Imelda O’Reilly is an independent filmmaker known for exploring themes of identity, and exile in her work. She is also a published poet and playwright. Her award winning short films have been screened at film festivals internationally around the world, including International Film Festival de Creteil, WorldFest Houston International Film Festival, Festival de Cine International Barcelona, Zanzibar International Film Festival.
As a commissioned writer on Song For New York with Mabou Mines her work was developed through the Sundance Theater Lab and New York Theater Workshop. She did writing residences at Vassar College, Bard College and UCross Foundation. She had two of her plays produced at the CSV in Manhattan by Deadalus Theater Company titled Fazinate and Emilita and the Fairy Glen. She is the recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship to Morocco where her film Bricks, Beds and Sheep’s Heads was a Regional Finalist for the Student Academy Awards.
Other grants include New York Foundation for the Arts, New York Women in Film, The Irish Arts Council, Culture Ireland, The City University of New York, and The Critical Language Enhancement Award.
She is currently developing three feature films. Beneath the Boy’s Cry, an Irish thriller and has Barbara DeFina attached as Executive Producer. This screenplay has also been a finalist for the Sundance Screenwriters lab. She is currently developing Article 475 a thriller set in Morocco and Emilita and the Asian Glen an animated film.
Imelda is currently in postproduction on her film Eggs and Soldiers that she intends to develop for episodic television. It was shortlisted for the Sundance Episodic Story Lab in 2015. She has a collection of poems titled I Wake In Half Dream published by Lapwing Press. Her fiction appears in an anthology of Irish fiction titled Shenanigans published by Scepter in the UK.
She has an MFA in film from Columbia University. Imelda spent three years in Singapore as an Arts Professor in the graduate film program for New York University under artistic director Oliver Stone. Prior to NYU she taught at Barnard College, Hunter College and the School for Visual Arts.
As a writer and filmmaker I play with the borders between my relationships to reality, mystery and tension. The act of seeing and how story unfolds in the narrative. I am chasing subconscious thoughts that inform imagination and behavior and how they intertwine.
My intention is to engage viewers, lure them into a world on the surface that appears joyful but underneath I create a subtext that destabilizes the viewer using words and images as counterpoint in aesthetic and tone. When I work I begin with words but then delve deeper into images. Wallace Stevens says, “the poem is the cry of its occasion”. Poems have always been blue prints for me, in poems time is condensed and moments have more clarity. Later on when I am editing the footage I have another opportunity to reshape my ideas.
As a child growing up in Catholic Ireland I spent a lot of time climbing trees and dreaming myself out of the countryside. I invented stories and characters shaping a fictional universe they could inhabit. It is this transcendental space that drew me into a point of creating my own work process and practice. I believe creating is a form of meditation.