Gerard Walsh, Director of Farmer Michael (The Life and Times of a Social Media Pariah)’


Gerard Wash’s short documentary introduces us to Farmer Michael, a Galway-based, divisive character getting millions of views online. But his creator, Stevo Timothy, has a past with far more twists and turns than anyone would expect.


Ahead of its screening at this year’s Galway Film Fleadh, Gerard tells Film Ireland about how the film came together.


Documentaries were always something that I enjoyed watching but I never thought I would make one. Feature films have been my goal for over ten years and after directing 3 I decided why not! Let’s give it a go.

I have always been interested in telling people’s stories through small profile pieces and just putting them online so I was really going into the documentary blindfolded. Learning each day.

In between work and personal projects I enjoy asking interesting people that I encounter if I can document their story or talents and just put it out there. It helped me with my filmmaking and storytelling and I would always learn something new.

I still don’t know if it’s a selfless or selfish thing to do because I enjoy taking a peek into other people’s lives. The goal for me is always to help the subject with some sort of release or maybe just help them show off their talents.

I started this with a YouTube channel over 5 years ago called “LIVESETS” at the time. I would contact bands and singer/songwriters and just shoot one-take live performances. But after a while I wanted to do profiles on people from all walks of life. From barbers and sportspeople to comedians and grieving mothers.

Eventually I was approached by Stevo (Farmer Michael). I had worked with him a few years back on a promo video for a pub in Galway and after that, asked him to play a small part in my film South, so there was a bit of a relationship there.

He was looking for someone to create a short video about him and his life so I agreed.  When I sat down to interview him I really wasn’t expecting him to tell me the things he did. I felt Immediately torn on how to tell his story.

On one hand, it is a story of success, redemption and prevailing through art. I think that’s the story he wanted me to focus on originally.  But on the other hand, it’s a story about a terrible tragedy and something that could change a lot of people’s’ minds on how they feel about Stevo as a real person and not just his character.

After the first interview I realized that the story was bigger than I originally thought so I decided to spend more time exploring his life. I shot more days over the course of a year and wanted to see different sides of Stevo. I wanted an ending, I wanted some sort of redemption. For me, redemption needs to be shown over the course of time, it needs to be earned and I wanted that to come across in film.

If I’m being honest I was just looking for an honest way to tell the story and I’m not 100 percent sure I found it. The cut of the film as it stands has an ending, I think it works the way I indented it too, for now,  but I would eventually like to explore the idea of a longer film, hopefully we can acquire some funding for a feature-length version.

I always had a the goal of letting the viewer decide how they feel at the end and not forcing my own opinion on them. I could have easily sugar-coated Stevo’s story and tied it up in a nice little bow but there is no way I would. I have laid out as much as I could and I think that’s my responsibility as a storyteller.

If people are expecting to see a film based on a comedian and his hilarious exploits, they may be in for a bit of a surprise with this film. It is a story about a comedian, but also a story about a man with an extraordinary past.

I’m really looking forward to hearing people’s opinions and views after they see the film, I could be over-thinking everything and it’s entirely possible that I may have my head up my hole with my analysis of the film. But let’s see how it gets on.

Farmer Michael (The Life and Times of a Social Media Pariah) screens as part of the Irish Talent: New Shorts 1, Documentary Irish Talent: New Shorts 6, Fiction programme on Wednesday, 10th July at the Town Hall Theatre at 12:00 as part of the 2019 Galway Film Fleadh.

The 31st Galway Film Fleadh runs 9 – 14 July 2019.



Podcast Interview: Gerard Walsh wri/dir of ‘South’


Stephen Porzio talks to Gerard Walsh about his film South, which is out now in Irish cinemas.

South tells the story of Tom, a young man struggling with the recent death of his father. After finding a note from his estranged mother he decides to hit the road and try to find her. Throughout this journey Tom also tries to overcome his crippling stage fright as a musician. Along his journey he meets Jess, a free-spirited young woman that captivates his mind and heart.


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South is currently screening:


Irish Film Review: South


DIR/WRI: Gerard Walsh • PRO: Matthew Toman • CAST: Darragh O’Toole, Emily Lamey, Joe Rooney, Andie McCaffrey Byrne

The latest in a seemingly new-wave of uplifting Irish cinema, Gerard Walsh’s sophomore effort, South, stars newcomer Darragh O’Toole (Red Rock) as seventeen-year-old Tom, an aspiring musician suffering from stage fright. Following the death of his supportive single father, the protagonist decides to journey from his home county of Galway to Dublin to track down his estranged mother. On the way, he meets Jess (Emily Lamey), a free-spirited girl with whom he forms a bond.

