Tristan Heanue gives us a look at A Break in the Clouds, which screens at this year’s Galway Film Fleadh.
What can you tell us about A Break in the Clouds?
It is about a young couple who are struggling in different ways following the birth of their first child. It follows them over one morning as things come to a head.
How did the story come about?
It came from a few different places. A few friends of mine had babies in quick succession and I saw first hand the different types of strain that it had on them. It just stuck with me and I wanted to tell a story that showed what the pressures were like for both sides during this time.
Did you always know you wanted to direct this story?
Yes, I had been working on the script for over a year and it was always in my head to direct it. Originally, I hadn’t planned to act in it as I submitted it to a short film scheme, but once we didn’t get selected for that I had to re-think it. Paddy Slattery [producer] had always suggested me acting in it so I decided to go for it. I had a wonderful cinematographer in Narayan Van Maele who made the whole experience so much easier. We spent a day in Connemara walking through the locations and planning everything so when the time came for me to step in front of the camera for my shots he had it all under control.
You’ve worked with Paddy Slattery before – what does he bring to the table?
A number of things, he is always the first person to read my scripts so I trust him more than anyone. He gives the best advice when it comes to screenwriting and doesn’t sugar coat it. He always helps you keep belief in a project and pushes you on when you sometimes might be having doubts about the material, which usually happens weekly!
What were the important lessons you learned from your debut directing experience that you brought to bear on this film?
Mainly to not try to cut corners with anything, to be more prepared. Sometimes you look back at the other films and see little mistakes and you just do your best to not do the same again. I spent a lot more time on the script also, it went through quite a few different versions as we had a certain budget and had to make sure it was possible to shoot it on that.
How important was the chemistry of the cast to successfully tell this story?
It wasn’t as important as maybe on others. All the characters are somewhat estranged in it or have bad communication with each other so I think it would have worked either way. But as it happened everyone kinda knew each other. I had met Marie Ruane, who plays Natalie, a few times before and we spent an evening rehearsing our scene beforehand but that was the only rehearsals we did for the film. Gemma-Leah Deveraux, who plays Sarah, and Marie had also known each other for years so they were comfortable working together. And I had also met Linda Bhreathnach, who plays Ally, a couple of times before so that always helps things flow a little better.
You must be excited about Galway
Yeah, I’m so excited to show this film to people. I’m nervous as well of course but I think the excitement is maybe edging it this time. Galway is obviously special for me being a native so it will be great to have all my friends and family there with me.
A Break in the Clouds screens at Galway Film Fleadh on Friday, 14th July at the Town Hall at 10am as part of the New Irish Shorts 4 programme.