Grass Films - Film Laboratory weekend.

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Saturday 28th November 2015


9.30-12.30pm Visual Storytelling Animation workshop with Mårten Jönmark

 *This is a stand alone event, with a €20 booking fee.  Limited availability, so book asap !


The fee to attend the Film Lab weekend is €25 and included lunch. 

Booking via Riverbank Arts Centre Box Office


12.30 - 1.45pm Lunch


1.45 - 2pm Screening of 'Killian' by Kildare Young Filmmakers


2 - 3.30pm 'Kildare Screenwriter in Residence' Hugh Travers in conversation with Barbara Deignan (Chair)


3.30 - 4pm 'Crash Course on Music for Film' Declan Lonergan


4.30 - 4.45pm Break


4.45pm - 6pm 'Panel discussion on documentary filmmaking. Aoife Kelleher, Liam McGrath, Neasa Ní Chianáin. Panel chair Lucina Russell


6 - 7pm Launch of shortgrassfilms.com in the foyer, by Mayor of Kildare, Cllr Brendan Weld.  Guest Speaker John Kelleher


7 - 9.30pm Screenings of Kildare County Council Film Commissions. Talker (7pm), Gridlock (7.20pm) JFK (8pm)


Sunday 29th November


11.30 - 12.15pm Information session for KCC film commission programme 2016


12.15 - 1.30pm 'Getting out there: Film Distribution' Patrick O'Neill, Helen Flanagan and John Kelleher (Chair)


1.30pm - 2.30pm Lunch


2.30pm - 3.30pm 'Ha Ha. Writing for comedy' John Butler, Ailish McElmeel and Conor Mahony in conversation with Hugh Travers (Chair)


3.30pm - 5pm Screening of 'The Stag'





Animation workshop with Mårten Jönmark


Swedish Director/Storyboard artist/Animator/Designer Mårten Jönmark worked as an illustrator before moving to Edinburgh, Scotland in 1999 to study animation. Since graduating he has had a variety of jobs and roles in the animation industry. He worked as an animator on several successful short films including the BAFTA winning ‘the Pearce Sisters’ for Aardman animation, as a storyboard artist on several children's TV series (among them Olivia, Peter Rabbit and Doc McStuffins), and as a Story Artist on several feature films such as ‘Varjak Paw’ and the upcoming ‘The Smurfs’ movie. He was also a Storyboard supervisor on the Emmy nominated TV- Series ‘Ask Lara’, and on the 4 time Emmy winning show ‘Peter Rabbit’.
He has also worked as a lecturer at Edinburgh College of Art between 2003 and 2010.
Over the past year he has been busy with episodic directing on the hit TV-series the Octonauts, with Brown Bag Films in Dublin.  For his work on ‘Peter Rabbit’ he was awarded two Emmys (Outstanding Individual Achievement in Animation) in 2014 and 2015.


Kildare Young Filmmakers present ‘Killian’

 Kildare Young Filmmakers was established by Kildare County Council Arts Service in 2014. Based in the Platform4 Studio in Leixlip Community Library, the group meet weekly to write, direct, edit and produce their own original work. Their first film ‘Mind at War’ won the ‘Audience Choice’ and ‘Acting’ awards at the Noise Film Festival in 2015.


The Kildare Young Filmmakers are supported and mentored by Eoghan Doyle (Assistant County Arts Officer), Peter Kelly and John Conway.

The Kildare Young Filmmakers are: Craig Johnston, Conor Dwyer, Ross Gibney, Robyn Gibney, Aine O’Connor, Aaron Gorman, Ben Redmond, Stephanie Marsella, Amy O’Reilly, Aisha Berechet, Mark Cummins and  Jack Price

Their latest film ‘Killian’, which was filmed in October, examines what happens when a young mans obsession goes too far. 



Hugh Travers in conversation with Barbara Deignan


Barbara Deignan is a graduate of GMIT, NUI Galway and UCLA. She has worked as a commercials producer, a development coordinator and most recently as communications coordinator with the Directors Guild of Canada in Toronto. Aside from this she is also a writer and won the Pitching Award at the 2008 Galway Film Fleadh. She is currently writing on an Australian kids show due to air in 2016 and her feature comedy Bloom, which has been developed with the assistance of Bord Scannán na hÉireann/ the Irish Film Board.


Hugh Travers is Screenwriter is Residence at Maynooth University and Kildare Library and Arts Services. He has written for live action drama, comedy, animation, theatre and documentary. His screen credits include Green is the Colour (RTE/Treasure Entertainment), The Variety Show (RTE/A Man & Ink), Choose or Lose (RTE/Shinawil) and the award winning short Crossword (RTE/Filmbase). His theatre credits include Clear_The_Air and Lambo which was adapted for RTE Radio 1, winning the PPI Radio Drama Award in 2014. He is currently working on Trial of the Century, a landmark 1916 drama doc for TV3.