Winner at the Fingal Film Festival for Best Feature, South is an amiable coming-of-age drama that captures warmly the awkwardness of youth, e.g. trying desperately to get served in off-licences to impress the opposite sex, getting into conversations with odd people by accident and not knowing how to excuse oneself. The relationship that develops between Tom and Jess is delicately played by O’Toole and Lamey, particularly in regards to the latter whose performance never becomes a “manic pixie dream girl” cliché. Although the way the central characters meet does not feel authentic, their interactions and how they act around each other does.

That said, at the premiere, producer Matthew Toman spoke about how Walsh showed up to him with South’s script and just a few months later, they were shooting the movie. Another few drafts of the screenplay could have benefitted proceedings as the dialogue within the film is not as punchy or as witty as it could be. For example, Tom narrates the entire movie rather unnecessarily, which wouldn’t be as big of a problem if the lines he was delivering were comedic. However, although one can see the humour in what Tom is saying, there are moments where the jokes fall a little flat. Too often the film settles for a pattern where something odd will happen to the protagonist, to which he will tell the audience “that was weird” and then repeat.

Yet, although Walsh’s screenplay is nothing to write home about, his direction is very solid, capturing a similar vibe to Darren Thornton’s work earlier in the year on A Date for Mad Mary. There is a scene in South where Tom and Jess have an intimate exchange against a sea backdrop which looks genuinely beautiful, with the central couple illuminated in a golden hue. Also, the film’s acoustic guitar driven soundtrack is very good, as it should be given how important music is to Tom’s story.

Overall, South is an enjoyable entry in both the road-trip and the coming-of-age sub-genre. At 78 minutes, it flies by and just as one thinks it’s running out of steam, Andie McCaffrey Byrne (Savage, Love/Hate) arrives to add some much-needed emotional heft as Tom’s mother.

Stephen Porzio

78 minutes
15A (See IFCO for details)

South is released 18th November 2016






‘A Day Like Today’ Charity Screening

Inline images 1

With the imminent release of A Day Like Today on Vimeo from this Friday, 1st April, director Gerard Walsh will donate his revenue  of the first month to the charity IIA, which provides information and support for Autistic children and adults, and family and friends of people with Autism.  The film will be also screened this Friday in Filmbase Temple Bar and all proceeds  again donated to  the charity.

A Day Like Today  tells the story of Alice, a woman whose marriage is on the rocks. She has a chance encounter with Joe (a homeless man with an unknown past). When the two troubled characters meet, they decide to take a day off and just enjoy each other’s company.



Review of Irish Film at Galway Film Fleadh: A Day Like Today


Christopher Banahan is impressed by Gerard Walsh’s A Day Like Today, which screened at the Galway Film Fleadh.

Gerard Walsh’s A Day Like Today has a thoughtfully-paced, sensitive script and direction that breathes an intimate sensibility into the arc of the story. Yet it belies a gritty undertone that gives the viewer disturbing glimpses that reveal the hidden flaws of the damaged central characters of the homeless Joe (Paul Butler Lennox) and downtrodden housewife Alice (Andie McCaffrey Byrne).

The film exudes a tentative subtle non-physical contact alliance between a couple from extremely different worlds. There is an unsaid compassionate understanding between the protagonists after spending a day in each other’s lives (suggesting an indirect catharsis to heal their own lives/ situations and see them more clearly from each other’s perspectives).

After the initial attraction, the unlikely couple’s hidden flaws rise uneasily and uncomfortably to the surface, during the course of ‘a mitching day in Dublin’.

Once intimate questions are asked by the pair, like the Pandora’s box syndrome, they have to be ‘looked into and faced’… As there’s no going back from the ugly truth once it is hinted at and takes an unhinged confrontational form of its own.

This confrontation manifests itself in a vengeful attack on Joe, a mercy rescue by Alice and the uncomfortable arrival of the vexed husband as he returns home to find his wife attending to the wounds of the homeless man. An uneasy, beer-drinking stifled conversation is drawn out with the homeless man by the suspicious husband, eventually leading to a brutal assault on his wife.

