Three questions to… Helen Flanagan, director of The Debt

The Debt - Interview with Helen Flanagan - Irish Film Festa

 
When lovestruck ten year old Daithi falls for his classmate Jessica, he turns to his best friend Penny to help win her heart: The Debt is one of the short films in competition at the 10th Irish Film Festa.

We spoke to the director Helen Flanagan.

 

How did you come up with the idea for this story about love and friendship between little kids?

The script evolved naturally out of a very basic idea I had about a kid running a tooth fairy scam for cash. As the characters developed, the story took shape around them, and thematically the script became about learning the value of friendship as a child. A lot of the story elements came from my own experience as someone who was not the most socially mobile kid on the playground, so putting a plutonic friendship at the heart of the story was really important.

 

How did you choose and work with the young actors? Especially referring to Susie Power, whose Penny proves to be a very strong, non-conformist character.

We spent a really long time casting and we were so lucky to get to work with Lee O’Donoghue and Susie Power. They are such fantastic young actors, and both of them were so smart and intuitive about the characters. Both Daithi and Penny are non-conformist characters, but Penny was really personally important for me. I wanted to make sure she was more than just a supporting character, and that she was a real person with a real background and feelings rather than the usual stereotypical “tomboy” character trope. Susie is so smart, she really understood how to get across the subtext in such a naturalistic way. Lee was also so great, he brought so much of his personality to the character.

 

Where was the film shot?

We shot the film in a small country town called Birr, in Co. Offaly. The film was funded through Film Offaly’s film bursary award. I had been in Birr a few years before and I thought it would be a really great location for the story, so I submitted the script to them for consideration. Birr was a really gorgeous location, the kind of place you could imagine two kids running around and getting into lots of trouble.

Three questions to… Cashell Horgan, director of The Clockmaker’s Dream

The Clockmaker's Dream - Interview with Cashell Horgan - Irish Film Festa

 
Cashell Horgan is the director of The Clockmaker’s Dream, the fantasy short film in competition at the 10th Irish Film Festa (March 30th – April 2nd, Rome).

A Clockmaker, in an automata world, tries to build the perfect woman to replace his lost wife but finds his creations are proving more difficult than he imagined; he must find a solution before his time runs out and his world stops forever…

 

The Clockmaker’s Dream‘s visual setting is very peculiar in terms of production and costume design: did you look to any particular artistic references while shaping it?

We did a lot of research in prep for design: the characters are figures simulating living beings, representative of people that may inhabit in a small town, except these are fantastical and more like turn-of-the-century toys.

We looked at the tin toys, dolls and costumes of 19th century design but also traditional masks of northern Europe and photographs of homemade Halloween costumes from the 20’s to 50’s. We wanted a classical setting to fit with Clockwork’s machines and automata. But also have a modern mix to suggest the towns creations have been there for centuries.

The papier-mâché masks have an old world, handmade resonance, and were created by Emma Fisher, an Irish puppeteer, and local art students in Limerick. The costumes were designed and made by Limerick fashion designer Tatsiana Coquerel: her inspiration for the work comes from her passion for dolls, so it fitted well with the concept. In production design, again, we wanted to set in the early 19th century, a Jules Verne world of magic and fantasy.

As for the Clockmaker mask, I was inspired by the Man of la Mancha character, and, from the clay, designer Kamil Krawczak from Order 66 Creatures and Effects made it his own. Everyone took the initial designs and ideas and made it their one personal artistic expression.

 

Where was the film shot?

The film was shot in various location in Limerick city and at Bunratty Folk Park, a recreational park for tourism: it’s a model of an old Irish town. The buildings in the park were transferred brick by brick and reassembled. The props and furnishing date back to early 1900’s, so it fitted well with the tone and design we wanted. Ger Wallace was production designer, and it involved quite a bit of moving and dressing by John Mac Donnacha with expensive antiques from one location to the next. Getting our hands on clocks proved to be most difficult, and the art department had a demanding and challenging time working with such a low budget.

