Eva Gauley is an early-career writer and director from Co.Fermanagh, Northern Ireland.
Gauley's first short film Unwrapped was completed in 2021, premiered as a finalist at the 2021 Kerry International Film Festival and has screened at festivals in Ireland and the UK, including the BAFTA- qualifying Underwire Festival. Her second short film 'Curers' was funded by NI Screen via BFI Network and will be released in 2024.
Your project takes part in our festival. What is your project about?
'Curers' is a rural family drama set in Northern Ireland. The main character, Cian, must decide whether or not to continue his father's practice of faith healing, curing members of their community through prayer.
What were your requirements for actors to take part in your film?
We aimed to cast actors who could somehow personally relate to the characters they were playing. We ended up with a group that I was really excited to work with, and who were also excited to work with each other, which was amazing. We found the actors through a range of ways. Kevin Nugent, our lead, had been spotted by our producer Mary Johnston in a previous short film. She also helped attach Sinead O'Riordan and Lucy Cluskey from existing connections. Lucy was a first-time actor. I had been a fan of Nigel O'Neill's previous work on screen and Paula McFetridge's work on stage for a long time, so I was really happy when they both agreed to join the project. I'd love to have the chance to work with all of them again.
How did you communicate with the cameraman?
Working with Conor Rotherham as DOP was brilliant, as he brought a lot of experience to the set. I sent him references from other films when we first started talking about the project, and he quickly understood what I was looking for. He achieved shots that I wasn't sure would be possible with our budget and time restraints.
What locations did you choose for your project? And why?
'Curers' is shot on my parents' farm where I grew up. I wrote the film with this farm in mind, as it's the only farm that I know intimately. Using my home as our location was mainly a budget-based decision, but it also meant we had a very authentic set ready-made that didn't require too much work.
At what festivals have you had success? Has the film already premiered? If so, where?
'Curers' premiered at the Paris Independent Film Festival in 2023 and has also been featured at the 2023 Kerry International Film Festival.
What motivated you to become a filmmaker?
I enjoy the freedom of fiction and like working across mediums—film, theater, television. For each story, I think there is a right medium, and so far, film has been the right medium for most of the stories I've told.
Which movies are your favorites? And why?
My favorite film is always the last amazing one I watched. Though, directors whose work I constantly revisit include Ursula Meier, Céline Sciamma, Michael Haneke, Lynne Ramsay, and the Irish duo Christine Molloy and Joe Lawlor.
What topics do you like to deal with in your work?
I enjoy exploring subtle power dynamics—between genders and in intergenerational, interracial, and interfaith relationships.
What genre do you like to shoot and why?
Two extremes: hyper-realistic drama and absurd comedy. Writing characters in either style can sometimes feel similar, which I find amusing. I enjoy exploring the absurdity of everyday life.
What project would you like to shoot one day, what would it be about?
I've been very inspired by the tone of two French films in recent years, 'Deerskin' by Quentin Dupieux and Sophie Letourneur's 'Enormous,' both from 2019, both quite bizarrely comic. I want to work on an Irish film that is quintessentially Irish but inspired by this quintessentially French style. I'll keep the details under wraps for now, but it's also set on a farm.
What do you do if you're not thinking about a movie? What are your hobbies?
Theatre is a big love of mine, and I also enjoy reading novels. Cooking is probably my favorite activity to get lost in that is completely unrelated or outside of the world of fiction completely.
What projects do you plan to shoot in the future?
I'm working on the script for the absurd farming film I mentioned already. I'm also developing a TV show idea that I'm excited about.