For God and Ulster

A former terrorist confesses his darkest secret, hoping to find redemption.

Creative team

Writer/director: Gregory Breen
Co-producers: Gregory Breen, Lloyd Nazareth

Filmmaker’s statement

For God and Ulster began with the story of Billy Giles, a UVF terrorist who rejected the cause and worked for peace, before committing suicide in 1998. I have always been fascinated by the Northern Ireland conflict and was sure I could tackle the subject in my art.

I was writing a different script about an older hitman coming to the end of his life, and I couldn’t get anywhere with it. Instead I began to focus on the victim of a crime who did not know she was a victim.

The more I tried to write this script the more I was drawn to the people in Northern Ireland who actually carried out the chaos and where they might end up, now that the conflict is over and peace has come to the country.

To give the film a more original setting then the traditional confessional, I decided to set the film in a therapist’s office and take the character away from Ireland to confess his sins to someone who may not be familiar with the parameters of the conflict.

To give the flashbacks an air of forgotten or misremembered memory, I elected to shoot them on 16mm film while the main action in the office was shot with modern hi-def digital video.

While the audience is certain that the action in the office is happening, I wanted to give the impression that the parts in Belfast are faded memories, so we added a green-brown hue.

With the editing, I wanted to build to the ending and pull the rug out from under the audience by showing them the film is quite different from what they might have expected.

I wanted to leave the audience with the feeling that, while peace has come to the country and new laws will help (hopefully) bring about a new Northern Ireland, the hearts and minds of the people involved will be much harder to win over.

As they go through the motions of adapting to a new normal, we also have to allow them their pain for what happened in the past, respect their stories and allow them to find their own future.”

About Gregory Breen

Gregory Breen

Greg was born and raised in Dublin, Ireland.

After he married a sweet girl from Welland, Ontario he moved to Canada. Once there his love of film pushed him to take a leap and change careers.

Greg is a writer, director and producer. He studied film at Ryerson University and Humber College.

Greg’s short films are For God and Ulster, Steven Myerschmidt Bites the Big One and Journeys.

All three have screened at festivals in Europe and North America.

For God and Ulster was named best drama at the 2012 Canada International Film Festival in Vancouver and nominated for best international film at the Underground Cinema Film Festival in Dublin. Steven Myerschmidt Bites the Big One won best student film at the Hamilton Film Festival.

Greg’s fourth short Clara has just been completed and will be touring the festival circuit in 2014.

Greg is currently working on The Long Night, his first feature film.

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