There's Something About The Virgin Mary: Tyrone-shot short shakes up film fest scene

Conor Grimes in There's Something About The Virgin Mary, which won the Best Short Film award at the Birmingham Film Festival last month

A SHORT film made in Belfast and Co Tyrone has won a major prize at the Birmingham Film Festival.

Co Tyrone writer/director Kevin McSorley's There's Something About The Virgin Mary was awarded the Best Short Film Award at the festival last month.

The NI Screen-funded film centres on publican Johnny Davis (Conor Grimes) as he attempts to become a Flair Bartending Cocktail King in an attempt to win customers back to his struggling village bar.

"I am truly honoured that my film has won the Best Short Film award at the Birmingham Film Festival," said McSorley, who also produced the short. "Winning such a prestigious award is a fitting reward for my cast and crew, who worked tirelessly on long day shoots in Donaghmore to make the film become a reality.

"I also want to thank Northern Ireland Screen for funding the film and for their steadfast support."

There's Something About The Virgin Mary has screened at 14 film festivals in 2017 to date, including The Kansas International Film Festival, The Crystal Palace International Film Festival London, The Waterford Film Festival, The Carlow International Film Festival, The Chicago Irish Film Festival, The St Patrick's Film Festival London, The Baton Rouge Irish Film Festival, The San Antonio Film Festival Texas, The European Short Film Festival Berlin, The San Francisco Irish Film Festival, The Wexford Film Festival and The Disappear Here Film Festival in Ballyliffin.

"There's Something About The Virgin Mary was made to reflect what is happening in Irish villages today – small bars are struggling to survive," explains McSorley of the inspiration behind the film, which won the Audience Award at The Shortz! Film Festival in California in July.

"Johnny Davis is a down-on-his-luck Co Tyrone village bar owner fighting to save his livelihood. The film's opening scene depicts Johnny's desperate situation. It is 'happy hour' and he has only one customer. Something has to change and it needs to change fast.

"So, Johnny turns his bar into a cocktail bar, to attract customers through its doors. But, change of fortune doesn't come easy, especially with the opposition of the parish priest (Niall Cusack) breathing down his neck."

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