Irish Cinema’s New Wave: A Manifesto


TJ O’ Grady- Peyton writes:

I am the producer of of a new ultra low budget independent Irish feature film called “Stalker”. ”Stalker” was written and directed by Mark O’ Connor (above), one Ireland’s up and coming young directors. It came runner up in the best Feature Film category at this year’s Galway Film Fleadh.

 At the Fleadh, before the Stalker screening (and in this month’s Film Ireland magazine), Mark released a manifesto about his vision for Irish film and it’s future. He believes that Ireland is now seeing a new Irish New Wave, with an unprecedented amount of independent low budget Irish feature films being made. Terry McMahon’s “Charlie Casanova” being one of the first of a new protest genre. Not everyone will agree with what Mark is saying, but if it causes a reaction and gets people talking, hopefully it will have a positive effect for cinema in Ireland. Many thanks,

Irish Cinema: A Call To Arms

There is a new face in Irish cinema. The makeup is finally coming off.  The conventional and generic Irish films of the past are being replaced by what could be referred to as ‘The Irish New Wave’ or ‘Tonn Nua’. I believe that we are finally finding our voice.

The new wave has being rising for a few years now with pioneers like Ivan Kavanagh leading the way but not until recently has there been an emergence of a whole movement in Irish cinema. We have for too long focused on perfecting the script when in fact some of the finest work in this country, such as ‘Tin Can Man’ and ‘Pavee Lackeen’, came about through a uniquely personal way of working. These films show that the logic of film can work in a very different way than a rigidly plotted out story on paper.

This is not to dismiss the work of such early pioneers as Joe Comerford or Bob Quinn, or the two most respected film makers in this country, Jim Sheridan and Neil Jordan who have shown how the traditional approach can lead to works of real genius.

However there is a new movement in Irish cinema emerging which has an emotional truth and it is more exciting than anything that came before. Simon Perry could be seen as the grandfather of this new wave because of the amount of kids he produced. He was the first to encourage personal film making by supporting first time writer-directors that he believed in. Now that the fruit of Perry’s tree is beginning to ripen we are seeing an emergence of a new kind of cinema, driven by what I like to refer to as ‘Fís’ (vision) men such as Brendan Muldowney, Ian Power, Ciaran Foy, Colin Downey, Lance Daly, Ken Wardrop and ‘Fís’ women like Carmel Winters and Juanita Wilson.

 Unlike the ‘Auteur’ or ‘Shreiber’ theories favouring either the director or the writer as the true author of a film, the ‘Fís’ Theory holds that a true singular voice can only be attained when the director is also the writer. If the director does not write it then they must rewrite it and reinterpret it into their own vision.

Whether you loved it or hated it, it is clear that Terry McMahon’s ‘Charlie Casanova’ is an astonishingly powerful cinematic voice and yet it was rejected by the critics. It seems sadly familiar to the years leading up to the French New Wave and Alexandre Astruc’s 1948 essay ‘The birth of a new Avant Garde: La camera-Stylo’ how the critics have once again over looked ground breaking films like Charlie Casanova. Is the point of art not to disrupt familiarity? It is not a perfect film by any means but it didn’t need to be. Its very conception was avant-garde and it’s a testament to its power how it has divided audiences, receiving international festival selections and IFTA nominations on the one hand and verbal assaults and one star reviews on the other. It seems ‘Charlie’ was a tough pill to swallow for certain audiences used to sucking on Hollywood infant formula.  

 As a direct result of ‘Charlie’ a new form of Irish cinema has begun.  

The ‘Protest Film’ genre of which ‘Charlie Casanova’ (#1) and now ‘Stalker (#2) belong to, are direct reactions to what has happened in this country. They reflect the changes in the Irish psyche and the socio-economic and moral conditions of our time. The protest film is not conceived for the market. They are emotionally reactive, born out of necessity and a political and social consciousness.   

With the development of high quality formats and crowd funding opportunities now accessible to all of us the tools are finally in our hands to go out and make films like ‘Charlie’ and ‘Stalker’ without having to wait for permission. While the funding bodies have been massively supportive to many of us and will remain so in the future, I believe there is also ‘ROOM FOR THE REJECTS’, the films considered culturally shameful, the films that go to the core and do not fit in with the standard, the ‘scannáin bagairt’ that are refused a voice.

These films ‘RAGE AGAINST THE SILENCE’ by expressing the inner most feelings about the society we live in. Their stance which is outside the system enhances the pure vision which is not answerable to a committee of opinions or restricted by time and money.

There are new techniques at play in our new wave, such as how music is being used, over lapping in editing and bringing actors more into the creative process, a technique being utilized by the very positive new Actor’s Studio in ‘The Factory’. The language of cinema is evolving and audiences are now capable of cognitively solving the mysteries of crossing the ‘180° axis’ or ‘jump cutting’ which has removed all remaining limitations in film making.

This article is written with the intention of bringing recognition to the wave. We need to build our indigenous film industry by making it about ourselves instead of trying to replicate the foreign model. For this movement to reach its full potential we need to promote Irish cinema as an important part of our culture and bring this new wave more into the mindset of Irish audiences. We need better models for the distribution of Irish film and we need our television stations to show more support for the industry. We should not be looking to work within a hierarchy but in a collaborative environment.   

I would like to issue a call to arms that if there are any up and coming ‘Fís’ men or women reading this then you don’t need to wait for permission anymore. As Terry McMahon believes ‘The art is in the completion, begin’. Pick up a camera, create your spiritual treasure and reveal your feelings in all their unique beauty and our new wave will turn into a cinematic revolution.

Mark O’Connor

213 thoughts on “Irish Cinema’s New Wave: A Manifesto

    1. No Fun

      Even bolder: You, the public, don’t like our movies because you don’t understand; you’re too used to be “sucking on Hollywood infant formula.”

  1. Davey

    Love the idea of Tonn Nua.

    Think Lenny Abrahamsons’s ‘Garage’ desverves mention. Compelling stuff.

    1. rory

      He gives his film the same title as a Tarkovsky film, he says his film has a pure vision whose truth will shake up de system and he puts Terry McMahon on a pedestal.
      Thats some bawllls.

  2. the-bag

    The last thing Irish film needs is this kind of pretentious ego stroking. Let the work speak for itself.

    1. Bucko

      Agreed. He sounds like a 1st year politic’s student. Just because everyone can make a film etc….. Too many idiots running around with camera’s and half baked ideas. This “new wave” is gonna need to be seriously filtered or else we’ll get flooded with pseudo nihilists like Terry Mc Mahon and this guy. grrrrr!

      1. Ivan

        Filtered from keyboard warriors like you who don’t have the balls to do what Terry did and go out and create something. Fair play to them I say. Charlie will get better with time. Typical Ireland. Someone shows some balls out honesty and the cynics come rushing in to try and attack because they never created anything of worth themselves. Charlie is like an arrow hitting right into the heart of you types

        1. burning_man

          So, as we didn’t go out and make a film we shouldn’t have an opinion on those that did?

          How does that work exactly?

          Should we also suppress our political opinions because we’ve never run for office? Or refrain from analysing sport if we’ve never played professionally?

          *actually maybe you’re on to something there…*

          1. Ivan

            There’s a difference between having an opinion and verbally abusing someone else calling them a nihilist and abusing their hard work and effort. If youre not into a film like Charlie then why watch it? Why talk about it? Maybe it did affect you.

          2. Pedanto

            Ivan, I don’t think “nihilist” is an insult. But how do you know Bucko never created anything? He could be Neil “Bucko” Jordan for all we know.

            As for the film hitting out at “us types”? I wouldn’t presume to speak for Terry McMahon, but I think he had bigger targets in mind than a bunch of work-shy JobBridge rejects in their underwear eating Weetabix from the packet.

        2. the-bag

          I honestly can’t remember seeing somebody miss the point so widely. ‘Fair play to anyone who does anything’ is a moronic enough argument but it’s not what was said at all. I haven’t seen his film yet so don’t have an opinion on it. His ‘manifesto’ on the other hand was the biggest pile of wank I’ve had the misfortune to read.
          Your comments would benefit from a bit of consideration pal.

          1. MagicwordsfromD

            This is a bold and required oration… If the top down institutions have little interest in change or the betterance of the many then we need visionaries to change the thoughtscape… For the revolution will not be televised, it will happen in sidestreets, alleys, small cinema gatherings and eventually when an idea is ripe, it will ripple mainstream… This is the new wave, this is a western wave, where the top down will secede to the bottom up, where the 1% finally loses its grip, where films make people truly realise that something is deeply wrong with a system( where speculation subverts the economic landscape and materials become more important than soul) its film that will be a part of the awakening and as a small nation, our creativity is all we have to offer!

  3. Eamonn Clancy

    No different from the rest, get actors to work for free, director gets the kudos, blah, blah, blah.

    1. Aidan

      That’s wrong Eamonn. I know actors who worked on this project and they were very happy with the way they were treated. The tiny crowd funded budget the producers had was spent on actors and crew wages and feeding everyone. The makers of this film worked for free and most of those actors have worked on the film makers other projects.

  4. rory

    Yes, Charlie Casanova was considered crap because the brainwashed folk of Ireland are used to sucking on Hollywood infant formula. It’s not because the film is crap at all at all.

  5. Donald Clarke's Doom Force

    Lads, we can’t have this. Let’s round them up before they shake us out of our bourgeois complacency. I hate it when that happens.

  6. Pedanto

    Tóin Nua more like it, am I right? I say TÓIN nua.

    I don’t really get “The art is in the completion – begin.” Shouldn’t it be “The art is in the completion – finish”?