Yet despite the unwanted revelations and acts of retribution, the empathy of the two central protagonists towards each other irrevocably holds their belief in some form of redemption or hope, no matter how meagre or pitiful.

It is hard to believe that the film was put together on a micro-budget and shot in only ten days, as it is rich in its deliverance of its sensitive content, and thoughtful casting, particularly of Paul Butler Lennox’s volatile yet potentially ‘loose-cannon character’. An actor the director had in mind even as the script was still developing.

Gerard Walsh revealing it was ‘his love letter to Dublin’, told me he would make the film the same way again even if offered a larger budget – bringing to mind the Orson Welles filmmaker’s principal that ‘the enemy of art is the absence of limitation’ suggesting the tighter the budget the more creatively challenging the director must be. And in the case of A Day Like Today, Gerard Walsh succeeds with a wealth of imaginative gritty urban realism imbued with a sensitive story naturally told and revealed through brave and compelling performances.


Christopher Banahan (MA Production and Direction: Huston School of Film & Digital Media, Flirt FM journalist)

A Day Like Today screened on Wednesday, 8th July as part of the Galway Film Fleadh (7 – 12 July 2015)



Shooting a Feature Film on a Shoestring – Part V


Gerard Walsh continues his production blog as he sets out to shoot a feature film with €400, 6 days, a few friends and a cast of loyal actors.

Well thats a wrap!

On Sunday the 27th of October the last  shot of A Day Like Today was finished. After a couple of weeks of postponed days and missed scenes we are done! I couldnt be more happy with what we have achieved as such a small team.

There were a few issues with schedules and work but the team I have formed in crew and actors really proved to me that the project was as important to them as it is to me. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the cast and crew personally for making this process a stress free (MOSTLY) and fun environment to work in, especially as this is my first outing in the feature film malarky.

At the time of writing I am around 60 minutes into the rough cut of the film and after watching what I have, I am really surprised with how fluid and flowing the film is coming along. I started editing the film a few weeks back and within a day I had 20 minutes done. I think that because I know exactly what I wanted and I only shot what I knew I would need, the process has been relatively fast and simple.

The only issues I seem to be facing with the edit are some sound problems with dialogue. The sound is an obvious issue when we were running around like mad men and woman getting what we needed on time.

Surprisingly, the scenes where I was expecting there to be really bad sound were great and the parts that I were expecting not to worry about are the ones that are a bit low, but theres nothing a bit of ADR can’t help. I look forward to seeing some of the unlucky cast members that have to re-dub some of their lines, though they will get to see some of their hard work. I can’t say the same for them but hopefully they won’t mind. I’m pretty confident that by Friday the 15th of November I will have the first rough cut ready to pick apart and fix.

All in all I’m pretty proud of what we have achieved and I really think this film could stand up to some of the low-budget films being produced with funding and I hope it can be given the chance to be seen by as many people as possible.

After the film is edited I plan on sending it out to as many of the right people as I can to maybe get some sort of interest in the film. I think it would be a great shame if we didn’t get a chance to show off everyone’s hard work and determination.

Also I am planning a private screening for the cast, crew, family and friends soon, so when that happens I will try to get some of the people that attend to write some kind of review or a critique of the film.

Thank you for following this journey and I really hope you will continue to follow it as I try to reach as high as I can with it before I crash and burn…

Keep an eye on the film’s Facebook page

Read Part I here

Read Part II here

Read Part III here

Read Part IV here

Gerard’s Production blog


Shooting a Feature Film on a Shoestring – Part IV


Gerard Walsh continues his production blog as he sets out to shoot a feature film with €400, 6 days, a few friends and a cast of loyal actors.

So it looks like 6 Days wasn’t enough to get the film shot. We will more than likely need another 3 for shots we missed and stuff we literally couldn’t squeeze in. But I’m totally fine with that, at the end of the day the film and how it turns out is the most important thing and the goal of a 6-day shoot just wasn’t achievable with the material and time restraints we faced.

In other news! We now have the official trailer online and in the past 7 days since it’s been released online I have received some amazing feedback and support from people I don’t even know yet but hopefully we can keep in touch and maybe work on projects in the future. So here it is:

It’s very humbling gratifying to receive such lovely messages from filmmakers like myself who have seen the trailer and had a kick up the arse and realized that what I’m doing isn’t an amazing brave thing to do in this day and age. Anyone can go out and buy a camera for less than €1000 euro and do the same thing I’m doing.

