My First Film: Short Film • Zulu 9

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Zulu 9 directed by Alan Gilsenan

Recently I was kindly invited by actress Kate Braithwaite of Talkies Community Cinema to screen a short film I’d been in. This was part of their brilliant ‘Women in Shorts’ event celebrating local female creative talent. All films shown were to be followed by a Q&A with the teams involved.

My first thoughts were, how lovely, what a great idea! It soon grew into, what a great idea but…oh goodness I have to sit through watching myself on a big screen then talk about it. Horror!! After grabbling with my insecurities for a few days, I came up with another thought. Why not show the first film I’d ever done back in 2001 called Zulu 9 directed by the fantastic Alan Gilsenan? “Zulu” in this case being Police “slang” for Explosive materials.  I had only recently re-discoverd it on Vimeo a year ago. The perfect choice as it so wonderfully illustrates the power of film!

It was so strange to see it on a large screen and in front of an audience, these were firsts. Immediately after the screening the room was filled with the feeling of tense concentration which was palpable. The audience then slowly started to applaud after what seemed like a few moments to process what they had just seen. It was a very powerful telling moment for me. I was also incredibly touched by the response in the Q&A. This is where I was reminded of the power of  film and in this instance ‘fictional’ film. People care deeply about the immigration situation in the UK and spoke quite passionately about the way the film made them feel. They were moved.The topic of “Immigration”or “illegal refugees”are constantly used as a political weapon. The alarming use of statistics exploited to incite racism and fear. Seeing a piece which for a split second (in the grand scheme of things) show an example of the desperation of the people behind the statistics.

The Q&A was geared towards the still so relevant issues raised in the piece. Also the style and how it was shot; very documentary style. Using 35mm as well as various handheld 8mm and Super 8 operated by various “Guarda” in the crowd. So incredibly creative and cutting edge even today. I know the discussion sparked by the film continued after the event on social media and maybe in homes….

Anyways I’m about to digress, I’ll stop myself and allow you to watch the film which in my humble slightly biased opinion, is absolutely brilliant!

Take a look at the film here

ZULU 9 from Yellow Asylum Films on Vimeo.

Here is an article written by the director Alan Gilsenan published by The Irish Times back in 2001. It’s entitled ‘gruesome imitation of life’. This was a response to horrific true events that  occurred in Wexford while the film was being screened across Ireland. Please read the piece HERE

Karen xx