  7. Conan Drumm

    Downey, Kavanagh, Ogden, Muldowney, Daly and others were all toiling away successfully long before Mr Perry’s short reign as our film Supremo-Mogul. The IFB under his thumb rubber-stamped plenty of generous grants to his favoured Euro-pudding productions. This allowed a chosen few Irish producers to live in the style to which they had long aspired.
    Young Irish film-making talent mostly works for nothing, or with minimal public support, while the Film Board buys very costly PR for itself by putting public money in films directed by Steven Soderbergh or starring Sean Penn.

    1. l

      I gave up any respect I had for the IFB after I saw The Moth Diaries. One of the worst scripts ever committed to film.

    2. rory

      I really appreciate Mr. O’Connor getting out there and making a film and I really sympathise with his frustration with the current film industry in this country (which you have touched on there).

      However, I would be severely tempted to categorise any manifesto that name checks ‘Charlie Casanova’ as a load of deluded poo.

  8. No Fun

    Thank got for wireless internet, right?
    I mean, if this writer was dependant on a wired connection I don’t think you could find an ethernet cable long enough to go from ‘the wall’ to ‘that far up his own backside’.

    Seriously, ‘Charlie Casanova’ was, objectively, terrible and one of the worst examples of movie-making in any country in a long time. It was a hard pill to swallow because it was badly written, terribly directed, and lived in the world of “ego project” that should never come to light.
    If this is leading a ‘New Wave’ then I think we really need to consider ‘movies’ as a format entirely; get rid of them all if necessary.

    1. rory

      “The language of cinema is evolving and audiences are now capable of cognitively solving the mysteries of crossing the ‘180° axis’ or ‘jump cutting’ which has removed all remaining limitations in film making.”

      *Bullshitometer explodes*

      Wow, what is this ‘jump cutting’ you speak of? It must be this new technique that Mr. O’Connor has invented.

          1. Lars Von Triers hairy balls

            I entered the following text into google translate and clicked on “To English” and “from complete and utter horsehit”
            “The language of cinema is evolving and audiences are now capable of cognitively solving the mysteries of crossing the ‘180° axis’ or ‘jump cutting’ which has removed all remaining limitations in film making.”

            Google Translate came back with “I’m too much of a self declared genius to bother learning the basic rules and skills of my craft and feel i should not be required to master them as your petit bourguois brain is unable to comprehend the art i have chosen to use for my public masterbation”

            I think his bullshit is too strong for google to successfully translate.

  9. Splendido

    Stop talking about it. Stop writing manifestos. Just do the work, make the films and let the historians label it as a new wave of whatever.

    1. woesinger

      Reading manifestos is like ducking for pearls in a bucket of bullshit. Writing manifestos is filling the bucket in the firm conviction that bulls shit pearls.

  10. sth

    This has to be epic trolling. The alternative explanation is too painfully embarrassing to believe.

  11. broadsideskid

    Most people who can operate a digital SLR have a movie in them- and with most people that’s where the movie should stay …

  12. Pedanto

    It’s strangely written all round. “Simon Perry could be seen as the grandfather of this new wave because of the amount of kids he produced.” God bless his thunderous vesicles, but I’m not sure that’s really what they mean.

    It’s very generous of O’Connor to give priority to someone else’s film, though.

  13. Inspiration from Frank

    Nice piece, Terry’s film, at least his approach to making it, directly inpisred me to make Derelict, but I’ll be honest, over the two years it took me to make the film, along with the 12 years I’ve been trying to make films in this country, I’ve had my spirit crushed by the lot of it.

    1. l

      It’s a spirit crushing industry, you’ll find a lot of people in every country who’ve had their spirit crushed by the film industry.

  14. Normal Guy

    This kind of Pretentious Bullsh*t is what’s wrong with Irish Cinema… Charlie Crapanova is probably the worst piece of shi*t ever shot…

  15. Anthony

    Ugh the pretentious war cry of an egotistical hipster.

    This is exactly why Ireland has no indigenous film industry-too many smug self proclaimed demi gods of screen making films for an audience of one.

      1. rory

        Do we really have a decent film industry?

        (Bare in mind that I think the above manifesto is a load of donkey doo.)

        1. Pedanto

          We’re a very small country. In the last couple of years we’ve had decent features from Conor Horgan, Lenny Abrahamson, Brendan Muldowney, Carmel Winters, and a few more. They may not be in the world pantheon yet, but we’re talking about people on their first or second film.

          Not many people outside the industry care about short films, I suspect, but we’re producing dozens of great examples in both live-action and animation. Just look at the Oscar shortlists. I think that augurs very well for the next few years.

          It’s still a small industry, but we’re not doing badly for a country half the size of Belarus.

          1. Pedanto

            Fair point, though I don’t think we can call our film industry a failure because it doesn’t replicate the spectacular success of our writers.

            We definitely punch above our weight in short films. Maybe that will transfer to features, given time.

          2. Anthony

            I think it’s because a lot of short films are about execution as opposed to product. The Irish film industry as a rule doesn’t think about the bottom line or mass appeal.
            Although the new IFB head honcho seems to be addressing this. I mean a 100k grant(to put into context an episode of Fade Street cost 80k to produce) for The Hardy Bucks to make a feature film’s a no-brainer. Sure the boys would claw that back on DVD sales alone.

          3. Pedanto

            Anthony, I didn’t know that about the Hardy Bucks, but I agree. It’s a good place to put some of the money.

  16. Joe

    New Wave? Hah! I’ll tell you what’s going on – film making equipment is now so affordable that every antisocial nerd with delusions of grandeur can now act out their violent and childish ideas in the form of stupid ninja/zombie films.

    Give children toys and they’ll play, but don’t call it some kind of ‘movement’! Puhhleez!

    1. rory

      I don’t agree with you but thats an interesting point.

      While its fun to slag the manifesto and to assert our own identity/percieved superiority in the process, I don’t think its wise to be giving McMahon et al the attention they crave (and by ‘attention they crave’ I am referring specifically to the promotion/discussion of their films.)

      I’ve got a feeling their reaction to said derision/attention is likely to be the one you’ve just outlined – it will put their defenses up and make them more deluded than ever.

      I’ll try and stop feeding after I post this comment.

  17. Wisedave

    A Film With Me In It: Two listless dead beats, one loses his girlfriend, and people die.
    Headrush: Two listless dead beats, one looses his girlfriend, they do a drug deal.
    Intermission: Two dead beat shop workers, one looses his girlfriend, they get involved in a kidnap.
    Adam and Paul: Two listless dead beats look for heroin.
    Zonad: Two deatbeat alcos invade a town, one looses his underage girlfriend to another.
    Wide Open Spaces: Two deatbeat whatever’s, can’t remember what happened.
    Inside I’m Dancing: Two disabled deadbeats look for freedom, neither score their pretty blond helper.
    As enjoyable as most of the above films are, personally I think it’s important to see a character, who’s not a listless, penniless looser, but someone with a bit of bollox about them and Charlie delivered that. I have yet to see Stalker.

    1. Bucko

      Adam and Paul is probably the best Irish movie of the last 10 years,that is said objectively.

      1. Ivan

        Adam and Paul? R u kiddin me? A middle class look at a working class epidemic with middle class theatre actors? Adam and Paul is an insult to heroin addiction.

        1. ThatChick

          You’re right. The should’ve hired actual heroin addicts, shouldn’t they? And the crew should’ve been comprised only of heroin addicts too. For authenticity. Y’know, like how films about Vietnam are always made by veterans, and the writers and directors of romcoms always have their flights interrupted by spontaneous declarations of love from that cute friend of theirs who they never really saw as a romantic possibility. That’s how cinema works. Obviously.

          1. Ivan

            It’s an insult to the working class just like that terrible TV series Love Hate is an insult.

  18. The Future

    All you pathetic keyboard warriors will never comprehend a balls-out masterpiece like Charlie. This is the beginning. This is our time. Just like Citizen Kane was rejected, just like Fellini was rejected, just like Taffin was rejected, Charlie has divided audiences. Some of them got it and wept blood. Some of them were little girls and didn’t get it and walked out and laughed and called it a bit creepy. All of them were changed. That’s what a genius does when he is provocatively dark and satirically disturbing and balls-out bravely outrageously courageously brave, with his balls out, in courage.

    This is our time. If you have the balls to join us. Our time. Now. With our balls out.

    1. GarPublic

      Senator, I served with Citizen Kane, I knew Citizen Kane;

      Citizen Kane was a friend of mine.

      Senator, Charlie Casanova is no Citizen Kane.

    2. Caroline

      It’s at times like this I wish I had some balls. Make no mistake they would be out right now sir. And I would be standing to attention.

    3. Rissole

      That’s scrotum-shudderingly, arse-burstingly funny. But you know someone is going to slip/lumber through your window some sticky, eerily still night and feed you your freshly-Moulinexed genital bits through your newly de-balled eye-socket. Still, bombast nicely skewered.

  19. mrmyagi1932-2007

    This is a nonsense article.

    You can’t have it both ways. On the one hand you say ..
    “The protest film is not conceived for the market. ” and then you complain that critics/audiences don’t review/receive them well.

    Just who are these films made for then!?!

    1. Wisedave

      I think he means it came naturally. It’s BOY BAND generic films for the market versus a film that is born out of necessity..,makes sense to me. The critics didn’t like Charlie just like they hated those first Italian neorealist and french new wave films. Of course he wants critics to like the films, wouldn’t u. When I see Stalker i’ll judge for myself but I thought Charlie was great. Difficult to watch in moments though!!

      1. rory

        “The critics didn’t like Charlie (Casanova) just like they hated those first Italian neorealist and french new wave films.”

        I think you better smell what you’re shovelling.

        1. Wisedave

          Rory you should smell what you are shovelling yourself. I didn’t compare Charlie to a french new wave film. I said the critics didn’t like those early FNW films just as they didn’t like Charlie. This is not to say CC is any good. But my point was you don’t need a critic to recognise a movement. In FACt they’d probably be the last ones to get it. There’s probably french critics who still reject the french new wave ever happened s@@f

          1. Pedanto

            The French New Wave was composed mainly of critics. Godard and Truffaut both wrote for Cahiers du Cinema before they made films.

