An award-winning human rights short film from Ireland. QED is a stylish urban drama with an emotive, visceral subject.

QED tells the story of Jack and Ali - a happily married couple until a terrible accident shatters their perfect world. In the aftermath Ali struggles to accept their new circumstances, while Jack retains hope their lives will return to normal. As the difficulties of their daily reality grind them down, Jack finds emotional solace in a flirtation with work colleague Claudia, while Ali is increasingly left alone with home carer Maria. Ali's emotional distress meanwhile manifests ever more frequently in dangerous episodes. Just as Jack finally comes to accept things as they are and commits himself to do better, Ali has reached her own conclusion about the future and puts their love to the test. Exploring the theme of sacrificial love, QED poses the ultimate question, 'What won't love do?'

Director's Statement

QED is ostensibly a drama exploring love and fidelity but it is at its core a complex human rights issue that will become more prevalent in our society as we live longer. I made an aesthetic choice that the cinematography and production design should look beautiful to juxtapose against the bleakness of the film's events. I also wanted to emphasise that even in Ali's awful situation she still has the best of everything materially. But no amount of creature comforts, love or care is enough to compensate for her lack of freedom and autonomy. I approached the film from the perspective of being a prisoner in your own body. As a society we deny people their human rights in determining on their own behalf whether they want to live like that. We meet two active, sexual, successful characters - take all that away and their marriage as they knew it is destroyed, but their love remains. Agápē - a love that is prepared to sacrifice itself for a higher purpose. She loves him and so doesn't want to condemn him to a lifetime of celibate caretaking. He loves her and wants to release her, but feels it's an impossible ask... What won't love do? Can you ask someone you love to suffer; to sacrifice their own life to look after you; to live with your death on their conscience? Can you set them free even if it would destroy you? The ending is deliberately ambiguous. I leave it to the individual viewer to interpret. My entire thesis with QED is about the individual's right to decide, not society's right to superimpose their decision onto somebody who's physically incapable of determining their own future. It's a hard, emotive subject, but I think it is the role of art to shine a light on difficult topics and provoke discussion on what will become a major human rights concern in the 21st Century.
Meet the Cast

Donna Anita Nikolaisen

Donna takes on the emotionally and physically demanding role of ALI.

Trained at The Focus Theatre, Donna’s skill as an actor is shown through her deep emotional reservoir, visceral presence, voice, and ability to inhabit character. As an Irish Caribbean actor, she grows from strength to strength through playing challenging roles of diverse accents and ethnicity. Donna’s best known role to date is Zambian nurse Ama Chisenga on TV series Fair City. She recently narrated the documentary Ireland’s Refugee Hotel in London for TV3 and BBC. On stage Donna portrays the troubled widow Elena Popova in the ongoing production of Chekhov’s The Bear with her own theatre company True Voice Theatre. Other notable theatre work includes Jane Eyre (The Gate), Talking to Terrorists (The Samuel Beckett) and The Bacchae of Baghdad (The Abbey).

Michael O’Kelly

Michael, who also co-wrote & produced QED, plays the central character of JACK.

Michael is currently shooting the lead role in Taking Stock (Baby Jane Productions). He has just wrapped on Clodagh, written and directed by Caoimhe Clancy. Recent work includes TV3’s police drama Red Rock. Other highlights include the role of Padraig Pearse in Proclaim, by writer/director Maureen O’Connell and IFTA Nominated Lily, by award winning writer/director Graham Cantwell. Recent stage roles include Eugene O’Brien’s Eden, directed by Jed Murray, Patrick (Smock Alley) and Cyclops, a James Joyce adaptation from director Peter Reid. Previous theatre highlights include The Playboy of the Western World and Absent Friends at The Mill Theatre. An established VO artist, Michael is a graduate of the Gaiety School of Acting and Film Venture.

Norma Sheahan

Norma plays the brisk, no-nonsense home carer MARIA.

After graduating RADA, Norma won Best Actress at the Dublin Theatre Festival for her role in the world premiere of Bedbound by Enda Walsh. She has performed in numerous theatres in the UK & Ireland. TV performances include The Bailout, Bridget & Eamon, Can’t Cope Won’t Cope, Mooneboy, The Clinic, Damo & Ivor, Roy, Primevil, Ripper Street, Charlie, Crisis, Grace Harte, Rebellion, Republic of Telly, The Centre, and School Run. Film performances include Queen of Ice, Handsome Devil, A Date for Mad Mary, Botched, Ondine, Milo, Standby, Intermission, and Newboy. Norma’s comedy feature script Doing 2 Jobs Badly is currently in development with the Irish Film Board.

Charlene Gleeson

Charlene plays the pivotal role of Jack’s spirited colleague CLAUDIA.

Charlene trained in  the Gaiety School of Acting. Upon graduating, she was cast in her first lead role in Gary Shore’s award-winning short film The Draft. She later worked with Gary Shore on Universal Pictures’ Dracula Untold. She played lead roles in RTE’s  Trouble in Paradise (Dir Emer Reynolds) and  Sarah & Steve (written by Emmet Kirwan). Charlene produced and starred in 100 Degrees. Directed by Jason Barry, it opened the 2014 LA Irish Short Film Festival. Recent TV & film roles include Penny DreadfulFair City, Ernestine & Kit, and Gustav. Charlene performed at the Abbey Theatre in The Playboy of the Western World, and is currently working on the new play Harder Faster More at The Project.

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