Sundance success for Aine as film reaches final

Derry woman Aine Carlin pictured with her husband Jason Robbins. Their film 'What's past is present' reached the final in the short films section of the Sundance festival.
Derry woman Aine Carlin pictured with her husband Jason Robbins. Their film 'What's past is present' reached the final in the short films section of the Sundance festival.

A Derry woman and her husband have reached the final of the prestigious Sundance Film Festival with their short film ‘What’s past is present.’

Aine Carlin, originally from the Culmore Road, now lives in London and works in the fashion department of the Financial Times. Aine teamed up with her husband Jason Robbins to produce the short which beat other entries to the coveted finalist spot in the acclaimed film festival.

Speaking this week from London, Aine, who features in the film, said she was thrilled that it had even made the shortlist and she and her husband were delighted to have been named as finalists despite not winning the overall prize.

“The winning entry in the end went to Best, which is really awesome and the film we had earmarked ourselves, so are super happy it won,” she said.

She credits her husband Jason with the film’s success.

“Jason has been shortlisted for the Raindance Festival, Empire and Nokia Shorts competitions in the past - in fact he has never not made the shortlist in any film comp he has entered,” says the former Thornhill pupil.

Aine described the central idea behind the film.

“Sundance provided us with a brief for the film, which was ‘The Time is Now’, and we gave it the title of What’s Past is Present,” explains Aine.

“We worked on the story together and came up with the idea of a letter being passed from one generation to the next - a sort of through the ages type thing. We touched upon issues that are associated with particular times in history - women’s rights at the turn of the century though to gay rights in the seventies and environmental issues in the nineties etc.

“It was important for us to show that we are still on the same journey and in many ways fighting the same battles, and the letter that we see passed on in the film is symbolic of this. Ultimately, we have a long way to go before these issues are truly resolved. It’s about recognising this and saying ‘the time is now’ if we want to make progress and leave a better legacy behind. It could also be very much related to our own situation in Northern Ireland - although we don’t directly touch on this in the film.”

Aine has an extensive background in performing arts having studied at London’s Goldsmith College.

She also studied music and obtained a Bmus, Mmus in Contemporary Music and a PGCE in Secondary music. The Derry woman is also a professionally trained actor. While she’s currently working in the newspaper world the local woman says she and her husband will definitely be making more films.

“I was a professional actor for over four years and during that time mainly worked in theatre although I did support myself through copious amounts of extra work and am very familiar with being on set. I also have some experience in tv and commericals so know how everything tends to operate.

“My husband and I are always plotting ideas for films we’d like to make. We love working together and are obsessed with films, so we kind of live and breathe it.

“Film competitions are great because they give you a structure to work within and the challenge is always to make an engaging, complete piece of work within a limited time frame. We’re keen to do a sci-fi or horror next, which would be great opportunity to merge my writing skills and Jason’s superb visual effects.”

Aine’s parents still live in Derry and she says she tries to get home as often as possible and has her sights set on number of events on the City of Culture programme.

“I get back to Derry as often as I can. I’m planning on getting back again before the year is out. Even though I am based in London I remain extremely close to my family and am still very much a ‘Derry Girl’.

“I was gutted not to see the Field Day production of Translations. I adore Brian Friel and have performed in Lovers many times, including at the Playhouse and at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. To be honest there are so many other exciting things happening in the city it would be difficult to choose although Elvis Costello is definitely a highlight, as well as the Turner Prize. Being a total vintage aficionado I would love to attend one of the ‘Vintage Sundays’ events happening in the craft village.”

You can view ‘What’s Past is Present’ at