Kerry Film Festival Short Film Market: Panel Discussion with Michael Creagh & Jim Cummings


Eleanor McSherry reports from the  Kerry Film Festival Short Film Market panel with Michael Creagh, who received an Oscar nomination for his short film The Crush, and Sundance winner Jim Cummings (Thunder Road) in a discussion on their journeys in short filmmaking so far. This discussion was chaired by Festival Director Maeve McGrath.



The event began with a screening of the clip for Thunder Road and a clip from The Crush


Jim: Just so you know, (in relation to the clip screened) I am not a dancer or a choreographer.  It was all filmed in one shot and I practiced it a lot but the audience in the film didn’t know what I was going to do.

Q: All in one shot that is amazing.

Jim: I was working full time at a comedy club and on the drive to work I came up with a monologue for an actor, so effectively I did my rehearsals in my car.  I used a voice memo app to record what I was doing and the good stuff I came up with I transcribed into a script.

Q: Michael, your film got shortlisted for the Oscars, can you tell us a bit about that.

Michael: Well, it is a very Irish narrative. We were also self-funded. It was totally our own project. I wrote it on the train in a notebook – jotted it down. I feel you need to do at least one short film before you leave your thirties. I felt I just had to make this short film. We all have these projects we really need to do but we just have to stop talking about it in the pub and get out and do it.

We began by chasing the money to make it while scribbling the script at night. The idea was little but it grew and I didn’t need to force it – it was easy to get it.  It took only a couple of days to write.  The script ended up slightly different from the original idea. Great ideas set you on fire. You can’t wait to get them down on the page.  ejected ideas, on the other hand, don’t usually see the light of day.

Q: How hard was it to get into the head -pace to act in the film?

Jim: it was miserable!  I had to get into the mind frame of the character but also find the humanity in him. We had no funding for the film but didn’t really need it. I tried to tell a traditional story about a funeral, which is a classic structure.

Q: What was your route to the Kerry Film Festival?

Michael: We had success in the Tribeca Film Festival which really turned the whole thing around.  Up until then we had had some rejections. It hadn’t, at this stage, played in Ireland, which was worrying. After America and Tribeca, there was a domino effect… very fast it was in demand.  Then came Foyle Film Festival and the Oscar route. At that time Foyle was the only festival to offer this.  This finally opened many doors for us.

Jim: When we got accepted to Sundance, we knew nobody. We had firstly been too late for the normal dates on Withoutabox, so we found the programmer on twitter and persuaded her to let us in the back-door. We got a waiver for the last date and had to pay a late fee but it was worth it.  Then our next problem was that we didn’t have the rights to Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Thunder Road’.  We had to get onto Park City and try to persuade them to let us use the song.  You are supposed to have this sorted out for festivals but we didn’t.  So in the end, after getting nowhere down the traditional routes, we wrote an open letter to Bruce and posted it online. They got back to us and gave us the rights for one year, we had to pay €1000 and had to take down the open letter.  It was a bit scary there for awhile but it was worth it.

Q: Distribution?

Michael: We are in talks with Network Ireland – it’s the dream to get a distribution deal.

Jim: Online is such a different route to distribution.  Sundance cost us €3000 just to go to the festival.  You don’t make short films to make money. We just wanted people to see the film.

Q: After the year, that you agreed, for the rights to use the song ‘Thunder Road’, what will you do?

Jim: We have to take the film down from the internet.

Q: One take for your shoot Jim – how long did that take?

Jim: We had a couple of takes. The actors gave some great reactions to the piece. It’s five minutes of a monologue and every take I had to restart again, which was tiring.

Q: Michael, what was the journey like to the Oscars?

Michael: Let me just clear one thing up firstly, I did not wear a Dunnes Stores suit to the Oscars, despite the rumours!  I wore one alright to nominees lunch.  But for the Oscars we got a suit from a tailors in Balbriggan and I still have it.

Q: Was it a great feeling to have been there?

Michael: It’s all a bit surreal really to be honest.  It definitely opens doors. We suddenly got meetings with the Irish Film Board, which we couldn’t get before.  Things were way slower without. It is scary though, your life goes into a flux.  It’s a strange rollercoaster but in a good way.

Jim: Sundance is a strange place to win an award and for awards. To get it though leads to acclaim and more accolades, it definitely opens doors. It can lead to serious production offers. There is a lot of interest suddenly in you but you still have to still generate stuff – you can’t just sit and admire your achievement, instead you still have to work.  You still have to make more movies.  It does put you on a path though which is good.

