There was once an invisible optician, living in a strange and lonely world. Her story starts with a broken lens and the woman who taught her to see things differently.
Maura recounts her life story in an interview with the Head Archivist of the Human Experience Records. Hers is the greatest mission of all time, you see, because what bigger challenge can there be, than learning to love?
She begins on the day she meets Amy, a bright academic with broken glasses. For the first time in forty years, Maura wants to share her life. The only catch is leaving behind the world as she knows it.
In Orbit is the directorial debut from Katie McNeice, who also wrote and produced this self-funded project. This short film has received 37 awards internationally and has just been nominated for a Zebbie by the Writers Guild of Ireland.
McNeice is a UCC Film MA alumna whose other credits include Co-Writer on the Irish feature film ‘Lily’ (currently in post-production).
Upcoming shorts include Focail, Baile, Croí (Words, Home, Heart), which explores themes of home, love and grief through the Irish language. This project is the 2020 winner of the Comórtas Fisín pitching competition. Lambing explores intersex and gender norms in the context of rural Ireland from the vantage point of a new parent, and is the winner of the 2020 IMDb Script to Screen Award.
She is one of 25 successful applicants in the first Screen Ireland Mentorship Scheme and has been paired with Writer Director Ruth Treacy of Tailored Films. Katie is also a full-time Producer with the global learning company HMH, producing audio, live action and motion graphic content for the US education system.
“A bold sci-fi vision from debut director Katie McNeice, whose capable queering of genre with a flashback lesbian love story stands out as one of the most admirably ambitious efforts of the slate…shaking off the lingering strictures of a country too long consumed in conservatism and coming to terms with the repressive scars left in its wake.”
“A work of unique intent in its striking sci-fi high-concept…Where many queer films have looked to the past’s untold stories and the lingering shadows it casts, In Orbit offers a rare advance unpacking of the movement’s future: the emotional impacts yet to be felt and the likely lasting legacies of present struggles.”
“I was playing a long-haul game of trying and testing the story on the festival circuit, picking up feedback wherever I could, and gathering praise whenever it cropped up. Twelve months and five awards later, I had enough to attract the actors and crew I wanted to make my first film.”
“Managed to catch In Orbit at the GAZE short film programme on Sunday – it was a stunning and thoughtful debut short: congratulations Katie McNeice et al involved on the win for Best Irish Short! Delighted for you #IrishShortFilm.”
“I knew from the get-go [music] would be crucial to pulling off the emotional punches in the film because of how it’s structured. The poetic language in it really needed an extra meter so the words didn’t land alone; they needed to fall with all the feeling of musical notes.”
“I’ve noticed that the stronger the director-composer relationship and understanding is, the better the scores are that I write. I think we really connected on topics of internalised emotions, aspects that I love to explore through music, such as the quest to belong but also the struggle to emerge transformed and more connected to others.”
“Galway Film Fleadh described ‘In Orbit’ as, ‘a bold sci-fi vision from debut director Katie McNeice, whose capable queering of genre with a flashback lesbian love story stands out’. This perfectly captures the amazing work of Katie McNeice. Her short film brought a bold splash of colour to the screen.”
“In Orbit just screened at the Galway Film Fleadh and there was a lot of buzz around it.”
“I saw it! It’s amazing, the ambition there. It’s a beautifully contained sci-fi short. Obviously first films are capable of this sort of thing, but it surprised me a lot.”
“For her debut there’s such vision there and she’s actually a former volunteer of the festival. It’s just so amazing to see her come back with her short film to GAZE. It really means a lot to us.”
“In Orbit is an arthouse LGBT short; an elderly woman looks back on the greatest experience of her life, which was basically finding her ability to love.
“The script won four awards internationally. I think one of the reasons it’s done so well is that it’s something that’s never really been looked at. There are people in Ireland in their 70s and 80s who’ve never been on a date or held someone’s hand, and they’re going to live the rest of their lives by themselves in empty houses.”
“Ultimately, In Orbit is about taking chances and opening your heart to new experiences, no matter how scared you are.
“Maura’s memories of the marriage equality referendum capture the gravity of the moment as a change for Ireland, further reflected in the futuristic technology of the 2050s.
“…I personally can’t wait to see what McNeice brings out next.”
“The Spirit of the Festival is awarded to a film, or films, that captivate us while effectively articulating the themes and characters that our festival seeks to champion in productions that support gender equality, diversity and inclusion.”
“Watched many of the short films that were part of the Underground Cinema’s first online screening tonight. One of the standouts was IN ORBIT – a fascinating high concept approach to a beautiful theme with great performances and a stunning score.”
“It is imperative that we increase positive visibility of older LGBT+ people in a way that portrays their experiences, their resilience and that celebrates their lives. For this reason we are supporting this short film In Orbit. And we will be supporting this initiative as much as we can.”
“A poetic and emotional piece…a lovely and heart-wrenching version of a science fiction memoir.”
Áine Ní Mhuirí | Elderly Maura
End of sentence, Brooklyn, Broken
Claire J. Loy | Maura
Casualty, The Outpost, Beyond the Woods
Sarah J. Kinlen | Amy
The Cured, Writing Home, Cat Calls
Olwen Fouéré | ELDERLY AMY
Nightflyers, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindewald
Michael-David McKernan | THE INTERVIEWER
Quantico, Red Rock, 3 Friends
Joe McNeice | Toddler Maura
Well done on your first film, bud
Katie McNeice | Writer & director
Lily (Feature Film, Co-Writer), Flaneur
Jaro Waldeck | Cinematographer
QED, The Refuge, The Donor
Emer Kinsella | Composer
In Full Bloom, Jungle, Sense8
Ivo Andrade | VFX Supervisor
Leandro Arouca | COLOUR GRADING
Caimin Agnew | Sound Recordist
Detainment, Lily, The New Music