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January 28, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

testimonyReckoner Productions (Ireland), Foxrock Productions (UK), in association with Bank House Productions are proud to announce a joint production of ‘Testimony’, a debut short film from Writer/Director Kamila Dydyna.
“This story has been close to my heart for years. It always struck me that this actually happened, that there was no one there who said: “Whoa, hold on a sec, this isn’t right. You can’t ask a child to testify in a mammy vs. daddy case, while literally looking into their eyes.”
I wanted to show what it’s like to be growing up in a world where neither your family, nor the state is able to protect you (as even the female judge’s severe demeanour is an honest depiction of the actual judge who presided that case.)
Contrary to appearances, there are no bad guys or good guys in the story either. The family members are entangled in a complex web, playing roles enforced by the presence of alcoholism and resulting physical and emotional violence as this family struggles to survive.
Today, no court would allow an underage child to testify in the physical presence of the defendant, not to mention if the defendant was the parent. However, kids still have to deal with the effects of addictions and violence in their families. I wanted to show them they’re not alone.
I hope my film will inspire those parents who struggle with their own addictions or violence to seek help, by showing them a little-known way in which their kids get damaged. After all, even if their kids don’t end up in a courtroom, they’ll still create court hearings like that in their imagination, playing them out in the only way a child can – by finding ways to assign blame to themselves, and never to their parents.
Lastly, I’d like the film to serve as an educational resource to institutions and organisations who help adults and children suffering from the results of violence and/ or addiction.” (Kamila Dydyna, Writer/ Director)
‘Testimony’ is a courtroom-based drama, inspired by true events which took place in Poland in 1991. The story has been adapted for the Irish audience from the same time as European courts acted similarly. It revolves around 9-year-old Catherine O’Neill, played by Olivia Daly (‘Why Guy’ RTE Jnr and ‘Clue Crew’ RTE Jnr). Catherine is called into court to testify against her father Edward O’Neill (Neil Fleming, ‘Game Of Thrones’ HBO, ‘Fair City’ RTE) in a court case her mother Mary O’Neill (Clodagh Downing, ‘Patsy Dick’ Cannes Film Festival 2013, ‘Darkness At The Edge Of Town’ Sundance Film Festival 2015) brings to the court on charges of domestic abuse. We witness Catherine being put under unthinkable pressure during questioning by the Judge (Hilary Cotter, ‘The Tudors’ and ‘Ros na Run’).

Olivia Daly as Catherine O’Neill in a still from Testimony promo.

‘This is a very special topic. My previous body of work which I have Written, Directed & Produced has all been on topics of a sensitive nature, and there is none more sensitive than domestic abuse. The devastating effects it has on young children can lead to more apparent mental health issues later on in adolescents. Ireland has a very high suicide rate in Europe with figures showing that young children have taken their own lives. It is more relevantly higher in young adults, and this is due to factors of not being able to cope with situations, normally exterior factors, but also around close family issues. So when I was asked to come onboard this production I knew it was a special topic that needed to be investigated and given a voice’ (Eamonn Tutty; Reckoner Productions)
While a budget for the production has been made, there are still funding options available –
A promo for the film, featuring Olivia Daly, Clodagh Downing, and Neill Fleming, can be found here –
Production teams behind this are Eamonn Tutty (Reckoner Productions; ‘Anna’, ‘Mirror Image’), Cara Bamford (Foxrock Productions; ‘Feather-Light and Paper-Thin’, ‘Kaleidoscope’, ‘Safe Room’), in association with Matthew Toman (Bankhouse Productions; ‘Don’t you recognise me?’, ‘The Ecstasy of Isabel Mann’). The Executive Producer is David Martin Murphy, who brings a wealth of experience from projects for Live Nation, and who will be looking after global and local development.
Also included in the cast is actor Barrington Cullen as COURT CLERK (‘Game Of Thrones’ HBO, TV Drama ‘The Inquiry’, Anu Productions), Gillian Daly as GEMMA O’NEILL (‘ICE’, The Den RTE2, ‘Rumour Room’ RTE2), Ellen Corcoran as the STENOGRAPHER (‘Seduction of Chaos’ Theatre production), and Stephanie Behan (‘Once In A While The Odd Thing Happens’) as NEIGHBOUR. Crew are: Alan Rogers as Cinematographer, Alan Joseph Tully as Editor, Sound Recordist, Music and Sound Design, Andrei Ghenoside as 1st A.C./ Focus Puller, Steven Tully as Storyboard Artist and Script Editor, and Dubhaltach O’Maoilriada as Stills Photographer.
Official film website:
FB Page:
Twitter: @testimonyfilm

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