Saturday 1 November 2014

Keeper of the faith

When Lana Citron wrote a script based on a dream about her seven-year-old self, little did she realise it would become a film with a star-studded cast and crew – nor that a Jewish girl would find herself the star attraction of a Holy Communion story

The church of St Teresa's on Donore Avenue in Dublin was full. The congregation sat pat-iently in the pews, though none were praying. Nothing here was quite what it seemed.

A line of little girls dressed as brides knelt before a priest, and then, belatedly, my young self appeared in a hotch-potch of strange clothes and was chivvied up the flagstone floor by an old crone.

I stood in the shadows, watching myself as a seven-year-old about to receive Holy Communion. A strange enough scenario made all the more peculiar as I happen to be Jewish.

Let me explain. This state of being was a dream, dreamt in a west London apartment. My reality was that of a heavily pregnant woman who had flown in from London and driven straight from the airport to witness the shooting of Hannah Cohen – and, before you jump to the wrong conclusion, there were no guns involved.

Just over a year ago, I stretched and teased an emotional memory to its extreme. It began as a feeling, scribbled out as prose, 300 words capturing an instant of childhood consciousness; a mere moment when a bubble of innocence burst and a step toward adulthood was reluctantly taken.


'It is early summer and the shy Irish sun shines. Hannah Cohen sits on a front garden wall.

Bored, she flicks rose petals on the pavement when suddenly she sees her best friend Roisin dressed in Holy Communion finery. Roisin looks beautiful,

like a real princess'


If only Hannah could have her own Holy Communion. If only that were possible. But, of course, when one is seven and a bit, everything is possible, and so began our film, 'Hannah Cohen's Holy Communion'.

I wonder if one ever truly leaves one's country of birth. Almost 20 years on and still I keep a constant backward glance, a toe wedged in the door.

In October 2011, I sent Irish film director Shimmy Marcus a script in progress. He promptly emailed it back pointing out the gaping holes within. Undeterred, I set to rethinking, fixing and cementing.

"Funding," he groaned, "is such a huge gamble." Nevertheless, we took a chance. The dice rolled and we hit the jackpot, winning the Pears Foundation Award.

This was a huge tick, a massive confidence boost, but it only provided half the money. There was also a time factor and we were beholden to complete the film – ie produce, cast, shoot and edit it – by August 2012. This would be no small feat.

Nails were bitten, meetings met and sponsors sought, to whom we are forever grateful.

Weekend Magazine

Promoted articles

Also in this Section

Promoted articles

Top Stories

Most Read

Independent Gallery

Your photos

Send us your weather photos promo

Celebrity News