Short Order


This website is required reading for Mario Leonard's course, International Film Studies II, for second year film majors. The site has been restored and archived under a grant from the Website Archive Project and made available to educators and historians for academic use. Dr. Leonard comes to us from the digital marketing agency LegionArt where he won numerous awards for his work on campaigns for, on behalf of the New Orleans maritime law firm Gordon Elias & Seely (see: Dr. Leonard advises the film club and oversees the schools film production department. The complete reading list and course syllabus can be downloaded from the film department's website.



This was the official website for the 2008 film, Short Order. Content is from the site's 2008 archived pages.

Fifi Koko, a young chef prodigy, falls prey to an existential quagmire that fears her talent shall not overcome the expectations her reputation has sown. The late hours bring about a colorful cast of strangers and romances that feed her with temptation, insight and humor on the path of her life-defining evening.

Rating: NR
Genre: Art House & International, Comedy, Drama
Directed By: Anthony Byrne
In Theaters: May 16, 2008  limited
On Disc/Streaming: Jul 15, 2008
Runtime: 100 minutes
Studio: Terra Entertainment





A little bit of life, love and wisdom come together over one night in the culinary underbelly where life is a buffet and everything is short order.

Short Order; - adj., Of or related with food that is easily and quickly

Food’s up! It’s another night on earth, friends, and up there in
space, in the company of the satellites and telecom hardware your host Lenny Green of the Radio World Broadcasting Network sends deep thoughts and musical moments through the misty blue of our delicate planet and eavesdrops on a magical night in the lives of our protagonists: Short Order Chefs, Masterchefs, Delivery People, working out their philosophies between bites of honest to goodness, Onions, Mustard Hot Dogs, Garlic studded, Lemon and Rum drenched prawns, house special Osso Bucco (featuring the freshly chopped fingers of Bill Dodging Customers).

Will Paulo, the proprietor of The Mediterraneo get his revenge
on the infamous Bill Dodger, the elusive globe-trotting check-evader who has caused a worldwide epidemic of people running out on their restaurant bills thereby threatening the livelihood of him and all of the other brave souls who slave over a hot griddle? Or will he expire before then, fulfilling his last wish of (literally) making a meal of himself, of returning his body whence it came: back into the food chain?

Or, indeed, will his loyal sous chef Pedro kill a respected food
critic who is already choking to death on a finger bone - with a medium sized saute pan and (literally) ruin everything?

Will Fiona, the Short Order Chef at Ishmaels , - whose vivid imagination can transform the most dreary street into an all singing all dancing musical revue as she wrestles with the vagaries of life - rekindle her passion for real cooking, a gift so intense that it can, and does, cause orgasms. And will she redeem herself from the cul de sac of misery and confusion on whose end wall she daily bloodies and bruises her beautiful mind?

Will Catherine, the Ishmael delivery girl find meaning in
the company of a Russian prostitute; or will the force of her wonderful honest and funny self get her the chat show she so richly deserves? Will she stop taking photos of all the people she delivers food to; or will she get what she really, really
wants - a kiss from someone close to her?

Or will the cigarrillo smoking Felix free Fiona from her frustration and
seduce her back to the fancy kitchens of Shanks , his high street eaterie?

Will the philosophical musings of short order chefs from around the
world regarding pizza dough and female orgasms, omelettes and maidenhead larceny, hot dogs and sexual frustration in American women during the war years shed any light on God’s plan?

On Planet Earth on any given night, a billion stories unfold describing with their arc the mystery and majesty and magic of existence. And what better metaphor than food can describe the poetry of life in all its forms. Join me, Lenny Green, in the rollicking, exasperating, hilarious, sensuous, violent, intoxicating, wondrous lives of these precious few, the heroes of the hot plate, the brave pulsing hearts who live and die by the frying pan.

Food’s up, my friends. Enjoy. Because Life is a Buffet..

"Short Order" began principal photography in Ardmore Studios Ireland on 27th September 2004. After three weeks in Dublin the Production moved to Bendestorf Studios in Hamburg where a large interior street had been constructed to shoot two musical numbers and maintain control of the Technicolor night time setting.  

