Sláinte is a blackly comedic Irish drama that grapples with death: not just a death in the family, but a death of one’s connection to their home and culture.
The film follows Darren, a young Irish man who has emigrated to England, returning to Ireland for his deceased fathers funeral. Travelling with his English girlfriend Rachel, Darren must navigate family dynamics as his grandfather Daithi, his aunt Nora, Rachel and himself all stay in his father’s house with the body in an Irish tradition called the ‘wake’. They will stay awake the entire night, guiding his father through the night, while Darren is forced to reckon with his hatred for the town and his failing relationships with his family, whom he has cast aside in favour of a new life abroad.
Fundamentally, it's a film about relationships - our lead Darren's relationship with his girlfriend Rachel, his relationship with his grandfather Daithi and aunt Nora he left behind in Ireland; his relationship with the dwindling traditions of his homeland and of course his relationship with his now dead father, Seán.
Sláinte is a story rooted in the real experiences of our Writer/Director James Corbett, and his experience growing up in Ireland surrounded by the customs of the country that are portrayed in Sláinte. With the film, James and the crew aim to explore how the current generation of Ireland grapples with the traditions of the country's older generations. This is the unique perspective that the film can offer - an honest and real depiction of how death and loss are integral to the culture. However, while the film is filtered through this lens, it is also commenting on and depicting a more universal experience; as everyone of any background can sympathise with the effect that death and traditional values have on a family during times of grief.
The main goal of Sláinte's vision is to contrast the dying traditions of a bygone era of Ireland against the Ireland of today. Stylistically the use of production design will be integral in achieving this. A modern home in the rural fields of Ireland will give way to a traditional and old-style interior, illustrating the films warring mindsets. Charlie Kaufman’s ‘I’m Thinking of Ending Things’ serves as inspiration for this idea. It utilises production design marvellously, with the film featuring a house that seems to defy time period, similarly old and new, all at the same time.
It’s the crews intention that as an audience, we can experience Darren’s discomfort around these two sides of Ireland through the claustrophobic cinematography, akin to that of Emma Seligman's 'Shiva Baby' and Jennifer Kent's 'The Nightingale'. Like these films, Sláinte aims to balance the horror of Darren's homecoming with the overt black humour and dry wit of the story. Laughing in the face of death after all, feels appropriate for a culture with a history soaked in the matter.
BOARD OF INFLUENCES
PRODUCTION DESIGN MOOD BOARD
COSTUME DESIGNS & MOOD BOARDS
Making Sláinte a reality is something we can’t do without you; our film will be financed entirely from donations and contributions, and we need your help! The money raised will be used to make sure that each department has the means to tell this story in the best way possible.
Sláinte is a highly specific story, reliant on authenticity and conviction in its execution. Your donations will assist the film crew in each and every department, from cast, to camera, to production design - every contribution ensures that the film can authentically replicate the minute details that make this story Irish.
We care about telling this story in the best way we can, and any donation big or small will help us to do so! We understand that not everyone is in a position where they can put money towards our project; any Like, Comment or Share on social media is also a huge help in bringing this story to life -- support in any form is massively appreciated, thank you!
James is an Irish filmmaker who has been obsessed with film ever since a young age. He specifically specialises in writing, directing and editing and this is the second film he’s directed at Arts University Bournemouth. James wishes to use his passion for film to tell personal stories and voice his feelings about his home country Ireland, with Sláinte being a culmination of his time growing up there. James believes it’s important to see stories like Sláinte brought to the screen, as they are ways to capture a country’s traditions as they are dying out, and to keep them alive through art and storytelling. He can’t wait to work hard with this wonderful crew to bring his vision to life.
“The idea for Sláinte arose when I became interested in exploring the effect death can have on a family and on an individual. Death has been a constant in my life, from when my mother died seven years ago and through the numerous other family deaths we’ve endured since then. I wrote Sláinte hoping to frame these feelings of grief and loss of family relationships through a uniquely Irish vision, using the script to explore my heritage, my cultural traditions and to see these examined for a wider audience. With Sláinte, I’m striving to create a story which shows how special the Irish relationship with death is but is also a universal story for anyone who has ever suffered a loss in their family.”
Harry is a 20-year-old filmmaker from the Southeast of England, currently specialising in Producing at AUB. He has had a passion for film from an early age and throughout his time at AUB has brought an array of short films to the screen. Harry is drawn to producing due to the combination of creative problem solving and technical troubleshooting that informs and improves his skill set as a filmmaker at large. In his work he often explores themes of family, and toxic masculinity in young men, both of which are present in Sláinte - this is one of the main things that initially drew Harry to the project.
“When James first approached me with Sláinte it was just an idea in his head, an idea that I was immediately engrossed by. Since then, I have been attached to the project as a producer, helping James in any way I can; through his writing process, and now into production itself. During this project I'll be striving to cultivate a working environment that allows the cast and crew to feel creatively vulnerable, so that we're able to tell this brilliant and highly personal story in the most faithful way possible!”
A writer and director currently specialising in Producing, Flynn has brought several films to life in his two years at AUB, inside and outside of the course. These projects have given him a firm basis in how to pull together short projects on a minimal budget. His passion lies in bringing stories to the screen, and his drive to pursue filmmaking isn't going away. It's just getting started.
"I was immediately drawn to Sláinte by the tense, witty dialogue at the forefront of James' script. For such a contained story, it packed a huge punch. As 1st Assistant Director, it's my job to ensure that everything we need to get shot is shot, and it's going to be a challenge to cultivate a concentrated, focussed atmosphere on set to allow the performances at the centre of the film to flourish."
