Women in Irish Film: Short Film Programme at MFFA

I was delighted to be asked to curate a short film programme for Maynooth Film for All [MFFA], a joint partnership between Kildare Library & Arts Service and the School of English, Theatre and Media Studies in Maynooth University. The film club is also affiliated with access>CINEMA.

Hosted by the University and generally held in the IONTAS Building on the first Tuesday of every month, the short film programme ran from October 2015 to April 2016. Each of the films I selected screened before the main feature. All were well received and attendance figures were consistently good.

I decided to theme the programme around Women in Irish Film, mainly to raise awareness and to showcase some of the fantastic talent that is out there, but also to take an opportunity to screen a wide variety of different themes and styles of filmmaking. I received far more films than I could actually screen, which is a pity as there are so many talented writers/directors out there. I’ve included links to the filmmakers and their works below for further reference.


Vanessa Gildea: The Abandoning

Abandoning_Poster_for_Web copy

Creates the memory of a house where past and present are not separate places


Hannah Quinn: My Bonnie

My Bonnie 4 x 6

Two people at sea, trapped between a rock and a hard place, must face the distance


Aoife Kelleher: Home


A film about how our lives are shaped by the homes in which we grow up


Helen Flanagan: Drive


An unhappy mother struggles to connect with her infant daughter


Lydia Ford, Olivia Flanagan, Gemma Stack: Parallel


A coming-of-age drama follows a schoolboy as his day unfolds and he transforms from his typical popular persona to his true self


Eimear O’Grady: The Climb


For most people Kilimanjaro is their Mount Everest. The reason for climbing is personal


Audrey O’Reilly: Wait


When an important pigeon race and a rare visit home by his son Martin coincide, Charlie waits anxiously for a safe journey home


I wish all of the talented women featured here, and indeed, all of those I couldn’t include in the final selection, the very best of everything with their future projects, and let’s all keep striving for that level playing field in the film industry!



Sun’s Whitening: imagining Patrick Pearse’s final thoughts…

For the day that’s in it, Easter Sunday, 2016 – set on the eve of his death, my imagining of Patrick’s Pearse’s final thoughts…



Written by

Caroline Farrell, 2016

All Rights Reserved

Farrell.caroline@gmail.com / http://www.carolinefarrellwriter.com






A  PRISONER sits on the floor, a vague shadow, his shoulders stooped; he is muttering into his chest.


…that the slender worm gnaws thee tonight…

He lifts his head, still in shadow until an ethereal glint of blinding sun floods his eyes to the sound of gushing waves lapping over shoal and sand…


An attractive woman, EVELYN NICHOLS, 24, barefoot, her clothing wet and clinging. Skirt hitched high, her shapely legs splash in the water as she frolics flirtatiously with her companions to the sound of rambunctious young male laughter…


Same rambunctious laughter echoes…

ON the intense gaze of schoolteacher, PATRICK PEARSE, 31. Straight-laced, purist, he disembarks from the train and calmly leads a small group of BOYS aged 14-16 – counting heads as they jostle, buoyant, aboard a hay-lined, horse-drawn cart.


Right, lads. It’s a good ten miles to Ros Muc – so nestle in there now and hold tight.

It is a gentle order, but an order nonetheless as Patrick, holding the animal’s reins, marches alongside the moving cart for the long, picturesque hike…

As the trek through winding country roads progresses, songs are sung, dusk falling around the lake waters…


When laws can stop the blades of grass from growin’ as they grow

And when the leaves in summer-time their colour dare not show

Then I will change the colour too I wear in my caubeen

But till that day, please God, I’ll stick to the Wearin’ o’ the Green!

Patrick does not smile, though his eyes are alight with pride.




Empty, masculine dormitories; empty hallways; only the sound of female laughter echoes from the second floor of the Victorian mansion…



WILLIAM PEARSE, 29, is thin, boyish and good-humoured. Covered in patches of sculpting clay and little else in the way of clothing, he works his fingers deftly on a foot-high sculpture of a female form.

A cigarette hangs from his lips as he concentrates on the curves of the FEMALE model draped on his single bed…

A pretty teenager, MABEL GORMAN; naked and purposefully supine.


If only your Brother Patrick could see you now!

