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EMERGING FILMMAKER, Nell Hensey has been selected as a finalist in the Virgin Media Short Film competition for her film ‘Good Chips’.

Barefield’s Nell is one of three finalists chosen from a shortlist of 10 talented applicants, who all received an investment of €6,000 to develop their script with a mentor.

Judges included award winning director and screenwriter Lenny Abrahamson (What Richard Did, Normal People, and Room), rising Irish actress, writer, and star of hit crime drama, Kin, Clare Dunne; Clinton Liberty who played Kiernan in global hit drama ‘Normal People’ and Linus in drama ‘Holding’; screenwriter and executive producer Ursula Rani Sarma (Delicious and Red Rock) as well as representatives from Virgin Media Television, Screen Ireland, and the Dublin International Film Festival.

Nell’s film goes back to 1989 in Dublin where a family of Vietnamese immigrants struggle to keep their takeaway business afloat, while their 12-year-old daughter Tam finds common ground with a local Irish boy in an unexpected way. “As Asian Irish women, we wanted to tell the story of our parents, their different cultural values and how they have navigated a new culture,” the Clare filmmaker born to an Irish father and Filipino mother said. She was co-writer and director of the film and expressed her joy at being shortlisted. Her co-writer Brigid Leahy is originally from California but is now living in Dublin where filming will take place.

She added, “The film is set in 1980s Ireland but deals with modern themes that have resonance in today’s world, especially as there is a notable increase in crimes against the Asian community in Ireland and around the world, giving rise to the #stopasianhate movement. Good Chips is a sweet coming-of-age tale about communication and missed connections, presenting an empathetic view of how we can build bridges and work to understand each other. We are excited to bring this fresh and distinctive Irish story that depicts immigrant families authentically to Irish and international audiences”.

A past pupil of Coláiste Muire in Ennis, Nell in 2016 received a Highest Achiever Award for getting the highest grade in the country in Leaving Certificate Art history. Her love of film first came to life when she was aged twelve, this after a cousin who studied film and lived in LA was visiting Ireland and showed her some of his film reels.

Virgin Media Discovers was launched in 2020 and, in partnership with Screen Ireland, invests €200,000 to support Irish filmmakers. Along with the €30,000 to fund the production of a 10-minute short film, the Virgin Media Discovers competition also provides mentorship, PR, advertising and marketing support.

Andrew Byrne, TV Manager with Screen Ireland said the film “is a touching tribute to empathy and connection and underlines the key goals of the Virgin Media Discovers scheme, which is to develop new and diverse voices and stories”.

The final production will be broadcast on Virgin Media Television, Virgin Media on Demand and as part of the Dublin International Film Festival programme of events, along with the two other finalists’ films.

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