  20. Joe

    I feel sorry for those who defend Charlie (i.e. people who worked on it) – they have to pretend it’s a misunderstood masterpiece as it’s too late to change every credit name to Alan Smithee!

    1. tif

      I defend Charlie and I didn’t work on it, seems your comment is built on a misguided premise.

  21. Alec Moore

    I was at the screening of Stalker when this was read to the audience. All I can say is that it left me completely inspired.

    1. Pedanto

      Was that the general reaction? It takes some guts to read a manifesto to an audience – much as I think this one is a bit short on plot.

  22. Paddy Slattery

    Conversation = progress.
    Questions raised about our film industry = Great.
    More storytellers getting off the sofa to make personal no-budget/crowd-sourced films = Excellent.

    New formula for Irish Independent Film distribution = Needed.

    “Sometimes the best thing for a barrel of lazy cod is to throw a catfish in among them.” – Catfish

    1. rory

      Conversation = Derisory
      Questions raised about our film industry = What kind of industry/reality does a person inhabit if they think Charlie Casanova is a good film?
      More storytellers getting off the sofa to make personal no-budget/crowd-sourced films = If the films turn out to be good, Excellent.

      New formula for Irish Independent Film distribution = Judging from Ireland’s film output in general, needed, imo.

      Using said conclusion to justify C. Casanova/to insinuate that C. Casanova is the end product of the right formula = Not Needed.

    1. Pedanto

      Mongfight! It’s one bunch of internet commenters arguing with another bunch of internet commenters. I don’t think the moral high ground need worry about mucky footprints.

      I would feel more smug about the guy who calls us all fried-chicken-munching keyboard warriors if I hadn’t literally just finished a bowl of chicken wings.

      1. Bucko

        Were the chicken wings force fed to you by the “man”? I’m like a free range chicken stuck in a battery pen!

  23. Andrew Lovatt

    Good piece & good news. I agree Tonn Nua is in the air. As the editor of FIBA: New Cinema Quarterly (winner of the Best Int’l Film Magazine at Venice Biennale / 1969), my appreciation for the beginnings of a real cinema movement has some grounding.

    Ne’er mind the pisstakers and barstool critics. Cinema was never made by committee or wholesale agreement. It has to be a rebellious event.

    The technology has come down to enable / empower us to “make movies”. Budget is no longer a brickwall. With the internet, distribution is no longer in the hands of the few.

    What does remain is this: “what’s the story?” That is the key to Nouvelle Vague (FR) and Italian New Realism and all movements. There were things to be said that Tonn Nua can now articulate on screen.

    When filmmakers work with writers, camerafolk, actors (we’re not shy of them either are we?) and creative crew – you have a films that contain their own dynamic and power to speak.

    I look forward to more!

    1. Pedanto

      Cinema was never made by committee? Seriously? Not even under the studio system?

      (Or the collaborative production model you seem to be advocating, for that matter.)

      1. Andrew Lovatt

        New Wave Cinema is never a studio, committee or big budget event. It is synonymous with independent, gangster, “by any means possible” production.

        1. Pedanto

          You can’t redefine cinema to mean New Wave cinema. And you can’t deride a committee model by proposing a system where everybody contributes (like a committee) and one lovely rebel makes the decisions (like the chairman of a committee). What exactly are you proposing?

          I’d love a conversation about film, Andrew, and I’m sure you’d have something to say, but this is just blather. Much like the manifesto you’re so impressed by, which seems to offer no strategy but “overlapping edits” (whatever they are) and “revealing our heart’s unique inner treasure in all its spiritual beauty”, or some such Disneyesque embarrassment.

    2. rory

      Thanks for your contribution Mr. Lovatt,

      If you have the time, I’d be curious to know what you thought of Charlie Casanova, as in, did you think it was a good or bad film?

      Do you find from your own experience that films of C. Casanova’s quality are the beginnings of genuine new wave of quality film making?
      For example, in the Romanian ‘new wave’ that happened a few years ago, were there weak films beginning the wave before the Death of Mr. Lazarescu came along?

      Do you think it could be possible that the people who are framing the Casanova film as the beginning of a new wave of quality films are a tad deluded (in relation to the quality of the film) and it isn’t right/benificial for anyone concerned to accept that, especially if they really want a new wave of quality?

      1. Aidan

        Rory you need to learn how to read. O’Connor says its been around for a few years now so i presume that includes previous work from directors mentioned such as Daly, Muldowney etc. I think Irish film needs this kind of boost. It’s been dead for years. Irish people hardly ever go and see Irish cinema. In nordic countries they have their own cinema culture and cinema voice.

        1. rory

          Hi Aidan,

          I think saying I can’t read is a tad unfair in this particular case. The manifesto frames certain older work as the root of this purported new wave, yes, but it clearly refers to the ‘Irish new wave’ as being, well, new, and the ‘astonishingly powerful cinematic voice’ of McMahon and his Casanova as being the forefront of it.

          e.g. “As a direct result of ‘Charlie’ [Casanova] a new form of Irish cinema has begun.”

          If you have the time, could you clarify what you mean with the nordic reference at the end? (I’m not sure of the point you were making in that last sentance. Are you saying this purported ‘new wave’ described in the manifesto is going to instil Nordic values with regard to cinema? If yes, could you clarify how you think it will do this.)

          1. Pedanto

            He is also specific enough to number Charlie Casanova and Stalker as Tonn Nua #1 and #2, so he plainly doesn’t think it’s “been around for a few years”.

          2. Aidan

            Hi Aidan. I don’t think he says Charlie begins it. I think he’s saying that all those directors mentioned are part of it. He talks about Charlie starting a new protest genre. Not sure what he means by protest genre?? Nordic countries along with France, Italy etc have their own strong indigenous industries. They were only possible by people making personal films. I think Ireland’s film Industry in in a greatplace

  24. PathOfPan

    Whether you consider ‘Charlie Casanova’ or ‘Stalker’ to be f**king brilliant or f**king awful, all cinema needs a kick up the arse at some point or other. It’s happened in other parts of the world, why shouldn’t it happen in Ireland? True, there will be a lot of shit – one only has to look at what happened with ‘The New French Extremism’ (a handful of superb gems, which was soon followed by a barrage of mediocre excuses for art-porn), or ‘Mumblecore’ (oh, wait, that was all shit…), but I’m personally keeping my fingers crossed that we have more films from Ireland that are brave enough to challenge the norm, challenge what is perceived to be ‘the industry’, and shake us in our boots.

    1. Pedanto

      Why pick “Ireland needs a jolt, whether it’s a good film or not” rather than “Ireland needs a good film, whether it’s a jolt or not”? The second option gives us good films. The first just seems a bit childish.

    2. rory

      I would think how awful or how brilliant Charlie Casanova/Stalker is would be very important if the above manifesto wants to challenge what is percieved to be ‘the industry’. If for example, the films are percieved to be shit, they will be dismissed.

      In relation to that – Saying that critics just don’t understand the brilliance of Casanova like they did with during the French new wave, stinks of bs if you ask me. Critics/film academics support are a necessity if you want your film/s to be categorised as a ‘new wave’, and thinking such critics simply can’t yet comprehend the goodness of Macmahon’s film because of their closeminded ways – i’m not saying its not possible and i’m simply one of them, but…
      …Take the more recent Romanian New Wave that I previously mentioned, the brilliance of certain films within that ‘wave’ were instantly recognised as such on their release. Even populist film magazines such as Empire (a magazine that promotes ‘Hollywood Infant formula’ if there ever was one) gave ‘the Death of Mr Lazarescu’ a five star review on its release, and that is generally considered to be the first feature length contribution to the ‘Romanian New Wave’, as far as I’m aware.

        1. rory

          Hi Aidan, Thanks for the link.
          Yes it makes me angry also. But what makes me just as angry is the way MacMahon et al is framing his own work as being in the same situation (with regards to critics reaction)*, not to mention the sheer mentalness of considering his Casanova film as being on the same level of quality as other acclaimed films in other new waves. Its a false (and I suspect partially deluded, partially promotional) equivalency in my opinion**, and I think if this alleged new wave of quality films is promoting work of this standard, it should be called out on it big time.

          *Said interpretation of the critics reaction fails to consider the possibility that Irish critics are dieing for an artistic personal film to praise/bolster Irish film and send it somewhere interesting/send their self importance throught the roof, and that in the current world of criticism, critics may also have a vested interest to at least appear open minded with regard to film, to at least dress themselves up as if they had an interest in promoting new waves. If you consider these argument to be a possibilty and that they still slammed the film, well…

          **Although I suppose if you’re a fan of the film you could argue that point away as being the delusions of myself.

          I think your comment above about the Nordic industry in relation to Ireland is fair enough, and I hope in the future personal films are made. Painting Casanova in such a light is unwise in my opinion. If you believe/encourage said picture including Casanova simply for the sake of ‘not throwing out the baby with the bath water’, I think there is a serious possibility that it would lead this purported wave into a barrel of bs, and it will not lead to better films/art coming out of this country.

          1. Pedanto

            I have no doubt that Mark O’Connor’s admiration for Charlie Casanova is real, but the hyper-sensitivity to criticism there has led people into some illogical positions. Yes, critics and audiences have rejected some good films. They have also rejected some bad films. Neither rejection is proof of anything. It seems a bit babyish to keep going on about it.

            Make another movie, for God’s sake, and stop insisting that people who were bored by the last one are too dumb or too evil to get it.

            And while you’re at it, rewrite your manifesto. It has no plan, no aesthetic, and no point.