 

The film has two lead actors: the masked Clockmaker Joe Mullins acts only through his body and eyes, while the narrator Jared Harris uses only his voice. How did you choose them for their respective roles?

The Clockmaker role demanded an actor with some life experience behind him. We did numerous workshops with the cast and they were so great, but not exactly what I saw in my head. Joe Mullins came in for one of the rehearsals quite close to the shoot date, and when he donned the mask and played out the scene I knew it had to be him: his physical presence, interpretation of the character and expressive eyes sold it. He brought that character to life, made it his own combining elements of mime and theatrical performance for the screen. He had the right amount of reserve in his actions, and range of emotion in his eyes, and postures, that made a believable character. He had that mask on and off set, drinking through a straw and chewing pretzel sticks between long takes. One of the most patient and accommodating actors you could ever wish for, a total pro.

I really admire Jared Harris as an actor, I think his portrayal of professor Moriarty in Sherlock Holmes – A Game of Shadows is not only the best in the all of Sherlock Holmes adaptations to screen but a cinematic gem and his voice as Lord Portley in the fantasy animation The Boxtrolls equally captivating and versatile. The Clockmaker is an off-beat fantasy fairytale it needed a voice that could express the Grimm but also the underlying humours elements in the script. We were lucky that we had a cast and crew screening at the Richard Harris Film Festival, Jared was hosting the Q&As there, and after we screened I simply asked if he would do the narration. Thankfully he agreed, the next week in the recording studio he gave me a range of interpretations and styles of narration, and a good few laughs that for me really completed the film.

I look forward to one day working with both these fine actors and all the cast that made the film. The cast and crew really dedicated themselves and it was their commitment that carried me through a very challenging shoot.

 

10th Irish Film Festa — Short Films Competition Line-Up

10th Irish Film Festa - Short Films competition Line-Up

 

The 10th Irish Film Festa, the only Italian film festival completely dedicated to Irish cinema, will take place from March 30th to April 2nd, at the Casa del Cinema in Rome.

The competition section, reserved for short films produced or co-produced in Ireland, comprises 15 works this year, spanning various genres and techniques: three animated shorts (A Coat Made Dark, The Lost Letter and Second to None), a documentary (Seán Hillen, Merging Views), a mockumentary (Starz), a horror (Blight), a thriller (Gridlock), a fantasy (The Clockmaker’s Dream), a humorous and contemporary adaptation of an ancient Gaelic poem (The Court, directed by actor Seán T. Ó Meallaigh who attended the last edition of IFF), a biopic (Two Angry Men), a romantic comedy starring children (The Debt), a formative tale with an LGBT theme (Lily), and three dramas (Homecoming, Pause and Today).

Also of note is the presence of big names among the cast of the selected short films: the protagonist of Gridlock is Moe Dunford (guest at the festival in 2015 with Patrick’s Day by Terry McMahon, and actor in the series Vikings); Gerard McSorley offers an extraordinary performance in Starz, whose co-director, Martin McCann, is himself an actor (as we saw last year in The Survivalist by Stephen Fingleton); Two Angry Men sees Adrian Dunbar in the shoes of the Northern Irish playwright Sam Thompson, and newcomer Michael Shea in those of a theatre director James Ellis (the son of Ellis, Toto, is the director of the short); Jared Harris and Kate Winslet are, respectively, the narrators of The Clockmaker’s Dream and The Lost Letter, directed by the winner of the IFF in 2012 (with The Boy in the Bubble, narrated by Alan Rickman) Kealan O’Rourke.

“The short film competition, which we launched in 2010, becomes more interesting and attracts a greater following each year: both by the filmmakers (this year we received nearly 100 submissions) and the public. Moreover, as the names of the actors appearing in the selected short films attest, this is an area that Irish film industry considers highly important, and in which is reflected the vitality and richness of Irish cinema, ” says artistic director Susanna Pellis.

