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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

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Just Charlie • The Film

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Yesterday was the first official UK screening of an Independent Film I’m in called Just Charlie. By Seahorse Films. Trailer below!! It’s been beautifully directed by Rebekah Fortune, skilfully and sensitively written by Peter Machen and brilliantly produced by Karen Newman. It stars the fantastic Scott Williams (whose work I’ve watched and admired for years), the wonderful Patricia Potter and introducing Harry Gilby in the title role. Harry Gilby: remember that name, as I have no doubt you’ll be hearing a lot from the gorgeous young actor in the future!!

Harry Gilby: Just Charlie

Harry Gilby as Charlie

It deals with the issue of transgender. It as a subject is only just just starting to really hit the spotlight recently. The dialogue is being had more and more over the years because of hi profile people like Frank Maloney now thankfully living as her authentic self Kellie. But media frenzy hit when Bruce Jenner now Caitlin openly discussed her life long struggles. Whatever you might feel about Caitlin not truly representing the Trans community, she certainly sparked the conversation… globally.Laying bare for others to speak out and more importantly NOT suffer in silence.

The transgender suicide rates are truly staggering, the isolation, the discrimination sometimes leading to violence from others. The pure lack of understanding or compassion. Many displaced youth are suffering and not seeing a way out of what they’re feeling. A mind blowing 48% of transgender young people under 26 have attempted suicide according to a survey; Trans Mental Health Study of 2012

It certainly wasn’t a subject for many films. We had the runaway hit the wonderful yet (back then VERY edgy) The Crying Game. Since then not much really, at least to my knowledge. What makes this film so so special is it tackles it from a young persons perspective. As mentioned earlier the suicide rate and attempts amongst Trans youth is so incredibly alarming. The more we see stories in Film and TV reflecting and representing the community. The thoughts and feelings behind the headlines. The more it will be accepted by a sometimes closed minded society.


Take a look at the Trailer

Just Charlie Teaser Trailer from Seahorse Films on Vimeo.

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The Block • A Drama in Development

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The Block

*We are now pleased to say we have shot the Pilot it’s now in post production.  Our fantastic director is BAFTA Winning Director David Blair! Huge thanks to an incredibly dedicated and hardworking team.*

The Block is an exciting drama in development. Our aim is to change the negative stereotypes created around people from lower income/working class families.

I’ve teamed up with Donna Taylor of DT films, writer of The Block, to produce with her this fantastic drama. The Ethos of DT Films has always been to affect change through the very powerful medium of film.

The Block follows the lives of 8 diverse  families living in a block on a London council estate. It forms the backdrop for this riveting drama. It’s within a culturally diverse community, truly representative of London. In this compelling drama we get to know who these people are. We follow the characters through their failures, successes, struggles and victories, their joy, their pain as they navigate through London life. You’ll want to know more about them.  The hard graft, the determination, the will to offer their children more than that afforded to themselves. We see people from different cultures, traditions and parts of the world. First, second, third generation Londoners. THIS is the new face of a changing Britain and in the case of The Block … London.

There have been many carnations of the typical council estate over the years. But the attitude towards them and the people who live there, have pretty much remained the same. More often than not, we see a very tainted view of people living in social housing for example. Through mass media coverage, one sided documentaries offering the view of ‘bleeding the state’. We are rarely given the opportunity to really see behind closed doors in a quality drama of this kind. The whole idea of the “working class” has also evolved and in the UK. It makes up roughly 48% of the population. Why then so poorly or inappropriately represented? The forgotten voice of those thought to be left behind in the tide of progress? We want to delve into the lives of the people behind the statistics, without the “working classes” society wouldn’t work!

These sometimes anonymous concrete grey buildings have always housed colourful characters, real people, real lives!


There are many of us in the media who have spoken out and proud about our “working class roots”. Christopher Ecclestone, Ellie Goulding, Lewis Hamilton, Caitlin Moran to name but a few. They all, for example grew up on Council Estates… Caitlin felt so strongly, she wrote “Raised by Wolves” the brilliant BBC TV show, in order to tackle the same  “class presumption”.

With the current political situation in the UK. It is clear, now more than ever we really do need to see a diverse Britain on our screens.

We could always do with more donations which of course would be really appreciated….Investors contact me via email directly.

We want to make a drama that matters!

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Spread the word!!

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