Two lads receive a simple job with a big payout. All is not as it seems and if they break The Three Don’ts, they could be in for a world of hurt.
Ahead of its screening at the Underground Cinema Film Festival, writer/director Paddy Murphy tells Film Ireland about his neo-noir, black comedy film set in Limerick.
Back in April of 2015, I had shot three short films. These films had been plagued with a variety of issues and I was kind of losing my love of the industry and was thinking about packing it all in and going back to my day job. That was when I met Brian Russo Clancy; a musician and writer from Limerick. Brian and I had a coffee in mid-April and I was convinced to draft a script based on his concept for a short film called ‘The Three Don’ts’.
Two years later and many, many hours spent on set and in post-production, I can safely say that was one of the best decisions of my life. Through Brian, I was introduced to a cinematographer named Barry Fahy, who was Director of Photography on the original short. Barry and I had an immediate bond and since then we’ve gone on to shoot over a dozen shorts together and even set up our own production company – along with Brian Clancy and constant co-conspirator Aaron Walsh.
So what is The Three Don’ts? The film is a neo-noir, black comedy set in Limerick, Ireland. It tells the story of two young, naive lads named Jason McCarthy (Brian Russo Clancy) and Benson Yau (Nathan Wong) who want nothing more than to make a few bob. Benson finds out through his Uncle, that a group of lads led by an enigmatic and powerful character named Banger (Adam Moylan) are looking for someone to do a simple job, for a big payout.
What they don’t realise is that this “Simple Job” will bring them in contact with feuding families, a pair of assassins and a drug kingpin who has a hold over all involved. If they can follow ‘The Three Don’ts’ they might just make it through the night alive. But what are the chances of that…
After we had shot the original short film – which ran to 30 mins – we held a screening in our local Odeon Cinema. We filled the place out with over 400 people in attendance and we knew there had to be more to this story. Brian’s brother, Eric Clancy, who also plays Crunchie in the film, came on board and drafted concepts for two further long-form shorts. I then took these three arcs and worked to bring them into one feature-length screenplay with story input from Brian.
We originally had a 2 hour and 23 minute long cut of the film in May of 2016. While at the Cannes film festival, myself, Adam, Aaron and Barry met an Australian producer by the name of Judd Tilyard who came onboard the film as Executive Producer. He gave advice and insights on reshoots to try and bring the ridiculously long run-time down and to tighten up the plotline and arc.
Reshoots began in September of 2016 and lasted through to October. After two years, the film was finally in the bag thanks to an incredible cast and crew whose passion for the film seeps through in every frame. A huge thanks must be extended to every single person who helped make this film a reality. Without the help and support of them, this wouldn’t even exist.
Over two years, we’ve worked on this film and are so excited to be finally having the film premiere at the Underground Cinema Film Festival (UCFF). The film has already been screened for industry professionals like Nicholas Burman Vince [Hellraiser] – who also moderated the Q&A at the film’s test screening in Limerick, May 2017 – who said the film made him laugh until he cried… then started laughing again.
The Soska Sisters, directors of the films Dead Hooker in a Trunk and American Mary, were huge inspirations to me. We were so lucky to have them take a look at the film as it was nearing completion and they gave us some incredible feedback and advice. They also said The Three Don’ts was “A really fun, batshit crazy film!”.
Getting to meet all these amazing professionals and even work with them has been amazing, but not as rewarding as the knowledge that a group of friends went out together and made this film happen. That is the thing that matters most to me about the last two years. Now we are looking to the future. After UCFF, the film has a few more festival acceptances to announce.
We also have some more work to do on our sound mix, so we might run a kickstarter to cover the costs of getting that done. Our aim is to release a limited run of Blu-Rays of the film that will only be available to about 100 people. We really want to get this film out there and into the hands of genre fans everywhere.
This experience has taken me from the brink of giving up and turned this into my career. It wouldn’t have been possible if I hadn’t taken thirty minutes to go have a coffee with a friend.
The Three Don’ts screens on Saturday, September 2nd at 3pm at the 8th Underground Cinema Film Festival.
Get tickets here
The 8th Underground Cinema Film Festival takes place in the Royal Marine Hotel in Dun Laoghaire from August 31st to September 3rd.