Interview: Conor Dowling, Co-Director of ‘The Light of Day’

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This week Dublin’s premier filmic fright fest, the Horrorthon, returns blood-stained and shambling to the IFI. Demonic possession and dismemberment are to be expected, but between the shocks and screams there are laughs to be had at the screening of the comedy mockumentary, The Light of Day.

Film Ireland picked at the brains of co-director Conor Dowling ahead of the screening this Friday. 

Set and shot in Dublin, The Light of Day follows a group of amateur filmmakers as they struggle with the horrors of low-budget filmmaking on the set of a vampire horror flick. The mockumentary follows Michael, the DOP trying to salvage the production against a horde of incompetence from the egocentric director, a desperate producer and non-existent budget.

The film was made as part of the MSc in Digital Filmmaking at Filmbase, written by Christopher Brennan and directed by students Amy Carroll, Conor Dowling and Eoin O’ Neill.

After it premiered to rave reviews at this year’s Galway Film Fleadh, Conor Dowling, who describes the team as “horror fanatics”, told us what it means to have it shown at the IFI Horrorthon. “We’re over the moon to be screening at the IFI. I’ve been going to the Horrorthon for years and it’s a genuine honour to have our film screen at it.”

The feature was the culmination of a course focused on practically preparing filmmakers for all areas of film production. Conor went on describe how this benefited the making of the film. “The course allowed the class to work together on several projects throughout the year before The Light of Day, giving us the opportunity to see what it was like to work together along with giving us top quality experience and guidance.”

This was particularly relevant for the three directors. “Before we got onto set we were all on the same page in terms of the script, the cast, the shooting style, and how all the scenes would be staged. Having three directors on a film is not very common and people often wonder how it can possibly work, but for us it was a particularly smooth process, and working with two other directors was actually a huge benefit.”

Conor explains that working collaboratively they were able to “work on our shotlists together and give feedback on the other director’s interpretations of how scenes should play out, while each bringing our own unique take and sense of humour to certain scenes. By the time it came to shoot, we were happy to divide the three shooting weeks up evenly with a week each. Having three directors also allowed us to cover more ground and sometimes even shoot simultaneously. For example, one director could be setting up for a scene in the warehouse and the other director could grab some crew, and an actor to film some additional scenes outside.”

Another topic discussed before the shoot was their influences. “When it comes to mockumentary style you have to look at the likes of The Office, both the US and UK versions, and the films of Christopher Guest. These would have been the main influences but we also looked elsewhere to get an idea of how it has been done differently. For example, I was a big fan of Behind The Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon, which was a great comedy horror mockumentary in 2006 and we were all a fan of the Belgian film Man Bites Dog, which was not tonally what we were looking for but in terms of camera movement and naturalistic staging of scenes it was a great example.

“So for the mockumentary style we intended to make it look as close to real life as we could using natural light where possible, using a lot of camera movement and working with our cinematographer to obtain the fly on the wall documentary style we wanted.”

The Light of Day is told through behind-the-scenes styled footage documenting the production of the vampire horror flick, ‘The First Bite is the Deepest’. The story of the shoot develops alongside footage of the film, creating a film-within-a-film that presented both challenges and opportunities for the filmmakers. “To establish a different look and feel for the film within the film, we used a different camera and shooting style. Stepping away from the handheld mockumentary style for these scenes, we were able to use a more traditional cinematic shooting style with more complex lighting setups. The aim was to have a short cinemtic horror film split up and placed throughout the overall film, and this film was a great opportunity for us to try out different cinematic techniques and styles from some of our favourite horror and action films.”

 

The Light of Day screens on Friday, 24th October 2014 at 19.10 as part of the IFI Horrorthon 2014 (23rd – 27th October). The directors will attend the screening.

Tickets for The Light of Day are available here

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IFI Ireland on Sunday Interview: Lorna Fitzsimons, co-director of ‘Poison Pen’

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The comedy feature Poison Pen, the first screenplay from international best seller Eoin Colfer, will screen this Sunday at the IFI as part of its monthly showcase for new Irish film.

The film co-stars Lochlann O Mearáin as a washed-up author, who is coerced into writing for a gossip magazine, alongside Aoibhinn McGinnity as his new boss. Set in London but shot almost entirely in Dublin, Poison Pen is a smart and discerning romantic comedy about the nature of celebrity and integrity.

Poison Pen was directed by Lorna Fitzsimons, Jennifer Shortall and Steven Benedict, and made as part of the Masters in Digital Feature Film Production at Filmbase, which places an emphasis on practical filmmaking to prepare students for a future in film production.