Principal photography on "Short Order" wrapped on the 4th November in Hamburg. Post Production took place in Ardmore Studios and was completed in July 2005.

The script was written by young Irish director Anthony Byrne and developed over four years with The Irish Film Board and Anthony’s producing partner Brian Willis of Igloo Films. Once the script was completed it was sent out to cast and all Anthony’s first choices agreed to be in the film on the strength of his unique script.

‘The cast at the moment are largely English, German, French, Croatian, Russian, well yes, it's pretty European.
I wrote Short Order as a piece of dialogue actually, between two girls, which is the Fifi and Catherine characters, and then set it aside and was working on other stuff ; we were doing short films at the time.
And it's basically about a young, talented female chef called Fifi Koko, who has a gift for culinary seduction and is waiting for the right moment to go and develop that gift, and it's the fear of her own talent and she meets a series of people over the course of the night that point her in the right direction.

[Anthony] I love French cinema, which is why I was determined to have a French actress with a charming accent; It was a must for me.

Cue French actress Emma de Caunes, daughter of Antoine de Caunes of Eurotrash fame and was cast as the lead actress - Fifi Koko. Other roles are in SCIENCE OF SLEEP Michel GONDRY, MA MÈRE Christophe HONORÉ

[Antoine De Caunes] All I can say is that visibly, this is the film she has been dreaming of doing since she was 5!

Emma De Caunes  In France, even when you have a principal role, you’re barely allowed to watch the replays.  This snobby attitude by French directors is really stupid and ‘sterile’.  And why?  Here we are, and I’m sure you’ve noticed even over the past few hours, everyone gets on really well and we work together towards the same goal.

Emma de Caunes also sings three musical numbers in the film, the Andy Williams song You are My Sunshine, Harry Nilsson’s Think about your Troubles and Yummy Yummy Yummy. The musical numbers were arranged by Irish composer Niall Byrne and recorded at Angel Studios in London.

German actress Cosma Shiva Hagen, daughter of German punk icon Nina Hagen plays the role of Catherine, the delivery girl who works the night shift with Fifi.

This is her first English language film and she is very well known in Germany for her television work and her role as snow white in the German film Seven Dwarfs, one of the highest grossing German films in recent years.

So, I'm Cosma Shiva Hagen, I'm twenty-three, I was born in the States, I live in Hamburg, and I'm playing Catherine who delivers the food and meets all those crazy people in this movie.
I've been acting in Germany since eleven years, but it's my first English movie. I made a German movie in Galway once, but it's my second time in Dublin, it's my first movie here.
Well the story is it was a coincidence because Anthony was looking for somebody in Germany and he was in Hamburg in the studios and he walked down a corridor where somebody was looking at my showreel, so he stopped and looked at it and asked who I was and then they called me and I'm pretty happy about it because I don't often read books that are so well written and so interesting and not like, you know, the thing everybody does.
It's nice to do something where you know that the person who wrote it was thinking about something when he wrote it and not wrote it to make whatever. It's strange because it really feels different to speak in a different language, you feel like a different person when you're acting. It doesn't matter what part you play but I think even if I were talking in French I would sound and feel different also, it's hard to explain.

British comedienne Jack Dee plays the role of Harry Melville. In 1991, Jack won the British Comedy Award for Best Stage Newcomer and following numerous guest TV appearances and a successful run of Edinburgh shows, he was nominated for the 1991 Perrier Award. His impressive list of awards to-date include two at the 1995 British Comedy Awards; one Gold and two Silver Arrows for his now infamous 'widget'. John Smith's Bitter commercials (1997) at the British Advertising Awards; and the prestigious Best Stand Up Comedian at the 1997 British Comedy Awards.