I just don’t like hearing from other filmmakers that there’s not enough money to make this or there’s no funding for indie filmmakers. Right now that shit dosnt matter! Get off your hole and be creative!

I can’t stress enough how much I don’t think I am the best filmmaker and I don’t feel like what I am doing with this film is out of the realms of possibility. I just don’t like waiting around for support when I can do it myself.

On a lighter note we have a poster for the film! After a few drafts. I have finally come to the design I wanted from the start, which you can see above. Thanks to the very talented Michal Baran.

Read Part II here

Read Part I here

Read Part III here

Gerard’s Production blog



Shooting a Feature Film on a Shoestring – Part II


Gerard Walsh continues his production blog as he sets out to shoot a feature film with €400, 6 days, a few friends and a cast of loyal actors.


So I had the first taste of how a budget can start to slip out of your hands really fast, I’m out €17.50 now after getting tea, coffee and biscuits! This €400 euro better last!

Honestly, this is why even a €400 euro budget is kind of daunting, I love it when everyone on a project is working for the love and fun of the it and after getting most of the cast in for a table-read yesterday I can really tell that they are passionate about this little film.

We also had rehearsals to get everyone prepared for their roles on the day. I really want the shoot to be fast and on the ball, so rehearsals are very important to me. This way the actors can play out the scene in a room until it’s exactly how I want it and on the day it won’t take all day to shoot.

From what I have seen I am really confident that we can get a lot done in one day with little hassle. Exciting Stuff!

At the end of today’s entry I will have two pieces written by my writer, Shane Coules, and one of the cast, Darragh O’Toole. What I want to achieve with having these guys write about their experiences is to show a different perspective from mine.

The cast of A Day Like Today includes Paul Butler Lennox, Andie Mc Caffrey, Brian Fortune, Darragh O’Toole, Richard Mason, Tristan Heanue, Tiny James and two characters that are “To Be Confirmed” – this is just a scheduling issue with one of the characters so we mutually agreed to change the casting.

The other TBC was a really exciting but too-good-to-be-true kind of situation. I had been talking to a well-known actor about maybe coming on board as this role and they seemed to be interested.

I never felt 100% certain about the possibility, but it was a really cool gesture that the person even responded to my mail and showed interest.

I am really excited about the two new actors though, they look and sound amazing and I think they are going to be absolutely perfect in these roles. I will update who they are next week.

I will be directing, DoPing, producing and editing this film and hopefully I will be finished next month, I don’t like to let a project sit.

Some people prefer leaving the film after it’s been shot and coming back with a fresh head, I just can’t do that, so after each shoot day I will be assembling that day’s scene and hopefully on the last day I will have a rough assemble ready for my composer (Pat O’Connor).

That’s just my process, it might sound very rushed but it seems to work for me.

Shane Coules on writing the script:

Writing A Day Like Today

Written by Shane Coules:

Punch Up With a Script

“Think you’re funny, huh? Mocking me. Existing in your world of endless white, teasing me with a flicker of black every second – ‘Look, this is how easy it is to put letters on the screen. Look, it’s so simple! You really are quite pathetic…’ – Shut up!”

Okay, that’s probably an exaggeration (I say ‘exaggeration’ just so I can maintain some semblance of sanity). It wasn’t really like that, but most writers, or people who write (me belonging to the latter category) invariably experience the taunt of the flickering cursor on the computer screen at some stage when they sit down to write whatever masterpiece (sure) they’re working on. Of course, sometimes the material just flows; characters come to life with caustic, emotive, witty dialogue and your action is as poetic as a – well, as a poem. But you can bet your proverbial arse that the moment will arrive when Mr. Cursor just looks back at you stoically, unwilling to cooperate. And what do you do? Well, you take it out on the taciturn Mr. Cursor.

This experience occurred more often whilst working on the script for A Day Like Today throughout the summer. The script and I have had a – well, let’s say a strained relationship. We haven’t got on very well, in fact at times we have despised each other. But after much council (and a fair few drinks) we reached an amicable agreement to get along. Yes, after more arguments than Withnail and his pal labelled ‘I’ endured, we agreed to put our differences aside and to get productive.

