ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Discovering New Film Makers at the Dublin International Short Film and Music Festival

Updated on June 10, 2021
paolaenergya profile image

Paola Bassanese is a freelance author and writer specialising in food, lifestyle and entertainment.


DISFMF Cast Q&A | Source

Short Films Don’t Get Enough Exposure

Unlike feature films, short films are less likely to be shown on big networks, with the possible exception of Channel 4 in the UK, which cherry-picks some shorts to show late at night under the Random Acts umbrella. If you are after some talent-spotting on the short films scene, try also Short of the Week, from the US (Random Acts and Short of the Week are reviewed in this Guardian article).

Dublin International Short Film and Music Festival

Established in 2012 by Florian Zapra and Arber Sula, the Dublin International Short Film and Music Festival (DISFMF) takes place each year in Ireland to bring together the best emerging talent in film making and music from around the world. Unlike other film festivals, DISFMF caters for all taste in films, from comedies to thrillers, including animation. In 2018 alone the festival committee received 600 entries, from which 117 films were selected for screening. The festival ends each with an award gala celebration with 14 prizes to be won (Best International Short, Best Director, etc).

The festival prides itself on being independent and on short listing films based on storytelling, not budget or production value. It has attracted an international audience over the years, showing that Dublin is truly a multicultural city.

Behind the Scenes

One of the founders of the Dublin International Short Film and Music Festival, Arber Sula (left), with Paola Bassanese (right)
One of the founders of the Dublin International Short Film and Music Festival, Arber Sula (left), with Paola Bassanese (right) | Source
The cast of Hold the Line: Lesa Thurman Russell (left), Laura O'Shea (middle), Conor Tobin (right)
The cast of Hold the Line: Lesa Thurman Russell (left), Laura O'Shea (middle), Conor Tobin (right) | Source

2018 Programme

I personally only managed to see a selection of films from the very comprehensive programme. Here are some highlights.

Foreign language entries were subtitled, and kudos to the translators who did an excellent job especially with comedy, as some jokes would otherwise be lost on the audience. I am thinking, in particular, of Romanian entry My Best Friend by Catalin Bugean, which had the public in stitches. This short film, shot in Chicago, USA, won Best Comedy at the Los Angeles Film Awards and the New York Film Awards.

The drama category was well represented, with many Irish films tackling subjects like family dynamics, death and Irish history.

These short films were shot and edited in relatively brief timescales and at a very low budget (from hundreds of euros up to 20,000 euros). Sometimes, friends, relatives and work colleagues were brought in as extras or actors; in most cases, you wouldn’t have guessed that some productions were completed on a shoestring.

Special Mentions

While the overall quality of the entries was very good, some pieces stood out for originality, storytelling or the actors’ performances (sometimes, for all three together).

German film Sea at Night (Meer bei Nacht) directed by Kim Fabienne Hertinger was exceptionally moving and insightful, trying to get inside the mind of a patient who had lost his memory.

Worth mentioning a homage to James Joyce with Land of Winter by Tommy Creagh, hinting at Ulysses, shot during Storm Emma, which regaled Dublin with a fairytale-like sprinkling of snow.

Aleksander Szeser’s Inside I’m Racing had one of the most original scripts with plenty of action sequences shot at Mondello International Racing Circuit and which gained praise from the international association Autism Europe for a sympathetic and fact-based depiction of autism.

Game of Thrones fan? Actor Brian Fortune stars in Robert Higgins and Patrick McGivney’s Angels Guard Thee, an intense drama about two Irish ex-paramilitaries.

Hold the Line, written, directed and performed by Laura O’Shea, is a very relatable story about a call centre operator. Anyone who has ever worked in an office doing a customer service role will immediately feel familiar with the setting and the interactions with clients. I worked in market research, for example, and I had my fair share of people slamming the phone down when I called them. Laura explained during the Q&A that the film was shot in one day and that’s why it feels so true to life, especially the constant clock-watching, waiting for the end of the shift. I had a brief and informal chat with Laura after the screening, an actor by trade who told me that she was looking for a good part to play and decided to write it herself.

A Deserving Winner: Best Documentary, Lifeboat

Lifeboat is a 2018 US documentary by film maker Skye Fitzpatrick about the refugee crisis in Europe. It follows the boats carrying hundreds of North African people fleeing their countries in search of a better future. The documentary also celebrates the work of German NGO Sea-Watch and the passion for helping others of the late Jon Castle, who believed in treating refugees as human beings and not see them as "problems", which dehumanises them.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)