FOLLOWING on from the success of Covid Éire last year, 17-year-old Michael Keane has released a new short film inspired by the negative impacts of social media.
‘Gaiste’ was co-written by Michael and 16-year-old Jennifer Bell and follows teenagers Cillian and Hannah as they learn about a new social media app that encourages dares and dangerous behaviour in return for ‘likes’ and online fame.
It stars Michael and Jennifer Bell, along with Jennifer's mother, Caroline Bell.
The concept was inspired by the Covid-19 pandemic and the popularity of social media apps like TikTok that has come as a result of more time at home.
“Me and Jenny, we noticed that on Tik Tok and all of these social media platforms that people were doing dangerous stunts for fame and sort of to go viral and it’s all about going viral,” explained Michael.
“We saw people were doing crazy stuff on social media and it was really influencing other people and we thought this needs to be addressed so we made the film showing stunts and the effect that it can have on family and people and the community as well.”
The short film is set in Cobh and also includes an appearance from Irish YouTuber, Greta Thornton.
In what Michael described as an added challenge, Gaiste, which means ‘trap’, is in Irish.
“I love setting challenges for myself so I was like ok, it will be really tough and it’s a good challenge and it’s definitely doable and it worked out really well in the end,” said Michael.
The decision to tell the story through Irish meant a few additional takes than usual, but the pair managed to complete filming over the course of three weekends before Level 5 restrictions came into effect.
The initial concept, however, was decided at the end of summer 2020 as many people faced the reality of more time at home as a result of continued Covid-19 restrictions.
“In terms of lockdowns, people don’t really have anything else to do but scroll on social media, so we just wanted to show people that there is a dangerous side to social media and that it needs to be addressed."
The Cobh teenager has previously had his work acknowledged with his short film, Covid Éire and was awarded the ‘Spirit of IndieCork’ Awards at last year’s IndieCork Film Festival.
Gaiste is available to view now on YouTube.