It's been a long-held ambition of Northern Ireland film-maker Stacey Gregg's to shoot a movie here that doesn't dwell on the Troubles.
For many years, Stacey says, it was impossible to attract financiers to local projects, with the regional accents and non-conflict themes putting them off.
So to have her directorial debut feature Here Before, set in and around Belfast, selected to compete at this year's South by South West (SXSW) Film Festival in Texas was one of the most 'triumphant moments' of her career.
The psychological thriller, which has received positive reviews from the critics, has also been tipped as one of the festival's must-see movies.
But the anticipated success of Here Before, which Stacey wrote as well as directed, doesn't end there as she also penned the script for the film Ballywalter.
Directed by Line of Duty actor Prasanna Puwanarajah, who plays TV producer Nadaraja in the hit BBC1 drama, the bittersweet comedy stars Seana Kerslake and Patrick Kielty in his big screen debut.
"I'm so delighted with the response so far to Here Before," Stacey says.
"For years I was trying to make something set in Northern Ireland and it just wasn't happening.
"If a film didn't relate to the Troubles, the financiers didn't seem to be interested but I knew there were other stories that needed to be told.
"It's exciting for a new generation of filmmakers to tell those stories now and show a new side to Northern Ireland, so to see the response to Here Before has been really validating.
"There's room for everyone. It's great to see programmes like The Fall and Bloodlands set and filmed here but I'm excited to be telling stories that aren't about dead women or murder or the Troubles.
"There are so many unexpected stories out there and I thought it would be interesting to make a supernatural, psychological drama as we haven't seen a lot of that from Northern Ireland before."
Here Before stars Bafta-nominated actress Andrea Riseborough, alongside Jonjo O'Neill, Martin McCann and Eileen O'Higgins. The drama follows Andrea as a a bereaved mother whose already fragile life is upended by the arrival of a new family next door.
Soon, Andrea's character Laura is fixating on the neighbour's little daughter Megan (Niamh Dornan) and questioning the reality around her.
The film premiered at SXSW last month to huge acclaim, with a 91% ratings from critics on the Rotten Tomatoes website and a Variety reviewer stating: "Here Before keeps us off guard and all the more awake because of it."
Bangor-based Stacey, who has a three year old son, says becoming a mum changed the way she wrote the character of Laura and that she represents the 'innate strength' of the Northern Irish women she grew up around.
"I think part of the idea for the film was with me from childhood," she says.
"I was a Megan; probably quite annoying and precocious. The idea of this child had been knocking around for a while.
"I wrote the opening scene over the course of a week and through the process, I came to see what the film was about.
"I've always been interested in the supernatural.
"Andrea's character came latterly. When I became a parent myself, the threshold of how stories were told and represented, changed.
"Laura's character is not your typical, crazy hysterical woman who's grieving. They're not the women I grew up around.
"There's a Northern Irishness about women who have an innate strength and ability to survive.
"The versions we've seen in the cinema of grieving women are so often lazy and stereotypical."
Her vivid imagination as a child served Stacey well when it came to the craft of story-telling.
At school, she knew she wanted to work in the arts and won a place at King's College, Cambridge - a 'champagne socialist' college - to study English Literature.
She considered acting then decided to write instead. Becoming a director was never part of the plan.
Her parents were initially mystified and concerned about her choice of career but had confidence in her judgment and talent.
"A lot of people at King's had that sense of entitlement to be there, but I didn't have that, coming from a working class background," she says.
"I didn't set out to be a director though I'd always been visual and wanted to tell stories.
"Once I figured out what I wanted to do, I just had to find a way to do it.
"My parents were worried. They thought I could've been a doctor or lawyer.
"But they had good reason to be concerned. I was living in London in my 20s, broke and struggling. But they let me crack on. They've always been supportive."
Stacey worked as a PA by day and wrote at night. She secured a writer's attachment at RADA, got herself an agent, and started getting theatre commissions from London and Dublin.
Her breakthrough production was Perve, at Dublin's Abbey Theatre in 2011.
She was now an established playwright, making a living from writing full-time.
Realising she could learn - and earn - more from television, Stacey started to write scripts for shows such as Doctors and Derry Girls creator Lisa McGee's RTE show, Raw.
Her big TV break came with the Sky Atlantic series Riviera, for which she penned several episodes.
Any residual feelings of imposter syndrome she might've felt from her Cambridge days disappeared.
"This was really the turning point in my career," she says. "I remember reading scripts with Julia Stiles in the south of France and it was such an amazing experience; a real confidence booster.
"I'd had high highs and low lows when I was at Cambridge and almost dropped out half way through. But with Riviera, I stopped feeling like an imposter.
"Now I don't get fazed by that stuff any more."
While Here Before was shot before lockdown, filming of Ballywalter took place in December 2020 and earlier this year.
The life affirming story centres around a young, caustic university drop-out (Seana Kerslake), who has moved back home and is working as an unlicensed taxi driver, and an older man, played by Patrick Kielty, who has exiled himself in Ballywalter following the break-up of his marriage.
The two characters meet when Patrick's character, Shane, calls a cab to take him to stand-up comedy classes and Eileen turns up.
As the two spend time together, travelling back and forth, a beautiful friendship develops.
Shane reintegrates into society and Eileen learns to let go of past disappointments and be herself.
The story, Stacey says, is embedded in the Northern Irish psyche and landscape and though not written with Patrick in mind, he came to the fore when they were casting.
"Prasanna and I love going outside the box when we're casting so we were excited to get Patrick on board," she says.
"It's his first film and he got it immediately. He and Shauna were the perfect match.
"I guess it was a bit of a punt but what I can tell you is that he's brilliant in it.
"I hope people see what we saw; a committed, compassionate and complex performance.
"I'm very proud of Ballywalter and Here Before and I'm delighted that I've finally got to make not one, but two, films at home."