  25. PopMart

    I think it would big fun if all the Casanova slaggers and defenders, but especially the slaggers, would just come out of hiding and have this one out on Terry McMahon’s FB page in the open. Could be very entertaining, whichever way the excrement flies and wherever it lands, for days. It’s about time, isn’t it?

  26. Buzz

    Charlie Casanova sucked. I’m not holding out for a reincarnation of Samuel Beckett or James Joyce but jeez, can someone make something a little more sophisticated than that?

    1. Bucko

      Terry McMahon is the Irish cinematic equivalent of Jim Corr. Only difference is Jim Corr has more creativity and personality!

    2. Wisedave

      A little more sophisticated? Sounds like Charlie was a teen comedy or a romantic comedy! How was it not sophisticated? The editing??i think editing was unique, camera work very good, lighting excellent for the budget. So how was it not sophisticated? Story?? The story was strong and acting v powerful with Emmet Scanlon in the lead. I think the dialogue was great. Maybe some of the supporting roles- acting was a little tv- But if he had a bigger budget he could have cast better actors in those roles and its also his first feature. My two favourite scenes were when he pushes the guy off the building and also when the couple are in the bath. Very unsettling

      1. Badlands a great film, make feckin' Badlands

        For me, if you want to see a good example of sophistication in dealing with disturbing subject matter, you should watch ‘Snowtown’, an Australian film from a first time director, released to Dvd here recently.

        I don’t think its a masterpiece
        (I’m finding it hard to conceptualise its limitations, but I think the following review hints at it: )
        but on a scene by scene basis, it’s incredibly well observed, and at a level I think Irish film should be striving for. To at least get to.

        The thing is I have doubts that director McMahon can even comprehend that kind of sophistication, judging solely from Charlie Casanova.
        I’d be putting my money more on Pat Collins, the guy who directed Silence, released this week. I should state that I am basing that opinion solely on Pats previous TV/documentary work, but even with his own limitations, as a director he appears to be striving for something that McMahon can’t get to. That is again judging solely from Casanova.

          1. Badlands a great film, make feckin' Badlands

            Do you think I’m talking out of my ass about Pat Collins?

            I’ve got a conflicted feeling about his work, like he is moved by the same film as I am – (I think he’s a fan of certain Malick films like myself) but also a part of me thinks his style is a pale imitation of certain malick-ian approaches, and because of that even if he strives for greatness his work may end up being empty or pretentious, which is far more dangerous for Irish film than if it were just plain shit, because people might mistake the emptiness for something meaningful.
            Perhaps this comment is a bit pretentious! so i’ll shut up.

            Is there any Irish director you would have hopes for yourself?

          2. Pedanto

            No, I think you’re far from pretentious. I’m really excited about that film. I love good sound, and I think it’s great that a film is inspired by someone other than a writer or director. That’s real collaboration, whereas the normal idea of collaboration seems to be everyone working for the director who can’t write, but has written the script anyway.

            Filmmakers I’d watch out for: Conor Horgan, Ivan Kavanagh, Carmel Winters, Kristen Sheridan, PJ Dillon, Brendan Muldowney, Stuart Carolan, Luke McManus, Claire Dix, Hugh O’Conor, Margaret Corkery, David Freyne, James Cotter, Michael Kinirons….

            The main danger I see is the obsession with directors writing their own stuff, and most of them just aren’t up to it. Pick a work by any Irish writer-director where the script wasn’t the weakest element. It’s a huge burden that filmmakers are imposing on themselves. It’s hard to find a great director, and hard to find a great writer. Assumig they’ll both be the same person is just ludicrous.

            Add to that the complete lack of good script or story editors in Ireland, and you have the reason why Irish cinema, even when it has promise, is so terribly flawed.

            What about you? Who are you tipping for greatness?

  27. Ro

    FAO Anyone who thinks this is groundbreaking, please read Towards a Third Cinema by by Fernando Solanas and Octavio Getino, written nearly half a century ago in a supposedly developing country. Anyone who thinks this is groundbreaking has never worked in the Irish film ‘industry’. Or else needs cataract surgery.

  28. barry

    Mark has a solid point in the manifesto.

    The means of production to make cinematic narrative films is probably, with a motivated and skilled crew…

    Roll on DSLRs

  29. Mr. Pink

    I think it’s great. OK so these films are not for everyone, that’s fair enough. But I think it’s great that they are being made without the seal of approval from the film board and doing so well. I’m not saying the film board is a bad thing, far from it, but if your film isn’t to their taste why just give up? If you believe you have something special go make it. I know that is easier said than done (maybe more credit should be shown to Stalker, Tin Can Man, Charlie Casanova it’s no mean feat to make a feature film) but if you know the right people, who are on the same page as you and believe in your project, why not? Why not be part of this new wave? Just because Charlie Casanova got slated doesn’t mean every film made this way will be.

    1. Pedanto

      I agree with you. I think the problem is going to be with distribution. The easier it gets to make films, the harder it will be to get them into cinemas. I suspect online distribution will be the fate of most of them, with directors torrenting their own stuff to find an audience.

      Maybe an online forum for that would be a good use of someone’s time.

      1. Mr. Pink

        I’m not that clued in when it comes to distribution but I can see your point completely.

        I do think if films do continue to be made this way and they continue to do well,will that force the film board to take a look at itself? Why are self financed films getting more recognition than the one’s with a few millon behind them?

        Stalker a film made for 14 grand gets second in the Galway Fleadh, King Of The Travellers a film made by the same director and funded by the IFB (a millon I heard) hasn’t really been talked about since Galway. Surely questions have to be asked?

    2. rory

      Mr. Pink, I think thats a fantastic comment, but I would have concerns when you say:
      “if you know the right people, who are on the same page as you and believe in your project, why not?”
      I think there is something missing from that picture, and that is the contents of the manifesto itself and what (I think) it is implicitly asking you to do if you want to follow/support it.

      I would have concerns about putting C. Casanova on the pedestal the way the manifesto does. I think, the way it does that, it is implicitly asking you to accept/encourage all the (imo) bullshit that has resulted in the (imo) mediocre product of that film. If Irelands film makers accept said manifesto, and the said things (I percieve) are implicit within it, it will lead to further film emptiness in my opinion. Even if distribution works, it’ll have the depth of the majority of youtube videos.

      Apologies for another awkward spiel from moi. I will stop now. I would be very interested as to what you think of the opinion I have just said, even if you want to discredit it/my viewpoint in general, (and Pedanto for that matter – You have been repeatedly bang on on this Broadsheet post, imo) but I won’t be replying/commenting on this post anymore. Not for a while anyway.

      1. Pedanto

        Thanks, Rory.

        I think lots of interesting stuff has arisen here, but as you suggest the conversation has probably moved beyond what the forum is for.

  30. Drogg

    Ok as someone who works in the television and film industry and actually gets payed for doing it i must say this is pretentious shite. Also i have had the pleasure of meeting Mr o’connor a few times. A buddy of mine who was approached by mark o’connor to edit his pre BAI funded footage of between the canals to make it into a piece to show the BAI to receive funding. So my buddy spent weeks syncing the audio and going through hours upon hours of badly shot footage breaking every rule of film-making along the way. This was done on the agreement that if he got funding my buddy work be the editor on the feature. low and behold mark got funding shot his opus (WHICH IS REALLY JUST ANOTHER SHITTY DUBLIN GANGSTER MOVIE) and my buddy never heard from him again. Mark o’Connor is the last person who should be writing manifestos for my industry we don’t need you or want you bring your pretentious shit elsewhere

    1. Mark O'Connor

      Hi everyone. This is Mark. I didn’t want to put any comments on here as it’s not really my place but the above comment is a personal insult on my character so I had to respond. I worked with an editor at his house assembling the initial footage of Between The Canals. This editor was a really sound guy and helped me out but his editing skills weren’t at the standard I was looking for. I couldn’t take him on for the actual feature and I let him know. I told him he would be credited on the film which he was. This editor also worked in the industry as a cameraman so maybe he didn’t have enough experience as an editor. It cost me 4K of my own money to make Between the Canals. I don’t remember you Drogg in the comment above. Were you at the editor’s house? It was 3-4 years ago.
      Thanks to everyone for their comments. It’s good to hear negative and positive feedback about the piece. Regards, Mark.

      1. Drogg

        yeah i lived with the guy and i went down to temple bar to collect footage off you and talk to you about the production. i just think its rich of you to be making statements like this. I’ve worked in this industry for nearly ten years now and i can tell you for a fact people don’t want to hear your opinion on how the industry is run.

        maybe when you have more experience you would know that there are people in this country with up to 40 years experience that know how our industry should run a lot better then you. But at the end of the day people like me want to make money from what we do and your manifesto lines out a bohemian future of unpaid film-makers which would kill this already struggling industry. People don’t want to see what you want them to see, they want to be entertained and thats where the BAI’s funding should be going not being spent on whatever art house master piece that someones come up with this week.

        1. Badlands a great film, make feckin' Badlands

          Is that it? No ‘art’ films can be made in this country so? for fear of the collapse of the current industry.

          I can appreciate the delicacy of your position and I can understand if you don’t like the manifesto or Marks work, but to rule out films of artistic intent in general?
          I don’t want to sound high falutin’, but isn’t that well, depressing, among other things…

          Or sorry, have I misinterpreted your outlook?

          1. Drogg

            Art films should be funded by the industry once we have a financially viable industry. Not Funded by an industry that is just about surviving and secondly i’ve seen marks films and i would not classify them as art house movies.

    1. Caroline

      Yes, but it’s Ireland, so you also have to provide a tagged-on Irish translation, so it can also sound like a semi-state body.

