The Expanding Mind: Wesley delighted with success of debut short film

By Aideen O'Flaherty

A Clondalkin filmmaker is revelling in the success of his debut short film, ‘The Expanding Mind’, which has gone on to win over 20 awards worldwide.

Wesley Grogan, 25, filmed the sci-fi short after the first lockdown, and it features standout performances by Clondalkin actors Carl Maher and Ciara Moore.

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Filmmaker Wesley Grogan

The cast and crew brought the story of Evie, a murderer who was fitted with a device in prison in order to elicit some remorse from her about her crime, to life and it has been well received since going on the film festival circuit.

‘The Expanding Mind’ was also the subject of a seven-page editorial in an Argentinian film magazine called ‘Viewties’.

Wesley, a past pupil of Deansrath Community College, took some time out to tell The Echo about the success of ‘The Expanding Mind’ and plans for the film to be released to the general public.

What awards did 'The Expanding Mind’ win?

‘The Expanding Mind’ has done tremendously well on the film festival circuit for awards. Currently, I myself have picked up Best Director from the Best Film Awards.

The film’s main actor Carl Maher and actress Ciara Moore picked up Best Actor and Actress respectively from Indo Global Film Festival.

Apart from this, the film has won Best Science Fiction Short Film from the Europe Film Festival and the Indo Global film festival.

The award circuit has been great to the film, with us picking up an additional 15 official selections. Based off of our submissions, we are currently on a total of 23 wins with official selections included.

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 How do you feel about all of the award wins and nominations the film received?

It has been an honour and an absolute shock for the film to be so well received, both from audiences, juries, film festivals and peers from the film industry.

I am extremely excited and overwhelmed to be winning and picking up selections on top of this.

The hard work from my cast and crew has really paid off, and the awards we have picked up so far is a testament to all the hard work they have put in, and the passion they had to get the project finished.

During what has been such a challenging time for the arts sector, to have a completed project that is being so well received is an honour.

Did you expect 'The Expanding Mind' to have such an impact?

When I first penciled the script for this project it was merely an idea, never once did I expect the film to be made. I always juggled with the idea of maybe bringing it forward to fruition, and I am so glad that I made that leap to get the film made.

The impact the film has had is still leaving me in disbelief. We had a limited audience release which was very widely received, and our overall rating for the film is currently 8.8/10 stars on IMDb.

Right now, I’m living in the moment and enjoying the tremendous positivity the project has garnered from multiple film festivals.

For me personally, I was so happy to hear of Carl Maher and Ciara Moore picking up Best Actor and Best Actress, my co-writer Hayley O’Reilly and I winning the Best Screenwriter of the Year Award as well as dominating the festival circuit.

The feedback the film has received is nothing but spectacular.

What was your reaction to the seven-page article that was written about your film in the Argentinian film magazine ‘Viewties’?

Initially, I was so shocked to get the article written about the film. The magazine’s editor, Vanesa Miraglia, is sharing it for the January edition with the readers in Argentina, allowing the film to essentially go global through foreign publications.

The piece the magazine did was beautifully written, and had very positive words to say about the film, which was fantastic to read. Right now, I am in a sense of euphoria – never in my wildest dreams did I expect this to happen, and never did I think the film would be so well received both here at home on Irish soil and abroad!

When will the film be available for members of the public to watch?

As the film is officially circulating through the film festivals, we will have a chance now to give wider audiences a chance to log on and view the film as it becomes available for live screenings.

I’d highly recommend checking out our Facebook page, The Expanding Mind - Film by Wesley Grogan, as all updates on live screenings and events in relation to the film will be posted there.

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