Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Film Ireland Cannes Issue

When One hundred Mornings is shortly released, audiences will no doubt be wowed by the wonderful performances, the stunning photogphy and the subtle direction.

They won’t, for a moment, think about the budget. The film was originated under the Catalyst Scheme and was thus made for limited funds. Yet, it is good enough to stand beside any quality film out there. And it has – at festivals around the world and on release in the United States.

A couple of years ago at an Irish Film Board panel, one of the panellists was asked what had happened to the Micro Budget Scheme. The answer, only partially in jest, was that almost all of the films made here could be considered very low budget, so perhaps there was no need for a specific scheme.

I think we can sometimes get hung up on budgets but when a film like One Hundred Mornings, or His & Hers or The Fading Light comes along, we are reminded that films can be great films regardless of budget.

His & Hers, in particular was a fantastic example. I’ve heard many in the film community marvel at the limited budget and the impressive box office return but when I went to see it in the cinema, I only heard the audience chat about the humour, charm and emotion as they left the theatre.

These films are stand alone works of art and storytelling and I think we in the filmmaking community, in these times more than ever, need to spend our time focussing on our creative vision and making daring, innovative films that surprise and delight audiences.

And when remarkable films come along, let us in the community support them and celebrate them. We should tell our friends and drag them along. If we don’t support these films, then who will? If we don’t support them, then we can’t expect others to support ours!

As the summer approaches, Europe’s greatest film festival looms on the horizon and some wonderful Irish filmmakers will be bringing their films there and we wish them well. In this issue, we have Cannes and Irish filmmaking at the front of our minds.

We talk to Ireland’s Cultural ambassador, Gabriel Byrne, about his visions for Irish film and the upcoming season at MOMA in New York. We have an interview with the legendary French filmmaker Agnes Varda who recently attended the Cork French Film Festival and we look at ways in which Irish and French filmmaking talent have intersected on film projects.

We focus, too, on some emerging creative talent, some of whom will be at Cannes, and some of the many wonderful locations that we have at our fingertips in Ireland.

I hope you enjoy the issue and, as always, keep in touch. If you have something to say, let us know, we have a Sounding Off section after all!