  31. joe

    mark o’connor was not being ego-tystical by writing this manifesto, nor was he telling people how to make films, he was simply making people aware of whats going on in the country now regarding talented film makers and basically put this label on it to make it official, make it conncious and all that can do is help our film industry. stalker a [14grands] in its 1st festivel against some big budget irish film in comparison came 2nd and that was without any publicity and it was gave the small screen in the cinemobile while the winner ‘good vibrations’ got the town hall and had lots of publicity surrounding it having already been on the festivel circut for awhile, also the critic donald clark who famously destroyed terry mcmahon’s ‘charlie cassanova’ embraced stalker in a short review that was totally positive so wait untill you see stalker before you judge it, it is an entirelly different film to charlie but they just have the same ethos and both are really saying something about are country and this time. there are too may begrudgers commenting just because some one is taking a stand and is trying to do something important, interesting and unique.

  32. joe

    lets be honest most of the negative comments are coming from film makers that are angry that they are not included in the ‘fis’ men or ‘fis’ women categories.

    1. Pedanto

      That sounds like balls to me, Joe, unless you want to back it up.

      One of the worst things about this whole “movement” is how childish it is about criticism. You don’t allow that someone can just not like your movies. People have to be politically threatened, or a clique of some kind, or dumb, or frustrated artists. It’s the kind of raving you expect to hear in the rehearsal garage of a 15-year-old’s punk band, not from a grown-up with something other than an ego to promote.

      Donald Clarke didn’t “murder” Charlie Casanova. He gave it a bad review because he didn’t like it. What did you expect him to do?

  33. thomas

    i havnt seen stalker yet but i hope to. i seen charlie i didnt really enjoy it but i have to say its stuck with me it definitly affected me in some strange way so i got to say for that reason id say it was special. some films are master pieces and you recognise them for that but you dont enjoy them its a different experience that is more fullfilling than enjoyment. look at films like black swan, requim for a dream or ther will be blood. there not exactly enjoyable but they are great. i seen the avengers assemble i enjoyed that but it didnt affect me so when im in the mood for something serious and emotional and important i watch films like ‘there will be blood’ etc most of the time enjoyable films are forgettable and ye just want more for your cinema ticket price. peace people do remember this guy mark is just tryna change things up like what was done in italy and france an all round the world why cant it happen in ireland?

  34. gerry

    mark o’connor was not being ego-tystical by writing this manifesto, nor was he telling people how to make films, he was simply making people aware of whats going on in the country now regarding talented film makers and basically put this label on it to make it official, make it conncious and all that can do is help our film industry. stalker a [14grands] in its 1st festivel against some big budget irish film in comparison came 2nd and that was without any publicity and it was gave the small screen in the cinemobile while the winner ‘good vibrations’ got the town hall and had lots of publicity surrounding it having already been on the festivel circut for awhile, also the critic donald clark who famously destroyed terry mcmahon’s ‘charlie cassanova’ embraced stalker in a short review that was totally positive so wait untill you see stalker before you judge it, it is an entirelly different film to charlie but they just have the same ethos and both are really saying something about are country and this time. there are too may begrudgers commenting just because some one is taking a stand and is trying to do something important, interesting and go in peace my friends and lets all support eachother.

  35. Jay

    Hi Mark,

    i enjoyed your article in Film Ireland.
    I agree its very important to have our own film culture, rather than slavishly following
    other countries way of making movies. Movies that reflect our culture and what’s happening in the country can have a huge impact like Writer / Director Oliver Stone’s Platoon, which was based on his time as a soldier in Vietnam.

    The Magdalene Sisters was a real eye opener for me.
    The Commitments reflected what it was like to live in Dublin at that time, i know cause i was living there myself

    I find i learn a lot about making films from the special features, if the director, writer or actor
    speak about their own experiences. I loved watching the special features on The Sopranos, because
    the creator writer David Chase would talk you through each scene, and how a lot of the characters
    would be coming from his own life and imagination Tony Sopranos mother was part based on David Chase’s mother.

    David Chase would always have a writer or co writer on set, and he always did the final edit.
    The other interesting thing about Davids Chase is he believes in giving the subconscious a free run and
    not edit what comes out, and then see what happens.



    1. rory

      Great advice Jay. I liked the example you gave about Chase using his mother as basis or characterisation for Tony Soprano’s mother. I think that kind of approach – using a depth of knowledge/observation of something you know intimately, and applying it to a character in your work, is a very good idea. The character is bound to be far more rounded, far more human. And judging by Tony Sopranos mum and how well written she was, Chase didn’t romanticise his observations one bit. That takes a lot of personal honesty, which is a really admirable quality.

      I think thats a great place to start if you intend making low budget character based films. and perhaps its a good thing for untrained actors to do as well, for them to stick with what they know so well. It might help manifest some kind of authenticity in their performance.

  36. Molly

    Crabs in a bucket.

    Im sure you have all heard the expression. When one crab tries to elevates themselves out, the others will grab this crab and drag’em back down.

    Well, thats what this feels like now. Mr O Connor is out there grafting, creating, and trying to make a positive impact on Irish film and culture. Fair play to him I say.

    There seems to be a lot of bitterness and resetment on here for a director thats trying someting new. This maifesto might just work and start a “revolution“ in film-making, or it could just as easily fall flat on its face. Lets wait and see.

    In the meantime, lets not try and drag the man down. :)

    1. Badlands a great film, make feckin' Badlands

      This is just my opinion but
      With regard to labelling the people who are critical of this Manifesto as bitter crabs – I think ‘Pedanto’ addresses such an attitude fairly well a few comments above.

      Although I think its very right and nice of you to have concerns about how Mr. O’Connor is feeling right now. Fair play.

      1. Pedanto

        Fair points. Mark, if you’re still reading – I’m no big fan of your manifesto, obviously, but I hope that hasn’t shaded into meanness. Apologies if so.

        Good luck with the movies in any case. I’m pretty sure you don’t get a crew to turn out three times for no money unless they really want to work with you. That has to be a good sign.

  37. Pedanto

    That can’t be Tony Kaye, can it? It’s hard to believe any director would be such a twat as to respond to a critic with that incoherent and venomous a rant.

    1. rory

      Well i’ve heard that he can be a bit ‘erratic’, and his 2nd comment under the rant kind of makes me think its the real deal. Although yeah, I have no way of verifying that. And if he’s known for being ‘opinionated’ maybe its just someone doing a parody. Although its quite a real looking for a parody with all the venom. lol I’d love if it was him. YOU TELL EM TONY!

  38. Pedanto

    Rory, badlands, Aidan, everyone else – do you think we should take this conversation elsewhere?

    I’d love to work through the manifesto in an arena where its author felt comfortable about contributing (pseudonymously or not). We all seem to have some ideas about where Irish film is going, but I’m wary of turning broadsheet into a forum it wasn’t designed to be.

    Can we host a spin-off somewhere?

    1. rory

      I am Badlands!
      I should also point out I am a lowly care assistant/film lover with no connection to the film industry. I’d have some ideas of the technical side but at the end of the day i’m not a producer so I doubt I could contribute fully to the manifesto conversation with regards the technical issues of production/distribution, bar what I have already said (and perhaps some film nerdy self righteousness.)

      Saying that I would be interested in contributing to such a conversation.

      To answer your question up above ‘Who are you tipping for greatness?’ I have no idea.
      Jesus this feels like a scooby doo reveal.

      1. Pedanto

        You mean you were the Irish FIlm Board all along?

        You would have got away with it too, if it wasn’t for those pesky DSLRs.

  39. PopMart

    I come into this as a sideliner, but I’ve seen ‘Charlie Casanova’, and frankly, I thought, though admittedly weak in some of its technical aspects, it still has much merit, if only because it is not a story mired in the same ole kinds of thematic claptraps that “Oirish” film tends to get bogged down in, at least where the US/Canadian market is concerned anyway (always on the lookout for the next ‘Angela’s Ashes’ (a lovely little film, btw), ‘Michael Collins’ or even–gasp!–some Hollywood wonderstuff like ‘Darby O’Gill and the Little People,’ for real). Maybe it suffers a bit too much from McMahon talking about it in the press, I don’t know; but I suppose he had his reasons, which may be more symptomatic of issues in the Irish film biz that are deeply entrenched–and much bigger than his mouth is. For an industry seemingly as close-knit as it appears to be, from this vantage point, anyway, maybe one shouldn’t have to claw and scratch as much to get something done.

    The notion of “good” film is forever and a day subjective. We know this. Stuff that’s turned out to be utterly craptastic through and through from screenplay to screen gets greenlit all the time, with the cash to count behind it. Give the man and his kind a little bit of money and see what happens: let them turn out magic with it or squander it as they will (emphasis on “little bit” so it doesn’t hurt so much). Somebody’s behinds will sit in those seats before it’s all said and done. And if not, then hey, won’t be the first time that’s ever happened either. Loads of films get made that no one has or will ever see, some that should have been burned on the table in script phase, some absolutely brilliant. Sometimes it’s all about cultural state of mind. Sometimes it’s the contagious touch of raw nerve. Who knows? Statistical formulas don’t always cut it.

    And that’s how it should be; that’s what keeps it all interesting. I can certainly understand how and why a film like ‘Charlie Casanova,’ and perhaps McMahon himself, can inspire vitriol and irritation (for lack of a better word), but I can equally understand how the folks who vehemently champion the film do so as well. Actually, truth be told, I count myself amongst the latter number, mainly for the reason initially mentioned. Each perspective is valid, though, all comers needed and that kind of thing. And just remember: had it not been for the cheerleading of Janet Pierson and SXSW, a film festival where filmmakers from all over the world–Ireland included, I’d venture to guess– would sell their left nut to have their work screened, some of you guys wouldn’t have ‘Charlie Casanova’ to kick around in the first place. Like I said, all comers needed–and gotten.

    1. rory

      “The notion of “good” film is forever and a day subjective.” I don’t know if I agree with this.

