Former South West College student and up and coming Fermanagh filmmaker, Paddy Duffy, is looking forward to premiering his debut film ‘Longdown’ in the near future, having created the film over the last three years through his own production company, Cat’s In The Cradle Productions.
Paddy played the leading role in the production and was joined in the cast by well-known local actors, including John Kane and Paul Doherty. He says, ‘the film is based on events associated with the Falklands War between the UK and Argentina in 1982. It contains themes associated with patriotism and the futility of war, and centres on the associated tragic events within a family where two brothers are engaged in the military action involved in gaining control of Mount Longdon summit, an Argentinian stronghold within the Falklands islands.
‘The film involves approximately 30 acting and support personnel. I am particularly proud and greatly indebted to have one of my past programme tutors from the SWC also participating in the production.’
Developing Confidence at South West College
Paddy says that his time at South West College played a large role in getting him to where he is now. He explains, ‘I completed my GCSEs at St Michael’s College and proceeded to undertake A Levels concurrently at St Michaels and the South West College. Thereafter, I altered my plans in favour of completing my final studies solely at South West College. I undertook the BTec Level 3 Performing Arts/Media Studies programme over a 2 year period and achieved 2 Distinction star awards.
‘I received brilliant support from my tutors throughout the programme and the facilities were great. I enjoyed the support and peer learning from other students, particularly in developing my creative writing skills.’
After studying at SWC, Paddy went on to study Film Studies and Production at Queen’s University, Belfast. He says, ‘the culture and overall approach at South West College enabled me to develop personal confidence and prepared me greatly for the ethos and independent study imperatives associated with University. During my time at the South West College I really developed my interest and skill in film making and it was there that I made my first few productions.’
For Paddy, balancing and integrating his studies directly with his filmmaking has always been part of his process and indeed part of the challenge facing him. However, he says the two often complimented each other. “It required careful planning on my part, but the practical learning and the action fieldwork was brilliant in complimenting my academic studies at Queens in areas such as sound visuals and special effects production.’
Looking to the Future
The result of this process is a film Paddy can take great pride in, and although the nature of this year has delayed the films release, he says it has remained a fantastic experience, and one that he is still enjoying.
‘It’s been a bit of a roller coaster in some ways, as I had hoped to launch the film at the beginning of 2020. With the arrival of the COVID pandemic I had to change my plans on a number of occasions during the year. I was delighted to negotiate arrangements to have the film premier in my local cinema in Enniskillen, but alas, we’ve had to defer the launch again. I remain confident of being able to launch my film shortly which I hope will be a tribute and reflection of the brilliant inputs of all involved.
‘I’m currently working on the script for my next film which I am very excited to announce. It is a very different genre and theme to ‘LONGDON’ which will be very exciting to dive into. In the future I hope that I can inspire other young producers and directors, which is so important. As stated above I entirely enjoyed and benefited from my studies at the South West College.
‘When I drive past the Enniskillen campus I recall and remember with great pride and affection my time there. If anyone is interested in this field of work I highly suggest they pursue their studies here at the college.’