Kai is the production designer for Sláinte. Having taken a more unconventional approach when deciding to study film, but possessing an interest in the visual arts from a young age, it made sense that her path would eventually lead to specialising in production design. Bringing a film’s concept to life and making it a reality through set building and decorating is her passion. The art of storytelling, particularly through production design, is the driving force of her creativity and has helped her design and assist on many successful film sets during her time at AUB. Kai is passionate with the smaller details, and aims to create immersive worlds within her work.
"After James pitched the film to me over the Summer, and having previously designed his last film, I knew that working on Sláinte would be a challenging but enjoyable experience. The themes of traditions in life and death within the complex family dynamic was one that was very appealing to me and I hope to portray this visually within the set designs. My previous creative experience and knowledge pairs perfectly with the handmade modern Irish aesthetic of the film, and I’m looking forward to helping visually intertwine this family story on the big screen. And I really just wanted the opportunity to build my own coffin."
Matt is the Director of Photography for Sláinte, having worked on many student films within the camera and lighting department during his time at Arts University Bournemouth and occasionally within the industry itself he's extremely excited to help bring James' vision for the film to life. He was drawn to the script's dark depiction of family and self-destruction.
"Although the script revolves around a very specific Irish tradition, I think it’s themes are incredibly universal. I'm super excited to collaborate with this extremely talented crew, I loved James' bold and intricate script as soon as I read it, I’m especially looking forward to collaborating closely with Kai (production designer) and Emily (gaffer) to achieve the striking visual world that James has created in the script."
Emily will be leading our lighting department as the Gaffer. Emily is a Malaysian born filmmaker whose work draws from the dynamics in interpersonal and cultural identity. A writer and director currently specialising in cinematography, Emily is confident in her passion and hopes her work contributes to a creative community that champions the voices of the Minoritised.
"As a filmmaker from a small country, I've always felt that cultural specificity has been an important aspect in any film that explores personal stories. Culture and history permeates every aspect of our lives without us noticing and I've always found it beautiful when film is able to marry the different elements into a rich imagery of different communities and individuals in the way that Sláinte does, it is this element of the project that made me naturally gravitate towards it."
Nick is the Camera Operator for Sláinte. With a street photography background, Nick has been developing his camera operating skills, as well as finding ways of portraying people, events while revealing the true atmosphere of a moment with the use of a camera.
“I'm an eye that's been drawn to the idea of Sláinte, to its' potential. This is the situation in which a strong film could be made where I, the machine, manoeuvring in the chaotic movements, recording one movement after another in the most complex combinations can help it get made.”
Marc is the films editor and colour grader; he first discovered his love of film at the age of 11 by accidentally attending a filmmaking club at school. Since then, he continued to write and direct award winning films until enrolling at AUB in 2019, where he discovered a passion for editing. He continues to make films in his own time and has worked with James on numerous projects, not only as an editor but as writing partners and filmmaking collaborators. Marc has an affinity for comedy and character drama, which will inform his work on Sláinte.
“Knowing James as a creator, I had high expectations for Sláinte, but it was during our first script development sessions when I knew we were working on something special. I love the raw emotion that is all over the story, carried by strong characters who feel so real, and balanced with perfect, dry wit. It really feels to me like a personal story from a unique perspective that totally envelops you into this world and family, with no risk of alienation. I’m so excited to carry on working on the film as editor, and help bring this story and these characters to life.”
Joe is a filmmaker and sound designer from the outskirts of London. Joe first got the film bug when filming short films with friends as a kid. Joe’s currently working on the sound specialism at AUB and saw Sláinte as a perfect film to end his final year of university on. He’s put a lot of effort over the years into researching renowned sound designers and has mixed award-winning student films. Joe’s best tool is knowing when the sound designer is doing too much, so his only wish is that he can immerse you in the world of Sláinte.
“From early conversations with James about the way sound was going to be used in his short, he told me how much he wants sound to provide a lot of the tension and anxiety in the film. I guess I found that really nice that he thinks with his ears as well as with his eyes. Obviously, this film also has a rich underbelly of Irish traditions which was quite alien to me at the time, so I wanted to find out more about these laments, these songs that used to be sang at funerals.”
Lauren is the costume designer for Sláinte. She has a strong interest in both film and theatre design, with experience designing and running wardrobe for both. Years of sewing Halloween costumes with her mum combined with her love of film made her pursue a career in costume and since joining AUB she has worked on multiple external plays and films.
“I loved this film from the first time I heard James talk about it. Funerals and mourning have had a strong link with clothes, dating all the way back to the Middle Ages. I’m really excited to bring some of that history into the costumes, while also letting the characters’ personalities shine through in the styling.”
Milena is in her final year of Makeup for Media and Performance at AUB. She is an aspiring prosthetics sculptor, inspired by the work and creatures of Guillermo Del Toro's films. As well as current events and alternative fashion/culture. To date, she has created and designed a number of prosthetic character creations and was awarded with first place at Devon Body Art Competition in 2017. More recently she had the opportunity to work as the cast makeup artist for Luke Pritchard's Duo, album play back. In the future she hopes to work behind the scenes as a makeup designer and sculptor for characters/creatures in film and TV.
"I pitched to work on this film because I am interested to create makeup looks that are intended not to be noticeable, makeup that looks like natural skin, flushed cheeks, tears and lack of sleep. I want my designs for this film to enhance the actor’s characterisation, but not to distract from their brilliant work."
From the entire team behind Sláinte, thank you! Any like, share or donation, big or small, is such a huge help to making this story a reality. If you have contributed to this project, it is yours as much as ours, thank you for your time and generosity!