Outside the county council offices in Mullingar when the trio were officially receiving the bursary.

Mayo film company win bursary

MAYO film production company Western Front Studios and director Craig Moore have been announced as recipients of the inaugural Westmeath Film Award.

Filmmakers Brian and Emer Durcan, natives of Westport, and Westmeath native Craig Moore have been awarded a grant of €10,000 for the production of an original 10-12 minute short film to be shot in Westmeath in early 2023.

The winning submission was also written by Moore and is entitled Barry Versus the Binman. It will be produced by Western Front Studios and shot in Mullingar in the coming months.

The film centres around a down on his luck thirty-something, who becomes fixated on a feud with his bin collectors when they begin leaving his wheelie-bin in other people's driveways.

Brian Durcan will be undertaking the cinematography for Barry Versus the Binman and Emer Durcan will be producer.

They said: “Western Front Studios are honoured to be chosen to produce the first ever Westmeath Film Bursary short film. Craig's talent is really worth supporting and we are looking forward to working with him and the local Mullingar community.”

The award comes at a time of significant development for filmmaking in Westmeath.

Speaking of the announcement, Westmeath arts officer Miriam Mulrennan said: “Craig’s highly original comedy script made him a standout applicant, and a deserving recipient of the grant. This is an opportune moment for filmmaking in the county, and we are hopeful that this award will empower local filmmakers to advance in their craft and career.”

Said Craig Moore: “I'm honoured to be directing the first project to be selected for the Westmeath Film Award. The county has incredible untapped potential for filmmakers and I, along with my incredible production team from Western Front Studios and my cast and crew, are massively excited to shoot Barry Versus The Binman in 2023.

“My hope is that this leads to further great things not just for us, but for the scheme itself; paving the way for many other filmmakers to gain access to real support for their ideas and make them a reality.”

Brian and Emer Durcan of Western Front Studios at the screening of their award-winning short film Bruise in Westport Town Hall Theatre in August 2022. Photo: Ugnius Brazdiunas

Western Front Studios was set up by Brian and Emer Durcan and was the winner of a LEADER South West Mayo grant in 2020.

They launched the company with a very ambitious project called Bruise, a cinematic short film which dealt with domestic abuse using modern dance as a tool to highlight this sensitive subject. Western Front teamed up with Safe Ireland and Rape Crisis Network Ireland to bring this film to the public.

This film is currently on the festival circuit and has won Best Directors Award at Louth International Film Festival 2022. It has received the nomination for best cinematographer at Louth International Film Festival and Richard Harris Film Festival in 2022.