“Anyone who’s made one can tell you what it’s like to make a feature film, but you only really learn when you do it yourself,” explains Lorna Fitzsimons, one of the co-directors and students on the course. “We did classes in everything: script writing, pre-production, casting, camera, sound recording, marketing, funding, etc. Directors, producers, writers, a really impressive list of industry experts came to see us, which was great preparation.”

As one of three directors, Lorna explains how they divided up Eoin Colfer’s script and how artistic continuity was retained. “Essentially we divided the script by locations or ‘worlds’. Steven (Benedict) took the old world, mainly based around Molloy’s apartment and his daughter Sally, I took his new world, mainly based around the magazine offices and London, and Jenny (Shortall) took the Celebrity world which, as you can imagine, was based in hotels, clubs and glamorous places.

“This division worked well, people act differently in different company and places. For example, Molloy is used to his writer’s block while he is at home, it’s comfortable, he owns it. When he gets to the Poison Pen offices, it’s different, he’s different. The influence of a different director is easily worked out this way. We spoke so much about character and story and motivation in preproduction that I don’t think anything was left to chance.”

In addition to the two lead actors, the film boasts an impressive support cast that includes Paul Ronan, Mary Murray, Susan Loughnane, Gemma-Leah Devereux, Aaron Heffernan and Lauryn Canny. Lorna discusses how they acquired the acting talent. “Our producers, Áine Coady and Sharon Cronin, did an amazing job of negotiating with agents and getting people in the room with us. Sometimes we did readings, sometimes we didn’t. I think that the guidance we got from Filmbase on casting was one of the best things about the course. There are no hard-and-fast rules, you have to meet actors and look for the characters; some people surprised us when we looked at the tapes and that was a learning curve, it’s all on the tape, not necessarily in the room.

“Having actors with experience on set is really important but there is such a fine balance, they need to want to be there and be challenged too.”

With over 30 locations and an extremely tight shooting schedule, managing time while getting good performances in the can was another balancing act. The film premiered at the Galway Film Fleadh in July which, with principal photography starting in April, gave the filmmakers a tight deadline to aim for.

“Getting to the finish was a challenge. All the little niggly bits that can take months, but because we had this deadline we had to get them done. This is where many people new to filmmaking get lost I think, in the soup that is completing the film”.

Lorna also puts an emphasis on preparation. “Directing on set was the highlight for me. It’s difficult to get practice doing that, so I tried to appreciate every moment. Preparation is necessary and really stands to you. I like being on set with my homework done, observing what it is everyone is doing, answering their questions and giving the actor the right words just when they are needed.”

After the rush to get the film finished for its premiere down in Galway, Lorna is looking forward to its screening at the IFI this weekend. “I feel like we were all a little shell shocked standing on the stage at the Fleadh. It’s been 6 weeks now, so this time I’m looking forward to watching the film with friends and family, seeing how they react.”

Poison Pen screens on Sunday, 31st August 2014 at 18.00 as part of the IFI’s Ireland on Sunday monthly showcase for new Irish film.

The cast and crew will participate in a post-screening Q&A.

Tickets for Poison Pen are available now from the IFI Box Office on 01 679 3477 or online at www.ifi.ie

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Cinema Review: The Raid 2: Berandal

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DIR/WRI: Gareth Evans • PRO: Nate Bolotin, Ario Sagantoro, Aram Tertzakian • DOP: Matt Flannery • ED: Gareth Evans • MUS: Aria Prayogi, Joseph Trapanese, Fajar Yuskemal • CHO: Iko Uwais, Yayan Ruhian • CAST: Iko Uwais, Yayan Ruhian, Arifin Putra

Every few years an Eastern martial arts film muscles its way into the mainstream western conscience, films like Tony Jaa’s Ong Bak, Donnie Yen’s IP Man and the work of Yimou Zhang. The Raid: Redemption was one such film, which delivered a knockout karate chop to the face when it roundhouse kicked its way into Irish cinemas back in 2011. The Indonesian martial arts romp by the Welsh director (Welsh!), Gareth Evans, forwent substance in favour of a simple plot, about a team of police raiding a tower block of criminals, and a crap tone of style.

Now Evans is back with The Raid 2: Berandal, which takes the fight to the street and attempts to expand upon the staggering fight scenes from the first film with bigger action, a heavier plot and even a car chase or two.