During numerous meetings Gerard and I had fleshed out pretty much all the major points of the script (minus dialogue – I just had to connect the dots really, but make those adjoining lines interesting – sounds easy, doesn’t it?), so I knew it wasn’t going to be a year-long process in writing the piece. I first met Ger at a mutual friend’s house, Paul Dodd (Bound), who was shooting his college film (if memory serves me correctly it involved a sawn-off shotgun) at home. We discussed how, sometimes, a cigarette can prompt a bowel movement. Since then we’ve worked together on a number of projects and it has been great to have such a talented up-and-coming filmmaker to collaborate with, who, like me, is still at the early learning phase of his journey to attain his desired vocation. In reality, though, we never stop learning. If we did the world would become quite insipid and unbearable. Considering Ger’s short film Annex was shot less than two years ago, I think it’s fair to say he has come a long way in a short space of time.

When he came to me with the idea for the script I was both enthusiastic and apprehensive. Enthusiastic about the practicality and romance of the shoot and story, apprehensive about taking this idea and turning it into a film that would warrant the viewer giving up their time to watch it (although I suppose that apprehension almost always accompanies a work-in-progress). After many unproductive and frustrating hours (for some reason the story wasn’t flowing for me, which doesn’t happen very often when I sit down to work on a script) the piece eventually got moving, and my frustration slowly faded. The characters began to develop and the dialogue began to flow. The characters took over, and that is what I find is imperative to producing an honest, believable and relatable screenplay.

The script began to take shape.

The story itself (without giving too much away) centres around the chance meeting of a man who is currently homeless and a woman in the midst of a destabilized and unhappy marriage. When you read that, it all sounds very depressing and harrowing, and while these issues are not to be taken lightly, they aren’t the main focus of the film. It is, in essence, a character study. And while these issues are touched on, there are moments where you have to find humour. Finding a balance between hopelessness and comedic optimism was a real driving force for me when writing the script, although this isn’t necessarily in relation to our protagonists. Regardless of your situation, (in most cases) being a born-and-bred Dubliner brings with it a sense of the macabre/comic. In the most dire (and sometimes inappropriate) circumstances we tend to find humour. I could give plenty of examples, but that would be unnecessary. Anyone reading this will know what I mean. And that’s part of our make-up in this country, and a total necessity in my opinion. Without finding humour in the most hopeless situations we’d all be turning to the drink (oh wait…).

As I type, I’m making amendments to the script ahead of principle photography, and only time will tell if it’s up to scratch. I’m sure the cast and crew will do a stellar job; let’s hope I’ve done mine well and we’re left with a film we can all be proud of.

Darragh O’Toole on preparing for his role:

My character Liam is an underprivileged inner city teenager. He comes from one of the most troubled areas of Dublin where under-age drinking, drugs and crime are rife. As the saying goes, “You’re a product of your own environment” and Liam is no different.

The dysfunctional family home Liam comes from offers little respite to the constant on-edge
feeling of the streets. An alcoholic father down through the years, who recently abandoned the family home can be seen as the root of Liam’s behavioral issues. The relationship with his mother is strong but is often strained as all she wants is the best for her son. His bravado and quick tongue often land him in trouble.

Preparation: I think one of the most important things an actor can do is observe.

I observe all the time , but when there’s a specific character I’m preparing for if possible, I’ll observe them specifically and hone in on their characteristics,  body language, if it differs when in groups, etc, etc..

As I’m from the Midlands (Tullamore, Offaly) I have to get the accent down. Again, observing the accent in the street, getting the pronunciation and twang, etc. You can get documentaries, interviews and films which you can replay and replay over and over, which is really helpful.

Really looking forward to getting started on A Day Like Today. I worked with Ger before and it was a great experience. As it’s still early days in my acting career, just over 2 years, I feel very grateful to be getting to work with filmmakers like Ger. Looking forward to rehearsals , meeting the cast and crew and Shane Coules, who I think has written a really great script.

Gerard Walsh – Final Thoughts:

I really hope this blog is something that interests people who are into filmmaking. I’m not trying to be a teacher or someone who claims to know what there doing, I’m just doing what I think I can achieve with no help from funding agents or the film board.

It’s not my way of saying “Fuck the system” either, I’d just rather not wait around, talking about what I’m going to do and fill out request forms that might take years to even get looked at so I can make what I want.


Gerard’s Production blog