 

SHORT FILMS COMPETITION LINE-UP

BLIGHT (2015), Brian Deane
with George Blagden, Alicia Gerrard, Joe Hanley, Marie Ruane, Matthew O’Brien, John Delaney, Tristan Heanue, Donnacha Crowley
A young priest is sent to a remote island off the Irish coast to help protect an estranged fishing community from dark supernatural forces, but nothing is as it seems.

AN CHÚIRT (THE COURT, 2014), Seán T. Ó Meallaigh
with Séamus Hughes, Michelle Beamish, Joanne Ryan
A modern adaptation of the epic Irish poem Cúirt An Mhéan Oíche / The Midnight Court, written in the 1700s by Brian Merriman.

THE CLOCKMAKER’S DREAM (2015), Cashell Horgan
with Joe Mullins, Jared Harris (narrator)
A Clockmaker, in an automata world, tries to build the perfect woman to replace his lost wife but finds his creations are proving more difficult than he imagined; he must find a solution before his time runs out and his world stops forever…

A COAT MADE DARK (2015), Jack O’Shea [animation]
with the voice of Hugh O’Connor, Declan Conlon, Antonia Campbell Hughes
A man follows the orders of a dog to wear a mysterious coat with impossible pockets.

THE DEBT (2015), Helen Flanagan
with Lee O’Donoghue, Susie Power, Eabha Last
When lovestruck ten year old Daithi falls for his classmate Jessica, he turns to his best friend Penny to help win her heart.

GRIDLOCK (2016), Ian Hunt Duffy
with Moe Dunford, Peter Coonan, Steve Wall
When a child go missing during a traffic jam, her distraught father form a search party to find her. But soon everyone is a suspect.

HOMECOMING (2016), Sinéad O’Loughlin
with David Greene, Johanna O’Brien
A young man struggles to find his place in life after returning to Ireland. A familiar face makes him wonder if things are about to change.

LILY (2016), Graham Cantwell
with Clara Harte, Dean Quinn, Leah McNamara, Amy-Joyce Hastings
Lily, a girl with a secret on the cusp of becoming a young woman, is faced with the greatest challenge of her young life.

THE LOST LETTER (2016), Kealan O’Rourke [animation]
with Kate Winslet as the narrator
The tale of a young boy as he prepares his neighbourhood for Christmas.

PAUSE (2016), Niamh Heery
with Janine Hardy
A woman arrives on an island in an altered state to confront her past. As she listens to old family tape recordings her surroundings begin to take on new life.

SEÁN HILLEN, MERGING VIEWS (2016), Paddy Cahill [documentary]
This portrait observes artist Seán Hillen as he creates a beautiful new photomontage – he shares thoughts about his work and recent personal discovery.

SECOND TO NONE (2016), Vincent Gallagher [animation]
A dark comedy about the world’s second oldest man.

STARZ (2016), Kevin Treacy, Martin McCann
with Gerard McSorley, Martin McCann, Michael Smiley, Tierna McGeown, Shane Todd, Laura Webster, Gerard McCabe
A documentary film crew follows hopeless actors agent Dan Cambell as he tries to save his sinking business from another industrial tribunal.

TODAY (2015), Tristan Heanue
with John Connors, Lalor Roddy
A hard hitting drama about a man who wakes up one morning in his car, disorientated, with no recollection of how he ended up parked in the middle of nowhere. The harsh reality soon comes flooding back once he gathers his thoughts.

TWO ANGRY MEN (2016), Toto Ellis
with Adrian Dunbar, Michael Shea, Conleth Hill, Michael Smilie, Julie Dearden, Lalor Roddy, Stefan Dunbar
The battle of James Ellis and Sam Thompson to stage the play Over the Bridge in face of censorship in 1950s Belfast.

10th Irish Film Festa, from March 30th to April 2nd

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The 10th Irish Film Festa will take place from March 30th to April 2nd, at the Casa del Cinema in Rome.

