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Oscar qualifying short film, Headspace: The struggles of a young man with Down Syndrome

Director Aisling Byrne’s HEADSPACE takes us on a journey with a young man, Tony,  who has Down’s Syndrome and struggles to find paid work, causing him to be faced with a moral dilemma whilst staying at a community home. This phenomenal film has qualified to be considered for a 2024 Academy® Award after winning the OSCAR® qualifying award at Cork Film Festival.

headspace short film about down syndrome

As the tensions and frustrations of life in a community house start to close in on him, a young man with Down Syndrome realises he may have to cross a line to end a nightly disturbance.

Writer and director Aisling Byrne is an award-winning theatre director, screenwriter and filmmaker. Her narrative short debut HEADSPACE premiered at Cork International Film Festival, and won the Oscar Qualifying Grand Prix Best Short. Aisling is the founder and Artistic Director at Run of the Mill, an award-winning arts organisation at the forefront of inclusive arts practice in Ireland supporting learning disabled artists and performers. Their recent work includes a 9 venue National Tour of the award winning MAKING A MARK and the All Abilities Casting initiative in collaboration with the National Talent Academy aimed at levelling the playing field for people with intellectual disabilities in film and tv. Aisling was selected to represent Ireland at the Screen Talent Europe/ Cinesud’s Directors Village 2023. Her narrative short debut HEADSPACE has been selected for the Prestigious European Film Awards and qualified to be considered for a 2024 Oscar®. She continues to work alongside Killian Coyle on the Screen Ireland Focus Short Award recipient short film TURNAROUND, set to film in April 2024.

Producer Killian Coyle is a creative producer working alongside theatre and filmmakers between Ireland and the UK with a focus on socially engaged storytelling.  He has worked on a diverse range of projects, from film and site-specific performances to national and international tours, and artist development programs; some of the notable highlights of his career include GOOD SEX, MAKING A MARK and HEADSPACE. Killian is continuing to work alongside Aisling Byrne on the development of various TV and film projects including the recently Screen Ireland Focus Short Award recipient short film TURNAROUND, which is due to film in April 2024.

The stunning cinematography was created by award winning filmmaker and video designer Kilian Waters. This authentically cast, heartwarming short has qualified to be considered for a 2024 Academy® Award. 

Upcoming Festivals

Kerry International Film Festival (22 October)

Past Festivals 

Boyne Valley International FF – Runner Up Best Short Film 

Catalyst International Film Festival – Jury Special Mention

Flickers Rhode Island FF

New Hampshire FF

Cork International FF

Vancouver Women in Film

Manchester Film Festival

Fastnet Film Festival

International Short Film Festival of Cyprus

Louth International Film Festival

Disappear Here Film Festival ​

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