CORK-born actor and writer Clara Harte is in the midst of an exceptionally busy period, starring in a feature film adaptation of the award-winning short ‘Lily’ which recently premiered at this year’s Galway Film Fleadh, along with her own short film.
Following on from her success in the role of Lily in the IFTA nominated short film, Clara stars in ‘Who We Love’ which she describes as showing “a bigger journey” for her character.
“The story is about a girl who is on the cusp of coming out to her friends and her peers,” she explained.
“She’s discovered her sexuality over the course of a summer away and now has to face into coming out to her friends and revealing it to the people around her and ultimately, what she comes up against in doing that and different levels of acceptance.
“Overall, on a broad level, it’s the challenges coming out as a teenager but on a more minute scape, it’s the intricacies of relationships.”
‘Who We Love’ premiered at this year’s Galway Film Fleadh, where tickets for the in-person showing sold out.
Director and co-writer Graham Cantwell was nominated for an Irish Film and Television Academy Award for his work on ‘Lily’, while co-writer Katie McNeice is a multi-award-winning writer and director.
Clara described playing Lily as a “challenging” but important role as she endures an emotional journey.
“I don’t think it’s classically a strong female lead but she becomes a strong female lead throughout the journey of the story. She goes from being quite meek to finding her strength.
“To represent that journey, especially for young women, it felt quite important to do.”
Filming was unsurprisingly interrupted by Covid-19, with the end of ‘Who We Love’ not shot until September of last year.
“It was almost a year and a half/two-year journey for something that should have been a few months journey.”
At that stage, however, Clara knew her character so well that returning to the role after delays felt like “a homecoming” but keeping-up Lily’s image proved a challenge.
“For a year and a half, I had to keep the same hairdo. The minute we were finished I like, chopped off all my hair and was liberated,” she laughed.
The Timoleague native recently returned to London after coming home to Ireland as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
In addition to ‘Who We Love’, Clara also recently worked on her own short film, ‘Foxglove’ which she wrote, produced and starred in.
‘Foxglove’ is set on Cape Clear Island and was also premiered at the Galway Film Fleadh. Clara described the film-making process as stressful but rewarding, with filming taking place in February.
“It was my first time every producing anything. My first time ever writing anything so in the middle of a pandemic - shooting as well - it was just quite stressful to get it together, but it was just so rewarding to have it screen at Galway and to have it premiered at Galway.”
“Even to get funding from Screen Ireland to do it, it was very heartening.
“I’m excited about what might happen with that as well.”
Aside from two premieres at this year’s Fleadh, Clara was also nominated for the Bingham Ray New Talent Award which selects five rising stars in the fields of acting, direction and producing.
So, what is next for Clara?
“I’m auditioning for things all the time and then right now, my main focus is these two films. I’m doing two big journeys with the short in particular,” she said.
“Writing as well - I’m writing all the time so who knows what might be the next one. Once you’ve done one, you kind of get the bug.”