Irish short film on emotional abuse 'inspired by Clodagh Hawe', says writer

Author and film-maker Caroline Grace-Cassidy has made a new short film exploring the issue of emotional abuse in the wake of the Clodagh Hawe tragedy.

She was murdered along with her children, Liam (13), Niall (11) and Ryan (6), by her husband Alan Hawe (40) on August 29, 2016, at their home near Ballyjamesduff, Co Cavan. The killer then took his own life.

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Inspired by the Claire Byrne special Her Name is Clodagh, which aired last February, Caroline and her co-writer Roisin Kearney delved into the issue of coercive control in a relationship in the 10-minute short called Run.

The pair were also keen to create a project after the introduction earlier this year of a new legal framework on domestic abuse, making coercive control a criminal offence.

Starring former Fair City star Sarah Flood and featuring Hozier’s song Cherry Wine about domestic abuse, it depicts a wife in an emotionally damaging relationship. The woman’s eyes are opened to the true nature of her marriage after a disastrous dinner party with an old friend and her brother.

Ms Grace-Cassidy also said she put her two young girls Maggie and Grace in the short, so they would watch it and be able to recognise the signs.

However, she was taken aback by some of the reaction from festival organisers when shown the short.

“Some said to me, ‘Why wouldn’t she just leave?’ and ‘She seems very put-upon’. Other comments I got was that it wasn’t believable that a clever woman like her would stay with him.

“We wrote it after the Her Name is Clodagh special as the fact is, the majority of murdered women are killed by their partners.”

Run is meeting with acclaim from the festival community abroad and has now been chosen for the New York festival run by Irish Screen America from October 25.

It will also screen at LA film festival in California from November 11 and Kerry film event this Friday.

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