‘Teddy And Martina’

Director Shaun​ ​O​’Connor​, writer​ /​actor Tadhg​ ​Hickey​, and animators ​Dog​ ​Day​ ​Media give us the story behind Teddy And Martina.

 

Shaun​ ​O​’Connor (Director)

The original ‘Teddy and Martina’ sketch was shot as a live action piece for the RTÉ Comedy Bites initiative (a series of sketches for the RTÉ Player). It’s a clever comedy two-hander about an old Cork lad (Teddy, played by Tadhg Hickey) and the chats he has with his home help assistant Martina (Laura O Mahony). Though it’s primarily a light-hearted piece – the stories go off on wild tangents – there’s definitely a strong sense of melancholy too in how Teddy is desperate to chat about the old days while Martina busies herself around the kitchen. Tadhg and Laura are both brilliant in it and it got a great response when we put it online.

When the opportunity arose to rework it into an animated piece with Dog Day Media, we jumped at it. We used the original audio from the shoot and Tadhg and myself worked through the script with the animators, emphasizing certain aspects that suited the transition and cutting others back.

Dog Day Media did an amazing job with the adaptation and it was a fascinating process to see the characters and location move from live action footage to vibrant illustrations. Adapting an existing film piece into an animation was a new challenge but we feel it’s turned out really well, and we’re delighted to have it screen at IndieCork.

 

Tadhg​ ​Hickey​ ​(writer​ ​/ ​actor)

Teddy started life as a voice I’d do to amuse myself. He’s a mash-up of old characterful Cork men I’ve encountered through the years, many inside my own family. They’re typically playful and experimental with language; surreal in imagery; and never let the truth get in the way of a good story. Fellow CCCahoots troupe member, Laura O Mahony created a companion character called Martina, his dark, mad and loveable home help. So far they’ve toured the country as part of the CCCahoots stage show; been on RTÉ; and had a radio series (Cork’s Red FM). They’re delighted to have made it to the wonderful IndieCork Festival too!

 

Dog​ ​Day​ ​Media​ ​(animators)

We at Dog Day Media had the challenge of bringing Teddy and Martina to life in animated form, using the voice audio from CCCahoots original live action sketch featuring the same characters. The premise of the piece is essentially the same, but where the animation differs greatly from the live action is really where the magic was for us. Illustrating and animating scenes from Teddy’s mad rantings was a lot of fun, and trying to interpret his stories creatively was a challenge in itself.

We began by creating the actual character designs of the characters themselves with help from designer Dave Prendergast of DoodleMoose Designs, and then building their world around them. Animating the characters involved a lot of exaggerating Teddy’s mannerisms and inserting little bits of additional comedy throughout the scenes to help the story along.

With all the elements in place the production lasted a little over a month, and it was a great project to be involved in. These kinds of collaborations are something we look forward to doing a lot more of in the future.

 

Teddy And Martina screens at IndieCork in Programme 1 of the Creative Cork selection @ 9.15pm on Tuesday, 10th October 2017.

 

IndieCork runs from 8 – 15 October 2017

 

Programme

 

 

Shaun O’Connor will have an exhibition of his photos in Cork during October:
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Kate Dolan: Little Doll

Kate Dolan tells Film Ireland how she wants to change people’s perspectives with her film Little Doll.

 

I first wrote the script for Little Doll in 2013. I was thinking a lot about my first crush on a girl in my class when I was about 7. I remember not really understanding my feelings at the time, but that was definitely the beginning of my journey as an LGBTQ person. So, I began to wonder when other people may have had their first inkling that they may be attracted to someone of the same-sex. I surveyed some of my LGBTQ friends and I was astounded that most people had feelings like this from as early as 4 years old. I thought that it was strange that I hadn’t seen any films that depicted this particular time in your life and so I started writing.

I was unsuccessful with many funding applications. I am unsure why, perhaps the content was a little bit too risqué for some people or maybe it just wasn’t what people were interested in at the time. I was about to give up hope when I got turned down for about the…6th time, when I decided to apply for Berlinale Talents 2014. They had a Short Film Script station there and to my surprise Little Doll and myself were in. There I was paired with a mentor who gave me lots of great notes, it was an amazing experience and most importantly it made me feel like the film was good and should be made. So when I got back I asked my friend from college Claire Nolan if she would produce it.

