CIFF2024 Norman Houston Award Winner THE SILENT PEOPLE in a Double Bill with LIE OF THE LAND

NHA double bill banner - THE SILENT PEOPLE & LIE OF THE LAND

THE SILENT PEOPLE (Norman Houston Short Film Award) & LIE OF THE LAND

Friday, March 1 • 7:45 PM • T2

To celebrate the extraordinary legacy of Norman Houston, the former director of the Northern Ireland Bureau in the United States, we present a special screening of THE SILENT PEOPLE, by 2024 Norman Houston Short Film Award winner, writer and director Keith O'Grady, presented in a double bill  with LIE OF THE LAND the award-winning debut feature-length thriller by Northern Irish director, John Carlin.

A Q&A with directors John Carlin (LIE OF THE LAND) and director Keith O'Grady and actor Abby Oliveira (THE SILENT PEOPLE) follows both films, moderated by Aideen Gilmore, Irish Network, Board Member. Guests to the event will be welcomed by Andrew Elliott, Director of the Northern Ireland Bureau and following the screenings there will be a drinks reception at AFI, sponsored by the Northern Ireland Bureau, North America.

Generously sponsored by Kate Meenan-Waugh

The Norman Houston Short Film Award 

The Norman Houston Short Film Award is part of The Norman Houston Project, a program initiated by Solas Nua in 2022 and dedicated to the memory of Norman Houston. The Norman Houston Short Film Award is an annual honor for the best new short film created by a filmmaker based in or from Northern Ireland, made within the previous two years. The inaugural winner of the Norman Houston Short Film Award, AN IRISH GOODBYE, won Best Live Action Short Film at the 95th Academy Awards® 2023, Best British Short Film at the 76th EE BAFTA Awards 2023, and Best Live Action Short Film at the 20th Irish Film and Television Awards 2023. Last year's 2023 NHA winner, HOMEBIRD, also won the Best Debut Short Fiction Award at the 2022 Galway Film Fleadh.

 🎟 For further information regarding bookings: 
Please call 301-495-6720 between M-F, 9 AM - 5:30 PM or email


The third recipient of the Norman Houston Short Film Award, is writer and director, Keith O'Grady for THE SILENT PEOPLE produced by Cinemagic. Set against the backdrop of the cost-of-living crisis, a young mixed-race Scots woman and a working-class Irish singer from Tallaght in Dublin are evicted without warning. After a year of living homeless on the streets, they chance upon the landlord that evicted them, and set out for revenge.


Director and Screenwriter: Keith O’Grady

Producer: Joan Burney Keatings

Cast: Abby Oliveira, Daniel Murray, Richard Clements

Ireland, 2023, black & white, 18 min. NOT RATED.


Best Screenplay - Underground Cinema Film Awards 2023

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Followed by: 


Dramatic Feature | East Coast Premiere | Award Winner | Debut Feature

Crippled by debt, older couple Kath and Matthew Ward are forced to sell their beloved home and farm, planning to escape their dire financial situation with the help of a mysterious stranger, Shepherd, who has planned a safe passage to the sun in return for a fee. As the Wards prepare to abandon the land that has been in Kath's family for generations, a last-minute change of heart has deadly consequences, and they must fight with everything they've got for their survival. This tense and suspenseful drama is the feature debut of Northern Irish filmmaker, John Carlin. Created through Northern Ireland Screen's New Talent Focus, it won the Best Irish First Feature at the 2023 Galway Film Fleadh.


Director: John Carlin

Screenwriter: Tara Hegarty

Producers: Margaret McGoldrick, Chris Patterson, and Aoife White

Executive Producer: by Ursula Devine

Cast: Barry John Kinsella, Paddy Jenkins, Nigel O'Neill, Abe Smyth, Ali White

Ireland, 2023, color, 80 min. NOT RATED.


 Best Irish First Feature - Galway Fleadh 2023

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John Carlin is the director of the IFTA nominated Irish language drama Seacht for BBC/TG4. He also directed 12 episodes of the factual drama series Marú for TG4 and the award-winning Sci-Fi short films, 'The Way Back' and 'ECHOES.'

Keith O'Grady

Keith O'Grady is a filmmaker who works in several disciplines of film and television. First and foremost a director, his other primary roles are as a producer and writer. He is also a skilled cameraperson, editor and actor. He makes films in Irish as well as English. Recent credits include 'A Bitter Pill' (2022), 'Rian' (2021), 'Border Tales' (2021), 'Colmcille' (2021), the multi-award winning short film 'Saving Santa' (2017), the documentary biopics 'Bram Stoker & Dracula' and 'Robert Burns'. He is passionate about Irish language film-making, and is also an advocate for Neurodivergence awareness in the Screen Industries.

Abby Oliveira

Abby Oliveira is a spoken-word poet, writer, performer, and arts facilitator based in the North of Ireland. Her work is often cross-discipline and collaborative, comprising poetry, storytelling, music, prose, playwriting, and/or physical performance. 

She was awarded SIAP funding by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland in order to complete her debut poetry manuscript in 2021. Recent published work includes contributions to The 32: An anthology of Irish Working Class voices (Unbound, 2021and Empty House: poetry & prose on the climate crisis (Doire Press, 2021). She has been commissioned as a writer by organisations such as BBC & RTE radios, The MAC, and more.

She also performs in stage productions, including her own shows ‘Cast Away Your Compass’ (2016/17 – which toured several dates in Australia), and the multi-media show 'Legends of the Coven' in 2018.

Aideen Gilmore

Aideen Gilmore was born and raised in Donegal, Ireland and moved to Washington DC in 2016 where she is the Head of Training, Technical Assistance & Networking in the International Budget Partnership (IBP), as well as serving on the Board of Directors of the Irish-Network DC. Prior to moving to the US, Aideen was an independent consultant on human rights, equality and justice for a range of international civil society organizations. Aideen was previously Deputy Director of the Committee on the Administration of Justice (CAJ) – Northern Ireland’s leading human rights organization. Aideen has also worked in the Human Rights Unit of the Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin. She graduated with a BA (Hons) in Government and Law and an MA in Administrative and Legal Studies, both from the University of Ulster (Jordanstown).

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