RTÉ and Screen Ireland have announced the eight Storyland projects which are in development (see below). Since its inception over a decade ago, Storyland has acted as a launch pad and support for Irish writing, directing, producing, and acting talent throughout Ireland to develop and further their careers. This is part of RTÉ’s ongoing strategy to increase its development in drama output, by investing in the Irish creative industry and showcasing the best of Ireland by filming right across the country. This strategy also supports the employment of hundreds of people across the industry, in order to bring more Irish drama series to television, and importantly to RTÉ Player where scripted series dominate viewing.
Of the eight dramas developed, three single dramas of 25 minutes duration will be commissioned for production and will be broadcast on RTÉ2 and RTÉ Player. The three winning projects will be announced next week and will roll straight into production.
The eight stories tell of a young woman meeting the man of her dreams, a futuristic motel where people go to end their lives, a dying woman intent on marrying her son off, a young father with artistic aspirations, a woman struggling to make a decision on her pregnancy, neighbours thinking about embarking on an affair, a mother and son’s tangled relationship and cocaine smugglers hoping to leave their pasts behind.
Following on from RTÉ’s recent homegrown drama hits including Kin, Smother and The Dry, which all have local storytelling at their core, the chosen eight dramas in Storyland feature stories that will resonate with Irish audiences and give a platform to an impressive standard of diverse and exceptional talent.
David Crean, Acting Head of Drama RTÉ, said: “This announcement follows on from the success of last year’s Storyland on RTÉ2 and RTÉ Player where Mustard, Balor Hall and Every Five Miles had an enormous impact. The point and purpose of Storyland is to foster new talent both in front of and behind the camera and we’re very excited help develop eight new dramas, with eight new teams. Three of these dramas will be on our screens in the Autumn and I can’t wait to share them with Irish audiences.”
Andrew Byrne, Head of Television at Fís Éireann/Screen Ireland, said: “We are delighted to continue Screen Ireland’s partnership with RTÉ on Storyland and our congratulations to the eight finalists selected this year. Storyland is an incredible opportunity to showcase original and diverse new voices, and we’re looking forward to working closely with the RTÉ team on the next stages of development – right through to seeing the final three projects on our screens later this year.”
Find out more about the eight selected projects in the Editor’s Notes below.
STORYLAND 2023 FINALISTS
Falling for the Life of Alex Whelan (Pure Divilment Pictures)
Writer Nell Hensey
Producer Claire Mooney
A young Chinese Irish woman meets the man of her dreams at a foreign language film club. She discovers the next day through social media that he has died. Piecing together who he was through his online life, she begins to wonder what could have been.
The Quiet Ocean (Tile Media)
Writer Barry Smyth
Producer Fiona Kinsella
The Receptionist of a futuristic motel where people go to end their lives falls in love with a newly arrived guest.
Paddy (Cluster Fox Films)
Writer Thomas Connors
Producer Tiernan Williams
Mrs Connors is dying, but before she does, she will get her son Paddy hitched. It may take a village to raise a child, but it requires a halting site to get an idiot married.
Far (EZ Films)
Writer Shannon Welby
Producer David Power
A young woman back home in rural Ireland struggles to decide whether to keep her pregnancy, while uncovering her trusty brother’s dark devotion to a far-right group.
The Cousin (MDV)
Writer Stevie Russell
Producer Michael Donnelly
A young father is accepted into a prestigious art college and must tell his cousin he is leaving a life of crime behind.
The Arrangements (Copper Alley Productions)
Writer Jack Hickey
Producer Lara Hickey
Neurotic Neighbours Ben and Maggie, disillusioned with their respective marriages, embark on a tentative affair – only to discover their care-free spouses might have beaten them to the punch…
Human Tupperware (Pale Rebel Productions)
Writer Joanna McClurg
Producer Tamryn Reinecke
Living together in rural Northern Ireland, a queer, socially anxious young man and his stubborn, disabled mother thirst for independence and purpose. Their tender but tangled relationship is increasingly corrupted by the technology they rely upon to escape limitations of their modest lives.
Wrapped ( (Pipedream Productions & Alfonso Films)
Writer Tracy Martin
Producer Claire McCabe
Two Irish women travel through airport security with thousands of euro worth of cocaine strapped to their bodies, hoping to leave their past behind.