Alanna Corcoran Cusack already has the Ulster Young Filmmaker of the Year award, will she also win the All Ireland award?

Young filmmaker through to All-Ireland final

A Bailieborough teenager has a national film award in her sights after her revenge movie won the provincial award.

Alanna Corcoran Cusack’s film Reprisal has claimed the Ulster regional category in RTE’s Young Filmmaker of the Year Awards.

The six-minute film ‘Reprisal’ was inspired by the death of her great-great-great-grandfather during the revolutionary period. His shooting was believed to have been a reprisal killing for an ambush attack involving his two sons. Transposed to a modern setting, and stripped of political context, Alanna’s story begins with Michael stumbling upon his brother Sean being mugged. In defending his brother an unfortunate incident occurs, which raises the stakes for all concerned. Michael’s worst fears are bloodily realised as the drama unfolds.

“I used to watch Jaws a lot when I was a kid,” she says in admitting her taste for a gory tale. “I wore out two DVDs of it because I used to play it so much.”

Considering the short film owes its genesis to a piece of family history, it was apt that the ‘Reprisals’ cast features Alanna’s father Patrick Cusack and brothers Art Corcoran, and Jason and Paudie Cusack, and even a cameo appearance by herself.

“It was hard for my father because of course he tried to push on into the directing, but I had to crack the whip a bit and keep production going,” says the 15-year-old.

Reprisals showcases Alanna’s brilliant eye for composition. Asked for her favourite scene, she goes for the gruesome climax: “I used a Dutch angle when I show the guys [gunmen] running away and then have the focus point at the tip of the gun, so as soon as the gun is pulled away, everything else blurs out.”

A Third Year student in Coláiste Dún an Rí, Alanna credits her inspirational English teacher Kimberely Dunne for encouraging her to enter the competition.

Teacher ‘blown away’

Ms Dunne told the Celt she is “over the moon” with Alanna’s success.

“Alanna’s filmmaking skills are outstanding. I am honestly blown away by how amazing her work is... The staff and students of Coláiste Dún An Rí are so proud of Alanna. Everyone has watched her short film.”

Ms Dunne is confident Alanna has a promising future in a creative field.

“Alanna has an eye for the camera and I think this will take her places. Her creativity for script writing and producing films are unique for someone so young. She is full of fresh ideas and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for Alanna’s films. I always tell Alanna that she will be representing Ireland at the Oscars one day.”

While a trip to Hollywood might be a while away yet, more immediately, Alanna has a trip to Limerick for the awards bash this Thursday, March 30, and it will be broadcast on RTÉ on April 12.

“It means so much,” Alanna says of winning the Ulster category and being in the running for the All Ireland. “I’m not a year into film making - so to even make it through into the regionals, to be recognised at that level and then to be going to the final is amazing.”