Submissions for the short films competition are open until January 15th.

“In the past ten years we showcased the best of contemporary Irish cinema, screening films unreleased in Italy but highly awarded abroad. We also were honored by the presence of guests such as Stephen Rea, Fionnula Flanagan, Lenny Abrahamson, Adrian Dunbar, and many more. The 10th IRISH FILM FESTA will be a special occasion to celebrate the past and give new strength to the future of the festival,” director Susanna Pellis says.

Follow us also on Twitter (@IrishFilmFesta), Instagram (@irishfilmfesta) and on our Facebook page: you’ll find daily news about Irish cinema as well as all the updates about the festival.

Irish Film Festa 2017 Competition, deadline extended

iff_submissions_newdeadline

 

The 10th edition of IRISH FILM FESTA, which will take place in March 2017, is now open to submissions for short films from Ireland.

In order to be eligible for IRISH FILM FESTA competition, films must be under 30 minutes in length and produced or co-produced in Ireland.

Accepted categories are Live Action, Documentary, Animation.

Entries must be submitted as an online screener link to submissions.IFF@gmail.com or as a DVD to
Associazione Culturale ARCHIMEDIA
via Segesta 16
00179 Roma (Italia)

New deadline is January 15th, 2017. No fee requested.

DVDs sent by post will not be returned.

Out of all the accepted entries, IRISH FILM FESTA will select – at its sole and absolute discretion – a shortlist of films for the competition. IRISH FILM FESTA will notify all the authors of selected films; not-selected applicants won’t be notified.

Within a week after admission, authors of selected film must provide:
a high-definition copy of the film (Digibeta/DCP/DVD/Blu-Ray)
a timecoded dialogue list
a high-resolution still from the film to be used for the festival catalogue

Please note that this is mandatory. If a timecoded dialogue list won’t be provided, the short film will be disqualified from the competition.

Wait and Violet are the winning shorts of Irish Film Festa 2016

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The winning short films of the 9th edition of Irish Film Festa (April 7th – 10th, 2016) are Wait by Audrey O’Reilly (live action) and Violet by Maurice Joyce (animation).

The jury was composed by Jacopo Chessa (director of Centro Italiano del Cortometraggio), Ilaria Mainardi (writer), Damiano Panattoni (film critic) and Manuela Santacatterina (film critic).

Three questions to… Maurice Joyce, director of Violet

violet_IFF

 
Violet by Maurice Joyce is the dark, cautionary tale of a young girl who despises her reflection. Violet, narrated by the beautiful voice of Aidan Gillen, is also the animated winning short film of Irish Film Festa 2016. Here’s our interview with Maurice. Congratulations!

 

Violet‘s synopsys describes the story as a «dark, cautionary tale»: how did screenwriter Mark Hodkinson develop the script?

Mark was interested in doing something with the theme of low self-esteem and how destructive we can be towards ourselves. It’s a theme that strikes a chord with most of us and is often at its worst when you’re a young teen (like Violet). The story is basically about not standing in your own way – there are enough bullies out there without us bullying ourselves!

So there’s a very contemporary message in the story but Mark wanted to give it the feel of a classic old, cautionary fairytale. So writing the script as a poem for a single narrator helped give it that kind of atmosphere – sort of like an adult reading a scary story to a child.

 

Reflections play a big part in Violet’s story, as well as symmetry, textures and visual patterns are used in the character design and the composition of backgrouds. How did you work on the visual aspect of the story?

As you say, reflections do play a big part in Violet’s story and I wanted to put that into every aspect of the film. So the backgrounds and compositions are (almost) all symmetrical and from a one point perspective. The idea of reflections is also present in the music and a subtle, slightly disjointed reversal of the musical theme can be heard when Violet’s reflection appears on screen.
There are even some things you may not notice on first viewing, like when Violet’s reflection takes her place in the real world she doesn’t have her own reflection. Dancing around the ballroom, all the children are reflecting on the polished floor except for her. I really got into it!

