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Irish film picked by Moore for festival spotlight

A FILM shot at a south Dublin school has been handpicked by Oscar-winning director Michael Moore to screen at his Traverse Film Festival this summer.

The Pool, directed by Thomas Hefferon (28) was filmed in Marion College's pool in Ballsbridge -- and the gritty story speaks about the drama of bullying.

Speaking to the Herald, Hefferon said: "Dramas over 10 minutes are the hardest genre to do in the festival so I'm really excited to get in.

"It's Michael Moore and it's invite only -- he has to sign off on every film that's screened -- so it's pretty great.

"Basically, organisers are always keeping an eye out for short and feature films throughout the year to show at the festival, and the options are whittled down to about 150.

"Then out of those 150, Michael selects 40 films and chooses which ones he likes the most."

The Pool is described as "a drama about three teenage boys who break into their school swimming pool late one night in order to stage a macho breath- holding contest. But as the night goes on, the loud, brash Charlie begins to tease the overweight, child-like Sam.

"After a girl, Katie, arrives whom they all fancy, tensions start to escalate and by the end of the night none of their lives will ever be the same."

Rathmines native Hefferon wanted to make a dramatic film with a message to audiences, and recruited as far as California for the best writer.

"The principle of the film is that every teenager experiences an event in adolescence that forces them to become an adult.

"In Stand By Me, it was when they found the body, in Mean Creek, it was when one of them was killed. The Pool is a coming of age story about loss of innocence.

"In all our lives, we have experienced one aspect of bullying -- whether you are the bully, the person being bullied or the person who stood by and didn't step in to prevent someone from being bullied."

Hefferon recruited TJ Hundtofte as writer after a search on the internet.


"He said he was too busy at first, but after hassling him for a few months, he eventually agreed to a phone conversation, and it went from there."

The film stars four unknown Dublin teens, and the up-and- coming director admitted he expected to have to convince parents to allow their children to take part.

"It's very graphic, in fact, we toned it down when filming. But I think it's a realistic way that teenagers speak. I thought there was going to be a problem with parents when it came to casting because of the language, but there wasn't," he said.