Shaun O Connor’s 'A White Horse' | Philadelphia Caller

PHILADELPHIA - Shaun O Connor’s award-winning short film tells the story of Bridget, a scared young girl who has escaped a mental institution. The reason for her incarceration: a romantic relationship with a fellow schoolgirl. Filmed in Cork city and county, the story explores how mental hospitals were once used as catch-alls for people considered ‘troublesome’ or ‘abnormal’, and touches on themes of mental health and homosexuality in the 1970s.


 

1970s Ireland: A scared and confused young girl enters a phone booth and rings home. Her parents are waiting for the call, and we soon discover hidden truth.

A White Horse stars Cora Fenton (The Young Offenders) and newcomer Amber Deasy and was made with the Screen Directors Guild of Ireland ARRI Take Award. Shaun was inspired to tell the film’s story after discovering that gay conversion therapy was widespread in the British Isles in the ’60s and ’70s, and incredibly, is still legal in the UK and Ireland.

Director Shaun O Connor is an Irish filmmaker whose work has screened and won awards at festivals around the world. In 2020 Shaun was nominated for the Virgin Dublin Film Festival Discovery Award. He is currently writing his debut feature film and developing A White Horse into a TV series with writer Paul Cahill. Shaun also has a personal interest in mental health issues, having suffered from chronic anxiety in his mid-20s and later writing a book about his experiences in order to help others recover.

Producer Sinéad Barry has worked for over 10 years in film and TV production. Her extensive experience spans both Irish and International Film and TV dramas for channels such as RTE, TG4, Virgin Media, BBC, ITV, Channel 5, and Netflix. Her credits include float like a Butterfly, Blood, Penance, Vivarium, and Horizon Line, amongst a host of others.

Writer Paul Cahill is an Irish screenwriter. Before A White Horse, his short animated film The Wiremen, funded by Screen Ireland, won Best Irish Short at the Irish Animation Awards 2019 and Best Irish Animation at the Galway Film Fleadh 2018.

A White Horse has won numerous awards including Best Irish Short at the Foyle Film Festival, putting it on the longlist for the Oscars 2021. It has also won Best Irish Short at the Kerry Film Festival, Best Overall at the Richard Harris Film Festival, Best Independent Short at the Underground Cinema Film Festival, and Best Production Design at Kinsale Sharks. It has also been selected for numerous other prestigious film festivals including St. Louis Film Festival in the US.

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