Declan Lonergan talks music

Declan Lonergan is a professional sound engineer, musician and producer working from Bluebird Studios, a recording studio facility which he built in 2005 in Castlewarden, Straffan

Co Kildare. Declan studied sound engineering at ATC college in Dublin from 1990 - 1993. After studying sound engineering he set up his own live sound company, “Audio Seven”, which provided sound reinforcement and engineers to venues around Ireland.  After ten years Declan established Bluebird Studios, a high end recording studio.  His skill set then moved more into audio production, mixing and writing, producing albums and singles for a wide variety of artists. As a session musician you will see Declan performing in theatres and venues all over the country with a wide range of artists.


Over the last three years Declan has expanded his area of expertise by moving into film post audio, mixing and writing. The transition from audio to video felt very natural and allowed him to focus on new challenges that video presents. Recent highlights include films like Triúr, From Coolea to Iona and Dreamtime Revisited, all films broadcast on RTE, and the Eco Eye series.  By the end of 2015 Declan will add another film project, “JFK The Badge Man”, plus three short films to his CV while still continuing to record albums and singles and of course playing guitar and writing music.




Ross Whitaker, Aoife Kelleher & Liam McGrath in conversation with Lucina Russell


Lucina Russell was appointed as Arts Officer for Kildare County Council in 2000.  She establisheda number of long-term arts initiatives in Kildare including an Arts and Health programme and Laban-based dance training courses.  She produced 'All About Eva', a feature film involving local writers, cast and crew, which premiered in JDIFF2015.  She is a producer on 'JFK, The Badgeman Conspiracy', which will be screened during the Film Lab

Lucina was Chairperson of the Association of Local Authority Arts Officers from 2009-2012.  She sits on the board of Riverbank Arts Centre, Newbridge and is a member of the advisory group for www.artsineducation.ie.  She has a Masters Degree in Art and Design Education from NCAD and received the Irish Times Award for Outstanding Achievement on the Post Grad Dip in Art and Design Education from LIT

Neasa Ní Chianáin trained at the National College of Art & Design in Dublin, and worked as a freelance Art Director on Irish feature film and television projects. She started directing documentaries in 2001 with 'No Man's Land', a critically acclaimed film about the asylum process in Ireland. She has directed television docs, series, short docs and three feature length documentaries. Frank Ned & Busy Lizzie (Best Feature Documentary, Celtic Film Festival 2004), which sold to broadcasters around the world. Fairytale of Kathmandu, world premiered at IDFA 2007, in the Silver Wolf Competition. It was subsequently invited to 25 more international Festivals including Seattle (North American Premiere), Edinburgh (UK Premiere) DocAviv, Durban, New York and San Francisco GLBT Festival. It won 3 International awards, Best Film and two Best Directors. Her last feature film The Stranger had it's European Premiere at Locarno Film Festival, Critique de Semaine, 2014. It also screened at Dok Leipzig and will be screened on RTE later this year.

Neasa is currently working on a feature length documentary, In Loco Parentis (working title only) which is funded by The Irish Film Board, RTE & BAI. It's release date will be in early 2016.

Aoife Kelleher is an award-winning film and television director. She has directed and produced a wide variety of television programmes – from documentary series dealing with complex and challenging social issues to current affairs and factual entertainment series.  Aoife's debut feature documentary, 'One Million Dubliners'​ was awarded Best Irish Feature Documentary at the Galway Film Fleadh, Best Irish Film of 2014 by The Irish Times and Best Television at the Sandford St. Martin Awards. Her short documentary film, 'Home'​, was awarded Best Documentary at the Fastnet Short Film Festival.

Liam McGrath is a graduate of The National Film School with 25 years of experience as a director and a producer. McGrath has made many award winning programmes for RTE, the BBC, CH4 and Universal Pictures among others. In 2015 he won the IFTA award for 'Best Director in Television'.


John Kelleher Thoughts on Irish Film : Where It's At

John Kelleher a barrister with a masters degree in drama, has been a leading independent    film and television producer in Ireland for many years. He started his career in RTE, where he produced and directed many award-winning programmes, including Strumpet City. Appointed Controller of Programmes, RTE1 Television in 1980, he launched the Today Tonight programme.


He left RTE to become Managing Director of The Sunday Tribune, subsequently establishing the successful production company, Fastnet Films, now run by his son Macdara. He has produced eight feature films, including Eat the Peach, which he co-wrote, and six television drama series.    


Appointed Film Censor (as it was then called) in 2003, he was responsible for significantly modernising what is now the Office of Film Classification. In 2011, he established John Kelleher Media, of which he is Chairman, which produced the documentary, 'A Disconnected Rhythm' and   the television drama, 'The Guarantee'. He is currently producing the Fastnet Films; feature, Mammal', starring Rachel Griffiths, which will be released in 2016.


