Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Faces in the Medina - Imelda O'Reilly.

From time to time The View from Fez throws the spotlight on new faces in the Fez Medina. This week we focus on Imelda O'Reilly, a woman who is making a valuable contribution to intellectual and cultural life in Fez.

Imelda O’ Reilly is a native of Kildare Ireland. She is a poet, playwright and filmmaker. Her published books include; I Wake In Half Dream, (Lapwing Press in 2004) Shenanigans, (Sceptre in the UK in 1999). She also has a compilation of poetry to music entitled In People’s Heads with Grammy Nominee Joel Diamond.

Imelda O'Reilly

Imelda has written and directed numerous plays. Her second, Faz In Ate was selected as part of the Mabou Mines Artist in Residence Program in 2000. It was then co-produced by Deadalus Theatre Company in New York. Imelda’s Emilita and the Faery Glen, first broadcast at Symphony Space on Broadway at WNYC was commissioned and co-produced by Deadalus Theatre Co., (NY, 2001). Most recently, Imelda was commissioned as a writer on Mabou Mines upcoming production of Song For New York, directed by Ruth Maleczech. It was performed outdoors on a barge in all five boroughs of New York in the summer of 2007.

She has written and directed six short films. These include The Seamonster and the Milk Thistle that appeared in numerous Film Festivals, and won an award for Best Cinematography. Beneath the Boy’s Cry was selected to participate in Moonstone International for 2007. Beneath the Boy’s Cry is currently short-listed for the Sundance Screenwriters and Directors Lab for 2009.

Individual artists grants include New York Foundation for the Arts, The Irish Arts Council, The Virginia Wellington Cabot Foundation and Unity Theatre Co. In addition, Imelda was selected for the New York Women in Film Fellowship for the most promising female director attending Columbia University where she recently graduated with an M.F.A. in film.

Most recently, Imelda was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to shoot a narrative film in Morocco in 2008. Her short film Bricks, Beds and Sheep’s Heads was nominated as a regional finalist for the student academy awards finals in 2008.

Still shots from Bricks, Beds & Sheep’s Heads

The View from Fez recently had the pleasure of watching Bricks, Beds & Sheep’s Heads and found it a wonderful experience.

Bricks, Beds & Sheep’s Heads is an odyssey of a Moroccan immigrant named Murad looking back at his life on Aid El Kbir. Aid El Kbir is a celebratory Islamic holiday that occurs two months after Ramadan. Upon reflection of his fragmented past, moments are revealed as memory collides with attachment, longing and loss. On the dawn of Aid El Kbir, Murad discovers the boundaries of life and death.

This is a truly touching story that skilfully juxtaposes images of an Aid sheep sacrifice with a gentle and poetic narrative. The stark and haunting images, beautifully filmed, take us inside Murad's mind and heart both as an adult and a child to the extent where we feel his journey is our journey. O'Reilly's sensitive and truthful portrayal of the Medina is a credit to her and her crew. This film is a rare treat indeed and one whose story that is rich and rewarding enough to warrant a full length film treatment.

Imelda is a welcome addition to our wonderfully diverse cultural landscape.

Bricks, Beds and Sheep’s Heads
Written and Directed By Imelda O’Reilly
Cinematography – Joe Foley
Original Score Composed By – Joel Diamond
Edited By – Samy El Mekkaoui
Starring - Rabbi Zanine, Mouhcine Fadli, Soujiane Olaanaya, Naima Fadli.



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