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DEBUT: This month sees the beginning of a new strand showcasing first films from established filmmakers.


This first effort from Academy-Award-nominated Louis Marcus is a naive but charming film and an invaluable record of sculptor Seamus ‘Stonemad’ Murphy and his work in his studio and on the streets of Cork. Although made on a borrowed shoestring, The Silent Art is a simple and luminous tribute to the work of the great sculptor.

FILM INFO: 15 minutes, 1959, Black and White, Digi-beta Note on The Silent Art

Having had my first film job as a lowly assistant editor on Mise Eire, I realised that I would never be commissioned to make a film of my own unless I found a way to prove that I could. So, returning to Cork, I resolved to make a short film on my friend, the sculptor Seamus Murphy RHA.

I got a loan of a camera and lights from friends in the Film Society. I shot the film myself, and anyone who helped on the sound track did so free of charge. The main expense was the blow-up from 16mm to 35mm for cinema projection, and my mother gave me the money for that.

The Silent Art was shown in 1959 at the same Cork Film Festival where Mise Eire was premiered. With Donal O Morain and Bob Mac Gorain of Gael-Linn in Cork for that event, I showed them my film. Soon after, I got my first commission from Gael-Linn and continued to make documentaries for them until 1973.

Looking at The Silent Art now, I wince at its technical shortcomings which didn’t do justice to Seamus Murphy’s work, and at its general immaturity. But at least it performed its function of proving that I could see a film through from start to finish, and so launched my career. Louis Marcus


Damien O’Donnell’s fascination with vulnerable characters was first explored in 35 Aside, a short but perfectly-formed multi-award winning drama about a schoolboy who is having difficulty fitting in. This witty, surrealist film showed all the promise that would later be realised in East is East, Heartlands and Inside I’m Dancing.

FILM INFO: 25 minutes, 1996, Colour, Digi-beta

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