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Resources: Short Film Case Study ‘Tufty’

Short Film 'Tufty'

Short Film ‘Tufty’

The team behind the award-winning Filmbase/RTÉ funded short film Tufty give us an insight into how they took their project from script to screen. The film has been screened around Europe at various prestigious Festivals and was selected by the Jim Henson Foundation for the Puppets on Film festival in New York. This is a great resource for anyone making their first short!


TuftyDescribed as “Apocalypto with teddy bears”, Tufty, stars Una Kavanagh and IFTA winning actor Brendan Conroy. The film has been screened around Europe at various prestigious Festivals including the 43rd Sitges International Fantastic Film Festival of Catalonia and the 17th Dead by Dawn Festival, Scotland’s International Horror Film Festival. It has also been screened at Clermont-Ferrand 2010 and Curtocircuito 2010, Santiago De Compostela, Spain. Nationally it has been shown in competition at the Belfast Film Festival and Galway Film Fleadh.

The film was also selected for the Film Scoring workshop in 2008 which led to the film’s original score being performed and recorded by the RTÉ Concert Orchestra. This workshop was facilitated by the Irish Music Rights Organisation (IMRO) and the RTÉ Concert Orchestra in association with Filmbase, FÁS Screen Training Ireland and the Contemporary Music Centre.

Resources_Tufty Crew1Tufty was written and directed by brothers Jason Butler and Brendan Butler and produced by Dave Leahy for Warrior Films through the Filmbase/RTÉ Short Film Award Scheme in 2007. This was the first film funding that brothers Jason and Brendan Butler had received. The film has won an array of awards including Best Director at the annual Shark awards. Since completing the film, Jason and Brendan were selected for RTÉ’s Storyland competition and were overall runners up with the Butchers series. They also run the popular filmmakers forum

Resources_Tufty Crew 3Resources_Tufty Crew 4



Resources_Tufty Crew 2Writer/Directors: Jason Butler & Brendan Butler

Producer: Dave Leahy for Warrior Films

Director of Photography: Ivan McCullough

Editor: Berni Stack & Róisín O’Donnell

Original Score: Louise Heaney

Puppet Design: Asumpta Sweeney

Cast: Luke Reilly, Una Kavanagh, Brendan McCormack & Brendan Conroy

Click here for the full credits list.  


The Script

Resources_Tufty Script_2212 scripts were submitted for the January round of the Filmbase/RTÉ Short Film Award Scheme in January 2007. You can download here the original script for Tufty which was submitted for that round. Initially when applying for the award, this is all that the readers would have received (note that the writers contact details were NOT on the copy that was sent to the readers). The project was shortlisted based solely on the script.

(Note that this script contains no dialogue.)

Click to view the full Tufty script.


Test Footage

Based solely on the script submitted, Tufty was shortlisted for the first round of the Filmbase/RTÉ short film award scheme in 2007. Nine other projects were also shortlisted and the teams behind all ten projects were invited to attend for interview at Filmbase.

In advance of the interview, the teams were required to submit their production notes which included the following:

  • The full and final script
  • Director’s notes on style/treatment
  • Full budget
  • Sources of additional finance (where applicable)
  • Biographies or CVs of key creative crew, including director, producer and writer
  • Cast and crew ideas
  • A production and post-production schedule
  • Any additional relevant information

Tufty was an unusual project in that it involved teddy bears roaming the countryside in a life-like manner. Therefore to demonstrate to the interview panel that the team would be able to recreate the script in that manner, they shot test footage which they brought with them to the interview. By supplying this additional material they were able to demonstrate that they had the technical ability to create the type of work outlined in the script.

With a different project the cast might be key or a location for instance. By supplying additional information like that it might help to strengthen your pitch to the interview panel.


Photo Shot List

As an additional resource, we have included the photo shot list that the team behind Tufty created in advance of the shoot. This was not supplied as part of the application process, this was a document used by the team after they had received funding as a resource for their crew to use. We’ve included it here as a useful document.

Click here for the full shot list.

More Info

For more information on the film visit:

This case study is intended as a useful resource for those looking to apply for the Filmbase/RTÉ Short Film award scheme 2012. Please bear in mind that this film is just one of over 100 films that have been funded through the scheme so this is by no means to best and/or only way to access funding through the scheme. Replicating this project or the materials supplied here will not guarantee that your project will be selected for funding. Always read the complete guidelines in full before applying.

You can find the guidelines for the Filmbase/RTÉ Short Film Award Scheme, along with information on other Filmbase run funding schemes, in our Funding section.