We set up an IndieGoGo campaign after another couple rejections from short film funding bodies, and we raised 3000 euro altogether. It wasn’t a lot considering it needed to be a 4-day shoot with a Toy Shop location, a school, and “two” houses technically. Luckily, at the time, Claire lived in a huge house where we shot all the house interiors, and a friend of mine worked at an Educate Together school and they were really eager to help after reading the script. We were surprised that we managed to get Toymaster on Mary Street to allow us to shoot there after hours – that was a really fun night actually all us got a bit giddy running around a Toyshop at 10pm. We went into production in early 2015.

Casting was great fun but also quite tough. The girls we did cast were amazing and so relaxed, and had no qualms about the content of the film. However, due to the content of the film some drama schools refused to even send the script out to parents. One girl also dropped out in the final stages of casting because she was afraid that her friends would think she was gay if they saw her in the film. Things like that were disheartening and made me sad at first but then I remembered – that’s why we are making this film, to change people’s perspectives.

We had an amazing crew all of whom gave their time absolutely free. I think again it was a belief that it was a special film with an important message that drove a lot of people to help us out. My long-time collaborator Philip Blake shot it on his RED (that he luckily had recently acquired), another IADT graduate Kevin Corry edited it over a very long 2015 summer, meeting up on weekends when we weren’t working. Also Steve Lynch, a composer I had worked with on some commercials at the time, said he would score the film for free. It is so encouraging when people want to give their time and creativity to a project like that free of charge. It makes you feel like “Yeah, this is a great film!”

We were really lucky to have our premiere at Berlinale 2016. They were really happy to have a Talent Alumni back and the festival opened loads of doors to us. We didn’t really have to pay submission fees to festivals because once you’re in Berlinale, festivals just ask you for screeners. It was quite a trip, going from being rejected constantly to now getting asked to screen at festivals all over the world.

Overall there are a lot of things I wish we could have done differently, our hands were tied with budget, time, etc. – but I forget all that when somebody comes up to me at a festival and tells me that the film has affected them in a positive way. I have had some parents come up to me and say that they want to open up a dialogue with their children about what it means to be LGBT.

Little Doll was a very personal project to me and I am so grateful to all the people along the way who believed in it enough to give their time to see it to fruition – otherwise it would still be an old Celtx file saved in an “Ideas” folder somewhere on my laptop.

 

 

Little Doll screens at IndieCork in Programme 1 of the Irish Shorts selection @ 12.00pm on Friday, 13th October 2017.  

IndieCork runs from 8 – 15 October 2017

 

 

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Thomas Quain, Writer/Director of ‘I’m Talking to You’

Thomas Quain is talking to us about his feature film, which features a young Guard who begins his training out on the M50. Before long he is bored and sick of his boorish college Liam whom he is forced to spend all day in the car with. The film follows Mark’s journey as he discovers a propaganda Radio that causes him to re-evaluate his understanding of the Law and the ups and downs of Irish society.

 

The film began life many years ago, after reading about Orson Welles’ script for his never-produced film ‘Heart of Darkness’.  Welles set his story during the Second World War and imagined Marlow encountering a country ravaged by Nazi warfare. As Marlow proceeds upriver on his journey to find the enigmatic Kurtz, he enounters a Nazi propaganda radio and, going mad, he leaves the boat and enters the jungle to find and destroy the signal.  In both the Conrad novel and Welles’ screenplay the journey Marlow goes on is a journey of self-discovery.

I emptied my bank account and credit union in 2015 to begin production of the film. Fired by the imagination of Welles, I had written a 125-page screenplay around this idea of a propaganda radio and an economic crash.  The idea of using sound in a more creative way also appealed to me. Later, I would try hard to incorporate this into the final film, though, in my opinion, not always successfully.