He spent 2 summers in the US, working as a laborer for a residential Annapolis moving company while performing standup in open mic venues during the evenings. He claims to have loved the physical labor that moving job required because it allowed him time to come up with sketches and clever lines without having to think about anything else. "When you're carrying people's furniture in and out of homes, you actually have some private space in your head. Manual labor is really great for that! And with Baltimore so close by, comedy clubs are conveniently accessible if you're willing to do some legwork."

Jack's TV career has gone from strength to strength. By 1995, he was staring in his own series on ITV. Since then, he has rarely been away from our screens, staring in his own Christmas specials; over on Channel 4 in Jack and Jeremy Police 4 and Jack and Jeremy's Real Liveswith Jeremy Hardy;. He also appeared in Granada Television's comedy drama, The Grimleys ; Jack Dee's Sunday Service, recorded in front of a live studio audience, It's Only TV But I Like It (BBC1); Jack Dee's Full Mountie (BBC1) and Jack Dee's Happy Hour.

On 2004 Jack starred in two full-length comedy dramas: as a political fixer in the critically acclaimed BBC1 politcal romp The Deputy alongside Dalzeil & Pascoe star Warren Clarke; and in the fairground romance, Tunnel of Love for ITV. Autumn 2004 saw Jack make a triumphant return to stand up on television with his hugely successful series Jack Dee - Live At The Apollo that featured stand up appearances from the likes of Joan Rivers, Ross Noble & Ardal O'Hanlon.

And in Short Order he had to play dead for two days. He explains

Right. Do you want me to say what I'm doing?
This is me playing dead. It gets a little boring so I do a bit of that sometimes.
-How many days have you been playing dead?
Er, this is my second day. But it's necessary because they need to see it's my face. So it had to be me and not a body double. Not that they could have afforded one anyway, because the director is being paid so much. Unfortunately.
-Was it a painful death?
Yeah it was, I was choking and then I got hit round the back of the head with a saucepan, so it's er, not peaceful.
-An unnatural death?
Yes, suspicious.
- I heard it's a mistake as well isn't it?
It sort of is a mistake without giving too much of the plot away. If you're one of these people who watches the special features before you actually watch the film on DVD then, er, I've just spoilt it for you!

Rade Sherbedgia plays Paulo and after a world famous film Before the Rain where he played the leading role, he was cast in films by prominent directors of the world (P.Noyce, J. Woo, S. Kubrick, F. Rossi...), in films such as The Saint (P.Noyce), La Tregua (F. Rossi), The Prague Duet, Broken English, Eyes Wide Shut (S. Kubrick), Polish Wedding, Stigmata, Mighty Joe Young, Il dolce rumore della vita, Mare Largo, Mission: Impossible II, Space Cowboys, The Snatch, and in South Pacific, Hermano, Quicksand, currently in postproduction. He starred alongside Val Kilmer, Elisabeth Shue, John Turturro, Tom Cruise, Glenn Glose. He best known for his role as Boris the Blade in Guy Ritchie’s Snatch.

John Hurt plays Felix and previously worked on Anthony’s award winning short film Meeting Che Guevara and the Man from Maybury Hill.

The English actor, famous for his Oscar nominated roles in Midnight Express and in David Lynch’s Elephant Man and living himself in Ireland for the last 10 years, flew over from Australia to contribute to the ‘resistance’ of independent European Films, and because

you can’t refuse Anthony anything once you know him.  This guy has an amazing talent, and if he remains focused with his feet planted firmly on the ground, he will go far, very far…’ 

John Hurt received the Evening Standard Award for Best Actor for the year for: 1984, The Hit and Champions. His many films include A Man For All Seasons, The Field,Scandal,  Rob Roy and John Boorman’s Two Nudes Bathing  the latter for  which he received a Cable Ace Award in 1995, and an acclaimed performance in Richard Kwietniowski’s Love and Death on Long Island.  John was seen as Dr Iannis in Captain Corelli’s Mandolin  directed  in John Madden.

 In 1999 John filmed Beckett’s Krapps Last Tape directed by Atom Egoyan and Tabloid TV directed by David Blair in 2000.  2001 was spent filming Miranda directed by Mark Munden, Harry  Potter and the Scorcerer’s Stone directed by Chris Columbus  and Owning Mahony directed by Richard Kwietniowski.