For further information on Jim Cummings and Thunder Road follow him on Twitter or like the film’s Facebook page

For further information on Michael Creagh and The Crush follow him on Twitter:


The Short Film Market Panel Discussion with Michael Creagh & Jim Cummings took place on Saturday the 22nd of October, 2016

The Kerry Film Festival took place from the 19th to the 23rd of October 2016.




83rd Annual Academy Awards® Nominees


The nominations for the 83rd Annual Academy Awards® have been announced today. The ceremony will take place on 27th February, 2011 at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, California with actor James Franco and actress Anne Hathaway co-hosting the ceremony.

Congratulations to Michael Creagh’s The Crush, which was nominated in the Short Film category. The 15-minute film, shot in Skerries, tells the tale of Ardal, an eight-year-old schoolboy (played by the director’s son, Oran), who falls in love with his teacher (Olga Wehrly) and later challenges the teacher’s fiance to a duel to the death to win her love.

Nominated this year:

Best Picture
Black Swan – Mike Medavoy, Brian Oliver and Scott Franklin, Producers
The Fighter – David Hoberman, Todd Lieberman and Mark Wahlberg, Producers
Inception – Emma Thomas and Christopher Nolan, Producers
The Kids Are All Right – Gary Gilbert, Jeffrey Levy-Hinte and Celine Rattray, Producers
The King’s Speech – Iain Canning, Emile Sherman and Gareth Unwin, Producers
127 Hours – Christian Colson, Danny Boyle and John Smithson, Producers
The Social Network – Scott Rudin, Dana Brunetti, Michael De Luca and Ceán Chaffin, Producers
Toy Story 3 – Darla K. Anderson, Producer
True Grit – Scott Rudin, Ethan Coen and Joel Coen, Producers
Winter’s Bone – Anne Rosellini and Alix Madigan-Yorkin, Producers

Documentary (Feature)
Exit through the Gift Shop – Banksy and Jaimie D’Cruz
Gasland – Josh Fox and Trish Adlesic
Inside Job – Charles Ferguson and Audrey Marrs
Restrepo – Tim Hetherington and Sebastian Junger
Waste Land – Lucy Walker and Angus Aynsley

Short Film (Animated)
Day & Night – Teddy Newton
The Gruffalo – Jakob Schuh and Max Lang
Let’s Pollute – Geefwee Boedoe
The Lost Thing – Shaun Tan and Andrew Ruhemann
Madagascar, carnet de voyage (Madagascar, a Journey Diary) – Bastien Dubois

Short Film (Live Action)
The Confession – Tanel Toom
The Crush – Michael Creagh
God of Love – Luke Matheny
Na Wewe – Ivan Goldschmidt
Wish 143 – Ian Barnes and Samantha Waite

Black Swan – Darren Aronofsky
The Fighter – David O. Russell
The King’s Speech – Tom Hooper
The Social Network – David Fincher
True Grit – Joel Coen and Ethan Coen

Documentary (Short Subject)
Killing in the Name – Nominees to be determined
Poster Girl – Nominees to be determined
Strangers No More – Karen Goodman and Kirk Simon
Sun Come Up – Jennifer Redfearn and Tim Metzger
The Warriors of Qiugang – Ruby Yang and Thomas Lennon

Actor in a Leading Role
Javier Bardem in Biutiful
Jeff Bridges in True Grit
Jesse Eisenberg in The Social Network
Colin Firth in The King’s Speech
James Franco in 127 Hours

Actress in a Leading Role
Annette Bening in The Kids Are All Right
Nicole Kidman in Rabbit Hole
Jennifer Lawrence in Winter’s Bone
Natalie Portman in Black Swan
Michelle Williams in Blue Valentine

Actor in a Supporting Role
Christian Bale in The Fighter
John Hawkes in Winter’s Bone
Jeremy Renner in The Town
Mark Ruffalo in The Kids Are All Right
Geoffrey Rush in The King’s Speech

Actress in a Supporting Role
Amy Adams in The Fighter
Helena Bonham Carter in The King’s Speech
Melissa Leo in The Fighter
Hailee Steinfeld in True Grit
Jacki Weaver in Animal Kingdom

Foreign Language Film
Biutiful – Mexico
Dogtooth – Greece
In a Better World – Denmark
Incendies – Canada
Outside the Law (Hors-la-loi) – Algeria

Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
127 Hours – Screenplay by Danny Boyle & Simon Beaufoy
The Social Network – Screenplay by Aaron Sorkin
Toy Story 3 – Screenplay by Michael Arndt; Story by John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton and Lee Unkrich
True Grit – Written for the screen by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen
Winter’s Bone – Adapted for the screen by Debra Granik & Anne Rosellini

