St Christopher’s Services (Longford) and their theatre group ‘The Green Shoots’ have come second in the AbleVision International short film festival which was held in Drogheda on 29 March 2014 in the Droichead Arts Centre. Films from as far as Argentina, Ethiopia, England and even further reached the final nineteen. Brighton in England was the eventual winner with their production of ‘The Sea’, so it was a great honour for ‘Green Shoots’ to come second in such a fantastic line-up of short films.
The film ‘Dark Day at Dawson Saloon’, was a cowboy film devised and written by the group themselves and facilitated by their drama teacher Evelyn Kelly, and shot by local film maker Shane Crossan. The film tells the time honoured tale of good versus evil in the filmic tradition of the wild west cowboy movie. The AbleVision festival praised the production for ‘ its sense of fun and technical excellence’.
Over twelve men and woman from The Green Shoots Theatre Group took part in the project. Big Bad Bob was played by Francis O’Brien (of Farnagh, Carrick on Shannon), with his brother played by Pat Reid (from Killnasonagh, Granard), the cowboy who seeks revenge for Bob’s death. (The cowboy theme had been suggested by Pat Reid). Philip Gray from Aughnacliffe played a cowboy who was in love with a chorus girl played by Triona Maloney (from Soran, Ballinalee). The other chorus girls were Breda McHugh (Drumgowla, Leitrim), Carmel Farrell (Derawley, Drumlish), Linda McGee (Battery Road, Longford) and Cassandra Farrell (Annally Park, Longford). The cowboy sharpshooters drinking whiskey in the bar were played by Thomas Nugent (Edgeworthstown) and Kevin Brady (Mohill). The Bartender was Margaret Breen-Fitzsimons. Joseph Mimnagh was the sheriff, who came into the town when the gun battle was over! Technical support was provided by Syliva Gunning, Pat Maloney and Marc Leech (Longford Town). There was also a guest appearance from Eddie Valentine who played ‘The Mexican messenger’.
We are grateful to Eddie for his wonderful support of the project by making his premises Valentine’s Bar/ Spiral Tree available to St Christopher’s both for filming and also for the red carpet event to launch the film. We also acknowledge Fiona Devine’s organisation of the same event, which was a great success. We also want to acknowledge our great friend in the Arts Office Fergus Kennedy for his constant support of the arts projects undertaken by St Christopher’s Services. We are going to show the top five films chosen by AbleVision in the near future and we invite everyone to the Spiral Tree (dates and times later, so keep a lookout in the Longford paper), for what promises to be a fabulous night.