2018's ones to watch

Meet the faces of 2018 — the emerging talents who’ll soon be seen on a screen or at a venue near you. From cinema and TV to music and fashion, we profile the new names reaching for success in 2018, writes Esther McCarthy.

Eabha O'Donoghue
Eabha O'Donoghue

Film: Dafhyd Flynn 

Frank Berry’s new movie, Michael Inside, has become one of the most anticipated Irish films of 2018, following rave reviews from screenings at Cork Film Festival and the Galway Film Fleadh.

The film, shot partly on location at the former Cork Prison, tells the story of an impressionable teenager sent to do time after being caught holding drugs for a mate.

Once behind bars, Michael, who has lived at home with his grandfather, finds he needs to do some growing up fast, and navigate the testing internal politics of the prison system.

Berry’s film is being widely praised, with Flynn being singled out for his astonishingly intense and assured performance. Screen International called him: “a revelation” but the modest Dublin teenager is taking it all in his stride.

“People come up to me and tell me how good a job I’m doing and I just feel thanks but like!

In my head it’s just a job, it’s just something I like doing,” he says. “I was really amazed at the work that Frank and the cast and crew put into it. It was a huge team effort really. I couldn’t have done it without them.

“We were two weeks in the old Cork Prison. Cork is one of my favourite places, it was great to film there.

Loads of the crew were actually from Cork.” Dafhyd’s raw talent was first nurtured by Berry, who cast him in his last film, I Used to Live Here, after meeting him in his local suburb of Killinarden in Tallaght, where the film was set.

“When I met Frank he was holding auditions for local teenagers. I was actually an extra and then he asked me to audition.” He says he has known of people in his community who suffer the consequences of making the wrong choices.

“Frank captured this amazingly in this film - the real lives of people who go through struggle. It’s how they’re raised, the situation they’re in.”

After making his second film he has been bitten by the bug, and his family is hugely supportive. “Since the summer, I felt this is something I want to do in the long run.”

Dafhyd Flynn, actor.

TV: Jennifer Barry and Demi Isaac Oviawe

As Jennifer Barry - like many fans - guffawed her way through The Young Offenders last year, she could never have anticipated that she would become one of the female stars of the long-mooted TV spin-off.

“I absolutely loved the movie, I’ve seen it so many times. It’s amazing and it really shows Cork off very well. It’s gas, and the lads are hilarious.

I never really thought I would get the role. I just put in my audition tape and then I got a call back. Next thing you know we’re down filming,” she says, still in wonder at it all.

Jennifer, from Kilbrittain and her new co-star Demi, from Mallow, both 17, have prominent leading roles in the eagerly awaited six-part series, details of which of being kept under wraps, to be broadcast on RTÉ and BBC early next year.

“I wasn’t allowed tell anyone for about three months, which was quite a while! I was close to exploding,” says Jennifer of the casting.

She and Demi became good mates on set, and Demi was encouraged to audition for the role by a family friend. “I was messing around with a Cork accent and she said: ‘Oh my God you should so apply for The Young Offenders’. At this point I hadn’t watched the movie at all.

“She said it was about two dopes going around Cork looking for cocaine. ‘You’ve got a very strong accent, you’re perfect’. I recorded my rehearsal video and submitted on the exact deadline day. If I hadn’t done it I wouldn’t be here - it was literally a spur of the moment thing.

The girls say director Peter Foott made an already good experience “a thousand times better”. Peter has this way of filming, you do script and then you do improv,” says Demi, who moved to Ireland from Nigeria at the age of three.

“You don’t know what’s going to come out of the boys’ mouths. And they say something so stupid you just have to stop and laugh. The script is great, it’s a brilliant plot, and I can’t wait for everyone to watch it to be honest.”

Actors Jennifer Barry and Demi Isaac Oviawe.


Music: Otherkin

One minute you’re gigging at typical bars and small venues, the next you’re opening for none other than Guns ’N’ Roses at Slane. Little surprise that members of Irish rock band Otherkin were pinching themselves when they heard about landing the biggest gig of their lives.

For vocalist and guitarist Luke Reilly, there were other special elements. Because he’s from the area, many family and friends got to rock to the opening act.

“It was a brilliant experience, an opportunity in a million. And the next day, a photo was in the papers of a man on the shoulders of somebody else, but it was actually my dad! We got the photo framed.”

The hardworking band, comprising members from Slane, Dublin and Kildare, are signed to on-the-money label Ruby Works and are poised for big things next year.

Members Luke Reilly, bassist David Anthony, guitarist Conor Wynne and drummer Rob Summons have put in the groundwork, releasing their debut album, OK, and touring extensively across Europe in the run-up to Christmas.

Formed in 2014 over a common love of The Clash, The Ramones and Blur, the four cut their teeth playing at parties and bars before stepping up to the Irish festival circuit. Abroad, champions have included BBC 1’s Annie Mac and MTV Rocks, who added the band to their playlists.

The band will spend 2018 building on their considerable achievements so far. All four friends share songwriting duties and ideas and plan to get writing and touring intensively next year.

“It’s a changing industry and it’s not always easy, but are plans for next year are to do a whole lot of touring and show people what we’ve got,” said Luke. “We’ve got lots of festivals but also a lot of writing to look forward to.”

Rock band Otherkin.

Fashion: Eabha O’Donoghue

Having worked for decades in the industry, top model agent Rebecca Morgan knows a thing or two about emerging talent. And when Eabha O’Donoghue first presented herself to the agent, she was quickly snapped up.

The Dublin teenager has been making waves in the fashion industry this year, notching up several high-profile bookings and working for top fashion designers including John Rocha and his equally successful daughter, Simone.

In fact, within a year of first dipping her toe into the modelling industry, Eabha has enjoying a successful period of work in Milan, and several shoots in her home city.

Counting Kendall Jenner among her favourite models, 16-year-old Eabha has been fascinated by the fashion industry since she was a little girl. “It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, since I was small,” says the Castleknock teenager. “I’d put on heels and walk up and down the house when no-one was looking.

I was always into all aspects of fashion - hair, make-up and modelling.” “My parents have been very supportive, encouraging me to explore the industry because they know it’s what I want to do.”

Highlights so far have included working with Simone Rocha and appearing on Xposé on a shoot for John Rocha.

She’s also had the opportunity to travel, spending a couple of months in Milan. “I went to Milan for two months and it was a really good experience - I got to go to a lot of castings every day.

“In the past few months it’s been very busy. London’s a city I’m keen to work in and I’d love to go to London in the new year.”

pic credit : Shot for McConnells Woollen Mills by Kenny Whittle

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