Darkness & Despair (Red Led Film Group)

Sep 2nd - Sep 2nd 2021 |
2:30 pm
Free event but booking in advance advised |

Red Lead is a Waterford-based film-making group formed in 2014. A group of men drawn from Acquired Brain Injury Ireland were funded by the WWETB to work with artist Philip Cullen. From this modest beginning the group have gone from strength to strength and made seven films over the last seven years. They are currently working on their eighth – a biographical film about the life of a group member who suffered trauma and tragedy in a car crash, which incurred fatalities and changed the course of his life.

One of the group members, Joe Hodgkins, attempted suicide in 2008. He was resuscitated and in a coma for 17 weeks. He underwent rehabilitation and eventually moved into the ABI house in Waterford where he has lived to the present day. During his coma Joe had a single dream. He felt compelled to write it down in the form of a short story entitled Darkness and Despair. He showed it to Philip Cullen who found the metaphors and imagery fascinating. He suggested to Joe that a film be made based on the dream. Shortly afterwards work began on the project which was to include elements of stop motion, shadow puppetry, animation, drawing, the creation of models and sets, photography, sound design, specially created music and re-enactment of the scenes by Joe himself.


Date: Sept 2nd

Time: Two screenings (2.30pm and 7.30pm)

Capacity: 30

Location: Garter Lane Theatre



The film was funded entirely by Philip Cullen, and supported by the members of Red Lead, assisting in production, transport, props, costume and make-up. Joe acted as himself in many scenes.


The film was shown to Waterford Institute of Technology college students in the spring of this year and was very well received. The experience was emotional and intense for those involved. Joe and Philip, as well as Richie McGuire (Red Lead) spoke with the students afterwards about the project.

Although Joe wishes to reach out to young men in particular who are suffering with mental health issues, this film and discussion are not suitable for children or those who may be vulnerable or affected by suicide and self-harm.

This film and discussion are concerned with themes of suicide and self-harm. It is therefore not suitable for young children, those who are vulnerable to suicidal ideation and those affected by suicide.


Red Lead has been supported by the WWETB, Garter Lane Arts Centre, WAP, Sarah Jane Hanton, Jim Nolan, Andy Jordan, Sarah Bates-Evoy, the MAEDF fund Solas and Creative Waterford.


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