Written and directed by Treasa O’Brien, 82mins, Ireland, 2018
They say there are only two stories worth telling: a person goes on a journey or a stranger comes to town. This film is about a stranger who comes to make a film in the small town of Gort in the West of Ireland, and the people she meets when she holds auditions. Together, they go on a cinematic journey to explore their waking and dreaming lives. Featuring a cast of migrant workers, hippies, Travellers, blow-ins and newly arrived refugees, we are ushered into the private worlds of people living between two cultures, sharing their desires of longing and belonging.
“I’ve never been to bloody Ireland” recounts new age hippy Ralf from England.“I said to my girlfriend, ‘I’ll be back in three weeks.’ That was seventeen years ago. Do you think she’s still waiting for me? She must have boiled the kettle a thousand times.”
“I came from under the truck” says Hamid from Afghanistan.
“I got off in Dublin and I asked someone “where am I?”
“I used to be a passionate person but now I’m more cold. I don’t know if it’s Ireland or what,” muses Ana from Brazil.
“I was the first Traveller in my family to complete the Leaving Cert,” says eighteen-year-old Chloe, “I don’t want to get married yet. I’ve my whole life ahead of me”.
a sensitive and engaging depiction of human connection, with all its fragilities, and, in doing so, beautifully reflects on contemporary rural Ireland. Film Ireland Magazine
Treasa O’Brien is a filmmaker, writer, artist and sometimes curator. Town of Strangers is her second feature documentary. She has exhibited internationally in film festivals, social centres and galleries. Her astropoetic essay film Memoirs of a Spacemother was made while on residency at Galway Arts Centre and exhibited as part of the 4person show Making Space during Galway International Arts Festival 2019. Her first feature documentary Eat Your Children (co-directed with Mary Jane O’Leary, 78mins, 2015) has been touring in Ireland since its premiere at Dublin International Film Festival in 2015. Her debut short fiction film N25 won Best Director at the NAHEMI Eat Our Shorts festival in BFI (2010) and was bought for broadcast by RTE ShortScreen. In 2015-16, Treasa worked in refugee solidarity camps in Greece and made short films working with people seeking refuge including Noor at the Port (6’, Ireland/Greece, 2016) was selected for London Film Festival, London Short Film Festival, Berlin British Short Film Festival and Wanda Festival of Moving Image Belfast 2017. The Blow-in (9mins, Ireland, 2016), commissioned by the Goethe Institute, shot in Gort and the Burren, is part of the Town of Strangers project. The Blow-in had its Irish premiere at Cork Film Festival 2016 and was nominated for Best Film Award at Exile Film Festival, Paris, March 2018.
Treasa is the founder of Stinging Hornet Films, under which she produces her own films and some co-productions and collaborative projects. She studied filmmaking in Goldsmiths, London (MA) and visual art in Limerick School of Art & Design (BA), participated in ESoDoc and Werner Herzog’s Rogue Film School. Her films have screened in the Lebanon, Greece, Mexico, Palestine, Italy, Germany, France, UK, USA & Ireland. She teaches and writes about film and has a PhD in Filmmaking by Practice, gained with a full scholarship award from Westminster University 2014-18.