Novena is a short film about a rare event, which was made with generous assistance from people who felt the moment should documented. However, it has received no funding, and we need you to help us finish it. We've made numerous LGBT films and projects over the years, but in order to get this one out there to an audience, we need your support.
Novena captures a groundbreaking event in Ireland and is the only record of an unusual speech made during a Novena mass. St. Joseph's Redemptorist church in Dundalk host a Novena every year, and it is the biggest festival of faith in Ireland. During this particular Novena, the director of the event Fr. Michael Cusack, decided to make the theme “The courage to be yourself” inspired by a mother in his church, whose gay son felt rejected by the Catholic community. Fr. Cusack reached out to members of the LGBT community, Kay Ferriter and Stephen Vaughan, inviting them to address the congregation about their experiences of being gay and lesbian in Ireland and feeling excluded by Catholic doctrine. Knowing his community to be a welcoming one, he hoped that the outcome would be positive. Novena documents the powerful speech that was made that day and the aspirations of one priest for a more inclusive church.
When we heard about this event, we felt that it had to be documented despite not having funding or production company behind us. Sundance award winner Kate Mc Cullough and Eleanor Bowman filmed it for us, and captured the event beautifully. Our talented editor Pat Hodgins cut a version of the film and we showed it as a work in progress, both times winning an award - Best Short Documentary at Kerry Film Festival in 2013 and Spirit of the Festival (Irish shorts, joint winner) at GAZE 2013.
We're so close to completing this film and have offers to screen it widely in 2014, but we cannot screen it again without the funding to pay for essential post production and music clearances.
Our previous films have won numerous national and international awards. Anna filmed and produced the award winning RTE series Growing up Gay with director Aoife Kelleher, and together they co-wrote and directed Stand Up, the anti homophobic bullying ad for BeLonG To which was viewed by 1.4 million on YouTube, shared on Upworthy and tweeted about by Stephen Fry! As director, Anna Rodgers went on to make the short film Hold on Tight about Gay and Lesbian public displays of affection which was funded by GAZE/ Absolut, screened at over 50 festivals worldwide, was highly commended at Iris Prize, won a Radharc award and second prize at the ICCL Human Rights Film Awards 2012.
We feel it's so important that this film, Novena, is seen to the same extent and to ensure the efforts that Stephen, Kay, and Fr. Cusack made that day aren't lost. Thank you so much for your support. Director/ Producer Anna Rodgers & Producer/ Editor Hugh Rodgers.