‘Mildly Different’ short film smashes ‘normal’ expectations

FOR anyone who is looking for a short film that explains some of the complexities of being different from everyone else then ‘Mildly Different’ is the one to see, its subtle treatment authentically told with depth and passion by Director and playwright Anna Czarska and performed by a stellar, if largely unknown cast released in November.

Dale Murphy from the cast of ‘Mildly Different’, Co-producer Gemma Stack and cast member Aoife O’Flaherty

Dana Alqathander (l-r) Greg Young, Fergus Keane and ‘Mildly Different’ main cast member Aidan O’Sullivan at the world premiere in The Stella Cinema Dublin Ireland

In the opening minutes of the world premiere at The Stella Cinema Dublin Ireland it is clear there is something wrong – or mildly different – about the young Christina (Ruby Connolly), but no one seems to know and certainly not her single parent mother Sarah (Sarah Niland); she is not very good at interacting with others, and says strange, inappropriate things among her peers but she is a likeable girl all the same.

Film goers could have laboured along in trying to understand just what was wrong for Christina, who is autistic, but undiagnosed – if not for a series of colourful flashing lights coming to the foreground as the ‘real’ world receded away.

“This was the perfect opportunity to tell an authentic story that they can say ‘this is what it’s about, this is what it’s like for us (who have undiagnosed autism)’,” said Anna Czarska when she spoke with Pynck.com at the world premiere. “We are not trying to be isolative; we just have become so distanced from the reactions that we get.”

Rising star Ruby Connolly, who appeared as the young Christina in the world premiere of ‘Mildly Different’, Dublin Ireland

The young Ruby Connolly (foreground) from the new short film ‘Mildly Different’ and her family, her mother Mandy, older sister and veteran actress Isabel Connolly and her father Peter Connolly

A true passion project, much of the cast has been selected from talent on the autism spectrum who provide the breadth and depth required to the film’s treatment that may otherwise have been missed out. It’s partially autobiographical storyline is an offering to anyone who has consistently felt ‘mildly different’ including the young women who grow into adulthood without ever understanding what makes them different.

“It’s partially based on the stories of autistic individuals I have met in the community,” Anna explained. “I was diagnosed in my thirties and so much of my life has been in not knowing what was going on, being misdiagnosed, mistreated, (understanding) the fact that it is so common and I just didn’t want that to continue.”

The short film explores working and social relationships (with Aidan O’Sullivan, Stephen Burke, Áine Flanagan, Lara McIvor, Luan Ni Cheallaigh, Michelle Gleeson and Rebecca Hickey, Luke Heapes, Shona Hamill and Aaron Kane). The film has already been shortlisted for the Irish film festival season and hopefully further afield.

So well is the story told that ‘Mildly Different’ has every potential of being the treatment blueprint for every misunderstood individual, making their way through everyday life.

Steven Murray and Tessa David of the Aspire charity with playwright and director Anna Czarska at the world premiere of ‘Mildly Different’ in Dublin Ireland

The young actress Jordanne Jones, who starred in ‘Mildly Different’, a short film about living with autism

“It’s the most accurate depiction of sensory overload I have ever seen,” added Steven Murray of Aspire, the Asperger’s Syndrome Association Ireland charity. “It is absolutely brilliant.”

‘Mildly Different’, directed, co-produced and written by Anna Czarska can be found at https://www.imdb.com.


Tags: Arts & Culture Mildly Different Stella Rathmines

Kim Mullahey

Kim Mullahey is Pynck.com’s Ireland Correspondent. She holds an honours undergraduate degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of Chicago and has taught Adult Education Creative Writing Studies. Through a media career spanning nearly 25 years Kim has written and photographed regional news, national and international horse sports, fashion and lifestyle. Kim lives with her husband and son in Kildare Ireland, and a stray marmalade cat who has adopted the family.

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