Festival Team 

Dr Susan Liddy  Festival Founder | Festival Director/Programmer

Vanessa Gildea – Festival Director / Programmer 

Maeve McGrath – Festival Manager/Advisory Committee

Philip Shanahan – Technician – Editing/Motion Graphics

Heather Mackey – PR (ACE PR)

Advisory Committee

Mark O’Halloran is an award winning Irish scriptwriter and actor from Ennis, Co. Clare. He has written the screenplays for the much celebrated films Adam & Paul, Garage, Viva, the RTÉ mini-series Prosperity and most recently Rialto.

Maeve McGrath is an actress, producer and programmer. Recent work includes: Short Film Programmer at VMDIFF, Producer at Scairt na hÓige Festival, Producer for the Arts Council, Change Makers Conference, Artistic Director at the Kerry Film Festival; Producer at the Carlow Arts Festival. Maeve produces short films with Sidhe Company

Liz Gill is a feature film and TV drama director, screenwriter and producer, best known for her film Goldfish Memory (2003), which won sixteen film festival awards and 9 IFTA nominations, including best film, director and script. Her producing credits include Tomato Red and Vikings.

Zélie Asava: Film Lecturer/Classifier/Author
Dr Zélie Asava is an Independent Scholar and Classifier at the Irish Film Classification Office. She is the author of Mixed Race Cinemas: Multiracial Dynamics in America and France (Bloomsbury, 2017) and The Black Irish Onscreen: Representing Black and Mixed-Race Identities on Irish Film and Television (Peter Lang, 2013).

Jury 2021

Barry Dignam studied Drama at Trinity College Dublin and Film at the National Film School IADT. He is the Head of Department of Film & Media at the National Film School at IADT. Previously he held the Chair of Film & Television and Irish Course Director of Viewfinder (the Erasmus+ Joint Master of Art in Cinematography).

As an educator, he has over twenty years’ experience in teaching and academic management.

As a filmmaker, he has made many multi-award-winning short films including ‘Chicken’, ‘Dream Kitchen’ and ‘A Ferret Called Mickey’. He’s had been nominated for a Palme d’Or at Cannes and a Berlin Bear. ‘Monged’ a feature he co-wrote with Gary Duggan premiered in 2015. His films have been presented in official selection at over a hundred and fifty international film festivals. They have been screened by top broadcasters and released on DVD, VOD and theatrically in Europe, the US and beyond.

Niall McKay is an Emmy-winning writer/director. His documentary “The Bass Player was aired on RTE and nominated for an IFTA. McKay won an Emmy for his documentary “Sikhs in America” about the challenges of being Sikh in the US, which aired on PBS stations across America. Niall has long been involved in the promotion of contemporary Irish film in North America. An associate shorts programmer for Tribeca Film Festival, he is the founder and programmer of Irish Screen America, a festival and screening series in New York and Hollywood. A former print journalist, Niall’s work has appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Irish Times and Wired Magazine.

Ailbhe Keogan’s first feature film, Run & Jump, was selected as part of the Berlin Talent Campus Script Station and the Sundance Institute’s Lab. Directed by Oscar-nominated Steph Green, it premiered at Tribeca in 2012 and the script went on to win numerous awards. Her second feature film, Joyride, goes into production in 2021, produced by Subotica and supported by Screen Ireland,  it will be directed by the Emmy award-winning Emer Reynolds with Olivia Coleman in the lead role.

Her third film, Sunlight is part of Screen Ireland’s inaugural POV scheme, goes into production in 2021. Produced by Roisin Geraghty with Blinder Films, directed by award-winning Claire Dix and starring Barry Ward and Conleth Hill. 

Other film work includes:

The Old Man & the Princess is to be directed by Richard Gorodecky, and produced by Lascala Films (UK) and Port Pictures (IRE), supported by Screen Ireland.  Ping Pong, currently in development with Cowtown Films (IRL) and Screen Ireland, was one of 9 European projects to be selected for the 2018/19 Bridging the Dragon Project Lab in Beijing/ Berlin.  Two, with BirdFlight Films (UK), is to be directed by Chris Foggin, a Screen International Star of Tomorrow. (Fisherman’s Friends, Friend Request Pending). Ailbhe’s award-winning short film Take Me Swimming, was one of four films to be funded by the Irish Film Board Focus Shorts scheme in 2017. Ailbhe is currently working on Sharon Horgan’s new TV show. 

