Richard Keane’s short film Bird Food premiered at the Galway Film Fleadh in 2012 and has gone onto screen at over 40 film festivals around the world.
Set on a lovely sunny day, it tells the story of a business man who tries to eat his lunch in the park but the local pigeons have other ideas. Bird Food is a feast for the eyes that chews at the funny bone.
Since leaving college, Richard had been working non-stop in the animation industry for over 8 years but this was his directorial debut in animation. He had been trying to get several short films off the ground for years but work schedules made this difficult to juggle.
Speaking to Film Ireland about the film, Richard says, “The biggest issue was getting it off the ground in the first place. It is a lot of work to complete a short film and I could not have realistically done it without getting funding for it and therefore being able to pay people to work on it outside of our long working hours. Once the ball started to roll though, it couldn’t be stopped and a deadline is always one of the best things an artist/creative person can have.”
The film was funded by the Irish Film Board as part of the Short Shorts scheme in 2011, where the theme for that year was Food.
“I had a draft done way back in 2008 and then for the next 3 years I had it playing in the back of my mind, working out story elements etc. while I was busy full-time in Brown Bag Films. Over those years I had started to study improv, with guru John Dawson, and also performed improv with several troupes and this helped greatly with my understanding of story, characters, use of props and general timings. I brought all of these elements together until I was happy to pitch it in 2011 and with the theme of “food” it was obviously the perfect time to submit. The biggest thing over these years was how I simplified the story and how that actually made it better. I removed elements that hindered production and that improved the story greatly.”
“Bird Food’s style is hugely inspired by the past but it uses new techniques developed particularly for this project. I loved watching Looney Tunes, Merry Melodies and the UPA cartoons. So, when I decided to make my first short animated film, I knew it had to have both the visual style and tone.
“I wanted to stay away from the photo-real looking 3D shorts that seemed to be everywhere and make a highly stylised 3D short that looked like it was 2D by using old techniques but with new technology. I was pretty confident it would through my experiences in the industry but we were trying something new and so there were always some seeds of doubt. But there were audible sighs of relief when the first renders came through and it looked even better than we had hoped for.
“The reaction has been amazing to it and it has spurred me on to create more shorts and even develop features and not wait as long for the next one as it did the first one! Luckily I have recently just finished my latest live action short film The Grand Canal, also set on a bench funnily enough, so I hope to get this out to the world soon also.”
Written and directed by Richard Keane and produced by Laura Roche and Brown Bag Films.
The Grand Canal
Written and directed by Richard Keane and produced by Emma Owen and Babyjane Productions.