She breaks into a giggle as William wipes his hand through his thick unruly hair, depositing yet more of the sticky clay there.


How could you two be cut from the same cloth? The celibate and the sex maniac!

William gives her a wicked grin, abandoning the sculpture to jump on top of her, clay everywhere as she squeals with delight.



Patrick takes a moment to breathe in the fresh morning air and to savour the lush view of lakes and green pastures below…

Evelyn is there, sitting in the grass, her inviting curves bridled within the fitted jacket and skirt uniform of a proud suffragette. She looks directly towards him, a coy smile as she waves her gloved hand…

The boisterous sounds from his male pupils rouse him from the moment lost as tired from their journey, they nevertheless leap excitedly from the cart and enter the quaint and freshly white-washed cottage.



The front door leads straight into the main room, bare stone floors, with a large fireplace; a table and some chairs are placed neatly against the walls.

The boys spread out excitedly into two other rooms, to the left and right, depositing their belongings on the single beds.

Patrick sees to the fire, lighting it with old rolled-up newspapers and sticks. He offers a black cast iron pot to one of the boys, JAMES, 16.


Fill this from the pump outside, I’ll be making my famous porridge breakfast.

James makes a face of mock horror, to which Patrick raises an eyebrow. James responds with a soldier’s stance and salute.


Yes, Master Pearse!

In good humour, James runs outside to the water pump as Patrick empties his rucksack onto the table; an assortment of books, pens, paper and a holy bible.


Holy books can’t keep you warm at night, my love.

Patrick frowns.


Gathered around the half-light of the open fire, the boys huddle in blankets as Patrick regales them…


What story shall I tell you tonight, boys?


Diarmuid and Grainne, Sir. Love that one!

An enthusiastic murmur abounds from the testosterone-fuelled adolescents.


Ah yes. Grainne, the very beautiful, and wilful daughter of Cormac, King of Tara.


Wilful – and gorgeous!

As the boys snort through their laughter, Patrick ignores the comment.


She was a temptress who seduced the warrior Diarmuid, despite her having just married Fionn.


Ah yeah, Sir, but Fionn was an auld fellah by then, and Grainne was ripe-

Patrick suddenly leaps to his feet, and yet, as the collectively shocked intake of breath at James’s cheeky comment fills the space, Patrick doesn’t seem to have heard it; his vision is suddenly overtaken by Evelyn…

Thrashing on the choppy sea waters… She is DROWNING…

Patrick suddenly runs from the cottage, retching as he exits. The boys all look to James, who shrugs his shoulders.



Patrick addresses a large crowd.


We must accustom ourselves to the thought of arms, to the use of arms.

We may make mistakes in the beginning – but bloodshed is a cleansing and a sanctifying thing.

And a nation which regards it as the final horror has lost its manhood!


As the words spill, he is distracted by the vision of Evelyn… there in the front row, wearing her Pankhurst portrait badge. Hanging on his every word; oozing with sorrow.


There are many things more horrible than bloodshed; and slavery is one of them.

As he falters on his own words, she fades before him. Patrick wipes the sweat from his brow as he sits down, a glazed look in his eyes…



Patrick and Evelyn walk together, a civilized distance between them, though he can barely take his eyes off her.


You are so right, Paddy. It hurts my heart to think of the cane striking tender young skin in the name of education.

How can one be expected to learn anything when one is too frightened to be wrong?


Will you marry me, Evelyn? Will you?


Dear heart, we’ve been over this before, please don’t spoil our perfect time together.


A dark mood flushes over him.


You break my heart, Miss Nichols. And for what, to end up a lonely spinster?!


Evelyn stops, wounded by such insensitivity.


Paddy! How cruel?

Contrite, he kneels before her.



Can’t you see, it is one thing to be a champion of feminist rights, and how I adore you for that.

And it is another noble disposition to maintain such focus on feminist education-


Evelyn cuts him off.


It has nothing to do with being noble – it is my right!

Feminist education is the root of all education, of all improvement .

And who, above men should know this better than the man before me now?


She places her hand on his chest, and he holds it there, over his heart.



Yes, yes of course, but-



You, Paddy Pearse – surrounded and nurtured by the most matronly and wise feminist intellects-


He trembles with frustration.


