Film: The Abandoning

ICC Digital is delighted to present this beautiful film from the award winning director Vanessa Gildea.

‘A marvellous short film that captures memories like a silken web. Moving and simple. A great calling card for Vanessa Gildea.’
Jim Sheridan, Jury member, Sky Road Film Festival.

The Abandoning: Director’s statement

With this project I was interested in exploring what is left behind in a building or a home when the people who inhabited the place have long abandoned it. Initially this film was inspired by Paddy Jordan’s pinhole photography and the ghostly quality that he created in this work. People appear as silhouettes or shadows, we created a dream-like landscape, an alternative reality of our experience of events. Ultimately, with this pinhole work, we captured an essence and a feeling – like a whisper from the past. But the idea for the film had been gestating for a long time before I even saw a pinhole image. The idea or concept of the film was borne out of a desire to explore what memory is, combined with wanting to return in some way to the house of my childhood in Donegal, and in doing so to honour my father and grandparents.

I have, for a long time, been intrigued by the portrayal of memory in storytelling (aren’t we all?), and more specifically visual storytelling. It is a fiendishly difficult thing to capture; memory and memories are so specific to a person, so subjective they are even hard to hold in one’s mind and they combine feeling, colour and sounds rather than clear and detailed images. It is this notion of trying to catch a memory that formed the basis for making The Abandoning.

My intention was to creatively explore a building that has an enormous personal significance for me, looking back at what took place there and using that as inspiration to film the space in an imaginative, non-linear and multi-layered way. The film however only comes to life, I feel, when combined with the beautiful and complex sound design by Philippe Faujas and the stunning original music by Irene Buckley. Collaboration was the key and I embarked on a wonderful collaboration with production designer Tara Doyle to realise the interior of the house, I designed the rooms from memory,  picking the colours and tones and Tara made it all real, adding her own instinctive touches, she made the house of my past come alive. From very early on in the project Tara just understood the emotion of what I was trying to communicate and from that moment working with her was a joy.

Through the making of this film I re-visit my ghosts and memories of a wondrous and magical time in my life, through a house that now represents something more akin to loss and the ineluctable separation between childhood dreaming and adult reality.

Directed by Vanessa Gildea

Produced by Sé Merry Doyle

Featuring Pema Ní Mhaonlaí Agogue


‘Best Short Film’
Sky Road Short Film Festival 2014

Special Mention

IndieCork Film Festival 2014

Highly Commended

Belfast Film Festival 2015