Local movie project reaches semi-finals of New York film festival

A SHORT film by a Strabane man has made it into the semi-finals of the New York LGBT Film Festival.

Corey Gallagher’s adaptation of a friend’s novel, ‘Ulster Alien’ was filmed in and around the town last year.

The project, which encapsulated the entirety of Corey’s final year at the University of St Mark and St John, in Bristol – where he studied Screenology – is based on another Strabane man, Stephen Birkett’s novel of the same name.


As well as the New York festival, Ulster Alien was also accepted for screening at the Louisiana LGBT+ Film Festival.

“The Americans seem to like it,” the book’s author, Stephen Birkett laughed this week.

“I submitted the film to quite a few festivals but those are the ones that have accepted it so far.”

Ulster Alien features Matt, a Protestant man coming out as gay in Derry and Fermanagh in the late 1970s to early 1980s. It focuses on his relationship with Alex a bisexual RUC man.

Stephen continued, “You have to submit the film and then the organisers notify you when it’s accepted.

“First, I got notification for the New Orleans one and then I just got the New York one.

“It’s nice, exactly. Corey gets a laurel which he’ll be able to look back on and perhaps use in the future.

“Unfortunately with Covid it’s difficult to know what’s happening with the festivals because a lot of them are virtual at the moment.”

He added, “I’d just finished the firth novel as well, that one is onto Amazon. So the whole set of five, covering five decades is now available.”

Although neither Stephen nor Corey have received word as of yet, Ulster Alien remains in the running to be accepted for a host of future film festivals including Bristol, Tel Aviv, Seattle and Glasgow.

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