26 May 2024 The Irish Film & Television Network

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Winners of fourth edition of Virgin Media Discovers announced
14 Nov 2023 : News Desk
Virgin Media Discovers
The winning projects of Virgin Media Discovers have been announced. The short films will premiere at DIFF in February 2024, followed by being broadcast on Virgin Media Television and Virgin Media on Demand shortly after.

Kiki, The Head on Him and Never Kill a Femboy on the First Date are the three short films along with the Docu-Drama Pregnant with a Drag Queen that have won the Virgin Media Discovers 4 competition, in partnership with Screen Ireland.

The winning projects of the Virgin Media Discovers 4 competition are all currently at different stages of production. All the projects will premiere at Dublin International Film Festival in the new year and will air on Virgin Media Television and Virgin Media Player across Spring 2024.

Kiki is written and directed by Naomi Sheridan and produced by Lindsay Campbell. Four-year-old Adamma and her father, Jide, seek refuge in an asylum centre in Ireland. They are greeted by angry and potentially dangerous protestors, but things escalate further when Adamma ventures out into the neighbourhood alone in search of her missing cuddly toy, Kiki.

The Head on Him is a coming-of-age comedy about a young biracial boy who moves from Nigeria to Tallaght, Dublin in the 1990s. Desperate to fit in, he shaves off his afro. However, the afro keeps growing back, bigger and bigger and bigger. The short is written and directed by Seán Gallen and produced by Ciara Gillan and Kevin Napier.

Never Kill a Femboy on the First Date will be directed by Oonagh Kearney and produced by Aoibhín Murphy. Written by Lee Loi Chieng, the story is described as “a crossdresser's one-night stand with an exhibitionist that turns life-threatening when a group of voyeurs discover he's not a woman, forcing them to use their wit and charm to negotiate and survive.”

Pregnant with a Drag Queen tells the story of how a queer kid in 1990s Dublin discovers their true identity and inner strength when they give birth to Veda, a vibrant drag queen icon. Through laughter and self-discovery, their inspirational journey shows how drag doesn’t change who you are, it reveals who you are. This docu-drama is directed by Colin Brady and produced by Steven Sheehy.

Each of the teams were paired up with an established Film & TV Industry Mentor. Award-winning writer/director Aisling Walsh was teamed up with the team on Kiki. Writer/producer Lisa McGee was paired with the team on The Head on Him. The recent double IFTA Winner, writer/director Frank Berry is working with the team on Never Kill a Femboy on the First Date. The award-winning director/producer Garret Daly mentors the team on Pregnant with a Drag Queen.

“We’re delighted to congratulate the four creative teams and short films announced today, as part of Screen Ireland’s partnership with Virgin Media, to support new and exciting voices across Ireland,” said Louise Ryan, Head of Marketing and Communications at Screen Ireland. “It was a highly competitive selection and development process, and we’re looking forward to seeing these short films make a huge impact with audiences at Dublin International Film Festival and beyond.”

Virgin Media Discovers, in partnership with Screen Ireland, is a competition judged by industry experts that helps new and established filmmakers get their stories heard. Diversity and inclusion are at the heart of this competition, as it looks to discover unique voices and approaches to this theme. The winning four filmmakers’ scripts were each awarded between €35,000-€40,000 to bring their project to life on screen and premiere at DIFF in February 2024. Along with this, the winning films will be broadcast on Virgin Media Television and Virgin Media on Demand around that time.

“Supporting new and established talent is at the heart of Virgin Media Television's values,” added Anthony Nilan, Head of Content Strategy of Virgin Media Television. “We are thrilled to be able to give a platform to these very exciting projects and voices, and look forward to guiding and supporting them over the coming months.”

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