NEWTOWNBUTLER native Kevin Connolly is hoping that his first time directing a film will lead to more opportunities to showcase his talent.

The 32-year-old has recently finished directing ‘Make your soul grow’, a short film in New York based around a letter written by American author Kurt Vonnegut to high school students just before he passed away.

Kevin, who has been living in New York for the past eight years, thoroughly enjoyed his first taste of directing.

“It was amazing – it was crazy, stressful, and probably one of the most fulfilling experiences I’ve ever had,” Kevin told The Impartial Reporter.

“I probably aged 10 years throughout filming, but then the editing process is just as mental, and that’s another thing that is going to be very stressful to do.

“As soon as you can say ‘Action’, it’s a bit silly when you are from Fermanagh and think ‘I’m doing this now’, but that was very exciting and I kind of came into it a bit more.

“There were a lot of ups and downs. You have to have thick skin, for sure, but also need to know the script line for line, back to front.”

The laid-back Fermanagh attitude may have been a help during shooting for Kevin as he explained there were a couple of bloopers along the way that forced him to shout ‘Cut’.

“It’s set in 2006, and shot around the streets of Manhattan. The amount of shots we lost by filming someone in the background with a big white Covid mask, or shots of people in the background and everyone is on their mobile phone!”

Kevin is a big fan of Vonnegut’s writing and along with seeing a reading of the letter by Sir Ian McKellen, he had all the inspiration he needed to put this film together.

“I thought with the content I could tell the story but could do something original with it, because it is all about sort of the different forms of art and life and doing it for art’s sake.

“I had fun creating the 11 aspects of art that [Vonnegut] said [existed] and depicting that, and then all of them being destroyed.”

With Kurt Vonnegut’s daughter getting in touch to commend him on his work, it is clear that Kevin is going in the right direction and shows that the hard work is paying off.

He is thankful to a host of people who have given him the help to get his foot in the door of the film industry in New York, especially Audrey Rosenberg, and Executive Producer Martina Castenada, alongside his film friends who helped out throughout the shoot.

“Audrey Rosenberg – she is the owner of a company called Invisible Pictures; she’s been Peabody-, Emmy- and Oscar-award nominated, and she started to get me to read scripts for her. That was a great sort of getting my foot in the door.”

With editing now taking priority, Kevin is hoping ‘Make your soul grow’ will be ready around June/July, and if all goes well, he will take it to film festivals around America as well as hopefully bringing it to Irish shores.

With the project still to be completed, Kevin is hoping when all is done it will be a springboard for him and allow him to work on more films.

“I want to take on a second collaboration with Executive Producer Martina Castenada; [we’ve] a feature sent to some producers, looking to develop, and that will be the road to do possibly two to three shorts and show off my ability and, hopefully, I can direct a feature in the near future.”