By Barry Lord @bazneto
A new Irish feature film which covers the fictional story of a Dublin prostitute – was created after a filmmaker volunteered in a homeless shelter.
Nola and the Clones is directed by Irish filmmaker Graham Jones – who feels some of the most interesting stories are being ignored.
“Volunteering in a good homeless shelter years ago, I learnt that sometimes individuals who can offer the greatest insight into our society receive the least attention from it,” Jones said.
“The shelter was men-only, though and got me wondering what female homelessness might be like – so over the years I sought to find out.
Of course, it’s worse for women because there’s a far greater sexual threat and risk of falling into prostitution, either while homeless or to stave off homelessness.
The movie is available for viewing online and it has been attracting some extremely positive word of mouth in recent weeks.
Jones’ previous work includes 1997’s How to Cheat in the Leaving Certificate and 2005’s Fudge 44. These movies mixed entertainment with a level of scathing social and political commentary and this latest offering is no different.
Nola – played by young Irish actress Caoimhe Cassidy – is a Dublin prostitute who encounters a series of men that bear a striking resemblance to each another.
The male clones are portrayed with remarkable versatility by Irish actor Joseph Lydon – and now winning some respectable reviews, the buzz is growing for this independent film.
The production was made with limited resources but the key issues at its core, prostitution and homelessness, are powerful.
Jones said: “To be honest, I wasn’t even sure if I could make this movie until Caoimhe Cassidy did a reading. But I was very reluctant to give up searching for the right actress because women have always been central to my movies, both in front of and behind the camera and it felt important to honour that.
“Nola is a strong female character, negotiating her way through a series of very difficult men and we are trying to give her a voice.”
For Caoimhe Cassidy, leading a film was a completely new experience but for her, a rewarding one.
“I had never worked in this way before, which was exciting,” said Caoimhe.
As we delved into the mind and world of Nola, I felt safe and at ease, even though some of her darker moments were demanding at times. There was a lot of trust there.
Caoimhe’s co-star Joseph Lydon said: “It’s a story that hasn’t been told and because of the times I think it’s important.
“It was the most challenging and rewarding experience I’ve had. I played several different characters with several different personalities and body types – it was awesome.”
Nola and the Clones, like all of Jones’s work, is available to watch in full for free on YouTube.