Stanley’s Deathpark Productions

Featuring an angelic score from award-winning composer Chris O’Shaughnessy, The Daisy Chain delivers an evocative glimpse into the joys of childhood. It elicits a charming nostalgic feel, and though it wasn’t my life being narrated, it felt like it was whilst watching.

 

Well shot for the vast majority, there’s beautiful imagery of Schull, West Cork all throughout. The endearing, inviting narration from Fiona Shaw succeeds in adding another layer to the dreamlike visuals and there is an added poignancy when the end credits reveal The Daisy Chain is for director and writer, Ken Williams, new arrival ‘Baby Williams’ – it’s a narration on one childhood as another begins their journey.

Stanley’s Deathpark Productions

A woman looks back at a fading memory of her father and of fairytales.

 

 

Winner of Cardiff Mini Film Festival “One Minute Wonder” award, The Final Fairytale is very short, one minute long in fact (hence the award…) and is a snapshot into the mind of a woman harbouring soft regret for turning down future bedtime stories with her father - stories that consisted of several character voices and impassioned participation from her father. It looks great, its shot well and there’s a real sadness to be found in the fathers eyes and the final frame. Mesmeric.

Stanley’s Deathpark Productions

 

Directors: Ken Williams / Denis Fitzpatrick

Starring: Ronan Leahy, Barry Keoghan, Jacob Lea, Emmet Kirwan, Aoibhéann McCann, Jon Kenny

Tim (Leahy) and his two sons Sean (Keoghan) and Scott (Lea) are camped on a quiet beach. The boys play football together and read, whilst Tim makes regular trips into town to pick up supplies. It seems like a nice, quaint family holiday – except, this is no break. The recession has hit hard and in order to simply stay afloat, Tim has moved into a tent on the beach for his son’s sake and to escape the nightmare of life.

 

His trips into town become more perilous as the locals begin to turn on the family man and his way of surviving, and an uninvited guest begins to appear on the beach near his dwellings. Has the world begun to fall apart around Tim, or is this the early shoots of something better?

 

With a brilliant lead turn by Ronan Leahy, The Break is an engaging short that successfully captures the family’s togetherness, Tim’s struggles, the townsfolks apathy and a sense of desperation in its short twenty-minute runtime. It’s a testament to the writing and direction that the production didn’t fall flat on depressed ground, in fact, The Break has a glimmer that shines a light on the positive nature of the human spirit. Whilst Tim meanders through town, shoulders back but with a heavy heart, it’s hard not to feel sorry for the man – however, his struggle is lessened by an unexpected source at the conclusion.

The cinematography is very decent also, the shots of the beach carry a silent menace at times, and a calming presence at others.

 

With a pre-Dunkirk Barry Keoghan also starring, The Break is a tough, but ultimately uplifting story of the oft-unearned struggles faced and the power of companionship.

Stanley’s Deathpark Productions / Brainstorm Productions

 

Directors: Ken Williams / Denis Fitzpatrick

 

Starring: Sean T. O’Meallaigh, Charlene Gleeson

Everyone has had that one song stuck in their head, the one that you constantly hum or sing until eventually someone notices enough to tell you to just stop. Ultimately, it leaves your thoughts to be replaced by only the Lord knows what. In the case of Will (O’Meallaigh), he literally has Gustav Holst in his head.

 

Trimming his exquisite beard, the pre-work coffee stop, the daily grind, preparing dinner - Jupiter: The Bringer of Jollity plagues Will’s mind and his seemingly uncontrolled humming recitals don’t go unnoticed. Some find it funny, others find it cultural and in the case of Will’s suffering partner Dee (Gleeson) – unbearable.

 

With a long-gone composer communicating to his mind and a partner ready to deliver pain by Gustav, Will must find a way to rid his thoughts of the uplifting composition that’s infiltrated his very mind.

 

Gustav is a cleverly written and smartly delivered slice of comedic fun. There are moments where you’ll find yourself smiling and others where you’ll be laughing away as Holst begins to take over. O’Meallaigh is marvellous in the lead role, looking every inch a presentable Russell Brand providing great comic timing and riffing perfectly off of Charlene Gleeson. There’s some talent on show here, performers from the likes of TV powerhouses Vikings and Penny Dreadful lending their skills to Williams and Fitzpatrick’s incisive production.

 

Overall, Gustav is a well-shot, well-written and ebullient short that provides a shot of fun and eccentricity, and will leave you smiling for a while after.

 

I went to sleep with the song in my head, and now I’m worried.

 

 

Gustav is set for a European and International Festival tour over the coming months.

For more information visit the Gustav Facebook and Twitter pages.

© 2016 Matt Hudson / What I Watched Tonight / Essex

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