Poor Rama is having a pretty bad week. We pick up with our bloodied and bruised protagonist where the first film left off, with him fresh from fighting his way through hordes of criminals to get to their drug lord boss. But now we find out that this boss is just a small fish in a large pond, on top of which his brother has been assassinated, and he must now go undercover in a prison where he’ll fight 18 guys from within the confines of a dirty toilet cubical. Life’s hard.

On his bloody tale of redemption Rama encounters a lot of big fish Mafioso types and their henchmen, such as the affectionately named Hammer Girl and Baseball Bat Man. His time in the slammer is really just a ploy to get pally with Uco, the angsty son of a big time crime lord. Once out, the focus of the film shifts towards exploring the relationship between the hot-headed Uco and his father.

This proves to be a smart choice by the filmmakers because, while Iko Uwais (Rama) is perfect as the brooding badass who may be in a lot of pain but will still mess you up, Arifin Putra (Uco) displays more dramatic range. Yayan Ryhian, who choreographed the fight scenes along with Uwais, is also impressive as he returns in a new role as a hobo/part-time hitman.

But for all of the plot, subplot and performances, the heart of the film is still in its bloody and indulgent fight scenes and, even running at a lengthy 150 minutes, you’re never far from some pants-soiling action. With modern Hollywood action films numbing us with CGI superheroes bashing CGI superheroes, the visceral and impactful combat here combines just enough realism with spectacle to make it truly satisfying.

Moving the combat out of the dingy rooms and corridors of the first film sacrifices the distinctive, claustrophobic style for greater scope and variety. Fights happen in cars, prisons, warehouses, clubs as well as bright offices, and fancy restaurants, giving a diversity that suits the longer format. What we miss out on as a result is the gritty charm. In particular, the cookie cutter gangsters in their minimalist offices don’t offer the same crazed vitality of the villains from the first film. The Mobster plot, including Uco and his father’s rule by fear vs. rule by respect debate, is also entirely unoriginal.

But for sheer blood-pumping spectacle, Gareth Evans is cementing himself as the best director in the business. By the end of the film I had the immediate urge to sit through it again. Despite some minor flaws, The Raid 2: Berandal is still probably the best action film you’ll see this year, unless of course Chuck Norris releases anything.

 

Glenn Caldecott

18 (See IFCO for details)
150 mins

The Raid 2: Berandal  is released on 11th April 2014

The Raid 2 – Official Website

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Liam Bates’ score for ‘Last Passenger’ to be Released

Liam Bates

 

The soundtrack by Irish composer Liam Bates for the action film Last Passenger is available to buy on CD on 19th November 2013.

The score, which was recorded with The Orchestra of Ireland at Studio 8, RTÉ, and mixed at Windmill Lane was influenced by high-octane action scores form the 1970s and 80s to fit the exciting, tense and dark nature of the the film. Last Passenger is a claustrophobia thriller directed by Omid Nooshin. Dr. Lewis Shaler, along with his son Max and his love interest, are travelling on a commuter train that misses out on the last of its stops. The small group of surviving commuters must work together to stop the train before they meet their doom.

“I thought that the score should be emblematic of the film’s overall direction,” explained Omid Nooshin, the director, who also co-wrote the film, “personal approach spotlighting emotion and character, but also evoking the central theme of everyday heroism in the face of mortality. Liam’s initial composition was an opening salvo of racing brass and percussive pulses. The sheer excitement he conjured put the hook in me.”

Liam Bates talked about his concept for the score. “Interestingly, the music for a movie which is literally constantly on the move, required particular attention to that second musical element, the vehicle of rhythm. This element which was laid out with strongly defined pace and carefully marked tempo transitions, would become the back-bone for the steadily rising tension in the film, leaving pitch or melody to draw out the emotion surrounding the characters and their interplay.”

“Being mindful not to simply emulate the rhythmic sound of the train on the track, I looked for various metallic sounds to add to the existing chosen orchestral pallet of strings and brass. The musical themes drawing the emotional play between characters, albeit occasionally sweet or romantic, still seemed best served with a slightly unnerving restlessness”.

The Last Passenger: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack is published by Bucks Music Group and is released by MovieScore Media & Kronos.

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Interview: James Mullighan, Director of the Cork Film Festival

 

James Mulligan

 

With the 58th Cork Film Festival kicking off this weekend Glenn Caldecott sat down with the newly-appointed festival director James Mullighan to talk about what audiences can expect from Cork this year.