 In 2002, John won the Variety Club Award for Outstanding Performance in a Stage Play, for Brian Friel’s Afterplay. This was followed by the film, Hellboy and The Alan  Clark Diaries. More recently, John filmed Skeleton Key, directed by Iain Softely  for Universal, Shooting Dogs directed by Michael Caton-Jones and "The Proposition" directed by John Hilcote.

Vanessa Redgrave plays Marianne and has had an extraordinary career which has been marked by numerous stage and screen accolades, including an Oscar® as best supporting actress for "Julia," five Academy Award® nominations, an Emmy Award for "Playing for Time," and a nomination for "Second Serve," the Cannes Film Festival best actress award for "Morgan, A Suitable Case for
Treatment" and "Isadora" and the Venice Film Festival award in 1996 for "Little Odessa."

Cameos by British actor Paul Kaye better known as Dennis Penis, Its all Gone Pete Tong and Woody Allen’s Match Point plays Bert and American actor Jon Polito is most recognized from his film work with the Coen Brothers , as well as his many television appearances as a series regular and guest star. Notable motion picture performances are in Millers Crossing, Barton Fink, The Man Who Wasn’t There, Death of a Salesman with Dustin Hoffman, The Crow, The Tailor Of Panama, The Freshman with Marlon Brando, and The Honeymooners add to the international cast of Short Order.

The film also stars Irish actor Paschal Friel and Fair City actors Tatianna Ouliankina, Tommy O’ Neill and Eamon Hunt.

Tatianna explains how she got the role of Stephaine

Anthony came to me six years ago. I wasn't in the soap then, I just met him and he gave me the script. I read the script for six years, it was a long time. He told me that he wrote this part in it specifically for... when he saw me he just had the image of me.
-So you've been waiting for six years.
I was waiting yes, very patiently. Had a child in the meantime, the child is five now, a boy, got married, we bought a house, and now we're doing the movie.
She's like a spy the woman I think, she's very, very, like, strong, she's not a victim you know. She knows the game, how to play the game, how to make men to go crazy about her, and very sexual, very powerful, but funny as well, I think she's got a sense of humor.
She's not just, you know, dry like make money you pay me for my services, get out.
She's ... I think she's got a sense of humor, it's very important. So she's intelligent and that may be her softness, her sense of humor, I think. Well I want her to be like this you know.’

Anthony worked closely with Irish DOP Brendan Maguire to achieve a Technicolor look and feel for the film using old Hollywood musicals as a reference point especially Singing in the Rain and the French Film The Umbrellas of Cherbourg.

  Brendan was recommended to me by Des Whelan, and I met with Brendan and the two of us hit it off, So when Short Order came up I just gave him a call and we went and we sat down and went through it, and the two of us are completely different on every level across the board, except when we sit down to talk about films and specific shots and there's a common ground there.
And the other thing was, you know, most kind of 'young' directors like to work with 'young' sort of cameramen or something that's hip or cool; and I was kind of looking to work with old-school guys who are really masters of their craft

The atmosphere on the six week shoot remained completely relaxed and friendly, and there’s lots of laughs within this multi-cultural mix of Germans, English and Irish, old and young, trendy or not, chatty or quiet, who have found an equilibrium together.

A crew member also relates… I have experienced shoots where you were obliged to work 18 hour shifts, because the director had a particular idea, and would refuse to let it go until it followed exactly what he had in mind.  With Short Order, this has never happened, we have done the shoots with no delays at all, and without anyone getting annoyed along the way.  It really has been a wonderful experience.

Short Order was nominated for 8 Irish Film and Television Awards and won in the Production Design category.

Short Order was produced by Brian Willis of Igloo Films. The film is an Irish German UK co-production. The budget was €2.5 million and was funded by The Irish Film Board, Filmförderung Hamburg, EURIMAGES, Ailesbury Corporate Finance, Section 481, UK Sale and Leaseback, RTE and Samson Films.