13 July 2020 The Irish Film & Television Network
Hope and Glory
24 Jun 1999 :
At next week's Galway Film Fleadh, a five minute film will be premiered to the viewing public. Nothing particularly eventful about this, there are plenty of films being shown. It's a film festival after all.

The title of this short may raise an eyebrow or two though, it does have a tendency to jump out at you from the page of film listings. It's called 'The Spa'

These are politically correct times we live in. Surely a film of such a name would be in poor taste? Well this film was written by somebody with a disability, directed by somebody with a disability, in fact all the people in front and behind the camera have a disablity.

Stephen Olwill wrote the self-effacing script, which tells of a wheelchair user's vain attempts to get past a bouncer into a niteclub with his brother. Short, dark and surreal, the film was directed by Donal Coghlan and stars Stephen as our hero. This tale unequivocally tackles the issue of disablity access.

The film is presented by 'Lights! Disablity! Action!', a Dublin-based film course set-up exclusively for individuals with a disablity.

This course has been running since last September with a view to promoting education and equality in the film industry. It runs till November. A hands-on course which comprises all the elements dedicated to filmmaking.

Late last week the course unveiled to a select group the three short films they had been working on since January, to great success. Those attending saw 'The Spa', as well as the other two films 'Handy Andy' (written by Donal Coghlan and directed by Sean Hamill) and 'Clever Bastards' (written by John Owens and directed by Stephen Olwill). The participants all worked on each other's films and in some cases starred in them too.

The films had gone into production in February and were shot back to back on location around Dublin. Digital post-production finished at the end of April.

All three films, were shot over three days each, and later digitally edited. To make it harder for them, the groups were only given a 3-1 shooting ratio. To the uninitiated this means the crew could only have three takes for each shot. So if somebody fluffed their lines or moved the wrong way, then they only had two more chances to get it right. Sounds tough? Well that's the film business for you, but due to their professionalism they pulled it off masterfully.

You can meet the cast and crew at the screening of 'The Spa' during the Film and Arts Festival. It is well worth having a look at. As soon as the participants return from Galway they begin work on their next film, which begins filming in September. Look out for it at the start at the end of the year.

PL June 1999

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