Film made in conjunction with Mayo Women’s Refuge Service and other agencies for the Premier
Bruise, a short film highlighting the issue of domestic violence and sexual assault. It will have its world premiere at Galway Film Fleadh on July 6 at 10am.
Chris Watt, the screenwriter of Bruise, said: “I wrote Bruise to contribute to what I consider to be an important conversation. It’s about a woman taking back control: over her body, over her voice, a journey from brutality to rebirth, and as such it always felt necessary to tell it in an unusual and unorthodox way, to tell a story about speaking out and reaching out, but to approach symbolically, through movement and gesture, without dialogue, and to allow the audience to simply consider the object.”
The story is told through theatre, movement and dance. With music composed especially for the film by award-winning composer Natasa Paulberg.
It’s the story of Heather, the main character who is amazingly played by Emily Kilkenny Roddy in her first leading role. Her husband is played by dancer Ryan O’Neill also in his first acting role.
Their story is unique but reflects so many stories that happen to people all over Ireland and around the world. It features the debut performance of budding young actress Jade Lawless as Grace O’Malley, Queen of the Pirates.
Heather finds herself in a candlelight vigil with women who have gone through similar situations to her and these women represent the support services that are available for people going through these issues.
Developed in response to multiple recent (and past) events and true stories, Bruise is a visual film that explores the many facets of domestic and sexual violence against women. Following the journey of Heather, a woman trapped in an abusive relationship, who manages to escape her domestic prison, only to find herself vulnerable to the many threats that await her right outside her front door, Bruise is a story about the searching for your voice and reclaiming your body and a film that tries to find hope in the midst of brutality.
On the Western Front Studios is a Westport-based production company, led by the team of producers/cinematographers Emer and Brian Durcan. Brian Durcan (cinematographer) received a leadership grant for a new camera, lenses and equipment. Emer Durcan (producer) just finished her master’s degree at NUIG and wanted to get started on an important project for the community.
She was the driving force behind Bruise and worked closely with Safe Ireland, The Mayo Womens Support Services and Adapt Kerry to incorporate survivor stories into the characterization of Heather and John. She also worked closely with the Rape Crises Center who in turn came and starred in the film.
It’s important to her that domestic violence, coercive control and sexual assault are openly discussed and wants Bruise to act as an advocate for the services available to help people escape situations like this. Bruise is directed by well-accredited and renowned director Mo O’Connell. Her previous efforts include BAFTA nominees HUM, Girls, Lambing (2022), Haven (2022), Eve (2021) and Mask (2022).
Bruise is interesting because of its collaboration with services that offer support to people who have been affected by situations of domestic violence, coercive control and sexual assault.
The Mayo Women’s Refuge relayed true stories of women who have experienced domestic violence. These stories were used to build the main characters. The Mayo Rape Crises Center has also joined us and there are real women who work for these organizations who show up on the vigil stage as extras. Bruise is also supported by Adapt Kerry, Safe Ireland and CYPSC.
Mayo Women’s Support Services is delighted to be part of this important project which carries a very important message about domestic violence.
MWSS is the county’s leading specialist agency providing free confidential service and a range of support to all women and their children whose lives have been affected by domestic violence and coercive control. They offer the following services; Individual support and listening, information on legal options, financial rights and entitlements, accommodation and housing, advocacy, accompaniment and helpline, supports for children – offering group programs and individual.
The Mayo Rape Crisis Center is a safe place where our expertise and dedication meet each survivor’s limitless potential for healing and recovery, as we accompany them on their individual and unique journey.
Nicci Carroll, who works at the center and acted as an extra in Bruise, said: “It was such a creative way to work and to be able to give a very strong voice and expression to the reality of sexual violence was very powerful. I know I’ve cried out for all the survivors who have walked through the doors of the Mayo Rape Crisis Center over the past 28 years and louder for all those who haven’t We see the bruises and we see the bruises invisible to all survivors.