Shorts signed by Paul Mescal among auction items to help Ukraine filmmakers

GAA shorts signed by Irish actor Paul Mescal are among the Normal People items up for auction to raise money for Ukrainian filmmakers.

The signed blue and yellow GAA shorts, a signed script of the first episode of the award-winning series based on a novel by Irish author Sally Rooney, and a signed hardback book of scripts, featuring photography by Enda Bowe, are up for auction from Wednesday June 29 until Sunday July 17 at 6pm.

The campaign was organised by the Irish group Filmmakers supporting Filmmakers, director Lenny Abrahamson and Element Pictures.

Funds raised in the auction will go to the Screen Directors Guild of Ireland (SDGI), to the Docudays.ua Ukraine Appeal to support filmmakers documenting the war in Ukraine, and to the International Coalition for Filmmakers at Risk (ICFR) Ukraine appeal to support filmmakers from Ukraine and Russia who may need to relocate.

Veteran film set auctioneer Sean Eacrett is to host the auction on easyliveauctions.com.

The GAA shorts, which are the same style as the ones worn in the series by Bafta winner Mescal, prompted the creation of a number of internet memes and led to luxury Italian brand Gucci designing imitation pairs.

The Normal People auction is being organised by Orla Murphy, who set up the Filmmakers supporting Filmmakers group in March and has since raised more than 10,000 euro to support filmmakers impacted by the ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

Ms Murphy said: “In sending these funds to our fellow filmmakers we are also sending a message of solidarity, hope and respect.”

Founder and company director of Element Pictures Ed Guiney said: “What is happening in Ukraine is utterly devastating. Along with Lenny Abrahamson, we at Element are proud to be supporting these charities and admire their brilliant work to help filmmakers.”

Darya Busel, chief programmer of the Ukranian documentary filmmaker festival Docudays.ua, said: “For the past four months, Ukrainian filmmakers are risking their lives and mental health to document the atrocities of war and let the world know about the war crimes, but not only that – they are gathering footage for future films.

“I’m sure the films that will emerge from the work that is being done now will help us to understand this historical moment, when the whole world has to reconsider the principles on which it is built.

 Paul Mescal
Normal People star Paul Mescal (PA)

“These films to come will help us to face our traumas and to reconnect with ourselves.

“Because the worst thing the war is doing to you is that it takes your life from you. In every possible way; you can no longer plan anything, you are parted with your loved ones, you lose your home and everything you’ve been working so hard your whole life for… and in the end, one day, you can even be killed.

“It’s true that maybe cinema cannot change anything in the short term but it can definitely change a lot in the long perspective. On behalf of our colleagues in Docudays and in Ukrainian film, I am very thankful to all who donate to support us in doing this important work.”

Orwa Nyrabia, of ICFR Ukraine, said: “We established ICFR because we believed that film people everywhere are a community, that attacking one film person anywhere is an attack on all of us, that with such acts of solidarity we can show the whole world that film people will stand up for each other.

“With our Irish colleagues’ efforts, that faith is renewed.

“The plight of our Ukrainian colleagues today concerns all of us, and no matter how small or big our contributions can be, they first and foremost send a message that is not financial; ‘we are with you, you are not alone’.”