THE short film ‘Try n’ Touch’, written by 23-year-old graduate Nell Hensey, has been selected as Clare’s winning entry in the Engine Shorts film competition.
The film is a coming-of-age drama set in an all-girls school, where a group of young rugby players are starting to come to terms with the trials of adolescence in that environment and learning to have the courage to be themselves.
The script is inspired by Nell’s own secondary school experiences in the Coláiste Mhuire in Ennis, a location Nell is hoping to film at in the coming weeks.
Nell said: “I wrote the initial draft, and as part of the Engine competition I was shortlisted for a development program, during which each of us were paired with a script editor. Mine was Brian McGill, who helped me develop the project. My producer, Gemma O’Shaughnessy, was really crucial in the process as well.”
As part of the development shortlist, Nell was also given the chance to take part in workshops, adding to her already extensive knowledge of writing for screen due to her recently-completed studies of film in both UCD and the National Film School in IDT.
Nell has always been focused on writing for film and TV, having sold her first television series last year, and she has since been working as a member of the first international remote writers’ room for Netflix.
Until the announcement of the Engine Shorts film competition, Nell had been waiting for a chance to get the film created in the way she thought most true to the writing – most other competitions prior were set in Kildare and the east coast, so she leapt on the opportunity to film in Clare.
Nell added: “This was very much my first experience in applying for drama-based competitions, because I only graduated recently and didn’t apply to anything before that. I’m also developing this short film into a TV series, which is really exciting because there is scope there for it to go far beyond the Engine scheme.
“I got a mentorship with Glór earlier in the year, and was paired with Mark O’Halloran, another Clare man, and he really helped me develop the TV aspect of it.”
Casting will begin over the coming weeks for the short film, and filming is planned to begin in August in Ennis; after editing is touched up in September, Try n’ Touch will hopefully be finished in November and ready for the festival circuit in 2022.
by Conor Clohessy