THE BETRAYAL, a new female-driven short film from writer / director Kamila Dydyna, looks set to go places that not many Irish films have gone before. The LGBT drama / thriller from the pen of Polish-born Dydyna touches on adult themes such as sexual identity, domestic violence, and revenge porn within the story of a marriage break-up. The lead character Nel’s questioning of her romantic feelings for her best friend Alice seem timely as Ireland slowly unshackles itself from its own prescribed gender norms.
The main cast features Mark McAuley (Vikings, Saol) and Miriam Devitt (Running Commentary, Food Fight). Kamila Dydyna, a graduate of the Gaiety School of Acting, whose award-winning directorial debut Testimony last year showed a child’s eye view of an emotional court case, takes on the challenging lead role of Nel in her new film. She doesn’t shy from facing some of the darker truths of society on screen. A male partner’s jealous and violent reactions in an unravelling relationship are the catalyst of The Betrayal’s plotline in which a new romantic possibility leads to danger.
Kamila says about the domestic violence aspect of the film, “I grew up watching my parents’ violent relationship and still know way too many people affected by it. Hearing of homophobic attacks on my own friends – from their religious leaders down to their parents – breaks my heart but also fuels my passion for storytelling. Writing / directing and acting in stories featuring gender-based violence is my way of trying to understand it, and ultimately inspire people to prevent it.
“In The Betrayal, Nel’s first reaction to an act of aggression from her husband is of course shock, but it’s also mixed with paralysing guilt and shame. There’s still such shame involved in telling anyone. It bothers me so much that it’s the victims that are ashamed, not the perps. I wanted to explore all of that and a lot more in the film. Even though in the world of The Betrayal nothing’s black and white, excusing such violent behaviour, especially as a society with collective responsibility for how men are allowed act towards women, allows gender violence be the norm.”
Far from your average short film, Kamila Dydyna and production company Driftwood Doll Films (Eilís Abbott and Michael O’Dwyer) have assembled a mostly female team to bring the thirty-page script to its full potential. Each member of the crew come with their own experiences of being a woman in an imbalanced industry where it’s common to be one out of ten on film sets and in production meetings, and are quite amused to have it the other way round for once.
The film will be co-directed by Natasha Waugh from Fight Back Films, with cinematography by Gosia Zur (Monged), costume design by Gwen Jeffares-Hourie, and will be shot in late January/ early February. The Betrayal will also feature title track from Conor Walsh’s debut EP “The Front,” named one of the best Irish songs of 2015 by Nialler9.
A crowdfunding campaign is ongoing for The Betrayal. Click here to find out more.