Following the success of his first feature-length film released in 2020, Enniskillen filmmaker Paddy Duffy is to start filming his second project this summer, which is inspired by his university experience living in the infamous Holylands area of Belfast.

A graduate in Film Studies and Production from Queen’s University, Belfast, Paddy created his first film, ‘Longdon’, which was based on themes from The Falklands War, concurrently with his studies.

“For a long time I was thinking of making another feature. I was very pleased with how the last one turned out, and even how people seemed to react to it, and for a long time I wanted to do a comedy film,” said Paddy, talking to The Impartial Reporter about his latest film project.

The film – entitled, ‘The Unholylands’ – is a coming-of-age comedy with a story that follows the lives of law student Michael Brennan and his stepbrother, Scott, as they embark on their final week of university.

Paddy’s first-hand experiences of life in the Holylands has helped inspire his writing for the film.

“When I was up in Queen’s, I was basically living in the Holylands for three years,” said Paddy, noting that prior to living there, he had seen videos of people doing what he describes as “typical Holylands stuff”, such as “going down stairs on surfboards, and lighting things on fire and stuff”.

He continued: “For someone [hearing about this] when I was still in school, truth be told, I thought it was class! I thought it sounded hilarious.

The Unholylands.

The Unholylands.

“When I moved up there for the first time from Enniskillen, I was seeing all this chaos,” said Paddy.

“I thought the Holylands would be a fantastic place for a film because it’s something that has been kind of notorious for the past 40 years, it’s something that every generation can relate with.Everyone has a funny story from the Holylands,” he added.

However, although his upcoming production will cover the comedic antics of students living in the Holylands, Paddy explained that it will not solely be a comedy.

“Although this is 80 per cent a comedy film, I thought I could do something a little bit deeper than that,” he said, noting that from his experience, quite a few of the people who would’ve been doing “mad things” were trying to escape other issues.

He explained: “In my experience – and it’s my opinion, not in any way fact – but just from what I’ve seen, it seems like a lot of those people have stuff going on, and they are almost doing all this mad stuff, drinking a lot and all this partying, typical Holylands stuff, as an escape.

“I’ve spoken to a lot of students who are doing degrees that their parents have forced them into. Some I have spoken to feel like disappointments, that they can’t live up to their parents’ expectations, they can’t live up to their friends.

“A lot of them have alcohol issues, drug issues, even issues at home,” said Paddy, who plans to touch on this with the film.

“Although it’s mostly a comedy, if you’re trying to make a good comedy, it’s good to have something deeper than that. It’s very much going to be a coming-of-age story as well.”

The Unholylands is to begin filming in July, with some cast and crew calls still under way.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help support the production; to donate, see

“I’m essentially trying to make an Irish ‘Inbetweeners’, similar to the likes of ‘Derry Girls’ that – fingers crossed – everyone can kind of relate to and understand,” Paddy told this newspaper.