And even they have their place!


Fire lights up in Evelyn’s eyes. She pulls her hand away.



Shackled to a homestead and endless childbirths? Forbidden to work, to possess, to debate, to contribute?!

Is that what you want for me? Paddy, is it?



There is grace in motherhood. And there is duty to family. That is nobility in its purist-


Stunned, Evelyn bites back tears.



Purist! You bloody hypocrite!

How do I love such a man who praises my hungry mind and yet preaches nothing but slavery for me?!


She turns on her heels so he cannot see her fight tears.



I will give you my heart, and my body, Mister Pearse.

But I will not give you my youth and freedom while you recklessly sacrifice yours. I will not give in to your prudish double standards!


She waits for his reply, but none is forthcoming. Evelyn marches away.

Patrick lets her go as sunlight glints strongly to blur his retreating vision of her until she fades from his sight



Patrick sits on the floor, shoulders stooped, muttering to his chest.



Reality returns with the sun’s whitening



Patrick stands tall, his back to a blood-spattered, bullet- riddled wall. As the blindfold closes in, he sees Evelyn there, moving closer, her hands reaching out, close enough to touch…


Sun’s Whitening is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or are used in a fictitious manner for the purposes of drama.

PIXER KNOWS! The Story so far…

PIXER KNOWS! Caroline Farrell.2015

The classic Wizard of Oz meets myths and legends from the Celtic Tradition, PIXER KNOWS! tells the fantastical tale of young Irish Traveller boy, Mikey Joyce, 11, and his two best friends, Jaybee [Jacinta] and Paulie, whom together, enter the Otherworld of Pisreóga to track down an ancient Celtic warrior, Fionn MacCumhaill.

Their quest – to persuade the reluctant hero to help them rescue a displaced princess, free the children of Pisreóga from the evil druid Dowan, and in so doing, realize Mikey’s dream to become a great storyteller.


“A lovely story, beautifully told – and well written.”

Nick Willing, Film Director

[Neverland, The River King, Tin Man, Alice in Wonderland]



London Film Awards 2015

London Film Awards 2015


Hollywood Screenplay Contest 2015



[Honourable Mention]

Fantasmagorical Film Festival 2015




New York Screenplay Contest, 2015



Screenwriting Goldmine 2013 QF

Screenwriting Goldmine, 2013

Quarter Finalist




Moondance Film Festival, 2011




PAGE International Screenplay Awards, 2010

“Pixer Knows” is a visually stunning, beautifully written screenplay. The symbolically charged journey taken by the three young friends will appeal to a very wide audience.

“Pixer Knows” is a beautifully written, utterly original screenplay which will attract younger and older audiences.”

“The non-stop action, visually stunning special effects and touching story of childhood friendship is a treasure which could be a very successful film.”



“This script offers a wonderfully original, fun and creative adventure story.”

Bluecat Screenplay Competition 2010. [Semi-Finals]



“What a wonderfully engaging and entertaining tale you’ve woven here! Your script has all the elements of a classic children’s fantasy: an unlikely hero, a cruel and heartless villain, a colorful cast of anthropomorphized animals, and a legendary warrior who has to be reminded of what’s worth fighting for. I think you’ve crafted a story that children will truly love, and I especially liked the hilariously whimsical name that Mikey chose for Pixer.”

Fresh Voices Screenplay Competition 2010. [Quarter Finals]

*Cover Image is created as an inspirational mood board, with no claim to copyright.


The Librarian’s Cellar: At the Cinema: Horrendously delicious: Psych-horror with some of the best female leads

So here are ten of my favourites:

Carrie [1976]


A gamut of emotional charges, you won’t forget Carrie. Sissy Spacek and Piper Laurie – need I say more?

The Others [2001]

The Others

I consider this film to be close to perfection. Nicole Kidman – Fionnula Flanagan – and something supernatural.

Rosemary’s Baby [1968]

Rosemary's Baby

Mia Farrow at her most mesmerizing. Babies and devils – what’s not to like?

Pan’s Labyrinth [2006]

Pan's Labyrinth

Spellbinding and monstrously beautiful. Ivana Baquero’s ‘Ophelia’ comes of age in a dark parable.