Writing (Original Screenplay)
Another Year – Written by Mike Leigh
The Fighter – Screenplay by Scott Silver and Paul Tamasy & Eric Johnson; 
Story by Keith Dorrington & Paul Tamasy & Eric Johnson
Inception – Written by Christopher Nolan
The Kids Are All Right – Written by Lisa Cholodenko & Stuart Blumberg
The King’s Speech – Screenplay by David Seidler
Animated Feature Film
How to Train Your Dragon – Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois
The Illusionist – Sylvain Chomet
Toy Story 3 – Lee Unkrich

Art Direction
Alice in Wonderland – Production Design: Robert Stromberg; Set Decoration: Karen O’Hara
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 – Production Design: Stuart Craig; Set Decoration: Stephenie McMillan
Inception – Production Design: Guy Hendrix Dyas; Set Decoration: Larry Dias and Doug Mowat
The King’s Speech – Production Design: Eve Stewart; Set Decoration: Judy Farr
True Grit – Production Design: Jess Gonchor; Set Decoration: Nancy Haigh

Black Swan – Matthew Libatique
Inception – Wally Pfister
The King’s Speech – Danny Cohen
The Social Network – Jeff Cronenweth
True Grit – Roger Deakins

Costume Design
Alice in Wonderland – Colleen Atwood
I Am Love – Antonella Cannarozzi
The King’s Speech – Jenny Beavan
The Tempest – Sandy Powell
True Grit – Mary Zophres

Film Editing
Black Swan – Andrew Weisblum
The Fighter – Pamela Martin
The King’s Speech – Tariq Anwar
127 Hours – Jon Harris
The Social Network – Angus Wall and Kirk Baxter

Barney’s Version – Adrien Morot
The Way Back – Edouard F. Henriques, Gregory Funk and Yolanda Toussieng
The Wolfman – Rick Baker and Dave Elsey

Music (Original Score)
How to Train Your Dragon – John Powell
Inception – Hans Zimmer
The King’s Speech – Alexandre Desplat
127 Hours – A.R. Rahman
The Social Network – Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross

Music (Original Song)
‘Coming Home’ from Country Strong – Music and Lyric by Tom Douglas, Troy Verges and Hillary Lindsey
‘I See the Light’ from Tangled – Music by Alan Menken Lyric by Glenn Slater
‘If I Rise’ from 127 Hours – Music by A.R. Rahman Lyric by Dido and Rollo Armstrong
‘We Belong Together’ from Toy Story 3 – Music and Lyric by Randy Newman

Sound Editing
Inception – Richard King
Toy Story 3 – Tom Myers and Michael Silvers
Tron: Legacy – Gwendolyn Yates Whittle and Addison Teague
True Grit – Skip Lievsay and Craig Berkey
Unstoppable – Mark P. Stoeckinger

Sound Mixing
Inception – Lora Hirschberg, Gary A. Rizzo and Ed Novick
The King’s Speech – Paul Hamblin, Martin Jensen and John Midgley
Salt – Jeffrey J. Haboush, Greg P. Russell, Scott Millan and William Sarokin
The Social Network – Ren Klyce, David Parker, Michael Semanick and Mark Weingarten
True Grit – Skip Lievsay, Craig Berkey, Greg Orloff and Peter F. Kurland

Visual Effects
Alice in Wonderland – Ken Ralston, David Schaub, Carey Villegas and Sean Phillips
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 – Tim Burke, John Richardson, Christian Manz and Nicolas Aithadi
Hereafter – Michael Owens, Bryan Grill, Stephan Trojanski and Joe Farrell
Inception – Paul Franklin, Chris Corbould, Andrew Lockley and Peter Bebb
Iron Man 2 – Janek Sirrs, Ben Snow, Ged Wright and Daniel Sudick


'The Crush Oscar® Nomination

Michael Creagh’s The Crush was nominated earlier today for an Oscar® in the Short Film category. The 15-minute film, shot in Skerries, tells the tale of Ardal, an eight-year-old schoolboy (played by the director’s son, Oran), who falls in love with his teacher (Olga Wehrly) and later challenges the teacher’s fiance to a duel to the death to win her love.


Irish short 'The Crush' to screen at Chicago Irish Film Festival

The short film The Crush has been selected to screen at the Chicago Irish Film Festival and also at the Belfast Film Festival. The Crush, which tells the story of an 8-year-old schoolboy with a ‘deadly’ infatuation with his teacher, premiered at the Kerry Film Festival and went on to win Best Irish Short at Foyle last year. Written and directed by first-timer Michael Creagh, it was produced by Damon Quinn.