Boomerang (2017) is a debut short film produced, filmed and directed by Diarmuid Doran. The film, which stars stars Mike Timms and Sofia Nilsson, takes the viewer into an unknown crisis which darkens the heart of a mysterious wreck.
Diarmuid Doran guides Film Ireland through his hypnotic trip.
What can you tell us about Boomerang?
It’s difficult to talk about the film without giving the story away so I don’t really discuss it with people until they have seen it, I just tell them it’s a love story, but a weird love story.
People need to draw their own conclusions and establish their own viewpoint, a film can mean different things to different people.
The trailer is quite mysterious…
I find film trailers give away too much of the story and you know whats going to happen before you see the film. It should be a mystery when you sit down to watch.
Where did the idea for the film come from?
The original story came from a stills narrative I shot as a student photographer in 1999. I revisited the idea and adapted it for film, the story development took one full year and principal photography was a ten-month gestation on and off, kind of like childbirth, only more painful.
What was the budget?
There was no budget or funding, it was all paid for by the myself. Mike Timms, the principal actor, paid for his own flights to Paris though. Have you ever told your wife you’re flying to Paris without her, to make a film? She laughed, then I knew it was a good idea. In the end, the total spend on the film was two grand.
Where was Boomerang filmed?
As I wanted anyone to be able to relate to the story, I wanted the film to have an international context, I didn’t want location to get in the way. I achieved this by not using traditional establishing shots that, I find, detract from the viewers’ connection. Boomerang was shot in three amazingly special parts of the world Dublin, Paris and Bray.
But it’s more about an internal location.
Is it true there was no crew, you did everything yourself?
I did everything apart from acting, my cameo didn’t make the cut. It was written, filmed and directed entirely by myself with no other crew during shooting. I did everything – lighting, camera, sound, organising locations, lunch, actors schedules, casting, carrying equipment, drying the tears, everything.
Shooting was way too heavy when I look back at it, I could have had more time to direct and get the best from the actors in relation to the story I had in my head. I had to remind myself not to neglect the actors, and they had to remind me to shoot stills. When I’d say that scene was finished Mike would shout “stills” stopping me in my tracks.
I even drew the storyboards myself which Sofia Nilsson thought were very funny. Though when I asked her did she understand them she said yes, so they worked. Sofia also laughed when recording the voices for the opening scene, I took that as a great sign because most people laugh when they come across something new, exciting or unique.
Where did you find the actors ?
I cast them myself, and it proved difficult, finding dedicated actors to commit to a project with zero budget is a hard sell, but in the end I found actors with dedication and unselfish commitment to the story. Again, I didn’t want distinctly looking ‘Irish’ actors, and I didn’t want to adhere to the norm. My mantra is always “cliches are the enemy”.
What was the strangest moment during filming?
By far carrying coffins downstairs in the local undertakers was strange and surreal. That scene didn’t end up in the film though because it seemed too much like spoon-feeding the audience.
Were there any major difficulties during the shoots?
Flight cancellations, lengthy battles with insurance companies, the stills photographer, Pierre, being caught up in the Paris terrorist attacks, soon followed by us witnessing a guy waving a gun on a Paris backstreet as we left a restaurant the night we shot the street scenes.
And I know without doubt the best shot in the film would never have happened if our first flights weren’t cancelled, we wouldn’t have been at the location at the right time.
Your background is photography, this is obvious in the cinematography.
Yes. I enjoyed this immensely, using light sources that would, by proper photographic norms, be called ‘wrong’.
I shot Boomerang on one camera I bought from Hong Kong for under 500 euro, one Nikon digital SLR and one lens. Lighting came by way of a DIY shop fluorescent light and a projector, but a lot of scenes made creative use of natural light and ambient environmental sources. The photography reflects the mood of each scene, going from natural ambient lighting to surreal dramatic intensity.
As a debut film, what was the biggest lesson you learned along the way?
The soundtrack. The soundtrack needs a lot more time than you think, months of work for sixteen minutes.
The soundtrack was written and recorded by myself during the principal photography and editing of the film. This was a a great lesson in being concise and minimalist by trying to let the pictures tell the story and not overpowering them, but also enhancing them at the same time. I’d been “almost finished the soundtrack” for months on end.
Also, film is a hard slog, it’s not red carpets and celebrity, it’s 6am on a cold beach, on your knees…
Irish Shorts 3 Poetic Voices Full Programme
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Christopher Whiteside, Madeline Graham / Ireland / 2017 / 16 mins
A young couple’s burgeoning love for each other grows into something darker when they face a malevolent entity.
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Diarmuid Doran / Ireland / 2016 / 16 mins
An unknown crisis darkens the heart of a mysterious wreck.
Producer Diarmuid Doran
Dominic Curran / Ireland / 5 / 2017 /
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Trevor Courtney / Ireland / 2017 / 5 mins / Animation
Deposits concerns the connection of all the disappeared in Ireland.
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An intrepid, older women deals with the reality of aging in a poetically practical way.
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Everything Alive is in Movement C
Linda Curtin / Ireland / 2017 / 10 mins
A film about the power of the female spirit to transcend and transform the human body.
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I’m Roger Casement
Dearbhla Walsh / Ireland / 2017 / 12 mins
A short film that dances with the queer bones of British knight, Irish rebel and international humanitarian, Roger Casement.
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Benjamin Cleary, T.J. O’Grady Peyton / Ireland / 14 mins
A man wakes from a coma speaking a fully formed but unrecognizable language, baffling linguistic experts from around the globe.
Best Short – Galway Film Fleadh, 2017
Producer Rebecca Bourke