Film Ireland meets Traolach Ó Murchú – winner of the recent filmbase ‘Made in Temple Bar’ competition


Cassie Delaney catches up with Traolach Ó Murchú – writer and director of Alive which won the recent ‘Made in Temple Bar’ short film competition.

Traolach Ó Murchú has an unconventional approach to casting. Taking to his Facebook page on the 9th of July he types: ‘Looking for a baby for a very quick shot for a short film in Temple Bar tomorrow… That’s right, a baby this time…’

When I meet Traolach at the Filmbase headquarters in Temple Bar, I soon realise that nothing about the filmmaker is particularly conventional. From his Cork twang to his love of one-legged, recession-thwarted pigeons, Traolach is certainly not what one would expect of a media savvy filmmaker. Temple Bar is buzzing. There’s some sort of exhibition going on in Fimbase. Suited men stand smoking in doorways avoiding the light rain that has begun to fall. I feel slightly underdressed, but Traolach who wears a blue checkered shirt and jeans looks at home. And why wouldn’t he? This is his turf. Temple Bar is his territory.

Traolach is the winner of the recent filmbase ‘Made in Temple Bar’ competition. His online short Alive depicts the area’s multi-faceted personality through a montage of colourful scenes. Traolach explains how he got under the skin of Temple Bar. ‘I spent 6 hours walking around Temple Bar and the art director spent a day strolling around and we made a list; these were the people met, these were the places. We put together a list of scenes and then like scrabble we tried to fit them all together,’ he says.

A particular success for Traolach is that he manages to capture the essence of Temple Bar, an area often void of rhyme and reason, and connect its different characters and landmarks in a way that is not only coherent, but highly enjoyable. Each scene leads intentionally into the next. Some were more successful than others: a woman blotting lipstick leads to a pair of lips on the Wall of Fame, a couple french kissing leads to a tongue piercing. Some however, appear slightly more disjointed but Traolach explains his reasoning. He smiles as he says ‘you went from a guy drinking to a guy vomiting to someone chopping carrots. But as far as I am concerned, carrots are always part and parcel of vomit, you know – even if you haven’t eaten them.’

Alive can under no circumstances be described as an indulgent film. Traolach upholds a complete commitment to his subject; something that is evident in his aspiration to shoot entirely in Temple Bar. ‘The carrot scene was one of the longest to shoot, which seemed ridiculous. Everyone asked why don’t you just do that at home? I was like ‘God Dammit no. We said we’d shoot entirely in Temple Bar and that’s what we’ll do,’ he says. Still, from the grin that emerges on his face when he jokes about vomit adorned with vegetables, I can tell that some of the scenes were created, perhaps, for his enjoyment.

For Traolach, the film was a learning curve. Under tight time constraints, he was thankful of the brief and he says he knew exactly how the film must be made. Working with an art director was a huge help he says and he cannot speak highly enough of his crew. ‘Working with an art director was something I’ve never done before but it made such a difference, I’ll definitely be doing that again.’


 art director

Pat Keogh in Copyprint, in Temple Bar since 1987

It is obvious, even in the short space of time I spend with Traolach, that his is a mind that it constantly at work. While we talk, he looks around at those who surround him. At one point we discuss a man who stands alone, each guessing what his story is. It is obvious that Traolach is intrigued by people and by his surroundings. In conversation he asks as many questions as he answers and it is hard not to veer off topic when talking to him. Traolach is the definition of a ‘people person’; a trait that I suspect will ensure his success as not only a filmmaker, but also a story teller.

Of course, a vivid imagination is also at work. There is a certain spark in Traolach when we joke about a film about one-legged pigeons in recessionary times. What begins as a joke quickly turns into an elaborate plot, and though he knows the chances of actually having such a film funded are slim, it is clear that Traolach would be capable of turning even a whimsical idea into something extraordinary.

At the heart of his filmmaking lies a simple desire. To meet people and tell stories. When we talk about money, the dark cloud above the artist’s head, Traolach is frank and realistic. ‘The money doesn’t go far, it’s expensive to get a film made. It all adds up,’ he says. So why, I ask, does he persist? ‘Oh, I love it,’ he answers. ‘I just love it. I love the process of making TV or film. I love working with other people. Yeah you have your cameras and your lights and your scripts and your budgets but it comes down to working with people and that’s just a great buzz.’


 Caoimhe trying not to laugh

Production Manager, Caoimhe Gaskin, playing the role of Angry Girlfriend

When questioned about potential new projects, Traolach becomes enthused, telling me about the subjects and places of his proposed documentaries. Documentary filmmaking ignites a particular passion – a desire to present real people. ‘The nice thing about documentaries is the people you meet are just so different to those you would usually meet, and they’re real. Its not fiction, you get that feeling of ‘I can’t believe this actually happens’”.

With everyone on an even technological plain, Traolach believes that the story must triumph over the aesthetics of a film. ‘Everyone can have a DSLR camera and get beautiful pictures. You see a lot of stuff online that looks great but its harder to find good stories. I think the story is suffering a little bit, because everything looks beautiful. So it all comes back to the story if you want to stand out.’

