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The 2023 Norman Houston Short Film Award: HOMEBIRD with YOUNG PLATO
Friday, March 3 • 7:00 PM
YOUNG PLATO Q&A with co-director Neasa Ní Chianáin and producer David Rane, moderated by Dr. Darragh Gannon, Head of Irish Studies, University College Dublin Fulbright Irish Scholar, Georgetown University / Reception
On the 25th anniversary of the Belfast Agreement, we spotlight five inspirational and moving films that reflect Northern Ireland's vibrant, dynamic and diverse contemporary culture: features BALLYWALTER and YOUNG PLATO and short films AS IF THERE WERE TREES, HOMEBIRD and VIVA. We also celebrate the extraordinary legacy of Norman Houston, the former director of the Northern Ireland Bureau in the United States, with the presentation of the 2023 Norman Houston Short Film Award. This year's winning film, HOMEBIRD, will screen with the feature-length documentary YOUNG PLATO. The evening will also include opening remarks by the current Director of the Northern Ireland Bureau, Andrew Elliott, in addition to a post-screening Q&A with YOUNG PLATO filmmakers Neasa Ní Chianáin and David Rane.
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, is a nominee for Best Short Film at the 2023 Academy Awards.
The 2022 Norman Houston Short Film Award winner:
Having left without warning months prior, Conor has returned to his hometown after dropping out of university in England, meeting up with his father for a tense reunion on the town's seafront. Set against the backdrop of the Northern Irish coast, HOMEBIRD explores the relationship between an emotionally reclusive father struggling to reconnect with his estranged gay son, and a son learning to forgive.
Credits: DIR/SCR Caleb J. Roberts; PROD Callum Harrison. Northern Ireland, 2022, color, 12 min. NOT RATED
About Caleb J. Roberts
Caleb J. Roberts (he/him) is a queer, transgender short film writer and director from Belfast, Northern Ireland. Having made his debut in 2020 with the BBC-funded micro-short FROM HIS PERSPECTIVE, Roberts has excelled as an emerging talent. In July 2022, he was awarded Best Debut Fiction Short at the BAFTA/Academy-qualifying 34th Galway Film Fleadh for HOMEBIRD, funded by Northern Ireland Screen, BFI and Outburst Arts. This accolade made Roberts the first transgender person to be funded by Northern Ireland Screen. Focusing on themes surrounding masculinity, queerness and place, Roberts' work delivers thought-provoking and authentic queer representation from a trans-masculine perspective. He is currently supported by the BAFTA award-winning production company Out of Orbit Ltd. in realizing his visions.
HOMEBIRD is generously supported by Kate Meenan-Waugh.
This inspiring documentary charts the dream of Elvis-loving school headmaster Kevin McArevey, a maverick who is determined to change the fortunes of an inner-city community plagued by urban decay, sectarian aggression, poverty and drugs. The all-boys primary school in post-conflict Belfast, Northern Ireland, becomes a hot house for thinking and questioning, as the headmaster encourages the children to see beyond the boundaries and limitations of their community, and sends his young wards home each day armed with the wisdom of the ancient Greek philosophers. The boys challenge their classmates, parents and neighbors to find alternatives to violence and prejudice, and to challenge the mythologies of war. YOUNG PLATO is full of humor and shines a positive light on contemporary Northern Ireland, offering a model for building a culture of peace in these troubling times. (Note courtesy of Soilsiu Films.) Winner, Human Rights Film Award, 2022 Dublin International Film Festival; Winner, Best Feature Documentary, 2022 Irish Film and Television Awards.
Credits: DIR/SCR Neasa Ní Chianáin, Declan McGrath; SCR Etienne Essery; PROD David Rane. Ireland/Belgium/France, 2021, color, 102 min. NOT RATED
YOUNG PLATO is generously supported by Patrick McGlone & Kevin Taylor.