The Island Of Evenings, the first feature length drama from the Rice Christian Collaborative, will make its premiere in Garter Lane, Waterford, and The Galway Arts Centre at the end of this month.
The films tell the story of a man whose depression is so crippling he can barely function. But a chance meeting with a therapist (with unconventional methods) on the internet sets his life off in a direction he wasn’t expecting.
‘I really wanted to make a film about depression in men but I didn’t want it to be like anything that’s been said about the subject before. At least not in Ireland,’ says writer/director Garry Miley. ‘There’s been a lot of talk about depression in the past few years and it’s all very welcome. But I wanted to see if there’s a way to say something fresh about it, a way to move the conversation forward.’
At the start of the film the main character, Brendan Gleeson (played by David O’Neill), is about to pull the trigger to end his life. But when he finds he hasn’t the courage to commit the ultimate act, he searches online for help. At first, the only sites Brendan finds on the internet make him feel more miserable than he was to begin with. But then he comes across a therapist called Gus (Dublin Oldschool’s Liam Heslin) who suggests that he take a crash course in philosophy. Thinking he might be wasting his time and expecting to be bored out of his mind, Brendan reluctantly plays along. Naturally, the exercise doesn’t turn out the way he expects and very soon he finds himself seeing life in a completely new way. Brendan finds a new reason to live and film ends on an uplifting note.
‘Part of the problem, in my view, is that a lot of Irish men go through life with a very strong sense of right and wrong. It’s the way we’re brought up. When we see something wrong, we feel we have to say something about it. But in the modern workplace, this type of honesty often isn’t welcome. To succeed in modern life, sometimes you often have to turn a blind eye when you see an injustice. There’s a lot of social pressure to keep your mouth shut. I have the feeling that this is a contributing factor to the type of depression Irish men sometimes deal with.’
The Island Of Evenings was filmed on a two week schedule on a budget of less than fifteen thousand euros. ‘We really wanted to make the film, so we just did whatever we had to do to get it done. Technically, we had to cut a lot of corners, but it was worth it in the end because we wanted to tell the story.’ says Miley. ‘The way technology is changing, I think a lot more films will be made this way. For young film makers, it’s a fantastic time. Soon anyone who really has something to say will be able to make their film. That’s as it should be.’
The Island of Evenings screens at the Garter Lane arts centre on Wednesday November 28th at 7.30 pm. Tickets are available online at https://garterlane.ie/events/the-island-of-evenings/ and from the box office on the night of the screening. Further screenings are planned for around the country in the new year.