With a distributor selling my short films around the world I’ve not been able to put them online. The net result of this, unfortunately, is that only the efforts that are too abysmal to sell end up on the web. Not, I think you’ll agree, the best impression for a film maker to give. It also means that the only people seeing my films are those who attend the festivals they’re showing at or those who have caught them on Channel 4 or RTE.
Now, however, with a collection of my shorts on Etihad Airways inflight service I’ve decided to screen those shorts one at a time on my website (http://www.declancassidy.com) under a tab labelled “watch”. I’m starting with “The Bouquet”, a three minute romantic comedy staring Simon Murphy and Nadine Rahimtoola, shot one Sunday afternoon in Trim, County Meath.
So, if you have three minutes to spare, click into my website, click on the ‘watch’ button, settle back with your popcorn and prepare, hopefully, to have a smile on your face a few minutes later. Do check into my Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/cassidymovies) afterwards and let me know what you thought and, if you liked it, pass the word on 🙂
Emmet O’Riabhaigh and Diane O’Connor play Tom and Bridie in Wedding Planners
I’m returning to this blog after a long absence. I’ll try to be more consistent in the future…
August arrives tomorrow and that brings a couple of events for my film-making life. Firstly four of my short films will now grace the screens of Etihad Airways inflight service. Etihad have 8.25 million passengers traveling with them each year so I’m hoping at least a few of them will check out the films. The package consists of Whatever Turns You On, The Bouquet, Veronique and Wedding Planners. Wedding Planners just enjoyed a premiere at Dave Byrne’s Underground Cinema. I also learned today that it has been shortlisted for selection at Aesthetica Short Film Festival in the UK so it’ll be interesting to see where that goes.
The end of the month will see me head for a remote spot in Kerry where I’ll be one the judging panel in the Charlie Chaplin Comedy Film Festival. We’re staying in a pre-famine stone cottage village in the gaeltacht area and I’m given to understand that Marilyn Monroe’s drama coach, Jack Garfein is in the cottage next door. I’m anticipating lots of gossip…
It’s my birthday today and I’m celebrating it in Berlin. Today I sat outside a cafe called something with a German name on something-strasse and watched the world go by… slowly. That is not to say that I necessarily was watching slowly. The world, in this case, dictated the pace. At the next table a group of young, well dressed Berliners spoke earnestly in German. I caught the odd ‘ja’ so I gathered it was a positive conversation. A group of youngsters in lederhosen and braces walked past looking anything but selfconscious. I asked the waitress if it was a stag party or, perhaps, a university event.
‘Bavarians,’ she stated, as if that explained everything.
Berlin is an interesting city. I love it here. I can imagine that there are people who don’t but I can’t imagine that anyone could be neutral to it. It’s a city of contradictions where anything goes. On one hand there is a structure and functionality to everything. Trains run on time, people stop and wait for the green man before crossing the road and social etiquette is respected. At the same time it’s the most bombed city in the world with no space sacred from the aerosol cans of the graffiti artists. Some of the graffiti is undeniably art. A lot, however, is merely someone scrawling their name or a message with a paint can in a fashion that even the most supportive couldn’t call art. Just as the city is splashed with colour, so are the citizens. Just as pasta manufactureres will always have a job in Italy, tatoo artists won’t go hungry in Berlin. It reminds me of LA in that respect. Anything goes in Berlin. All the fashions of the world collide on its streets and often on the same person. From pastel pinks to tartan punks Berlin is home to all and Berliners don’t bat an eyelid at the weirdest looks imaginable. That’s quite refreshing, I must say. This non-judgemental attitude seems to boost confidence. Berlin woman will catch your eye and cooly appraise you without looking away. That’s not common anywhere else that I know.
Berlin is very much a people friendly city. It’s cheap to begin with, in rents, food and clothing. Its transport system is fantastic and it works. The climate is kind and the many bicycle paths are well used. It’s the kind of place to bring kids up in and lots of people seem to have had that very thought. I wonder if the bicycles outnumber the babies or vice versa… whichever, there are a lot of both.
In personal news my film ‘Whatever Turns You On’ is playing here in Berlin at the International Short Film Festival. It has also been chosen for the French scholastic programme. Our new short “Veronique”, written by my collleague Bill Tyson and directed by me, has been delivered to the Irish Film Board and Wildwave and premieres at Darklight Film Festival in October. I’m currently ploughing happily through my Ganglands feature script.
It’s been a number of days since my digits have pounded this keyboard with news of my thoughts and doings – probably because I’ve been rather busy thinking and doing. I’ve business to conduct in Lithuania and Germany which is going to seem me absent for a fortnight so the panic has been on to get certain things done before I wing away. High on the list of priorities has been finding somewhere to live. With our forthcoming training scheme, pencilled in for November 1, and the early planning of next year’s short film festival my time has been spent at meetings in Drogheda where I’ll be based. In between I’ve been viewing houses and apartments. My requirements are rather straightforward. I want somewhere with parking and close enough to the hustle and bustle of the town to walk. I need space for the plethora of unopened boxes of chainsaws, sewing machines, drills and as-of-yet unidentified objects (but they were on sale) which I have accumulated from a year of living next store to Aldi (Here I can imagine the reader of agile mind chanting “Aldi, Aldi, who the f*** is Aldi?).
The key players in Drogheda are proving very clued-in and helpful about the project and it looks like we’re set to turn the North East region of the country into the unrivalled home of film making in this country. Watch this space.