Now in its 58th year, the Cork Film Festival has built up a reputation for showcasing some of the best global arthouse cinema and has maintained a strong commitment to supporting up-and-coming filmmakers. The newly-appointed festival director, James Mullighan, was keen to stress that he wanted to remain faithful to this tradition. ‘The thing that audiences this year can expect to be the same is a continued commitment to exhibit the best recent arthouse cinema from around the world. So there is a touching human drama from Turkey and a Cannes award winner in The Opera House.

‘Again we are determined to do what we can for emerging filmmakers and we have three programmes of short films, for those made in Cork, in Ireland and the rest of the world. We also have a 10 event film education scheme for emerging filmmakers, which is a mix of a meet the sales agents panel all the way through to the bold new conference, Emerge, on the last Saturday’.

Emerge will feature discussions from filmmakers, technologists and transmedia producers, and will explore the convergence of film and technology to cover areas such as crowdfunding, transmedia, making films for web and connecting to audiences. ‘Ireland is rich in conferencing but it doesn’t have anything quite like this. I’m sure that the Cork Film Festival is a great home for it with its commitment to helping emerging filmmakers’.

Born in Adelaide, Australia, James Mullighan worked as a freelance arts journalist before moving to London to embark on a busy career that involved being the Creative Director of Shooting People, the producer of Marketing and Distribution for the Sleep Paralysis Project, and a Contributing Editor for VODO, Cinovate and Rich Pickings. In 2011 he directed the Edinburgh International Film Festival through a turbulent transitional year.

‘I wont pretend that I had a particularly easy time running the Edinburgh Film Festival’, admitted James, ‘but it was in many ways one of the most satisfying thing ive ever done’. In May 2013 he got the fateful call from the board of the Cork Film Festival asking him to once again reprise his role as a festival director. ‘My stomach flipped over. The idea of running a film festival again filled me with absolute delight. It wasn’t hard to convince me to take the job, I just then had to convince others that I was the right guy for it’.

So what does he feel he has brought to the festival this year? ‘If you look at the new logo, next to film in smaller letters is ‘music’ and ‘ideas’. This is a musical city in a musical country and there will not be a day that goes by where there won’t be music events’. Such events include the psychedelic rock band ‘Teeth of the Sea’ performing a live score to A Field in England, and harpist and vocalist Serafina Steer is doing a new score to Amer, the giallo film by Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani. ‘Also, the Emerge conference is very close to my heart, I hope it sticks and is something we can build upon.’

And what is he particularly looking forward to. ‘If someone was thinking about going to the festival and only seeing one film, the sure fire winner for me is Lukas Moodysson’s Swedish comedy drama, We Are The Best, about three eleven-year-old girls who, not letting their complete lack of musical talent hinder them, start a punk band’.

 

The 58th Cork Film Festival runs from the 9 – 17  November 2013.

For more information visit www.corkfilmfest.org

Check out our previews of Irish film screening at Cork plus exclusive coverage from the festival

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Interview: Tom Ryan, director of ‘Trampoline’

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Trampoline, the independent Irish feature about a woman returning home and having to readjust to the life she left behind, had its world premiere at the Indie Cork film festival last week. Glenn Caldecott bounced some ideas around with first-time writer/director Tom Ryan about the film and the challenges of independence. 

 

What inspired you to make Trampoline?

Trampoline was born out of a lifelong desire to be a writer/ director. After finishing college I worked within the film industry as a camera assistant for three years which was a huge learning curve for me. Working on shoots with the camera department meant I was always privy to watching how different directors interact with actors. Late last year I eventually felt confident enough to write a feature script and put it into production. I wrote the script around my production limitations. For example, I knew that it would more cost effective to shoot it in my hometown of Nenagh than it would a big city like Dublin, Cork or Galway. I was drawn to the idea of people my age who feel lost and directionless after finishing college. I have many friends in that position so that was the basis of the script. I really didn’t think that there were any Irish movies that dealt with this kind of idea so that was another reason for me to want to make it.

 

What considerations are there when making an independent film?

Making an independent film is a tough but extremely rewarding process. The only problem is that you don’t get any of the rewards until you have the entire project completed. Being an independent movie means that you have no safety net, no major financial support and absolutely no promise that it will ever be screened. All of this can be quite daunting but it is also an incredible learning experience. You also have to choose your cast and crew carefully, it’s an intense process and you need people that you can count on and who you trust. I was incredibly lucky with my cast and crew. Filmmaking is a collaboration and in order to get through the stress and torture that can sometimes arise from shooting you need a team of people who are all incredibly willing to support each other.

 

Can you talk about how the film was financed? What was the motivation behind getting local Nenagh businesses to sponsor the film?