This film was produced by Constant Motion Pictures, Victor McGowan and Anna Ginjaume Grivé, who also produced the feature film Demon Hunter and later The Middle Finger.  Together we auditioned many, many actors in Dublin and worked hard putting together a shooting schedule we felt we could do on our budget. In the end the budget was about five grand and we spent most of that on the gear, on food and paying our principal actors. I got the money for the film working a variety of terrible jobs and also occasionally working in the Irish Film Industry as a production assistant. Anna and Victor did a great job producing and being AD’s and also found us a lot of great locations early on. They also had a lot of patience with me later when I became less less sure of the script and was uncertain how to finish this film.

We shot the film in 4 blocks over 2015 and early 2016. The prolonged shooting schedule was less a planned decision and more a result of not having enough money, a script I became less and less happy with, people’s availability and re-shoots. Early on I found the script was not the brilliant road map that I thought it was and in fact none of the first two days shooting is in the final film!

Over the course of the six months or eight months we spent shooting on and off we were also constantly editing and rewriting, trying to find the film at the same time.  Our brilliant editor, Adam Symes, spent more time than either of us would like to admit helping us shape the story to find what worked and what didn’t. I learned a lot from that and from working with Adam. I think we shot something like 18 hours of footage and eventually our 125-page screenplay got cut and re-imagined as an 80-minute feature.  We had a great crew, a great cast led by Aidan Lawlor and Jed Murray, Alice Stands and Robert ‘O Connor, all of whom stuck with us too as we went on this journey to find the heart of the story…  and who I can’t thank enough.

Shooting a feature-length independent film is something that is a) very, very difficult and b). very rewarding. During the production you are constantly having to be open-minded and come up with creative solutions to unforeseen issues that will suddenly arise and threaten to cause ruin everything. For example, when we were unable to find a supermarket that would allow us film the climax of the film in, we snuck into a number of chains of a large supermarket in the city over the course of a day and shot the scene guerilla-style almost without anyone noticing. I felt the advantage of this kind of thinking outside-the-box activity was that it freed us from the common trap of stilted camera movements and performances that destroy a lot of independent film work – it gave the film and freedom and a naturalness. It was also something new, and that was exciting, which in and of itself I felt was a positive. All the footage we shot that day was great and is in the final film. We couldn’t have done half of this without our brilliant DOP, Alan Rogers,  who was always ready and up for our many, many challenges.

Looking back on it, I feel we too had to go into a jungle a little to make this film. We too had to re-learn things we thought we knew and admit that we had made mistakes and go back to the start. Making an independent film means not having the same structure and security that more conventional, state supported projects can maybe offer. However, now I can’t imagine doing it any other way and I am grateful we made the film the way we did. We needed to make something different, push ourselves out of our comfort zones and for that reason it was important to shoot the film in the way we did. It does not mean it is the right way to make films, only that it was the right way for us and this project.

Everyone who worked on it was on it because they loved film, they wanted to learn their craft and they wanted to make something great, and honestly I feel we did. Looking back, the resulting film is less a product of one person sitting down to write a script and more the product of a group of people coming together and taking a chance on each other all the time feeling that what you are doing might be risky… it might even be crazy but knowing that if you don’t take risks, if you don’t go a little crazy, you can never get to the other side of the film-making jungle.

 

 

I’m Talking to You screens at IndieCork @ 3pm on Wednesday, 11th October 2017. 

IndieCork runs from 8 – 15 October 2017

 

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Liam O’Neill, Writer/Director of ‘Danny Boy’

Liam O’Neill takes Film Ireland from glen to glen and talks about his short film.

Several years ago, shortly after my dad passed away, we were going through the family home in Chicago, cleaning it out and preparing it for sale. It’s an unsettling experience going through a lifetime of objects –  some of which you puzzle over why they were kept and others that unleash a flood of long shelved memories.

In a closet I found my childhood violin. And finding that resurfaced a wish my late mother had that one day I would play Danny Boy for her on the violin. It wasn’t a demand or something that she held over me as an un-kept promise, she was far too gentle a woman for that kind of malarkey, but the memory of that simple desire; to have her son play for her, her favourite song, made my heart ache.

It didn’t work out. My violin playing made our dog howl and I just didn’t have the patience for it. I wanted to be outside playing baseball; not torturing the whole family with the cacophony that I mustered from my bow.

