Lenny Abrahamson, award-winning Film Director

28 Jan 2019 Abrahamson Creative Writing Workshop
NEWS / 4 February 2019

Stratford students, staff and some parents were thrilled to listen to an interview-style discussion with award-winning Film Director, Lenny Abrahamson on Monday, 25th January. Lenny spoke about the creative challenges of directing his films, including 'Room', 'Garage', 'Adam & Paul' and his latest film 'The Little Stranger'. 

Last Monday, the school was lucky to receive a visit from Lenny Abrahamson, the Oscar-nominated Irish director of films such as 'Room', 'Frank' and 'What Richard Did'. Lenny gave a talk during which he offered many fascinating insights into the film-making process, and afterwards, he stayed for a workshop with students who were interested in film.

We all very much enjoyed this event, and would like to thank Ms. Reynolds and Ms. Talbot for organising it. Rory Glynn (5th Year)

Ms Reynolds gave the following speech by way of introducing Lenny Abrahamson to students:

"Good morning everyone, on behalf of Stratford College, I am delighted to welcome our most Honoured Guest, Ireland's greatest Director, Lenny Abrahamson to our school today. 

Lenny a native of Dublin, has a unique vision of Irish society. This and his genre defining style caught our attention in his debut film, 'Adam and Paul' (2004), a black comedy about a pair of heroin addicts  as they make their way around Dublin city in a search for a hit. Its follow up, 'Garage' (2007) follows Pat Shortt as he plays a lonely and misunderstood petrol attendant, shot amongst stunning panoramic  views of rural Ireland, both films won the IFTA award for best film. 

He went on to win his third IFTA with 'What Richard Did' (2012) brushing against a notorious Irish case, cast Jack Reynor, as a south Dublin rugby player involved with a mysterious death. 

'Frank' (2014) Confirming his unclassifiable style, Abrahamson told the unusual tale of an eccentric musician and his band of varied followers. Starring Michael Fassbender and Domhnall Glesson. 

In 2015, Abrahamson was nominated for his first Oscar for Best Picture for his breathtaking film, 'Room'. An adaptation of Emma Donoghue's novel concerning a boy imprisoned by a maniac in a shed with his brave mother. Brie Larson won the Oscar for best actress 

His most recent film, released in September 2018, 'The Little Stranger', starring Domnhnall Gleeson, Ruth Wilson, Charlotte Rampling. This is a fabulous spine-tingling drama, it's menacing force that tugs at each character's inner weakness stills unnerves me, weeks after having watched it.  

Ever since we learned of your visit to the school, Ms Talbot and I have been delighting in exploring your films with our students. We were fascinated by how easily your moved from gritty, over exposed film stock to  high gloss period film, each choice resisting being branded to one specific genre of film making. Yet we did notice a tendency to focus on the outsider the forgotten, the invisible, the voiceless.  

Your work reminds me of one of my favourite Leaving Certificate poets, Derek Mahon's, his poem, 'A Disused Shed in Co. Wexford' 

They are begging us, you see, in their wordless way, 
To do something, to speak on their behalf 
Or at least not to close the door again. 
Lost people of Treblinka and Pompeii! 
'Save us, save us,' they seem to say 
 

Mahon's insistence to his reader to remember past atrocities, such as the Holocaust, is keenly felt on this the 74th anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz. 

While Mahon's tone is didactic and more direct on his insistence for us to remember the forgotten, the weak and the marginalised, Lenny's tone is softer yet arguably more effective due to it's subtlety.   

His freshly framed shots draw our gaze towards the  homeless in 'Adam and Paul', he directs us to look again at a man with learning difficulties in 'Garage' and exposes us to all his loneliness and pain, and he captured and celebrated the imaginative capacity of love in unimaginably horrific circumstances in 'Room'.  

A Holocaust survivor, Reva Kibort stated that the Holocaust took away everybody's dignity. That whenever you see injustices at all, you have to speak up.  

Lenny, I think this is what you are using film for, to speak up for injustice, for the voiceless in our society. To make us look again and by doing so, you give the voiceless back their dignity by giving them a place at the centre of society.  

Let us know remind ourselves of Lenny's work, by watching a trailer of his Oscar nominated film, 'Room', starring Brie Larson."

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