What do you think it’s like to be an eight-year-old girl and an atheist? This Irish film will tell you exactly how it is. The film Rubai has been charming international film critics left and right for the last two years.
It’s basically about a little girl named Rubai who knows and speaks her mind. Instead of participating in her First Holy Communion, she decides that it’s better to be an atheist.
Written by Antoin Beag Ó Colla, produced by Gemma O’Shaughnessy for Magamedia Teo, and directed by Louise Ní Fhiannachta, Rubai is just 12 minutes long, but the movie’s length is enough to strike a chord among the audience (Irish or not), especially in light of the religious intolerances being experienced by many people in modern Ireland and the ongoing debate about religion in Irish schools.
The film has received various accolades from international award-giving bodies and has been selected to be screened at various film festivals, including the prestigious Tribeca Film Festival in New York in 2014.
Just recently, it won the jury prize for Best Short Film at the Babel Film Festival in Sardinia. It also won the Programmer’s Choice Award at the Cleveland International Film Festival in the U.S. and the Children’s Jury Award at Ale Kino in Poland.
Director Ní Fhiannachta fell in love with the first draft of the script made by writer Antoin Beag Ó Colla. According to her, the titular character of Rubai just spoke to her on “so many levels.”
The script was also a perfect fit because she wanted to make a film about an independent thinker, a person who isn’t afraid to challenge conventions and traditions in our society.
Ó Colla’s script and Ní Fhiannachta’s direction was brought to life by the brilliant acting of Doireann Ní Fhoighil. A native of Indreabhán, Ní Fhoighil was only seven years old when they shot the film in Spiddal, Co Galway, in February 2013.
Thanks to her excellent performance on Rubai, the young actress has recently landed a solid acting gig, appearing on Ros na Rún, TG4’s long-running soap.
While Ní Fhiannachta’s team struck gold when they casted Ní Fhoighil for the movie, the search for the perfect Rubai wasn’t exactly a walk in the park.
According to the director, 43 girls auditioned for the titular character before they found Ní Fhoighil.
However, the wait was definitely worth it because Ní Fhoighil, who was the smallest and the youngest in the group, “blew them away.”