After having had a good long look at the tiny child’s violin, I gave it to my brother who’s a musician and instrument maker. Then with the pressures of life, family and finances weighing upon me, I moved on.

Several years later, I decided that I wanted to shift my career somewhat from producing back to writing and directing. I was searching for ideas for short films. The first one I came up with was Lost and Found which we made in 2015. It was successful enough that I decided to press on and I started to look for the next idea.

The memory of finding that tiny violin and the resulting pangs of loss spurred me to write Danny Boy. What if, in the end, the promise could be kept?

The script came out pretty easily at first – too easily. So I went back and reshaped it several times. I finally changed the child from a boy to a girl and the mother to a father. I thought that would help me distance myself somewhat emotionally from the material so I could be a bit more rigorous about my approach. It seemed to work.

Once I was happy  -or as happy as one can be with a script – I started sending it out to various competitions. I got a ‘no’ everywhere it went. Disappointed, but being fairly stubborn and thick-skinned from years in the business, I decided ‘f**k ‘em, what do they know’ – we would make this using our own resources. Crowdfunding was an integral part of the financing of Lost and Found. If needs be, we could bypass the usual funding routes for short films

Meanwhile, I came across another short script called ‘Kathleen’ by John Morton. It is a ‘kind of’ love story with a neat twist at the end. I thought ‘I’d really like to make this one too’. John and I came to an agreement as to how to proceed and I had a second short film and – or so I thought – only enough money to make one of them.

Lost and Found was sold to Shortscreen – we banked that sale towards Danny Boy. One of the Indiegogo backers of Lost and Found liked that film so much that when I asked him for help towards financing another short he generously put his hand in his pocket. With that gesture we had the bulk of our financing.

I showed the two scripts to my filmmaker friend and regular collaborator Kevin Hughes. I hoped he would jump at one of them and help me make up my mind which one to shoot first.

He liked them both and agreed to shoot them for me. But I was torn. I knew if we shot one of them then getting the energy and resources  together to get the second one made would probably be beyond me, beyond the available finance and beyond the scope of the favours I could ask from cast and crew to help get them made.

Kevin, being an eminently practical chap, suggested that we shoot them back to back. And that was what we did. Over six days in the dead of winter.

We were also fortunate that Kathleen had won the Waterford Film Festival Short Screenplay award a few years ago and that award came with free-of-charge access to the Waterford FilmLab’s equipment cache for a working week. That helped a lot. FilmBase chipped in with some gear and Carlow IT provided us with a cadre of terrifically enthusiastic trainees.

Not wanting to produce the film myself, I cast my net wide for a producer but either someone wasn’t available or they were looking to be paid a substantial chunk of the budget to take it on. In the end, I shared the producing responsibilities with my wife Annabel Konig. She is the most organised person I know and she knows her way around a set as a production designer and visual artist. Between the two of us we pulled together the logistics of shooting in a remote rural village – accommodation, transportation, equipment, etc.

We got so much local support from our friends and neighbours in the Rathanna, County Carlow area. The cast and crew were accommodated and welcomed into the homes of our friends, we were able to use the village hall as a base for the production and the local marching band and even the Sunday evening dance group were all inducted into the shoot.

We made sure all the locations were near to each other and that there would be no time wasted getting from set to set. The production side went remarkably smoothly – but it was as the result of a lot of fretting and advance planning.

As a director, casting is always the focus. Casting, casting, casting. It is a cliché but casting really is over 50% of the gig. In Danny Boy the challenge was that we were going to see Maggie, the out-of-tune violinist, progress from being a child to an adult – over the course of a ten-minute film. We were very fortunate to be able to work with the ever-enthusiastic casting director Gillian Reynolds and she really pulled the strings and we found our three Maggies. Eloise Broderick for Maggie as a child, Amy O’Donoghue as Maggie the teen, and Margarita Murphy as Maggie the grown woman. Eloise and Amy came from Gillian Oman’s brilliant Independent Theatre Workshop – the same workshop that produced the talented Lee O’Donoghue (Amy’s brother) who featured in Lost and Found and in several other recent films.

For ‘Kathleen’ the challenge was the title character. Again Gillian pulled out all the stops but we found our Kathleen quickly in the Galway-based actress Tara Breathnach. She had the right mix of fire and ice that was needed for the character.