      At least I don’t think people green lighting utterly craptastic stuff is proof of that.
      There could be loads of factors built into the green lighting of a crap film, and I suspect some of these factors have nothing to do with the backers genuinely thinking it is good material. I suspect the selection of ‘suitable’ material is down to how much money said material is worth in the market place. i.e. how much it can pull in, from ‘de braindead’ demographic they are aiming at. (Yes thats a real demographic, Look it up!) and other daft considerations, like tourism. Sure whatami talking about you know this.

      Yunno, around the time Garage came out, I came to the conclusion that the films about/coming from Ireland were situated in a spectrum of 2 extremes. The first and most obvious extreme was the ‘Oirish’ factor, grounded in a self obsessed (and financially obsessed) desire to give purpose for our state of being by romanticising our cultural significance. This is pretty much anything that makes concessions in its representation for a foreign/american audience (see darby O’Gill, the Quiet man, right up through to The field, michael collins, the commitments, the Guard) and anything that makes concessions for ourselves, to make us feel someway normal and culturally on par with the outside world and whatever they think deep and meaningful (The front line, Goldfish memories, Once. The Guard)

      The other extreme, which felt like a relatively new proposition, we’ll call the ‘Beckett’ factor, so painfully deformed is an Irish frame of mind that a simple Cassavetes style inhabiting/celebaration is not really viable (unless you’re David Lynch) – you have to exclude yourself from that possibility and present the subject in a searing ‘outside looking in’ manner that feels quite alien, stylised and informed. I thought this extreme was still in its infancy in cinematic terms, but at that moment in time, I thought Lenny Abrahamson was the king of it.

      But of course, nothing happened after that. No new strain of films emerged, or was encouraged to emerge, in that aesthetic. Lenny wouldn’t get another film out until 2012.
      So I did a little sigh *sigh* and I presumed what I thought about was a romantic load a wank. I’ll shut up now.

      Jaysus. I think I just pulled a Tony Kaye.

      1. PopMart

        ““The notion of “good” film is forever and a day subjective.” I don’t know if I agree with this.

        At least I don’t think people green lighting utterly craptastic stuff is proof of that.
        There could be loads of factors built into the green lighting of a crap film, and I suspect some of these factors have nothing to do with the backers genuinely thinking it is good material.”

        Exactly, Rory. The point is that it HAPPENS and quite a bit. “Crap” films get green lit all the time even if they are “crap”; but at the same time, the idea of “crap” film in and of itself is a loaded term (pardon the half-pun, hahaha) because somewhere, somehow, somebody is going to find some kind of value in that film, even if that’s only through an ironic wink, so therefore it has potential value as it exists, period. Just because you or I may think it’s shit doesn’t mean that five other people out there will think it’s shit–and their opinions and their perspectives are just as valuable as yours or mine are. That’s how “art”–for lack of a different noun–works. We can individually get, or not, what we can out of film, painting, literature, punk rock, whatever, even someone else doesn’t “get it.”

        I suspect this is why some people swear by folks like Roger Corman and his ‘Bloody Mama,’ for example, while many others have turned up their noses at such low-brow, chintzy B-grade fun over the years. But who is to really have the final word here? In America, Tyler Perry/Madea films get raked over the coals by Spike Lee and the like all the time, but Perry makes mad money with his brand of filmmaking. Perhaps the green lighters are responding to the dollar signs in that case especially, but all those who go out to see his films can’t all be braindead morons. I’d go even out on a limb to say that many of them are not. So goes the same for people who dig ‘Casanova’ or any other film not all that high on the paid critic’s popcorn list. And that’s cool, perhaps one of the best examples of true democracy there is. It ain’t perfect, but it’s better than nothing.

  40. Pedanto

    I think the kinds of film you posit as representative of the Irish film industry are outdated. Darby O’Gill and Michael Collins? Anyone rebelling against them needs their head examined. The industry is about Snap, Eamon, 100 Mornings, Garage, Small Engine Repair, Zonad, Dollhouse, Savage, etc.

    That being said, I’m with you on the finance. Let the Charlie Casanova team put their next project on Fundit, and I don’t think I’m the only one here who will contribute.

    1. PopMart

      Of course, they’re outdated, Pedanto. That’s my point. But there’s still a “tourism” audience that will still eat that kind of stuff up abroad, trust me. And there goes the representation.

      And yes, I’ve heard of musicians getting whole album productions bankrolled through Kickstarter and the like, but I suppose one should always try asking the parents for spending money before begging for it out in the streets.

      1. Pedanto

        Am I mad for putting a recent Irish film on a list of recent Irish films? Oh, there’s no stopping me.

  41. Ugh! He likes the Tree of Life? What a pretentious f@&

    Hi Mark here is my ATTEMPT at non childish feedback to the manifesto.
    As I am not a film maker, apologies if the following comes across as naïve detritus, or stating the obvious.

    As a ‘call to arms’ I think, in essence, what you’ve written is perfectly fine, and noble. I think though, as a manifesto, it might need to be a bit different. In the event that you are thinking of redrafting it, here’s some suggestions to use or chuck away as you see fit:

    Cut out all the self congratulatory back slapping. It irritates anyone who isn’t being back slapped, including the punter.

    State stylistic influences, but don’t claim certain directors are the ‘rising’ or root of this new wave/manifesto. Unless they give you approval to that is.

    Cut out all that stuff about it being like the French new wave and critics not understanding. It could easily be construed as a false equivalency and lead to dismissal and broadsheet style stroppiness, and general lack of support from outsiders.

    One of the tenants of your manifesto is that the director is also the writer. It has been argued on this page that maybe such an approach could be a disservice to the quality/sophistication of the end product film. Maybe you could address that in the next draft? It is a huge burden to be both a good writer and a good director, and perhaps in some instances impossible. Maybe you could reflect on that and come up with some kind of collaborative alternative where the director still manages to retain their primacy/vision and the film is less inclined to suffer from the masturbatory ego trips of one. (P.s. I havn’t seen any of your work, so please don’t assume I’m talking about you when I say that last bit.)

    You say these films are going to be reactive/protest films. You refer broadly to current socio-economic and moral conditions – perhaps you could be a little more detailed in that regard.
    I suppose what I’m trying to say is, you fail to outline what the political, moral and/or philosophical views of the film maker who subscribes to this manifesto. Well, one can assume, but maybe it’d be nice to at least give us some idea. For example, is it humanist? Do you want Sean Fitzpatrick or some hyper commodified hipster to pick up a camera and protest about stuff you think meaningless and so on.
    Or perhaps I’m wrong on that one, if you want any and all voices, maybe leave it open.

    You mention the factory, perhaps you could go into the actor’s development a bit more, and be level headed about it. If it’s a Cassavetes style celebration of acting you’re going for, perhaps you could outline your methods and how they encourage more authentic/suitable performances from unknowns. Perhaps you could research possible avenues for improvement if you feel it is necessary. Example: the Snowtown film I mentioned above, the cast of said film were unknown, there performances were also mind bogglingly excellent. How was that achieved?

    Cut out that whole ‘the language of cinema is evolving’ sentence. The references to ‘removing all limitations’ sounds like ‘poetic’ filler. If you want to be specific about an aesthetic, maybe look to the genres of film that share your philosophical outlook or you are moved by. Maybe look to other dogma/manifestos/new waves to get an idea with regard to format/approach when setting it to paper.

    (Go to the section about Malick and Lubiezski’s ‘Dogma’.)

    Make sure the aesthetic you select helps manifest the tenants of your own philosophy.

    If you feel that picking a certain aesthetic is too constrictive considering the financial pressures you’re under, or for other reasons, don’t pretend there is one.

    Again, be putting any particular person/director on a pedestal, like McMahon, for example, unless you’re realllly sure his particular aesthetic is the aesthetic you want the films of the manifesto to go.

  42. rory

    Hi Mark here is an attempt at non childish feedback to the manifesto.
    As I am not a film maker, apologies if the following comes across as naïve detritus, or stating the obvious.

    As a ‘call to arms’ I think, in essence, what you’ve written is quite noble. I think though, as a manifesto, it might need to be a bit different. In the event that you are thinking of re drafting it, here’s some suggestions to use or chuck away as you see fit:

    Cut out all the self congratulatory back slapping. It irritates anyone who isn’t being back slapped, including the punter.

    State stylistic influences, but don’t claim certain directors are the ‘rising’ or root of this new wave/manifesto. Unless you have their approval that is.

    Cut out all that stuff about it being like the French new wave and critics not understanding. It could easily be construed as a false equivalency and lead to dismissal and broadsheet style stroppiness.

    One of the tenants of your manifesto is that the director is also the writer. It has been argued on this page that maybe such an approach could be a disservice to the quality/sophistication of the end product film. Maybe you could address that in the next draft?

    You say these films are going to be reactive/protest films. You refer vaguely to current socio-economic and moral conditions – but you don’t hint at what the political, moral and/or philosophical views of the film maker should be. Is it humanist? Do you want Sean Fitzpatrick or some hyper commodified hipster to pick up a camera and protest about stuff you think meaningless? Perhaps that needs to be outlined.

    Maybe you could go into the actor’s development a bit more, and be level headed about it. Perhaps you could outline your methods and how they encourage more authentic/suitable performances from unknowns.

    Cut out that whole ‘the language of cinema is evolving’ sentence. The references to ‘removing all limitations’ sounds like poetic filler. If you want to be specific about an aesthetic, maybe look to the genres of film that share your philosophical outlook with or are moved by. Maybe look to other dogma/manifestos/new waves to get an idea with regard to format when setting it to paper.

    Make sure the aesthetic you select helps manifest the tenants of your own philosophy. If you feel that picking a certain aesthetic is too constrictive considering the financial pressures you’re under, or for other reasons, don’t pretend there is one.

    Again, don’t be putting any particular person/director on a pedestal, like McMahon, for example, unless you think their signature aesthetic is the aesthetic you want the films of the manifesto to go.

