Directed by Declan Lawn and Adam Patterson


A death sentence. A dog. A decision. In post-conflict Northern Ireland, paramilitaries have evolved into street gangs who enforce their own brutal street justice in the form of “punishment” attacks. But when they pass a death sentence on a local dog, they bite off more than they can chew.

Director Statement

“Rough” is set in contemporary Belfast, where conflict-era paramilitary factions have evolved into street gangs, who enforce their own form of justice on their communities. “Punishment Attacks” as they are known, can take many forms, from a severe beating, through to “kneecapping” (where the victim is shot in the knees, causing life-changing injuries) through to capital punishment. Whilst many communities privately lament this form of justice, few if any are brave enough to stand against the street gangs, who are brazen enough in their activities to hold their own kangaroo courts in fortresses masquerading as “social clubs”. At its most tragic and absurd, this practice even leads to parents taking their own children to be shot “by appointment”, where they will meet gunmen in dark alleys, with the understanding that the wounds inflicted will be non-lethal. 

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July 2021

  • Nominated: IFTA Best Short Film 2021

June 2021

  • Silver Dragon Best Short Fiction Film – 61st Krakow Film Festival

October 2020

  • Best Irish Short Film – Kerry International Film Festival

Selected Screenings

  • Flatpack Festival, Birmingham April 2021
  • Short Shorts Film Festival & Asia Shorts, June 2021
  • IndieCork Film Festival, October 2020


Directed by: Declan Lawn, Adam Patterson

Produced by: Louise Gallagher

Written by: Declan Lawn, Adam Patterson


Director Bio

Declan Lawn spent ten years as an investigative reporter for BBC Panorama. As a screenwriter, he is inspired by the capacity for television drama to act as a companion to journalism, telling powerful stories about how the modern world really works.

Adam Patterson spent years working as a photojournalist and producing current affairs documentaries. Working on award-winning programmes such as the BBC’s Panorama and Unreported World, he specialised in societal issues about youth and their place in world.

Directors Declan Lawn & Adam Patterson.

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