We were delighted to be in a position to cast Denis Conway as the male lead in both Danny Boy and Kathleen. I wrote Danny Boy with Denis in mind and then adapted the role of Sean in Kathleen for him. He’s a wonderful actor with great screen presence.

The shooting was not without stress. We were mostly in pretty confined interior locations and as usual we were under time pressure. We committed ourselves to working a standard shooting day with one hour for lunch. I think this helped the crew stay rested and good natured. Whatever stress there was, was creative and helpful to getting the best we could with what we had to hand. Both films are very intimate and to an extent working in tight spaces helped to visually reinforce that intimacy.

The post has been more drawn out than planned. Danny Boy is complete and Kathleen will be finished in November. Marie-Valerie Jeantelot took on the editing of Danny Boy. She was in France for much of the process so we worked at a distance sending versions and notes back and forth.

When we had Danny Boy assembled in script order it was clear that, although the film worked as written, there was perhaps a better film in there than was immediately obvious. Marie suggested deconstructing the story to break up its linearity. I believe this approach heightened the emotional punch of the film.

One of the things we had to watch very carefully was that, while we wanted a film that would strike an emotional chord in an audience, we didn’t want it to sink into the maudlin. For many people, the song Danny Boy carries in itself a strong emotional punch and as a musical motif that runs through the story achieving a balance of emotion and distance was, I think, adeptly handled by Marie.

I will leave it to others to judge if we succeeded.

We’ve been lucky with festivals so far. IndieCork and Kerry were the first festivals to which we applied. We’ve been accepted to both. Fingers crossed they are the beginnings of a good festival run both here at home and abroad. I don’t even think about prizes. Just getting accepted into a good festival, in these days where thousands of short films are submitted to even the most humble of festivals, is prize enough. Just getting it out into the world will do nicely. I hope it finds an audience and that it touches a chord with many.

So Mom, Danny Boy, at last. This one’s for you.

 

Danny Boy screens at IndieCork in Programme 3 of the Irish Shorts selection @ 12.00pm on Saturday, 14th October 2017.  

IndieCork runs from 8 – 15 October 2017

 

Danny Boy screens at the Kerry Film Festival in the RECALL – Shorts Programme @ 12.00pm on Friday, 20th October 2017.  

Kerry Film Festival runs from 19 – 22 October 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Daragh McCarthy, Director of ‘Boujeloud: Father of Skins’

Daragh McCarthy introduces Film Ireland to the music of the legendary Master Musicians of Joujouka.

I first heard about the legendary Sufi Master Musicians of Joujouka many years ago through the writings of Beat Generation luminaries Brion Gysin, Paul Bowles, William Burroughs, and Brian Jones of The Rolling Stones and various recordings passed around on cassette and later from better CD recordings by Irish man Frank Rynne, who subsequently has become the group’s manager.

They have acquired almost mythic status for their “panic music” and their limitless ability to play for many hours on end, deep into the night. They have understandably been sought out as collaborators by free-jazz pioneers like Ornette Coleman and cult rock and roll stars such as Patti Smith among many others.

The Master Musicians of Joujouka have been comprised of the Attar and other families from a village in the Rif Mountains of Morocco for several thousand years in a continuous tradition, with the music passed from fathers to sons.

William Burroughs called them a 4-thousand year old rock and roll band but even that might understate the genuine transcendence of music said to “heal crazy minds”.

I was invited to the village of Joujouka for the first truly public performance of the Boujeloud ritual in 2008 commemorating the 40th anniversary visit of Brian Jones of The Rolling Stones to the village in 1968 when he recorded his experimental album “The Pipes of Pan” with the Masters.

Flying from Paris, I first spent a few days in Tangier soaking up Beat Generation history staying at the Hotel El Muniria where writers Burroughs, Ginsberg, Kerouac and Gergory Corso famously stayed decades earlier. Then we drove south to the village in jeeps. I lived and ate with the wonderful family of musician Abdeslam Errtoubi shooting continually for three days capturing the intense music, the milestone celebration and daily life of the village.