We were unable to get any official funding of any kind so we decided to ask the local businesses in the town of Nenagh if they would help sponsor the film. In exchange for a donation they would get a mention in the credits and a shot of their shop-front in the movie. It was product placement of sorts but it worked. One of the major advantages of shooting your first film in your hometown is that there is amazing goodwill and support from everybody there so we were extremely fortunate that the local businesses were so kind to us, otherwise we really wouldn’t be where we are today with the movie.

 

How did you work with the DOP to get such a great looking film on a budget? 

My DOP, Cian Moynan, is one of those rare talents in the business. He has such a good eye for visuals and he is very confident when it comes to setting up shots. I found early on in the shoot that the best way to get natural performances from the actors would be to let them have free reign of the room during the scene. This way they would not have to worry about hitting marks or delivering lines certain ways as they turn to hit specific lights on set and things like that, so as a result of this Cian had to throw his shotlist out the window and improv his shots around the actors. That might sound a bit crazy but Cian was more than capable of stepping up to that challenge and he did a fantastic job. It is very important for the director to have a cinematographer that he/she can trust implicitely. We didn’t have the budget for any monitors or equipment like that so I put a lot of trust in Cian to get the right shots and he went above and beyond the call of duty for us.

 

What was the most valuable thing that you learnt while working as a camera assistant that you could apply to making Trampoline?

I have worked on good shoots and bad shoots throughout my years as a camera assistant and the difference between and enjoyable experience and a horrible one is all down to the way the set is run and whether or not there is a mutual respect there for everybody involved. It doesn’t matter if you are the director or the camera assistant, there should be no real hierarchy. Everybody is their to do their job and make sure that things run smoothly so that you can all get the best results for the finished film. Filmmaking is a team effort and every member of that team is essential, that was one of the most important things I learned while working as a camera assist.

 

The film  played last week at the IndieCork Film Festival, what’s the plan for it going forward?

Going forward we are hoping that Trampoline will have a healthy and successful festival life. We are thrilled to bits with the wonderful reactions that it has been getting so far. We would ideally love for it to get picked up by a distributor. We strongly believe that there is an audience for this kind of film in Ireland and we’re eager to get it out to more people. We are being screened as part of the Clones Film Festival on Sunday, 27th October, which is going to be a great experience. We are also in the early stages of development with our second feature so fingers crossed I’ll get all the team back and we can get cracking on the next one soon!

 

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We Love… Superheroes: Superman

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  Illustration: Adeline Pericart

Bam! Pow! Thwack! From masked avengers to caped crusaders, what would we do without spandex-wearing superheroes fighting crime and righting wrongs? While we mere mortals go about our daily business and sleep soundly in our beds at night, an army of superheroes are working tirelessly around the globe – but mostly in America – fighting to bring peace, justice and outside-underpants to the world.

And so, in honour of their efforts, our own band of Film Ireland superheroes assemble to dish out their own critical form of justice and wreak havok on those villians who long for a world without heroes.

Eat dust evil! Superheroes are here to stay.

We Love…

Superheroes:

 

Superman

‘… what makes him so interesting is the combination of this godlike power with a human conscience that is committed to doing good …’

Glenn Caldecott

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Unnoticed by most, the recent success of a certain Christopher Nolan trilogy has caused an important shift in Irish street fashion. The films have seen a rise in those taking to the streets wearing black Ts depicting a flying rodent, silhouetted against a yellow oval.

Once reserved for spotty nerds, now rockers, ravers and Topshop-shoppers alike don comic-book apparel in support of their super of choice. But despite the increase in numbers of black t-shirts, peaked caps and bras with the yellow symbol, there are still more blue ones, proudly displaying a red and yellow S, the insignia of the most iconic superhero of all time!

Let’s get one thing out the way, I don’t think there have been any truly great Superman films. Between some weak storytelling and some dodgy outfits they haven’t got much going for them. (Except that epic theme music, you know the one. The one that sounds like the Indiana Jones theme. Although I might be thinking of the music from Jurassic Park. Or Star Wars. Who cares, they’re all good).

Perhaps my favourite appearance of Superman in a film comes from one he’s not even in. At the end of Tarantino’s Kill Bill: Vol 2, David Carradine performs a monologue in which he explains why Superman is his favourite superhero. You can read the full speech here but, to summarise, the mythology of Superman is unique because, unlike other supers, he was born as Superman and his alter-ego is Clark Kent. Now if you are a pedantic geek (like me) you will realise that Bill is wrong in both his assumptions that this is unique to Superman and that he was born as Superman in the first place (he was born Kal-El and had to become Superman)

But regardless, while the morality of superheroes can often get a little sketchy (i.e. you can only truly make a difference in this world if you acquire powers, are one of the elite few who are born magical, or you inherit a small fortune – I shake my fist at you dirty capitalists), Carradine’s speech hints at the moral considerations that, I think, make Superman the most interesting superhero.