 

Why did you choose Aidan Gillen as the Narrator?

Watching Game Of Thrones we thought his voice would be great for narrating Violet – it sounds wise but with a dark edge. But we were very lucky because we know Aidan a little and are good friends with his brother. So getting the script to him wasn’t difficult. He liked it and said he’d be happy to do it for us. Not only that but he very kindly insisted on doing it for free (which was just as well – we only had a tiny budget!). In the end he was paid in whatever he wanted during the recording. So how much does it cost to get Aidan Gillen to narrate your short film? Two bananas and a bottle of water.

Three questions to… Audrey O’Reilly, director of Wait

WAIT_iff
 

When an important pigeon race and a rare visit home by his son Martin coincide, Charlie waits anxiously for a safe journey home: Wait by Audrey O’Reilly is the live action winning short film of Irish Film Festa 2016, and here’s our interview with Audrey. Congratulations!

 

Why did you choose pigeon races as a background for the story?

My father and brother were both avid hunters and dog men so I always had a particular interest in the way men often bond through their sports and animals. Then, when I studied in Ballyfermot College, I’d see the pigeon racers from exercising their birds and, in fact, made a documentary in the local pigeon racing club as part of a college exercise. For some reason the world fascinates me. I suspect pigeons will weave their way into a feature film at some stage.

 

How did you work on the set with Owen Roe and Rory Keenan?

The very act of casting Owen and Rory together meant most of my work was already done. Obviously both are exceptional actors, but I’d already seen them play father and son (they’ve worked together since Rory was 12) so I knew they’d have that sense of familiarity I wanted. Then, on set, other than making sure we hit certain moments I knew I wanted in each scene, it was a case of get out of their way and let them do it. (By the way, Owen says it’s the first non-villain he’s played on screen!)

 

Where was the film shot?

The loft scenes and the house were shot out in Bray in Wicklow, while the scenes in the club were shot in Sarsfield Pigeon Racing in Ballyfermot, where I shot a documentary about pigeon racing many few years ago. Actually many of the same guys are actually in both the documentary and film.

 

Three questions to… Tanya Doyle, director of Waterlilies

waterlilies_IFF

 
In their sixties seven women have decided to take themselves out of their comfort zone and learn to swim: the documentary Waterlilies by Tanya Doyle is one of the short films in competition at Irish Film Festa 2016.

Dublin born Tanya Doyle was awarded the Duke of Edinburgh Medal of Excellence for her first film Moore Street (2004), a documentary short exploring how a living monument to traditional Dublin facilitated the amalgamation of cultures in the “new Ireland”.

Here’s our interview with Tanya.

 

How did you meet the women of Waterlilies?

I decided to learn to swim myself a couple of years ago and I arranged lessons at a local swimming pool. When I was leaving the pool one afternoon I noticed a group of older women coming into the water together. They were laughing and joking and full of banter, a total contrast to my group, who were all either self-conscious or terrified of the water altogether.

After my lesson the following week I approached the instructor and asked if she could put me in touch with the women. I met the women after their class that week and they were all very open and willing to talk. After that I contacted other swimming pools in the area to find similar classes and like minded women. It was amazing when we came in to film with the women they were so self assured and full of wise words. Some of the women also made a lot of effort with their appearances wearing full make-up and new swimming suits.

 

Through the use of music and the beautiful shots, the swimming pool seems like a world apart: how did you work on the visual aspect of the film?

The music was created in collaboration with a wonderful composer named Sam Joseph Delves. I showed Sam visual samples of what we shot then we listened to instrumental tones I liked. Finally we talked about what was happening in the film at any given moment and what we needed to communicate. I came up with key words describing pivot points in our structure and then Sam came back with the music.

