Irish cinema has never been renowned for harboring a vibrant underground or experimental film scene. There have been significant exceptions (most importantly, aspects of the Irish “First Wave” of the 1970s), but it’s only in recent years that a body of films has emerged that offer a powerful rebuttal to that perception. While to announce a fully-fledged “movement” would be premature, it is safe to say that the work of the four filmmakers featured in this series – Rouzbeh Rashidi, Maximilian Le Cain, Dean Kavanagh and Michael Higgins – represent an important new direction in Irish cinema.
Working with minimal and usually non-existent budgets, primarily on video, with zero crew and casts typically drawn from friends and family, all four filmmakers have been developing at a prolific rate over the past few years. Between them, they have produced 32 features since 2008 – though it must be admitted Rashidi, who in 2012 alone directed 9 features and 76 short films, has been the most insanely fertile contributor. All the filmmakers are members of the Experimental Film Society, an international organization founded by Rashidi aiming “to produce and promote films by its members” who are “distinguished by an uncompromising, no-budget devotion to personal, experimental cinema.” As this series will make clear, they have also been known to appear in each other’s films, and even collaborate on film projects together from time to time. (Strangely enough, Rashidi, Le Cain and Kavanagh have even released three albums of sound art together, under the collective moniker “Cinema Cyanide”.)