Irish Film Institute -FROM THE VAULTS: OPEN ASYLUM + Q&A


Director: Colm Villa

74 mins, Northern Ireland, 1982, Digital

The debut feature of Derry filmmaker Colm Villa, Open Asylum is set against the background of late ‘70s/early ‘80s Northern Ireland and portrays the final days in the life of 24-year-old metal worker Tom Bradley, a man frustrated by circumstance.

Filmed twelve months before the 1981 hunger strikes, what was initially to be a short story about middle-class anxiety ends up a political freeze-frame of its times. Shot on Super 8mm on a micro-budget, the action was filmed with improvised performances inside the world of the story in Derry, and post-produced in the United States. Though well received upon its release, the film was unscreened for almost 40 years, until in 2022 it was digitally restored by Northern Ireland Screen’s Digital Film Archive with a new jazz-infused score by Score Draw Music. The film won Best Feature at the Brazil International Film Festival 2023.

Followed by a Q&A with Colm Villa, hosted by Rod Stoneman (NUIG).

Notes by Sunniva O’Flynn.

Book Tickets

Tuesday 26th