  43. Cloud

    Hollywood infant formula:

    We hope you like the movie, if you don’t, maybe you’ll like the next one.

    Fís Theory:

    You better like our movie. If you don’t, you’re pathetic and wrong and your life is without meaning.

    1. rory

      A new Conor McMahon film will also be screened at Film4’s Frightfest, according to the article.

      I saw his ‘Dead Meat’. He made it around 2004. Twasn’t perfect or anythin (severely constrained by its budget,) but the comedy was really well observed. ‘Cathal Ceunt’ and his family were great characters, realised with panche and really funny. Well, for me anyway.

  44. filmbuff

    I admire anyone who has the balls to make a film and put their work out there. I have never made a film and if I tried it would be absolutely terrible. However, I am a film buff and I did my thesis last year on how the general public see Irish film. It will be published soon but from a survey of 500;

    In short, the last film, which most poeple see as a proper good movie directed by an Irish born director is Intermission (2003).

    The most popular films were ‘My Left Foot’, ‘The Field’, ‘In the Name of Father’ and ‘In America’ by Jim Sheridan


    ‘The Crying Game’, ‘Michael Colins’ and ‘The Butcher Boy’ by Neil Jordan.

    ‘I Went Down’ was next closely followed by ‘Once’ and ‘Garage’. Next but even further down by ‘His and Hers’, which by the way, along with ‘Once’, most people thought were over rated. Again, this was from a survey of 500 people around the country.

    Other Irish films by directors who live in Ireland or who have direct Irish ancestors that people liked were ”In Bruges’ , ‘The General’ and ‘The Guard’ in that order.

    Ironiclly, on the list of people’s least favorite films, quite a few of the more recent films by the so-called ‘fis (vision) men’ were mentioned….

    Perhaps though in ten years these films will become the new classics. Time will tell.

    1. rory

      Thanks Film Buff that’s an interesting comment. I’m not sure what to make of it as of yet.

      1. filmbuff

        It meas that the paying cinema-going public are, in general, completely oblivious to who wins the Galway Film Fleadh or who comes second. They also don’t give a crap about directors who talk about how they managed to make a film for 5 cents or less. And they really don’t care about someone’s political idiologies or ranting.

        The simple reality is that those who are willing to pay to go to the cinema only care about whether they are getting their monies worth for the ticket.

        Sadly, the majority of the paying public are not convinced on spending their money on our new wave………yet…….

        1. filmbuff

          On a personal note I feel that most Irish directors talk too much. They should let their work do the talking. That way, it would remain enegmatic and interesting.

          Unless ones hubris matches ones work, the person not only serves to undermine their message but it damages their credibility.

          Go forth Irish directors, with passion and anger if needs be. Just do it silently like the true greats…..and allow your films to speak for themselves.

        2. rory

          Thanks filmbuff. Thats very interesting.

          I see the survey was done last year – Just to clarify, by the ‘Irish new wave’, are you referring to the fis people only, (the people who the manifesto claims are the roots/rising of this wave) or are you also including McMahon, O’Connor and co.

          I’m aware that Ken Wardrop’s ‘his and hers’ was relatively well known, but was there much awareness of ‘fis men and women’ films among respondents in general?

          Was there any criteria for the selection of your survey respondents (e.g. knowledge of film/Irish film) or was it a random selection?

          1. filmbuff

            Respondants were selected at random in all 26 counties.

            Questions ranged from list your five favourite Irish films, list your least favourite Irish films, list the last Irish films that you saw in the cinema and rate them, would you recommend them or would you watch them again.

            Most people were frankly oblivious to the work of the directors mentioned.

            Although, in fairness, some of these only had films out last year for the first time.

            However, of those who had seen more recent films by the above directors were called badly made Irish versions of ET and Taxi driver. Out of 500 people, one person mentioned Between the Canals and said it was “woeful”.

            The most hated film was “Zonad.” Surprisingly, despite the critical acclaim of Garage and His and Hers, a slight majority of respondants hadn’t heard of them. A sizable minority really liked them. A sizable minority also said they were over rated. I personally loved them both, although to be honest, don’t think I’d be watching them again and again.

            Charlie wasn’t mentioned as it was not really heard of so maybe it is the first of the new wave…..

            So there ya go. It will be published soon hopefully by most papers!

          2. filmbuff

            Mentioned below that the respondants were chosen at Random.

            Got told off by my colleague as that’s not strictly true. While Respondants were chosen at random they were chosen outside cinemas accross the country as we considered these to be the paying ‘cinema going’ public.. Thought I better clarify.

          1. mikushla

            Thanks filmbuff, I’m glad I braved this thread for the first and presumably last heavyweight/genuinely insightful comment in the whole thing.
            O’Connor’s heart’s obviously in the right place but his manifesto is not a convincing manifesto, borderline disingenuous in its deification of both Simon Perry (although thanks for the image of Perry giving birth, Mark) as well as the likes of Ivan Kavanagh and Terry McMahon (as far as I’m aware both were for years Film board anathema, maybe still are), and just flatly silly and incoherent more or less throughout. Jumpcuts, for example, are cosmetic, not revolutionary, and not groundbreaking either. The rest is vague and says nothing, except, embarassingly, to imply that O’connor is to be regarded as some sort of leader (he’s obviously skipped enfant terrible.) No wonder he got his actor to read it.
            I haven’t seen any of his work so I’m not sure if he’s a leader yet or an enfant terrible or even a talented filmmaker.
            Certainly its interesting though probably unsurprising, that audiences would pick such predictable fare (none of it SO terrible, though) in your survey, and O’Connor is certainly right in emphasizing going it alone and developing an independent flavor (while also emphasizing –somehow unwittingly — getting substantial financial support) . Being edgy and grundbreaking seemingly cannot be done, in most cases, with the help of the Film Board as it’s a virtually risk-free, basically corporatized (with state cash – sweet!) institution, and most of their money seems to go to (board member) Kirsten Sheridan, last I heard (okay not most but I’m being indignant). I think she’s handed herself something like 100,000 in development since she became a board member, and only makes about 1 film every 5 years. Thank God, or Perry, or Jim, or whoever, that she can eat between productions anyway. I bet most Irish auteurs miss the odd meal trying to do anything remotely interesting in this box-office-formula-friendly-enviroment (The Guard, etc) .
            If the film board do make interesting, or cutting edge, work, they certainly don’t push it, and it’s that essential lack of courage and imagination that makes it just another quango, it seems, full of bureacrats who ‘like movies’ – those the ‘cinema-going public’ like, certainly, as well as Maeve Binchy adaptations and Eastenders, which is sort of like a film in some ways, it could be argued. Not that I’m suggesting lunch time discussions of shitty soap operas should be outlawed in the offices of the Film Board – but I bet that’s the flavor of conversation, if you get me…
            maybe not, but thanks for listening.

  45. Richard McWilliams

    Its not that Charlie Cassanova was hard to swallow beacuse certain audiences are used to sucking on Hollywoods infant formula, maybe thats true for some, for me it was because of the inherent nihilism and pessimism in the subject matter, characters, overall film. Yes everything is shit, so we need solutions, we need vitality, we need answers

  46. Chucky32

    Oh no here we go. Just when we think Mcmahon has gone we get oconnor spewing out more garbage. Ok here’s the thing. Just because you have a camera doesnt mean you should make a film. Even if it is funded by your childrens allowence money while your kids were out stealing cars. I saw Charlie Casanova and I have one question. What are you talking about McMahon? So the working class, or as you seem to refer to them, the new nobels, are under attack? By who exactly? The middle class or “ruling class” who pay there social welfare? Is it the upper classes who are beating up tourists in Merrion Square? Is it the upper classes who have filled the streets with heroin? Is it the upper classes who turn Connell street into a war zone every weekend? Do yourself a favour. Get an education before you try to comment on social issues again. In the meantime stick to what you know. Drinking cider and watching premier league soccer. Manifesto my backside.

    1. PopMart

      You bet your buns that the working class are indeed under attack, all over the damn planet. Knocking people the likes of McMahon and cohorts does absolutely zero to diminish that fact.

    2. rory

      Not to totally discredit your argument, i’m sure there is some merit in there (although I’m not convinced as of yet), but with regard to your general opinion – that the working class are not under attack – I think writing a comment that inherently demonises the working class does not help your argument. I’ll shut up now.

      1. Chucky 32

        The idea that the nobel working class are getting the lions share of the attacks from the upper classes is a complete joke. I run my own business. If that business fails I don’t get a penny from the dole. Yet my taxes are funding the lifestyles of others who have no interest in working. And it seems my taxes are now going to fund films about the plight of these same people. Where’s the film called Anto Casanova?

        1. PopMart

          @Chucky32: Some folks on social welfare would rather work and earn their way, if given half a chance (and a decent wage, please let’s not forget that), but if infrastructure is not there, and is not supported to thrive even if it is there, then that doesn’t happen so readily, now does it? And more often than not, the reason for that is because the government in power (and this a worldwide phenom) sees it more to its own advantage to let the richest of the rich, who already have more than they more than likely need, rewrite labor laws, tax codes, regulatory policy, banking policy, all that stuff, so that all these areas are favorable them at the expense of the everday citizen/voter/consumer. That all translates into taking food, shelter, decent education, and hope out of poor and working folks hands. And surely, every working-class individual is not out at the weekends attacking tourists in Merrion Square. For someone who can’t stand McMahon’s film, you’ve certainly said quite a bit here that goes not too long a ways in proving his point for making said film in the first place. Surely that wasn’t your intention?

          1. chucky32

            How exactly does it prove his point? From what I can remember the film was about the plight of these people. Okay I may have used colourful language to vent my anger. I have working class friends and they are the first ones to point out how people are riding the system. As somebody who is funding the system it’s pretty hard to take Mcmahon attacking people from my background. Who is he? Where does he get his information? I understand not everybody on welfare is milking the system. But there are enough who are. And they’re not from my background. I mean is pointing that out like saying the N word now?