He is a non-executive director of Wildcard Distribution, Access Cinema, the Creative Europe MEDIA Desk, Ireland, and Troy Film Studios. He reviews movies every Wednesday on Newstalk Breakfast.



Helen Flanagan and Patrick O’Neill in conversation with John Kelleher


Since graduating from the National Film School in 2012 Helen Flanagan's work has gone on to win various awards. Her first short, “An Cat” which was funded by Filmbase & TG4 has been well received and is currently screening in festivals in Ireland and around the world, most recently winning best Irish language film at the Fingal Film Festival while her second short film “The Drive” recently won best film at the Dublin Feminist Film Festival. She received the Sean Dunne Young Writer’s award for her short children’s film “The Debt” which was the winner last years Film Offaly Award and her short film “Din” earned her the Dun Laoghaire Emerging filmmaker commission in 2014."

Patrick O’Neill has over 15 years experience in the film industry and is currently Managing Director of Wildcard Distribution, which he founded in 2013 along with Irish production company Fastnet Films.  Wildcard is an Irish film distributor that acquire and release feature films in Irish and UK cinemas as well as on Video on Demand and DVD. Wildcard’s slate of projects is incredibly varied and include the summer Box Office hit documentary AMY, directed by Asif Kapadia (Senna), IFTA Award winning Patrick’s Day, Sundance Winner The Summit, and Lance Daly’s Irish comedy starring Pat Shortt, Life’s a Breeze.Wildcard prides itself on innovation and are proud to be the first Irish film distributor that has carried out a live cinema event with The Guarantee, and have also pioneered multiple territory VOD distribution, with several films, making them available worldwide utilising innovative and disruptive VOD technologies.  Before the establishment of Wildcard, Patrick worked for seven years at the Irish Film Board where he managed their film distribution fund. Prior to the Irish Film Board, Patrick worked in international sales and film production.  Qualifications include MSC in Cyberpsychology, MA in Audiovisual Management, BA in Business & Marketing, NDIP in European Business & French.

HA-HA : WRITING FOR COMEDY                                                                                                 John Butler and Ailish McElmeel in conversation with Hugh Travers                                                                                                                           

In 2015, John Butler directed and wrote HANDSOME DEVIL starring Andrew Scott and Moe Dunford. The film is due for release in 2016. He directed and co-wrote THE STAG (2014), starring Andrew Scott – the film premiered at the Toronto and Tribeca film festivals, sold worldwide, and Warner Brothers acquired the remake rights. John directed IMMATURITY FOR CHARITY (2012) starring Brendan & Domhnall Gleeson and in 2011 he directed and co-wrote the (IFTA winning) TV sketch show YOUR BAD SELF, and his debut novel THE TENDERLOIN was published by Picador and short-listed at the Irish Book Awards. Other writing has appeared in The Irish Times, The Dublin Review, The San Francisco Chronicle and on NPR, and John has made award-winning short films, documentaries and commercials.

Conor McMahon studied filmmaking at the Irish National Film School in Dun Laoghaire.

Fangoria described his latest feature From the Dark as “a taut, coiled piece of dread-infused cinema that… delivers everything one could hope for from a fresh entry in that subgenre.”

His 2012 feature film Stitches, starring British comedian Ross Noble, won best film at the Midnight Xtreme section of the prestigious Sitges Film Festival.

In 2004 he made his debut feature film Dead Meat which was funded by the Irish Film Board.

Conor went on to direct Zombie Bashers, an entry in the RTE Storyland online series scheme. The show proved extremely successful with horror and comedy fans alike and was voted the eventual winner of the competition. Conor directed all 6 episodes of the show.

His short films have won many awards including: Best Short at the Sitges Film Festival (Spain), First Prize in the Kodak Commercial Awards (London), Second prize at Edinburgh’s Dead by Dawn Horror film Festival.

Along with developing feature film ideas Conor has worked on numerous seasons of the popular RTE sketch show The Republic of Telly, writing and directing sketches with acts like The Rubber Bandits, Damo & Ivor and Georgia Salpa.

Conor also works as an editor. Work includes the RTE hidden camera show The Fear.

Ailish McElmeel has worked in the Irish and international film and TV industry for over a decade, primarily working as head of production and co-producer for Grand Pictures. She has co-produced comedies such as RTE’s Trivia and Val Falvey and features such as The Race, Situations Vacant and Wide Open Spaces. Since rebranding as Deadpan Pictures with Paul Donovan in 2014 Ailish produced the award winning webseries Burning Wishes, which recently picked up Best Webseries at Bilbao Webfest and Best Directing at SFWebfest.  Ailish has recently executive produced series 3 of RTE’s HARDY BUCKS.

Ailish is a graduate of the TransAtlantic Partners 2013, EAVE producer programme 2007 and holds a diploma from UCLA in Film Development and a B.Sc in Film and Broadcasting from DIT (2002).

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