A recovering alcoholic who wrote a play inspired by a 20-year-battle with alcohol is now set to turn his work into a short film.
Rob Hollway (45), a father-of-two from Belfast, is thrilled to have secured funding to make a screen version of his hit debut play, The Painted Lady.
The powerful production attracted sell out audiences during two performances in The Mac and Accidental Theatre in Belfast last year.
Rob who works as payments and resolutions specialist for Power NI secured £5,000 funding from his employer to make the film which will be recorded next month in locations across Co Down.
It will then tour international film festivals and his ambition is to eventually see it on the silver screen.
He says: "I am over the moon that Ian Thorn, CEO of Energia Group very generously agreed to provide the funding and it's a great boost for the arts and for myself in these strange times.
"I do believe I have cinema dynamite with The Painted Lady and I have high hopes of it being made into a feature film.
"I am confident that when it goes to the festivals that we can catch peoples' eye. This wee story and the themes and characters can travel so well across the world as so many people will be able to identify with the emotions.
"I've always wanted it to go as far as I could because it has a positive and important message about mental health, trauma, alcoholism and self-harm."
Rob, who battled alcoholism for 20 years and at one point was treated in a psychiatric hospital, has now been sober for 10 years.
Drawing from his own experiences in the play, he portrays a journey with alcoholism through protagonist Dan, a 40-something recluse in recovery who hides away from the world studying butterfly migration.
That is until party girl Kimberley ends up in his field hungover after a night out.
Kimberley is struggling to come to terms with being in an abusive relationship.
When the two characters begin to share their stories their chance meeting becomes less of a coincidence, giving power to the old saying "everything happens for a reason". Rob is currently holding auditions for the roles of the two main characters and hopes to film his production in September. He adds: "As well as taking it to the international festivals, I plan to approach NI Screen with the short film version and hopefully secure funding for a feature film.
"Throughout Covid I have been very creative and finished the sequel, The Trail of the Kingfisher, which is set on the Lagan Towpath where Dan and Kimberley meet five years later and I am hoping it will have the same success as The Painted Lady.
"I know that The Painted Lady left footprints in the mind of people well after they left the theatre last year and my aim now is to bring it to as many people as possible.
"I believe it can help change lives and will get people thinking or helping relatives who are struggling with alcoholism or mental health."