The Descent [2005]

The Descent

Tense and claustrophobic with all female cast including our very own Sarah-Jane Moone. Your skin will ‘crawl’.

The Innocents [1961]

The Innocents

The chill of the haunt is superb. Deborah Kerr – and all the classic ingredients for a stunning, shivering experience.

The Orphanage [2007]

The Orphanage

The most frightening ghosts are always the children. Unless you are made of stone, you will cry with Belén Rueda.

Misery [1990]


A woman obsessed – a woman scorned. Who would mess with Annie Wilkes? Kathy Bates rocks.

Julia’s Eyes [2010]

Julias Eyes

So what if you couldn’t see? Who would you trust? A classic ‘danger lurking in the shadows’ and another great performance from Belén Rueda.

The Babadook [2014]


One of my favourites of recent times. A disturbing mind f**k from Essie Davies and her portrayal of troubled mother, Amelia.

So what is IN RIBBONS about?

Oft asked question. And not one that can ever be summed up in one clinical logline. When you see our short film, and I hope there will be many, many opportunities to do so, you’ll know more about what it is through the visual experience of it, and that’s why I wrote it sans dialogue.

I’m a fan of the less-is-more in most areas of life, but especially so in writing, and believe that scripts should be sparse enough to let a story unfold with unhindered visualisation. I get exhausted by endless dialogue, whether on the page or off it, and after all, actions speak louder than words; it is between the gaps that life is lived.

We experience each transient moment though all of our senses; how we feel is what stays with us. In my creation of it, IN RIBBONS is a feeling. A little girl’s feeling her way through a journey that she has no control over; a journey that will change her life forever. For the viewer, it is about seeing that journey through her very young and inexperienced eyes and perhaps, through our own emotions, we feel HER.

It is not a judgemental journey. It does not sensationalize that which is very personal and profound – not just for ‘Laurie’ – but for thousands of ‘forever’ children like her, taken on that same journey, some unwittingly tricked, some kicking and screaming, some so damaged, so desensitized that it didn’t really matter what the destination.

All need to be acknowledged. I hope IN RIBBONS does that, and in a respectful, honourable way. Telling it as it was; un-uttered explanations; unapologetic abandonment; unyielding walls. But also, and more importantly, it is an ode to the warriors. It is a eulogy to the human condition of unbreakable spirit.

Locked doors keep the darkness of that ‘otherworld’ inside, where the victim of the victim remains. In the stifle, in the grey deafening. And when they are gone, and we can’t remember who they were, but what they did, dear heart, the tears go wandering also.  So what is IN RIBBONS about? It is how a warrior earned her shield.


The Memory Wandering…

I don’t claim to know that much in regard to all things poetic, and would never describe myself as such, but occasionally, in moments of emotive thought or reflection, I jot down what comes to the page and let it be.

The Memory Wandering was written some time ago and is themed around forgiveness and letting go. Common enough themes for humanity, but often the most difficult to get a handle on and more than often, unresolved.

Director of IN RIBBONS, Marie-Valerie Jeantelot, read the poem and decided to include it at the closing of our film, and in a wonderful gesture, her father, Charles Jeantelot, has translated it into French, that most beautiful language of the romantics.

La Mémoire Divaguant
La mémoire divaguant de la conscience
Et victime de victime demeure
Dans la suffocation
Dans le gris assourdissant
Et quand ils sont partis
Et quand on ne se souvient plus de ce qu’ils furent
Mais de ce qu’ils avaient fait
Cher cœur 
Les larmes s’en vont divaguant a leur tour
 Not many of us can walk through life without heartache, or the lingering weight of it, so, I’m putting The Memory Wandering out there, as a gift to anyone, whom in any way, might find it helpful. PEACE X

IN RIBBONS https://www.facebook.com/inribbonsmovie.

Richard Harris International Film Festival

Had a fabulous time at the Richard Harris International Film Festival where ADAM was selected to screen and was shortlisted in competition to go forward to the Newport Beach Film Festival 2015.

Received some lovely feedback on our film…very touching…moving…entirely serious and intensely shocking…

And I am quoted in the Film Ireland article below…


Congratulations to the organisers on a wonderful weekend of film-centred events.