Declan Flynn, a man struggling for self-acceptance, is prayed upon by a gang of self-described ‘Queer-bashers’ in Dublin, 1982. Based on the true story seen as a major catalyst for Ireland’s gay rights movement.
Declan Flynn was a 31-year-old man from Dublin who was chased and killed by a gang of teenagers in Fairview park, 1982, on the assumption that he was gay. The teenagers were arrested and taken to trial but were given suspended sentences and walked free, with the judge on the case stating that:
‘this could never be regarded as murder... there is no element of correction required. All of you come from good homes and experienced care and affection.’
The injustice of not only the murder but the outcome of the trial, is seen as the catalyst that sparked Ireland’s biggest gay and women’s rights movement.
As a team of filmmakers, we are proposing to narrate Declan Flynn’s tragic story by combining fictional, traditionally narrative sequences with documentary and archival footage. The film will follow the last day of Declan Flynn and his personal struggle of identity and self-acceptance in 1980s Dublin before his brutal murder that very night.
As well as the systemic and blatant homophobia that occurred during and after Declan’s murder, the thing that is most deeply disturbing is the utter thoughtlessness that went into the attack itself. Declan’s killers destroyed his life in a matter of minutes, with no regard of who he might have been or who they might be affecting.
Declan was someone who was just trying to get through life despite the obstacles and setbacks he faced as a gay, introverted man. He was a brother, a son and a friend. He had a life. It’s very hard to grasp the unfairness of Declan’s death, which is why we felt the urge to make this film, with the intention of showing people who Declan was during his life, and in turn, emphasising the cruelty of his sudden death.
We want people to watch this film and know that homophobia and intolerance ruins lives. This may be a story from the 80s, but discrimination against LGBTQ+ people is still rife and dangerous. You don’t have to look too far to find recent stories with stark similarities to Declan’s murder, and we want people to understand that LGBTQ+ prejudice and discrimination is still something we need to be fighting against.
Our creative and locations team are working hard to create an accurate depiction of 1982 Dublin, using photography and archive footage from the time as well as speaking with knowledgeable advisors.
Authenticity has been incredibly important to us throughout this entire process, and will continue to be a priority moving forward. We will be casting LGBTQ+ actors in LGBTQ+ roles as we believe that lived experience of being Queer will add to the authenticity of the story. Our crew will also include LGBTQ+ individuals, and already consists of several LGBTQ+ heads of department.
When deciding our approach to Declan, we knew how important it was to show respect to his character and to who he was in life, rather than just in death. Through many rewrites, we learned that the best way to tell this story as a short film format, would be solely from Declan’s perspective, rather than by including several perspectives, which may be more appropriate for a future feature length film.
Declan’s story has only ever been told through news formats and mentioned in historical documentary style pieces of work. We are choosing to tell this story through a narrative lens in order to recreate Declan’s world in a much more visual way, which will hopefully build a more meaningful and emotional connection to the story for our audience.
For some people, it’s easy to ignore the prejudice and discrimination faced by LGBTQ+ people both throughout history and still today, and through this film, we hope to evoke real conversations, elicit change and recognize the life of Declan Flynn and the systemic injustices of his murder. Declan was someone who was trying his best to navigate life despite the realities and setbacks that stood in his way, which we believe is something that we can all relate to.
Our Total Budget for the project is £22,500. We are incredibly please to say we have already received just over 75% of total budget, this was provided generously by our partners and private/public funders.
This is where we turn to you, the audience. So far we have put in over two years of work to make this a viable project for screen, but to make this film a reality, we need more than time and effort. We ask for your donations because we really believe this story has to be told.
With this campaign our team is now asking for the final 25% - £5500 to be exact. The funds will cover archival licensing, post-production fees and insurance.
Ellie Hodgetts (Writer/co-director) is an award-winning filmmaker based in the UK. She is particularly motivated to make films centering around women and the LGBTQ+ community. Most notably, her film 'We Are Here' received distribution from Mattioli Productions, official selection at Leeds Queer film festival, and many more.
Aymeric Nicolet (Co-director) is a writer/director from Geneva, Switzerland, based in the UK. His main focus is to tell the stories of the outsiders, misfits, and persecuted of normative societies. Most notably, his film 'Reading Gaol' was a nominee for the prestigious student etudes awards at the 2019 Camerimage Film Festival and has screened at the British Museum.
Joe Tapp (Producer) is an award-winning producer based in the UK. He is most interested in films that change audience perception, particularly within minority communities.
Daljinder Johal (Producer) works across production, marketing, journalism and curation, in addition to being a writer, to create joyful and thoughtful work that shares nuanced perspectives from voices often underrepresented in the arts and film industry.
Tuli Litvak (Producer) has just produced two BFI NETWORK commissioned shorts together with a BAFTA-nominated crew ‘Bingo Queens’ & ‘Nails & Beauty’. Before returning to freelance, Tuli Litvak worked as a Producer for Core London TV where she oversaw the production of all video content which was distributed across various networks, including Sky News, Al Jazeera, and Mail Online.
Simon Crowe (Director of Photography) is a freelance Cinematographer based in Dublin, Ireland. I have been working across commercial, drama and TV projects since 2010. His most notable projects include Breathe (2015) and Drifting (2019) starring Normal Peoples Paul Mescal.
Also attached to the project is archive producer Sophia Doe as our archival consultant (The Rise of the Murdoch Dynasty 2020).