The idea for the visuals style came from my own experience of learning how to swim. I found it really difficult to focus when I was alone in the water. I became very aware of my physical self and I thought it was important to reflect this. The opening sequence is intended to make an impact on the audience while also visually representing the drive these women have. The woman in red is an aspirational figure representing what all of the women are striving for and, as the narrative progresses, what they have already achieved by challenging themselves.

 

Waterlilies is also a reflection on third age from a female point of view. What interested you the most about the women’s tale?

My mother died 15 years ago, had she lived she would be in her mid 60’s now, coming to a point in her life where her time was her own and I wondered what she would be like. I think that’s really what attracted me to these women. I’m intrigued by how they haven’t stopped fighting. Through their life experience they seem to realise that you have to keep moving and that if you stop moving you’ll sink. They seem to me to be the physical manifestation of this belief because every day they push themselves outside of their comfort zone. I find it really interesting to hear women at a later stage of life talking. It’s easy to forget that these women were once young and that they have lived and that they have plenty to say for themselves. What interests me most about these women is the daily challenges they face and their triumph in the ordinary.

 

Three questions to… Tom Caulfield, director of Unhinged

UNHINGED_IFF2016

 
The squeaky hinge gets the oil. But when the squeak escapes the oil its sure to get you! Unhinged by Tom Caulfield is one of the animated short films in competition at Irish Film Festa 2016.

Tom Caulfield worked as animator and character designer on many films, including Cartoon Saloon’s The Secret of Kells, The Book of Life, and Sylvain Chomet’s L’illusionniste.

Here’s our interview with Tom.
 

How did you come up with the idea for Unhinged?

The idea for Unhinged came about one morning while on my commute to work. I just happened to get on a bus with the squeakiest door in the whole of Dublin. What started out as a mild squeaky annoyance grew to be so distracting I couldn’t even concentrate on the book I was reading. Everytime the doors opened to let passengers on or off the squeak would go right through me. What made it even funny was the bus driver was totally immune to the noises emitting from the hinges.

After getting off the bus, I though the hinges must have really have enjoyed disrupting my usually quiet bus journey and that was the kernel of the idea that eventually evolved into Unhinged.

 

Can you describe the work you did on the character design of the three squeaky creatures?

The three characters, which I ended up calling Creakers by the end of the production, went through a few design passes. At one point they were musical instruments, then they were just dots with eyes. They were even like little insects at one point. All of those ideas fell by the wayside once I figured out what these little creakers were about. FUN! Just like I imagined the hinges on the bus having a great time making me sit through their metallic chorus, these characters had to be having that same type of fun. So I used big, chunky, fun shapes for the final designs. Of course their main noise making instrument is their mouth. With that in mind I kept all the features close to the top of the head and gave a pretty large belly that would give room for a mouth that could open extremely wide.

The Creakers color scheme is based off the Irish Flag: Green, for their skin; White, for their bellies; and lastly, Gold for the tails.

 

Unhinged is a great example of classical animation, completely based on action and physical expressions: did you have any particular source of inspiration?

The main source of inspiration for this short was everyday life. Had I not have gotten on that bus I probably would have never came up this little story. My real life reaction to the hinge squeaking on the bus has been transferred in to the doorman in the short. There is one shot in the short where the hotel guests don’t react to the sound, that was just like me on the bus, for some reason it didn’t seem to bother anyone else. Its little tidbits like that, I feel inspire shots or incidents in your work.

For the animation side of things, having been brought up on copious amounts of Saturday morning cartoons, Disney films and the Muppets. I ended up studying classical animation for a few years in Dublin. I wanted the short to be a visual story with realistic characters, so the Disney films forced me to try reach that level of character acting. So there has been years of influences gone in to this short, but ultimately I wanted to celebrate animation and just what it can do and how fun it can be.

What better medium to bring you in side a hinge or a blob of oil?

