A short film by a University College Cork graduate is in contention for an Oscar nomination, after securing a place on the Academy Awards’ 2021 longlist.
‘A White Horse’ by Shaun O’Connor tells the story of a scared and confused young girl in Ireland in the 1970s and stars The Young Offenders actress, Cora Fenton and newcomer, Amber Deasy.
Among the accolades garnered to date, the short film has won the award for Best Irish Short at the Foyle Film Festival in November 2019 - a recognition that has led to a coveted place on the longlist for the 2021 Oscars.
Filmed in Cork, ‘A White Horse’ was made with the Screen Directors Guild of Ireland ARRI Take Award and explores Ireland’s troubled past with mental health.
The UCC graduate of the MA in Film Studies was inspired to explore this subject after discovering that gay conversion therapy was widespread in the British Isles in the ’60s and ’70s.
Speaking on the short film, Shaun O’Connor said that his time at UCC had a formative impact on his successful career.
“My time at UCC was pivotal in my filmmaking career. Doing the MA in Film Studies there introduced me to so much film history and gave me new ways to interpret and appreciate the medium," he said.
Dr Gwenda Young, Coordinator, MA in Film and Screen Media, Department of Film and Screen Media said the Department is thrilled to learn of Shaun’s success.
“We have watched Shaun's career go from strength to strength and we're so proud of his achievements and honoured that we had the opportunity to teach him all those years ago.
“We couldn’t be happier for Shaun. Though he finished his studies with us many years ago, he is still a familiar face on campus both as a practitioner who shares his expertise through masterclasses and as a keen attendee at our many conferences and workshops, said Dan O’Connell, Head of the Department of Film and Screen Media.
"He has always been a great ambassador for the Department of Film & Screen Media."