Paddy Slattery is an IFTA nominated filmmaker who fell in love with filmmaking during an uncertain time in his life, following a serious car accident. He subsequently remains quadriplegic but in Paddy’s words, “My body switched off and my imagination switched on”. Having since written, directed and produced over 10 short films, Paddy’s work has collectively screened at over 100 film festivals worldwide, been broadcast on Sky Arts and RTE 2 and picked up over 40 awards including two Royal Television Society Awards and a John Boorman Special Achievement Award presented by the multi-Oscar nominated filmmaker himself. 

Paddy’s debut feature ‘Broken Law’, which received Completion Funding from Screen Ireland, had its World Premiere at VMDIFF20 in front of a sold out crowd in the IMAX and went on to win a Special Jury Prize by the Dublin Film Critics Circle along with an Aer Lingus Discovery Award. Broken Law was released in cinemas nationwide and became the highest grossing Irish film of 2020 before its Netflix release in Ireland and UK where it went straight in at no. 2 in the movie charts of that week. 

Cathy Brady: Screen International ‘Star of Tomorrow’ and NFTS graduate Cathy Brady is a two-time IFTA-winning director, for her short films SMALL CHANGE and MORNING. MORNING was also nominated for European Academy Award for Best short.

In 2011 Cathy directed the BIFA-nominated TV drama ROUGH SKIN, starring Vicky McClure, for Channel 4’s Coming Up strand.In 2014, Cathy directed an episode of Jack Thorne’s BAFTA-nominated drama-thriller series GLUE. Cathy went on to co-develop and direct the first series of Stefanie Preissner’s CAN’T COPE, WON’T COPE for RTE/BBC3/Netflix: a darkly comical Dublin-set drama about two friends coming to terms with adulthood. In 2017 Cathy was one of fifteen female directors selected for BAFTA Elevate. Cathy was selected as one of The Irish Times ‘50 People to Watch  in 2019’.

Cathy’s debut feature WILDFIRE, starring Nora-Jane Noone and Nika McGuigan, premiered at Toronto Film Festival 2020 followed by London Film Festival 2020.

Cathy won the IWC Schaffhausen Filmmaker Bursary Award in association with the BFI. 

Dr Zélie Asava is an Independent Scholar and Film Classifier. She is the author of Mixed Race Cinemas: Multiracial Dynamics in America and France (Bloomsbury, 2017) and The Black Irish Onscreen: Representing Black and Mixed-Race Identities on Irish Film and Television (Peter Lang, 2013). Zélie’s work explores questions of race, gender and sexuality in Irish, French, Francophone African and US cinema.

She is the co-editor of the forthcoming special issue on race and ethnicity of the Journal of Scandinavian Cinema, and has contributed to several edited collections including Austerity and Irish Women’s Writing, 1980-2020, and Innovations in Black European Studies (both forthcoming).

Juanita Wilson: Irish director Juanita Wilson’s first film The Doorwas inspired by Nikolai Kalugin’s personal testimony of Chernoybl and won numerous awards including an Oscar nomination in 2010.  

Her multiple award winning first feature film, As If I Am Not There,  was inspired by Croatian journalist Slavenka Drakulic’s book based on accounts from the rape camps in Bosnia and her most recent film Tomato Red was adapted from US writer Daniel Woodrell’s noir novel looking at corruption in small town America.

Projects in development include a contemporary war story  based on the memoir Unremarried Widow by Artis Henderson and a true life prison drama by Gary Cunnningham set in Dublin’s notorious Mountjoy jail. 

Previously, Juanita  jointly produced the hunger strike film H3 written by surviving hunger striker Laurence McKeown and Brian Campbell and the highly acclaimed Inside I’m Dancing, directed by Damien O’Donnell and starring a break out performance from James McEvoy.

Hannah Quinn is a film & TV director, currently directing Valhalla for Netflix /MGM.  

Previously directed, Fate – The Winx Saga (Netflix), The Stranger (Netflix), Intergalactic (Sky), Blood (VMTV) Eastenders (BBC1) Red Rock (TV3) and short films Smithy & Dickie and My Bonnie.  Before directing, Hannah worked as an A/D for over two decades. 

Irina Maldea is an award winning editor of documentary and drama films. Trained in Bucharest she worked in the Romanian National Film Studios on feature films and documentaries. Moving to Ireland, she was many times for the Irish Film and Television Academy Awards, winning best documentary for “Congo 1961”, which she edited and directed.

She has a master’s degree in screenwriting and presents master classes at the National Film School in Ireland and around Europe as well as acting as industry expert at European film industry events.


Awards will be made in the following categories:

– Best Irish Short Film 
– Best International Short Film 
– Best Documentary Short Film  
– Spirit of the Festival Award 
– Jury Special Mention Award

Spirit of the Festival is awarded to a film, or films, that captivate us while effectively articulating the themes and characters that our festival seeks to champion in productions that support gender equality, diversity and inclusion.