Boujeloud, corresponding perhaps to the Greek god Pan, is a half-man half-goat, who originally in Joujouka legend, gave the gift of music to a young shepherd from the village called Attar. In tandem with the gift of music came fertility for the crops. In return for these gifts Boujeloud demanded that he be given a wife.

Each year Boujeloud returns to the village coming down from the mountain to steal a girl from the village to be his young bride. Distracted by the wild playing of the musicians and dancing boys who masquerade as girls he returns to his cave empty handed and exhausted next morning. Normality returns to the village again and fertility is assured for another year

As this was the first year of the festival, it was hard to know for certain what would happen over the three days so I resolved to simply shoot what I saw and keep shooting. Using an observational style with a slight nod to ethnography the story that emerged is of a unique village with life suffused with music and still living closely with their myths.

I have to say also that some of my favourite moments in the film are simple intimate family meals even if the music is the “star” of the piece. The music is, however, definitely the star and I was stunned by what an extraordinary experience it is when you are present to hear it performed live. It truly is trance music and I had to catch myself on a couple of occasions as my mind was grabbed by a melody of a rhaita flute or one of the drummers rhythms and bring myself back to the camera job at hand.

The film has been nearly ten years in the making and has its very own rather weird and circuitous post-production story. It certainly didn’t fit in to any funding rubric and I had to put it down a number of times over the years to work on other projects. It undoubtedly fits the definition of a labour of love….

All credit goes to Ronan O’Muirgheasa for doing a superb job editing the project. Ronan is a very talented drummer and percussionist in his own right and I think he definitely brought those skills to his hugely sympathetic editing of the scenes of the Master Musicians performances in the film.

Boujeloud: Father of Skins couldn’t have been finished without the support and generosity of Lawrence Fee at Yard Media. I didn’t think a film could be made with substantial favours anymore! It’s hugely heartening and humbling that so many people from the industry rowed in with help and advice over the years.

I’m delighted to say the film recently won a bronze for short docs at Mexico International Film Festival and next year we plan to take the film to Joujouka for the first time for a public screening for the entire village. In’Sha’Allah.

 

Boujeloud: Father Of Skins screens at IndieCork in the Three Irish Documentaries selection @ 3pm on Tuesday, 10th October 2017. 

IndieCork runs from 8 – 15 October 2017

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Aoife Nic Ardghail, Writer of ‘Casual’

 

Aoife Nic Ardghail gives us the insight into her film Casual and how a little poetry got it over the line.

Casual is my comment on modern dating and how those intimate but brief relationships can, when they end suddenly, leave at least one party feeling raw, powerless and unable to express themselves. This is all sown up in comedy though, because I wanted the film to be fun.

I wrote the script as far back as August 2014 when I was discovering my new love for screenwriting. I’d written a few stage pieces before, but Casual was among my first short film scripts and it was the one that other director and writer friends seemed to enjoy the most when I bounced it off them for feedback. It was also a film I felt I could make relatively easily, if I found someone with more directing experience who liked it enough to shoot for fun. I saw some of Kate Dolan’s IADT student films online and got in touch as I thought she would be a great fit as director.

Luckily for me, she clicked with the script and brought Philip Blake on board as DOP. We were
loosely going for a Broad City inspired vibe, with naturalistic improv dialogue elements like in the 2014 film Appropriate Behaviour. Between the three of us we sourced everyone, and almost everything, we needed to make the short – camera and sound assistants, actors and dancers. Locations and shoot dates, however, proved more difficult. I got Romano Morelli of Ristorante Romano to let us use his premises for a mention in the end credits, but my attempts at securing a convenience shop were unsuccessful. I had to rewrite a few scenes because of this and we captured the shop action we couldn’t write around by guerrilla shooting through a Spar window from across the road, while I went in in character and acted out the scene. But in the end we cut the shop and the rewritten stuff because there was enough in the scenes that had better production value.

I’m not sure if I can call the weather a glitch since the heavy, incessant rain the day of the park scenes may have been the very reason we didn’t get kicked out. There were no other members of the public around, apart from a man with sandwiches and a radio in one corner of the amphitheatre, so we didn’t encounter any patrolling rangers. Unfortunately, the dance choreography outside of our shelter didn’t make it into the final cut as there was no masking the fact everyone was being soaked.

