Meet Aislinn Clarke, a filmmaker, scriptwriter, and lecturer at the Seamus Heaney Centre at Queen's University Belfast.
Clarke's first feature film - which holds the dual distinction of being the first feature horror film written and directed by an Irish woman - will be released in the US by IFC on July 13, and it could not be more timely.
The Devil's Doorway is based upon the very real horrors of Ireland's Magdalene Laundries, where, from 1765 to 1996, women who became pregnant outside of marriage were hidden away and subject to grueling labor and abuse by the Catholic Church.
Per the official movie description:
What unholy terrors lurk behind the walls of a secretive Irish convent? Northern Ireland, 1960: Father Thomas Riley (Lalor Roddy) and Father John Thornton (Ciaran Flynn) are dispatched by the Vatican to investigate reports of a miracle—a statue of the Virgin Mary weeping blood—at a remote Catholic asylum for “immoral” women. Armed with 16mm film cameras to record their findings, the priests instead discover a depraved horror show of sadistic nuns, satanism, and demonic possession. Supernatural forces are at work here—but they are not the doing of God. Inspired by the infamous true histories of Magdalene Laundries—in which “fallen women” were held captive by the Irish Catholic Church—this found footage occult shocker is a chilling encounter with unspeakable evil.
Clarke was recently in New York to speak at the New York, New Belfast conference on the future of Belfast and its creative industries. IrishCentral was lucky to have a few minutes to hear more about her journey as a filmmaker and what's next.