Like his films, Traolach’s ambitions too, are simple. I try in vain to unearth the dream, but with a sensible head on his shoulders Traolach misses the mark when I ask him where he sees himself in ten years. ‘Canada,’ he replies, before realising that the question was not, in fact, in reference to geographical location. He laughs. ‘Oh yeah, making films, I’d love to be doing that. I’m realistic about it too though, its a small industry.’

So yes, Traolach is unconventional. He’s simple and honest. He doesn’t have a burning desire to make blockbusters or millions of euro. He wants to create something beautiful and enjoyable. In his own words he wants ‘to do something that does okay, something that stands out. Something that people actually want to see.’ He wants to capture people, places and passions. Yes he wants to make films, but more than that – he wants to tell stories.

Cassie Delaney

Check out the film’s Facebook page

Check out Alive


Free seminar series this Thursday in Filmbase – 'Beyond TV'

‘Beyond TV’ Opportunities for Filmmakers Online Free Seminars 6.30 – 9.30pm, Thursday, 21st July

Filmbase and Temple Bar Cultural Trust are delighted to present Beyond TV – Opportunities for Filmmakers Online on Thursday, 21st July as part of the ‘Made in Temple Bar’ Festival.

This one-off evening of seminars is perfect for anyone interested in making films for the web. Covering all aspects of planning, shooting, formatting, uploading and distributing films digitally, the seminars will highlight insights, techniques and best practice advice for filmmakers of all levels.

Guest speakers for the session include Apple Certified Master Trainer Simon Walker, The Rubberbandit’s manager Joe Clarke and producer Triona Campbell (‘Sophia’s Diary’, ‘Aisling’s Diary’).  We will also be inviting the filmmakers behind the ‘Made in Temple Bar’ competition films to join us on the night and share their experience of shooting, editing, uploading and distributing their films online in just five weeks!

The evening will be split into a number of seminars.

The first is How To Make a Killer Internet Video with Apple Certified Master Trainer Simon Walker.

In this session Simon will offer a series of technical tips and tricks designed to help filmmakers get the most out of their online videos. From camera formats, shooting tips, planning, editing and uploading Simon will ensure that filmmakers learn how to create films that will make an impact online, and just as importantly how to avoid technical mistakes that can ruin your best work.

The Rubberbandits – How to Make Money on YouTube  is with Joe Clarke of Lovely Men, manager to The Rubberbandits.

Joe will discuss how to utilise web platforms to get your films seen.  He will talk about The Rubberbandits’ experience of accessing audiences and most importantly will look at the variety of revenue streams available for online films.

The third session will look at Media That Crosses Platforms with producer Triona Campbell.

Founder and director of beActive, a transmedia company with offices in London, Dublin, Lisbon and Sao Paulo, Brazil. Triona is an award-winning producer of internet and television series including Aisling’s Diary and Sophia’s Diary.   Triona will outline opportunities for filmmakers to develop their stories outside of traditional television and film routes

Finally, we will round off the night by inviting the filmmakers from the Made in Temple Bar internet film competition will talk about their experiences in making film for the internet. Battered and bruised from their recent experiences of shooting, editing, uploading and promoting their videos in just five weeks.  The panel will outline what they have learnt about internet filmmaking and discuss their films with the audience.

For more info on the filmmakers involved and to view the films visit or read more about this part of the seminar


To book for the free ‘Beyond TV’ evening seminars just call in to Filmbase Reception during opening hours or call 01 679 6716.  you can also email (please include your full name and ‘Beyond TV’ in the subject line).

More information is available at


Filmbase and TBCT to fund short films

Filmbase and Temple Bar Cultural Trust (TBCT) are to fund three short films inspired by the title of TBCT’s summer festival Made in Temple Bar. Selected filmmakers will be offered a package including €1,000 in cash, along with access to filmmaking equipment and production facilities to enable them to complete their films. Short films should be a maximum of three minutes in duration and the organisers are looking for original, creative and bold ideas that will have to potential to do well online. Creative interpretations of the Made in Temple Bar brief are encouraged and Filmbase and TBCT will be seeking to fund filmmakers with an ability to make great films that can engage audiences’ imaginations.

Projects will be selected through an open competition with the deadline for all applications at 12 noon, Monday 30th May. Successful filmmakers will have five weeks to complete their shorts which will be posted online during Temple Bar Cultural Trust’s Made in Temple Bar festival in July. For more information on the competition and to download application forms, visit

Filmbase and TBCT are delighted to be collaborating on this opportunity for filmmakers as part of their anniversary celebrations.  This year marks the 20th anniversary of Temple Bar’s regeneration as Dublin’s Cultural Quarter and the 25th anniversary for Filmbase as the largest resource centre for emerging filmmakers in Ireland.

The Made in Temple Bar festival will take place from 15–24 July and will celebrate all of the things that make Temple Bar so special for Irish people and visitors to the area.  For more details of what else will be happening in the area over the course of the festival visit the TBCT website at

Filmbase celebrates its 25th anniversary with a series of events from the 21st to 25th of June. The events will include short film screenings, industry talks, equipment demonstrations, workshops and networking opportunities for anyone interested in learning more about opportunities for filmmaking in Ireland. Updated information on events can be found online at