Delighted to announce that I have written a new poem in response to these remarkable times we find ourselves in (and created an accompanying little film to go with it). It will debut later this week as part of the London Irish Centre’s new curated series entitled SOLAS. Stand by…
Back in the late 90s, myself and my friend Jakob made some arty little short films together. With a shared interest in German filmmaker Wim Wenders (specifically the film Himmel Uber Berlin) and U2, we set out with a camera to film in the abandoned power plant in Poolbeg in Dublin. I then recorded a slightly pretentious poem that acted as the cacophony of voices the angels could hear. All mixed together with a blast of Zooropa by U2. The end result is actually a pretty nice little film that still looks and sounds good to me.
A few years ago my good friend, documentary filmmaker David Bagnall (Getting Out), was visiting from New York, so we met up with another friend and filmmaker, David O’Sullivan (Moore Street Masala), and headed out without a script, and decided to try and make a short film in a single day. There was such a freedom in just deciding to film and see where it landed us. We began with a simple prop (a suitcase) and a basic costume, and off we went. We shot it sequentially, so it revealed itself to us as a story throughout the day too. As we started to piece it together rapidly in the editing room, we found a silent movie of sorts that seemed to tell a tale about the Ireland we found ourselves in. So I dug out a piece of music I had recorded some time beforehand when I lived in New York (that was part of a different radio play / musical about a singer songwriter called Paschal Quigley). The song “Modern Ireland” seemed to fit nicely and the title was apt, so thats what it ended up being called. It’s a quirky short film with moments of real humour, and even slightly dark elements, but I have to say the finished product is something we were all really proud of. Let me know what you think.
One of my favourite Irish musicians is Pearse McGloughlin. His ear for melody is remarkable, and his ability to wind lyrical tapestries around them is a thing to marvel. A few years ago in advance of his second album “In Movement” being released, he commissioned a series of short 60-90 second films to accompany excerpts of songs from the forthcoming record. I was lucky enough to be asked to make one. Having never made a film, but with a deep love for the artform, I gave it a shot. I chose his song “The Lonely Track”, which was deeply atmospheric and really appealed to the storyteller in me. It is a dark and compelling tale which has, to my mind, more than a hint of Bob Dylan’s Isis from the Desire album. I shot a series of sequences on a visit to New York City and I felt that the sensation of motion & advancement was critical to the feel of the music. It was a journey that had darkness and foreboding within it, but at the end of it was the dreamlike hope that a better day was ahead. And so the film above is what turned out. It’s a bit abstract I suppose, but I really like how it turned out. And it was such a great creative task to lean on some other great art as a scaffolding to build upon, especially when I had no real sense of how to make a film. And if you haven’t listened to Pearse McGloughlin and Nocturnes music, I cannot recommend them more highly.