 

Three questions to… Elif Boyacioglu, director of The Teacup

The Teacup IFF2016

 
Once there was a man who was afraid to go out: it’s the opening of The Teacup by Elif Boyacioglu, one of the animated short films in competition at Irish Film Festa 2016.

The Teacup is a 2-D animated short, produced by the students of the Irish School of Animation at the Ballyfermot College of Further Education in May 2015.

Here’s our interview with Elif.

 

Can you tell us something about the animation technique used for the film?

For the animation we did the initial rough animation with pencil and paper, which were scanned/photographed into the computer. Then we used the Adobe Photoshop plug-in Anim_Dessin developed by Stephane Baril, to do any fine in-betweening that was left and line as well as color the animation. Most of the effects animation (especially the light-motes) were done 2D on the computer, again with Anim_Dessin.

 

Why are teacups and tea sets so relevant in shaping the relationships between characters?

From the very beginning it was my intention to connect the man and his teacup intrinsically. It was first hisgrandmother’s and then his. The teacup in a sense symbolizes him. Thus once the teacup starts to be affected by the events you realize that the man himself is being affected. The woman’s tea set on the other hand, the very reason the man even opens the door, we wanted to be as different as possible from his, almost opposites, angular and robust.

 

Without spoiling it, we’d like to know something more about the ending, which comes as an ironic surprise and it’s very important to define the meaning of the story.

The ending was actually the first thing I wrote. Working on the film we all knew that people would perceive the ending differently; some would think it cruel, others would find it funny, still others a bit positive. I always intended it to be funny to some extent, which is why we have the comedic timing as it is. But for me, personally, it is a positive ending especially because of what happens with the teacup at the very end.

 

Three questions to… Hannah Quinn, director of My Bonnie

My Bonnie_IFF

 
Two people at sea, trapped between a rock and a hard place, must face the distance between them: My Bonnie, directed by Hannah Quinn, is one of the live action short films in competition at Irish Film Festa 2016.

Hannah, daughter of the great Irish film-maker Bob Quinn (who attended Irish Film Festa two years ago with his documentary Atlantean) worked as an assistant director on many films, including Ridley Scott’s Gladiator, Black Hawk Down and The Martian. My Bonnie is her directorial debut.

 

Landscape plays a big part in My Bonnie‘s story: where was it shot? And how did you work along with cinematographer Tim Fleming to film the beauty of that shore?

We shot My Bonnie off the Connemara coast in Co. Galway. The rock, Carraig Leathan, is on a beach near a village called Carraroe, where we used to go swimming as kids. Tim is also my husband and I dragged him down to the beach at dawn. We witnessed the most spectacular sunrise (see photo below) and agreed we had to shoot the film on the rock.

Two weeks later, an incredibly talented and generous crew and cast agreed to come down west, to shoot the film with us, and we were all put up and fed by my parents. As the beach is isolated and we had no budget, there was never going to be a lighting crew, so we shot the film with natural light and at sunrise and sunset. The crew got up at 4am to wait for sunrise and then went home for a siesta and breakfast. Myself, Tim and our art director, covered set watch. The crew came back in the afternoon for the evening light and some even swam across to the rock as the tide had come in. We were incredibly lucky and got beautiful weather for the shoot, except for one afternoon when the rain came and made the rock too slippy to work on. So we had to stop filming early on that day and go to the pub… every cloud.

 

Liz Quinn, who plays Sadie, is also the screenwriter: how did you work on the dialogues with her and Tom Sullivan?

Liz wrote beautifully lyrical and rhythmical dialogue, so it was a joy to hear Liz and Tom play with the lines and make them their own. Tom has terrific comedic timing which added hugely to what is a simple but very insightful two hander about the complexities of a couple going through a break-up.

 

What about the soundtrack?

For the music, I listened to samples of the top 50 Irish albums of 2014 until I hit upon notes that felt right for the film. Next Time Round was the final track on an album by Hidden Highways who are a terrific folk duo. The song really struck a chord with me and feels just perfect.

 
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