Grad Assistant Becomes CoDirector of Local Movie

Jenn Harrington

Katie Morris, Graduate Assistant in the Office of Graduate Admissions (pictured above) is the co-director of a theater play-turned-film, Charlie Gorman’s Wake.

Photo Provided by Charlie Gorman’s Wake
Photo Provided by Charlie Gorman’s Wake

Morris starred in the stage play, which premiered at The Old Dublin Pub in Wallingford, Conn. in June 2012. Her character is Rosie O’Grady, the American girlfriend of the owner and bartender at the pub in which she works. She also found herself co-directing with Paul Pender, playwright who stars in the role of regular customer, Gerry O’Donald.

She has acted with several theater groups, including the Gaelic Players; who recommended her for the part of O’Grady. “I sat down with [Paul] and it went from there,” said Morris.

Morris is the perfect example of the University of New Haven’s experiential education being put to work. A graduate of UNH, with degrees in Communication and Theater, Morris has been preparing for these moments her entire education. “I’m transposing a lot of what I learned into Charlie Gorman’s Wake.” She took several production courses with Professor Paul Falcone, in which she was able to experience first-hand how to direct and produce a film.

“It’s a story of friendship,” said Morris when discussing plot lines, “You get a really good sense of Irish culture.” The movie will grow from the stage, adding in several new characters while expanding the story in a slightly different direction, giving a behind-closed-doors look at characters.

Most of the original cast will be starring on screen with new characters bringing in fresh faces. Rose O’Grady has gained a brother and sister on the screen who travel to Ireland to visit their sister. The brother carries the personality of a “hippie,” while O’Grady’s sister is a free-spirit character who develops a romance with the character of Gerry, played by Pender.

   Filming will begin within the next couple months and is to take place in two locations. The Old Dublin pub will be featured as the bar that O’Grady works at. Interior shots will be domestic, inside the pub. Exterior shots will be filmed on location in Ireland starting in January after the interior shots are completed.

   As co-director, Morris is also working behind the scenes. Each Wednesday Morris meets with the production team of Pender, AJ Nieves, the production manager, and Simon O’Reilly, the director of photography to discuss scripts, shots, cameras, equipment, organizing cast, and scheduling. “It a full experience,” said Morris.

   Current stages of production include increasing funding and tying up loose ends in the script. October is the project date for the beginning of filming and in January, the production team hopes to head to Ireland for its exterior shots.

   When asked what their projected date of completion is, Morris could not pinpoint that, as there is still a lot of filming and editing to be completed.

Her team plans to submit the finished film to European and American film festivals. There is also talk of a sequel!

   If you interested in learning more, or if you would like to donate to production for the film, visit