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A fictional look at two ordinary families living in Belfast in 1981. A French television crew arrives in the city to cover the hunger strike of IRA prisoner Bobby Sands. They meet and start to interview two families – Protestant and Catholic – who live on either side of a ‘peaceline’. The two families never meet, but what follows is a revealing mix of casual conversation with members of both families and fly on the wall footage as they carry on with their day to day lives.



‘Remarkably directed…’ – Ouest, France

‘The 28 minutes of ’81’ are a pure marvel … the universe created by Stephen Burke speaks for his objectivity and humanism … inspired direction … A true masterpiece’ – Le Telegramme, France

‘Excellent viewing’ … ‘ With ’81’ Stephen Burke continues to demonstrate the exceptional talent he showed in his previous film ‘AFTER ’68’ – International Jury, Cork Film Festival

‘This award-winning film from brilliant young director Stephen Burke is a smarter, more insightful film than Some Mother’s Son’ – The Sunday Tribune

‘A wistfully elegiac quality pervaded ’81’ … A quirky sense of humour and sense of pathos, combined with low key, naturalistic performances, made this one of the most watchable home-grown dramas seen on television in a long time’ – The Irish Times

‘Despite it’s half-hour running time ’81’ creates a complex slice of life portrait of the impact the Bobby Sands hunger strike had on a wide variety of Irish subjects’ – Hamptons International Film Festival, New York

‘A sympathetic, compassionate depiction of the deepening sectarian divisions of the time, directed with great craft and assurance’ – The Irish Times Weekend

‘An exceptional film’ – Mannheim Film Festival

‘A witty and compassionate drama … The personal stories behind the usual tired slogans and the depth of feeling, particularly to the death of Bobby Sands are very well captured’ – The Irish Times



Prix Europa – Berlin (Germany)

Best Short Film – Valencia International Film Festival (Cinema Jove – Spain)

Best Short Fiction Film – Melbourne Int’l Film Festival (Australia)

Grand Prix – Short Film Festival of Drama (Greece)

Silver Award – WorldFest Houston (USA)

Prix du Public – Brest Short Film Festival (France)

Best Irish Short – Cork Film Festival (Ireland)

Grand Prix – Flickerfest, Sydney (Australia)

Best Cinematography – Flickerfest, Sydney (Australia)

International Jury Mention – La Citadella Del Corto, Rome (Italy)