  47. Scriptor

    No, he’s right! I can’t believe we didn’t see it before! The key to making good films…is paying LESS attention to scripts! And getting our mates to pay for them! And not considering the audience! And shunning skilled writers in favour of spewing out one’s own singular unchecked genius! Wow. I can’t wait to jump on this new wave… know…continue to work collaboratively to create the best film possible rather than the best egotistical experience…Yeah. Think I’ll do the second one.

    1. rory

      I’m wondering what you mean by ‘skilled writers’, especially in relation to Ireland.

      Besides the people who write Fair City (ahem), who do you think are skilled (script)writers in this country? Or do you think there are any?

      1. Drogg

        Fair play Scriptor you said just what i was thinking. And Rory there are plenty of good Irish script writers out there that work on big budget features but you just dont hear much about them cause there not working on a small Irish movie funded by the orts council

        1. rory

          Hi Drogg,
          Thanks for that. I’m sorry if i’m putting you on the spot, but do any names spring to mind? (just to give me an idea.)

  48. Mother Machree

    Mikushla, the FIlm Board website says they’ve funded Terry McMahon for two projects for 12,000 and 22,500 and three more for unspecified amounts. I guess they’re the standard figures. That’s something between 60 and 130 grand in four years. Tax free.

    I’d like me some of that anathema.

    1. mikushla

      Yes. I’m informed they actually funded Kavanagh too, with even larger buckets of such anathema than that, apparently. So I eat my words on that one.
      His next-to-no-budget ‘Tin Can Man’ had nothing to do with them and was so extreme and extremely barmy (and brilliant ) I drew a hasty conclusion about the extent of his outsider status.
      It’s all good, glad they’re getting support, regardless of Charlie Casanova’s arguably many faults.

      1. rory

        Hi Mikushla,
        I’m guessing you work in the industry so I have a question, if you don’t mind me asking.
        You were saying up there that the Film Board output is virtually risk-free. In your opinion, what would need to be done to get the IFB to change in that regard? Or is it not possible it can change in that regard, even if there was no recession?

        1. mikushla

          I don’t really work in the industry, Rory, not lately anyway, just have some experience of it and am a life long film buff/culture vulture. I only base my possibly harsh assessment (I was obviously wrong about Kavanagh and McMahon’s relationship with the IFB) on the pattern of films I see coming out with Bord Scannan nEireann branded on them and how I find, generally, such films to be tasteless and heartbreakingly unoriginal, to the point of often being quite angry at the waste of resources, time, etc. (Of course, for jobbing freelance filmmkers it’s WORK, so there’s generally little complaint about any IFB production, whatever the production, from that key component of the industry.)
          My experience of the types of people that work for such organizations as the IFB is that they’re safe people who like desk jobs and a regular pay cheque, so not likely to be of the roguish, trailblazing character of the great producers of old Hollywood or elsewhere (or at least my romanticized vision of said.) Ireland doesn’t have ANY daring producers, from what I can see. Daring in Ireland today was daring in the US, France, Australia, or UK in the 1960-70s. (The UK is shite today, I know, for films, but they used to be world class – hard to believe today.)
          An organiztion like the IFB attracts, generally, the types I describe above (I strongly suspect) and, additionally, I believe, like the dead UK Film Council, the IFB sees itself not as an arts body but a corporate, or studio, type outfit looking to make money (not least for its own staff) and forge partnerships and interntational co-productions (lots of that in recent years) and basically avoid doing anything that we/they haven’t seen before or that they have to put their neck (solely their neck) on the line for. Cliche reads easy. Originality does not. These people read something unfamiliar in a script and it likely confuses, and thus computes as crap. They read something that’s been done a million billion times before and it feels safe, like a safe bet – so, hey presto, here’s your money, go make that piece of shit rom com.
          The IFB’s Catalyst scheme was supposed to be for young exciting filmmakers, I would have thought, but 2 of the 3 (I think) films they did were directed by veterans who were just giving directing a feature a shot and could and probably did just go back their normal commercials/promos or whatever work afterwords . But Perry et al knew that a pro would probably come in on time on budget and that was the main concern. (But anyone could come in on time and on budget with the right crew – which there’s no shortage of in Ireland, which has great crews.)
          Having said that, I could be wrong. It could be that Irish writers and directors are lame. I find it surprising if that’s the case however, as Irish prose continues to be as strong as ever and the novel/short story is closely related to screen fiction. As for directing, maybe that’s the problem – shit directors (generally). Judging from most Irish films that is the impression one gets, but again this could be because our producers can’t tell a good director when they meet one and keep picking creative ‘losers’ for their tiresome projects.
          Structurally I don’t know how one fixes such an organization. The staff make it. But how do you determine taste? Taste is what good production basically is.
          Re the recession, it hasn’t harmed the IFB too badly yet, as we’ve been doing well at the Oscars mecca with shorts and such, but time will tell. it’s annual budget by annual budget lately. A nervous time each time, I’d say, for all involved.
          Have a read of this (brutal, in the non-Irish, literal sense) piece below. The UK Film Council did some good work of course, like their Irish counterpart, but by the time of their demise they seemed more interested in using taxpayer money to help the Hollywood major studios get an even greater foothold than ever in the UK. Obviously, that’s scandalous (but almost certainly not why the Tories shut them down!) Many a frustrated and depressed independent filmmaker toasted their demise, I’m sure. The salaries were outrageous, and I’m sure the same can be said of the IFB.
          I would imagine this isn’t so far from what it’s like in the IFB head office:

          1. mikushla

            BTW not being ageist with “young exciting filmmakers” – just meant hungry, passionate, ‘this is my one shot’ types.
            Also with the “producers of old” thing I actually mean contemporary producers, too, who have an independent streak but can work in and out of the established order. But I also mean old studio producers of Hollywood, who at least knew talent when they saw it, which should be a produers first skill.

          2. rory

            Mikushla, thanks for taking the time to write all that. I found your comments very illuminating.

            Sorry to bother you again, but
            Your comments point out a certain ‘type’ who reinforce/maintain the status quo –
            I’m wondering if your own opinion is also a general undercurrent/outlook in the industry?

            I wonder if there is a significant amount of people who share your views and are just as fed up with the state of affairs you’ve outlined (even if they may be currently contributing to it. Even if they may be high up in the current system.)

            Do you hear many similar opinions from people in the industry? From anybody with a bit of clout/power?

            Again sorry for all the questions and if they come across as naive. I’ve got a feeling i’m a bit clueless.

  49. mikushla

    I honestly don’t know, Rory. I’m jsut an observer and don’t know anybody in the IFB and only a handful with experience of them (mixed experiences on projects of mixed quality!)
    The main problem must be the one that’s dogged the film industry everywhere from its beginnings – who you know matters way more than what you know.
    BTW my figure above (my comment further above) for how much Kirsten Sheridan has effectively handed herself, of Irish taxpayer money, was a total underestimation, it’s actually more like €217,000 . Of the projects that money was for, as far as I know, none at the time of that report had gone into production. That figure’s from an article in 2010 published by the Tribune, so she could well have nabbed more since. She has a new film comeing out, so maybe that can account for some of it, but she’s not prolific – or exactly Stanley Kubrick. Obviously it’s important filmmakers get that sort of support, Sheridan Junior too, but that sort of money, and her position ON the film board, reeks of quite serious corruption.
    Look at this film
    See the budget? €1.7 million. Probably half of that must have been Irish tax payer money via the IFB. Ever heard of the film? Probably not. I’m not sure it was even released. The director was taken off the project and has written very bitterly about the whole experience, understandably. I’m not saying none of it’s his fault, maybe he went bananas mid production or something, but the IFB is supposed to be careful about these things, and about the projects, and whom, they support.
    I don’t know what happened there except that such a fiasco should never happen (fair enough a bad film – but a director being removed from a film? It doesn’t happen enough to happen without comment) and that such a large amount of IFB money going down the drain like that must be the laid at the door of Simon Perry (maybe I’m wrong, but he was head at the time and that budget is not pocket change.) It’s just one example, too.
    The director writes about it here
    Notice that he says he greatly admires Simon Perry – why? I assume because he’s afraid he’ll never make a film again. It’s the only reason I can think of. Maybe I’ve totally got the wrong end of the stick, though, and Perry is Jesus Christ and the problems are his underlings. I think Perry’s gone now actually and to be fair it’s probably more an institutional thing. The middle management probably more often than not come in from the cold of freelance production and once in the IFB prioritize helping their buddies get their projects through the door – predictable and much like politics and business.
    But I don’t really know how people in the industry feel about anything I’ve said. I’m more of a consumer of these things than actively involved but as somebody who loves world cinema, I’ve watched for years of mostly despair as Irish cinema –despite our almost natural storytelling skills — resides mostly in the cultural and artistic garbage heap.
    It’s embarrassing!

    1. mikushla

      LOL, a film about the Film Board, just like any office, could potentially be amusing I agree, and films about filmmaking can be great but usually focus on shoots rather than bureaucrats, so it could be novel. Maybe better suited to A novel, rather than a film, if it’s going to made here though..

      1. rory

        I’d watch/read it anyway. How about a tv series? Criticism of beauracracy has served some shows pretty well – Yes Minister, The Thick of it, The Wire…
        I wonder who would be Rawls?

  50. mikushla

    What Irish cinema needs is a McNulty. Maybe we have one but he’s been relegated to harbor patrol by whoever Rawls is. I imagine the IFB is actually hampered by a variation on the same kind of bullshit The Wire dramatized so well, and the other shows you mention, definitely.
    But I’m still not letting them off the hook! Films do get made by these people, even if drug kingpins rarely get caught by B-more’s homicide unit.

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