On a personal level I’ve been watching The Lord of the Rings with mum and dad each evening. We’ve followed Frodo over hill and dale with good ol’ Sam traipsing along heroically. It’s only when one watches something with one’s parents that certain realisations dawn. For example, there are a large number of body parts chopped off during the course of that film. Heads roll with reckless abandon, in fact. I was a little uneasy but my parents coped with the bloodshed with admirable equanimity. True the heads are, without exception, orc heads – which, it must be said, strikes me as a little racist. When any of the ‘good guys’ involuntarily shakes his mortal coil it is with body intact and normally a few well chosen words or a lingering look which speaks poetic volumes. Orcs, on the other hand, are not afforded wise words nor poetic lingering looks. They part the world impaled or with body parts flying around dangerously. In the rare case when an orc is not dispatched on the spot it is inevitably so that he can attempt something dastardly in his dying moments before being dispatched with a little more drama before he can achieve it. It struck me that I should be thankful for being born Irish and not orcish…
Those of you who have cast an occasional eye over my daily ramblings will be aware of the keen affection I have had for my tomatoes. From miniscule seeds I lovingly tended them until, a couple of days ago, the first reddenings occured and I felt fulfilled with life. You can appreciate how stricken I was, therefore, to find them in the state illustrated by the photograph. Someone had toppled them over, hastily scooped up the mess and plonked it all, higgeldy piggeldy, back into the planter. Three green tomatoes, their young lives cut short, lay in the remaining compost on the balcony floor.
I repotted as best I could and lavished care (well, water to be exact) on them but their survival is, I feel, touch and go. I compounded the damage in trying to fix it. As I lifted one branch with five promising tomatoes on it it snapped under the weight and the tomatoes dropped like Leonardo di Caprio sinking into the icy depths at the end of Titanic. In all, of my crop of 26, eight tomatoes didn’t make it and I absentmindedly ate a further two before realising what I was doing. I have to keep my chin up and soldier on for those that are left but tomorrow I’m planning to put a little monument in the planter – a kind of ‘Tomb of the Unknown Tomato”. Both director Kevin Abosch and actor Richard Wall had been in the apartment so the likelihood is that it was one of them. Abosch, however, flew back to Paris in the wee hours and Richard, when confronted, denied everything before pointing out that one can buy a whole punnet of tomatoes for 59 cents in one of the supermarkets…
Meanwhile, I’ve viewed two apartments in Drogheda and two commercial premises. The masterplan for training, short film festival and other various film industry activities in Louth is progressing well. I fly to Lithuania on Wednesday so I need to have moved by then. I’m also preparing for a video shoot on Saturday in Athboy with Irish hip hop champion crew ‘Raw Edge’. I’m looking forward to it.
American director/photographer Kevin Abosch flew in from Paris today to meet up about a project we’ve been discussing. Kevin is the snapper behind a whole bunch of iconic shots including ‘that’ Johnny Depp shot which has graced the front of Rolling Stone and all those kinds of publications. It’s the one he graces with his signature and doles out to adoring fans. I met Kevin here in Ireland when he was shooting the feature Vena with former Miss World Rosanna Davidson and the two male leads in my ‘The House’ tv series, Rory Mullen and Richard Wall. Directing is a lonely occupation in many ways. A film is like a canvas in that you can’t really have more than one artist painting the picture (unless, of course, you’re in Thailand where you can have a whole row of artists adding their dab and passing it along the production line to make those palm tree- sunset pictures that tourists gobble up). It is, therefore, a very experimental project we’re discussing. We’re developing a script for a story which takes place between two people – one in Dublin and one in Paris. Kevin will shoot all the Paris scenes and I, the Dublin ones. It may turn out to be a work of genius. It may, on the other hand, not.
Later tonight we’ll be out in the Rathmines area so if you happen to spy us feel free to talk us out of the madness 🙂
In other news I’ll be in Drogheda tomorrow looking at apartments and commercial premises. Things are starting to roll on a film and television training course I’ve been setting up. It may kick off, now, as early as mid October.
This weekend saw three very watchable sporting events. Ireland defeated Cyprus in the World Cup qualifiers, leaving us sitting in a very decent situation for getting to South Africa. Much more entertaining than the game was the interview with our Italian manager Trapattoni afterwards. I was not taking notes so the following is not verbatim but it went something like this…
Interviewer: “You got the result you needed but do you feel that there is a weakness exposed in midfield?”
Trapattoni: “The players, they run, run, run. Ball. It need… to say it. Shoot.”
Interviewer: “I see…”
The GAA Hurling final between Kilkenny and Tipperary was living proof that hurling is the fastest game on the planet. It was amazing to watch. Inevitably Kilkenny won. I’ve been thinking, in light of Kilkenny’s hurling domination and the football prowess demonstrated by Kerry, that maybe the key to GAA success is having a county beginning with K…
My favourite sporting tv this weekend, however, was a women’s gaelic football match that I stumbled across whilst channel flicking. I joined the game just as two girls with thighs like Brian O’Driscoll slid in for the same ball. One girl came off worst for the encounter, having received, what the ref perceived to be, a malicious elbow or other bodily protrusion. This is when it got interesting. The injured girl curled up in a foetal position and started crying. The ref, moved by the poor girl’s plight, no doubt, expressed some strong words at the guilty party whilst brandishing a yellow card in her face. There was a brief moment of defiance before her lower lip began to tremble. She began to cry. Not long passed before the final whistle sounded. The defeated team lay down, assumed foetal positions, and began to cry. The victorious team gave some girlish yelps, hugged each other and then they too began to cry. I think an approach to Kleenex could gain a great sponsor for the sport…
I began preparations for a new short film “The Tramp” which I intend to shoot in about six weeks. It’s not funded so it’s a ‘no budget’ project. My favourite DP, Shane Tobin has agreed to row in on the project. We’re looking to use the new Canon 5 Mark II. I saw really good footage from it in LA last month. We just have to find a really good female lead who loves the script so much she’ll do it for free, a theatre and a convenience store…