I cast fellow Bow Street actors Fiona Lucia McGarry, Terry O’Neill and Mark Donaghy so I knew we’d have that end of the film on point. My friend Kate Finegan is a choreographer as well as actor and aerial hoopist and she sourced the wonderful dancers. Scheduling was another tricky one though. People were working around their professional gigs so that stretched the shoot out over several months.

From start to finish, it took about nine months to get everything in the can. Then it was another year before completion because I moved to Brighton for a time and it all stalled. But once I was Dublinbound again I decided I would get a crowd-funding campaign going to see the project through. I set the target at €2,000 for an editor, sound designer, composer and promotional material as neither me, Kate or Philip knew anyone who would come on board pro bono for post production. Both Kate and Phil by then were fully booked with their professional commitments. I wasn’t massively hopeful I’d raise the amount as Fundit is an all-or-nothing platform, and by the final week I was still way off my target. But after a little panic, I got a brainwave to record a short poem each day for the last seven days of the funding drive and get this on my Facebook page instead of the flatter written pleas I’d been previously posting. Casual has a poetry theme, so I thought this was fierce clever altogether. And amazingly, it worked.

With the magic funds I was able to get National Film and Television School past students Rob Szeliga and Filip Sijanic on board for sound design and music. They’d worked together while studying so that was a big plus. Then writer/director Daniel Butler agreed to edit, grade and do all of the technical business with DCPs and those final elements that I have little understanding of as first time producer and someone used to being in front of the camera.

It’s thanks to all the remarkably talented people who dedicated their time to this project that I now have a film. And of course I have to mention my friends, family and anonymous supporters who gave me a dig out through Fundit. I learned a whole rake and I’m looking forward to the next one.

 

 

Casual screens at IndieCork in Programme 2 of the Irish Shorts selection @ 4.30pm on Friday, 13th October 2017. 

IndieCork runs from 8 – 15 October 2017

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Mia Mullarkey, Director of ‘Oh Brother’

Mia Mullarkey talks to Film Ireland about her award-winning short comedy drama about two brothers in their late twenties, Fergal and Sean. Fergal has Asperger’s Syndrome and lives a lonely life, so from a mix of guilt and brotherly love Sean gets roped into helping him down an unseemly path. The two brothers travel to Amsterdam to find the right escort for Fergal.

This short drama was produced by Ishka Films and shot on location in
Galway and Amsterdam. It is something of a family production – written by
my brother Eddie and music composed by my sister Anna – the Mullarkey clan
– all from Galway. Initially Eddie wrote a scene in a café, a conversation
between two brothers about women. I thought it was both poignant and great
fun how this guy Fergal had no idea how people perceived him, while his
brother Sean has to work hard to help connect Fergal to the world, not
without a hint of resentment. I also enjoyed Fergal’s awkward, immature
understanding of women which slowly shifts throughout the film.

We shot a test scene with actor Jarlath Tivnan playing Fergal. Straight
away Jarlath effortlessly expressed the body language and vocal intonation
of a man with Asperger’s. From there Eddie and I were able to build the
world. Eddie wrote lovely nuanced dialogue and I helped create the action
within the scenes.

Eddie had done an actor’s course with Annie Ryan of Corn Exchange and
loved the energy of her performance. Having seen several plays Annie
directed down through the years, which I thought were really brilliant, I
didn’t dream of asking her on board. But Eddie said it was worth a shot.
Lo and behold, Annie joined the cast as Fergal’s mom, a neurotic but
compassionate mother trying to guide her Aspergic son into manhood.

During rehearsals Jarlath said to me that he wished to remain in character
throughout the whole shoot, as there is a particular kind of physicality
that he had to adopt for the role. The great thing was, I didn’t tell the
crew and they never realised. Between takes Jarlath would remain separate
from everyone and get agitated by noises or chaos, and would talk to
himself. The crew were shocked when we wrapped in Galway and I confessed.
The poor lads and lassies had tiptoed around him all weekend.

