Georgia Hill (9) has leading role in new short film Torn
He may be the star of Branagh’s Belfast, but Gilford schoolboy Jude Hill is taking a back seat and letting his younger sister shine in a new short film written and produced by the pair’s talent agent.
Shelley Lowry, who runs a performing arts school and actors’ agency, has penned her debut film Torn, directed by Joe McStravick and shot last summer around Portadown and Craigavon.
The film, which showcases some of the talent which Shelley has on her books, features a cast of seven, including 11-year-old Jude, who plays Buddy in Branagh’s semi-autobiographical movie Belfast. But while he has a few lines in Torn, it’s his nine-year-old sister Georgia who shines in the short film— much to the delight of her supportive big brother.
Shelley, who wrote the script back in 2018, said: “Torn is a story about how some young people have more responsibilities than others and how the decisions you make are largely based on your circumstances.
“Meadhbh McGrail, who was in the RTE Storyland short Cry Rosa, plays main character Maeve and Georgia Hill plays her little sister.
“Jude is in Torn too though he only has a few lines. He’s hugely supportive of Georgia and is delighted for her as she’s been getting a few roles recently.
“There’s a healthy sibling rivalry there but more than anything, the two of them are great friends and he’s so proud of her.”
While Jude has been snapped up by UTA and Berwick & Kovacik in the US, Shelley, who has a background in performing arts, will continue to look after him at home. The schoolboy, who was nine when he filmed Belfast, was chosen from 300 youngsters to play the part of Branagh as a child.
His talent has been hailed by Branagh and his Belfast co-stars, including Judi Dench, as ‘extraordinary’ and This Morning presenter Philip Schofield claimed he was ‘possibly the best young actor’ he’d ever seen.
But coming up behind him, sister Georgia is also making waves, having recently finished shooting the children’s television show Mimi’s World. She also appeared in kids’ shows Almost Never and Silverpoint.
Shelley said the initial idea of the short film was to provide a platform for her actors to showcase their talents, but since writing the script, many of their careers had taken off.
“Exciting things have happened for Jude and are now happening for Georgia, but one of our boys, Forrest Bothwell, appeared in a film, Mothering Sunday, with Olivia Colman and Colin Firth,” she said.
“Also, we have Lewis McAskie on our books, who played Jude’s brother Will in Belfast and also starred in Stacey Gregg’s film Here Before, which is getting a theatrical release next month.
“And we have some great young actors in Torn, Orla McDowell and Rosa Frazer.
“In fact, demand for acting classes for television and film has risen so much, we’ve had to start taking classes in Belfast as well as Portadown.”
Shelley said the film Belfast had shone a spotlight on Northern Irish talent. And she said global talent scouts were now on the lookout for the next big star.
“The eyes of the world are on Northern Ireland because of this brilliant film that Kenneth Branagh has made,” she said.
“When I was in LA with Jude, everyone I spoke to knew about the talent here. They’re waiting to see who’s going to be the next Dornan, Branagh or Neeson.”