Screened at the 2nd night of the Made in Cork Shorts, Ger O’Halloran’s True Stories, by director Rob O’Halloran, was a mock-horror comedy piece in which the directors’ father recounts a bizarre story involving the eating habits of a pet rabbit. It was met with rapturous applause and delight from the audience as they no doubt were recognising a great Cork character in their midst.
I managed to grab a few quick words with Rob at the Closing Gala celebrations.
What was the origin of the piece?
Rob: When it comes to the Corona Cork Film Festival my favourite category has always been ‘Made in Cork’, mainly because of the great Cork characters you get to see. You can really connect as a home audience as these are the types of people you see everyday.
I wanted to make a film about a good strong Cork character and I made a film about my favourite one, my Dad. The film is shot in a horror style but it’s based on a story my father tells about a pet rabbit we had when we were kids and how it turned carnivorous. I’ll let your imagination go with that one!
How does your father feel being immortalised through film?
It’s actually not his first time. I’ve been making films since I was fifteen with my friends. We started off doing silly things between ourselves and then writing more serious things. Whenever we needed someone to play an older figure my dad was the obvious choice. He’s been involved in my film career since the early ’80s.
I think a real courage under the fire was shown with this one as it was a very different shoot to what he was used to. It wasn’t just a handicam. There was a crew of about 20 people just to get this story of my Dad. And it was funny because the director congratulated him on the film and called him ‘Robert’. And he was like, ‘My names not Robert, that’s my son you’re thinking of!’ The director then said ‘I could’ve sworn you were Robert De Niro!’ And every person that has visited him since has been told about his experience as Robert De Niro for the day!
What were your thoughts on the screening itself?
It was great. The standard was so high again this year, with my personal favourite being Heart. It was by Amanda Ferriter, a friend of mine and every aspect of it was incredible, the acting, the shooting, the editing was absolutely perfect. It was of such a professional standard you’d feel intimidated as another filmmaker but also inspired to just keep going.
Are you currently working on any other projects?
I’m just starting on my first feature. I’ve been freelancing with camera work so it’s given me more confidence in my abilities. This is my fourth short in the festival so I really want to move into something a bit longer.
This was another one I shot documentary style as I’ve been working with a professional company in that regard for the last year a bit so that was the style I was comfortable with and gave me the confidence to mess around with a bit for this film.