We had a bit of bad luck going to Amsterdam. Our accommodation booked
through Air BnB turned out to be a scam and we lost a big chunk of money –
pain in the neck on a self-financed project. In a positive twist we ended
up staying in the Red Light District for a decent price, and I reckon it
definitely fed into the atmosphere of the film. It was a grungy DIY
approach, but the team was solid and we laughed a lot. We shot a boat
scene for a full day on the canals without permits or insurance or sun
cream, and it’s possibly the best scene in the film. Not that we had
permits or insurance or sun cream for any other locations. We also filmed
a night-time tram scene. Finding an empty carriage proved nearly
impossible so we disguised ourselves as tourists and waited for the
opportune moment.

Our director of photography, Jass Foley, was a power house. Because the
screenplay is full of subtle shifts I wanted to use long takes to let the
actors play out their lines, and for our tiny budget Jass was able to
devise really elegant shots on sliders and gimbals and boats and cars. We
spent time together working out the camera moves and lighting that best
suited the performances.

My sister Anna has been composing for my short documentaries for years,
and she was itching to compose to drama – this being my first short
fiction film. Anna is in a Galway band called My Fellow Sponges – I
sometimes do their music videos –  and she plays jazz piano really well, so
my music inspiration – King Crimson and Herbie Hancock – fitted perfectly
with Anna’s palette and imagination. We wanted to create a soundscape for
the characters’ inner conflicts and a feeling of mischievous adventure.
Anna would watch a scene and start playing the piano and I would throw out
small directions to steer the emotions.

The project was part funded through crowd funding on Fundit.ie, which
helped us with post-production and festival submission. The film was
completed April 2017.

 

Oh Brother screens at IndieCork in Programme 1 of the Irish Shorts selection @ 12pm on Friday, 13th October 2017

IndieCork runs from 8 – 15 October 2017

 

 

 

 

www.ohbrothermovie.com

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Barbora Gajdošová, Writer/Director of ‘That Moment’

Blurred lines emerge while drifting through dreams and real time. Where do you find the divide between loss and pain? Peer through the keyhole at the intimate moment of a break up. How hard will it be to accept your reality and allow the other person their freedom?

Barbora Gajdošová tells us how a break-up and a dream inspired her film That Moment.

That Moment was inspired by a break-up I went through. It happened in a cafe and it was brief. “Sorry, I have feelings for another,” he said. So I went home, cried for a few hours, drank a bottle of wine and went to sleep with my broken heart. That night I dreamt about him, the other woman and me. I wrote a story combining that dream and the actual break up with a bit of a dramatic twist to it and I knew that I was going to make it into a film. I never felt like this before. I had a mission. I turned pain into creativity and I’m still surprised by what has happened. I was like a magnet for good news. I surrounded myself with people who are incredibly talented and kind. Everyone was up for doing it and I knew that we were going to make something special. “Hey, I’m shooting a short film! I’m very excited! It’s about a break-up!”

 
As an actor, I worked with Krzysiek Staniec (DOP) and Magdalena Wodzisz (editor) on their film projects. I knew what they could give me visually. They loved the script and understood what I needed to say with my story. We spent hours on pre-production and planning, which made the actual shoot a very smooth and enjoyable experience.

Miriam Kelleher, who plays the lead role, is a very good friend of mine and she was part of the project from the very start. “Are you shooting a film? I’m in it right?”… “Of course you are in it! You are so damn talented!” It took me a while to find a male actor that would energetically fit with Miriam. I was looking for someone confident, mature and strong. Eugene D’Arcy was perfect for that part.

The actual shoot took 3 days. We were all prepared, present and very excited. It was a very collaborative project as everyone involved brought their own artistic creativity to it. Eamon Ivri (Lighght) composed the soundtrack  in 4 days. He was very productive and fast at getting the music done as there were deadlines for festival submissions that we didn’t want to miss.

It took two months from writing the script to shooting the film to editing it. The entire project was self-funded. Obviously, I wouldn’t have been able to do it without the emotional support of my friends and the trust and belief from all the crew.

The hardest part of this project was to create something so intimate and share it with world.

 

That Moment screens at IndieCork in Programme 2 of the Creative Cork selection @ 9.15pm on Wednesday, 11th October 2017.

IndieCork runs from 8 – 15 October 2017

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