Our Man of Steel is indeed an outsider, but is committed to helping the people of earth in spite of this. What often makes the alien in red underpants seem boring, and is a concept that I think the Superman films have struggled with, is that it is hard for an individual of near limitless power to be in any real danger. But I think what makes him so interesting is the combination of this godlike power with a human conscience that is committed to doing good – the ‘man’ half of his name.

I mean, imagine having these powers for a day and the psychological headache it would cause. Should I save the OAPs in the falling coach or the landmine-destined toddler? Should I interfere in geopolitical conflicts? Should I look through Lois Lane’s clothing? All difficult ethical questions. These are questions relevant to all superheroes, but are heightened by both Superman’s powers and his strong commitment to righteousness.

For whatever reason, these deeper considerations, that are present in the comics, have failed to translate into films. But this only helps my argument that Superman is the best superhero. Despite the lack of a quality on screen appearance, he has still become one of the most iconic figures of the past century, something that the prevalence of Superman apparel will attest to.

The battle for superhero supremacy will not be waged on the pages of the interwebs or on cinema screens. It is being fought out there on the streets, so take up your blue, red and yellow flip-flops and join me brothers and sisters!

Glenn Caldecott

Stay tuned. Next time on ‘We Love… Superheroes’ – Daire Walsh on Spiderman

 

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Report: Dublin Comic Con

Glenn Caldecott lives out his 13 year-old self’s dream at Dublin Comic Con and finally got to chat to Boba Fett about all things Mandalorian.

I find myself in a room the size of an aircraft hangar; in front of me are some light-sabres and a severed Alien head. In the distance I can make out the flashing lights of the DeLorean alongside Knight Rider’s KITT. Boba-Fett and a Storm Trooper draw their weapons, a Dalek rolls past and a Predator stalks the room. A Transformer bursts in through the door and everyone goes nuts.

While this closely resembles a daydream my 13-year-old self might have had (or perhaps The Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny), it is in fact my experience of the first Dublin Comic Con.

I case you’ve been living under a kryptonic rock, the National Show Centre in Swords, north Dublin, played host to the world’s most famous comic book convention this past weekend. Modelled on the famous San Diego convention, that draws crowds of 130,000 every year, this was the first time that the geek-fest has come to Ireland.

Organised by comic book enthusiasts, Derek Cosgrave and Karl Walsh, the event offered comic fans, film buffs, video gamers and anyone with a passing interest in all things nerdy a chance to engage with their passions. But you didn’t have to be fluent in Klingon to enjoy the offerings.

There was truly something for everyone and walking around it was easy to get overwhelmed by all the costumed characters, original film props and costumes, panels, sculpting and painting workshops, console gaming contests, interactive film sets as well as a host of vendors selling everything from vintage comics to signed memorabilia. Some of the more interesting special guests included The Walking Dead artist Charlie Adlard, Predator and Game of Thrones actor Ian Whyte, and the man who sculpted Darth Vader’s mask, Brian Muir.

 

Ironhide shows his softer side – just minutes before destroying the National Show Centre in Swords

The highlight for me though was the response from the public. Events like this always encourage those with a creative flair to grab their make-up and sticky tape and dress up as their favourite character. The crowd in Swords did not disappoint with people of all ages donning some inventive and elaborate costumes, many of them months in the making.

Once forced to operate on the fringes of society, the geek is now an acceptable part of mainstream culture. Superhero films dominate Hollywood, geek-chic remains fashionable and the likes of Jay-Z and Beyoncé are buddying up with sci-fi uber-nerds Simon Pegg and Nick Frost.

The organisers of the first Dublin Comic Con seem to have got their timings right. By all accounts the event was a resounding success. Both days sold out (with over 5,000 people getting their con on) and there was a veritable buzz from everyone I spoke to; the consensus definitely being that expectations had been exceeded. And if you missed it this year you’ll be pleased to know there was already a lot of excited talk about next year’s line-up.

 

Check out Gemma Creagh’s video from Comic Com where she finds herself in “hairy water” at Dublin Comic Con let loose among Predators, Aliens, Superheroes, Transformers and Daleks.

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