5 December 2023 The Irish Film & Television Network
IFTN chats to David Tynan, Director of Viral IFTA-Nominated Short Film ‘Heartbreak’
31 Mar 2017 : Katie McNeice
Emmet Kirwan, 'Heartbreak'
The spoken word project which is written and performed by Emmet Kirwan (Dublin Oldschool) made headlines last January when the team uploaded the film to YouTube, garnering over 900,000 views in just two days.

It is now one of six films nominated in the category of Best Short at the upcoming IFTA Film & Drama Awards, taking place on Saturday April 8th in the Mansion House, Dublin.

‘Heartbreak’ sees Kirwan narrate the life of a young schoolgirl named Youngone, played by Jordanne Jones as she becomes pregnant and raises her son in modern Ireland. It is an MDV production, produced by Michael Donnelly (Rockmount), Dave Leahy (See You) and Liam Ryan (Wifey Redux).

Congratulations on your IFTA nomination and for the incredible viral response to ‘Heartbreak’. Can you firstly talk us through the theatre influence and how the project evolved into the spoken word / short film format we see today?

“Heartbreak was one poem of a number Emmet developed with thisispopbaby for RIOT, from last year's Dublin Fringe. Emmet wanted to make it as a standalone short and he asked me and I've been grateful since. So it was a question of how to make it work on screen. That's a rake of decisions but they all fall into two categories: how the poem is read and how we depict Youngone's story.

“So the poem is direct address to use the immediacy of the screen, but we reduced Emmet's physical movement, those kinds of decisions. In terms of the narrative, we asked Jordanne Jones to give a face (and a voice) to Youngone. I felt we needed to see her in a visual medium. She's an incredible actor; there are some great scenes that didn't make the cut.”

You have directed content engaging with female-centric issues before, especially with your ‘These are our Bodies’ project for Repeal the 8th. Do you think it’s a theme you will continue to engage with in the coming year?

“It was a coincidence that ‘We Face This Land’ and ‘Heartbreak’ happened consecutively but I'm proud of both and I think they're part of bigger conversations that are happening and need to happen. I'd hope above all that I can keep working full stop, then keep working on projects that have some ideas in them. We'll see what happens. Possibly my producers would prefer if no budget online feminist films weren't the entirety of my output...”

Aside from the very topical issues addressed in the project, it has also been applauded for its portrayal of present-day Dublin, from cinematography to uncensored accents; how intentional was this?

“With my directorial decisions I wanted to be faithful to the material as we filled out the world, like our choice of cast and locations. You know when you're shooting on Cook St... but it's worth it. So the approach was absolutely intentional but it didn't need to be stressed during production. You just follow the line of honesty that the text provides.”

IFTN Festive Q&A with director Luke McManus
Casting Directors share insights at Casting Conversations hosted by IFTA
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