Figlash film producer's short film selected for Sundance Film Festival

Film Producer Tommy Fitzpatrick from Figlash, Ballyneale is set for world recognition in the film industry as his short film "Small Change". The film is to be screened at the famous Sundance Film Festival in Park City Utah in the US in January.

Film Producer Tommy Fitzpatrick from Figlash, Ballyneale is set for world recognition in the film industry as his short film "Small Change". The film is to be screened at the famous Sundance Film Festival in Park City Utah in the US in January.

It has been selected for the Festival's International Short Films section.

'Small Change' is one of 38 short films to make the list from a record of 3014 International submissions this year.

The Sundance Festival is the largest independent cinema festival in the United States and runs from January 20 to 30.

It showcases new work from American and International independent filmmakers.

Actor Robert Redford was the inaugural Chairman.

This huge honour is testament to the talent of the newly qualified film producer, who achieved a 1st Class Honours Degree in Film Producing and Documentary Direction from the National Film School at IADT in Dun Laoghaire this month.

Tommy says he is thrilled with the response to his film and pays tribute to "Small Change" director and screenwriter Cathy Brady, who recently won the 'Claire Lynch Award' for Best First Time Irish Director, and all the cast and crew for their professional and meticulous work throughout the shooting.

The 16 minutes long film was shot in Newry, Co. Down.

It profiles a young, bored single mother, whose addiction to slot machines in the run up to Christmas almost destroys her as her obsession to win makes her neglect her young daughter.

It is a powerful film delivering a stark sense of despair and solitude when boundaries are stretched.

Tommy spoke highly of the Newry people, who were so helpful and hospitable throughout the shooting.

Family, friends and neighbours from Figlash and neighbouring Carrick-on-Suir were treated to the first public viewing of the film at Ikes and Mikes Pub last Saturday. with Special guests on the night were three local people, who influenced him from an early age and encouraged his talents.

They were Tom Nealon, teacher in the Youth Drama Group of Brewery Lane Theatre, Carrick-on-Suir; theatre actress Mary O'Hanlon, who directed the school pagaent and was the first person to get him interested in drama and Principal of Ballyneale National School Michael McHale, who always encouraged Tommy to bring out the best in himself.

Along with "Short Change" Tommy showed another short film he produced entitled "Brother" at the screening.

The black and white film was shot in the Comeragh Mountains in April this year and captures the plight of two brothers on their way to their estranged father's funeral when their car breaks down.

A chance encounter with an old man makes all the difference and helps bond their fragile relationship.

The third film screene was Tommy's 15 minute documentary "Lackendarra" which he wrote, directed and produced.

It makes compelling viewing and traces the life of the legendary hermit Lackendarra Jim, who spent years living in a cave in the Comeragh Mountains in Co. Waterford after he returned from the Great War.

Unable to integrate back into society after witnessing the atrocities of war, Jim Fitzgerald remained a recluse on the Comeragh Mountains.

In exclusive interviews, Tommy explored how the local people remembered and respected and really cared about him.

Many visited the cave bringing up food gifts and grieved when he died more than 50 years ago. T

his footage took two years to finish as Tommy Fitzpatrick is a perfectionist in all he does and spent many months tracking down the older people, who knew him, interviewing them and researching archives to bring Lackendarra Jim's eccentric lifestyle to the screen.

Tommy Fitzpatrick aims to produce more short films and documentaries and hopes to produce feature films in the future.

With international recognition weeks away, Tommy's film career looks set to be a healthy one.

He is the son of Richard and Eileen Fitzpatrick and brother of Connor and Richard, who are all so proud of him. Everyone in the local community wishes Tommy every success.