June 1st 2016. Up at 3am to catch flight from Gatwick to Dublin, bus to Heuston, then train to Tullamore, then a lift from mum (I know, it’s all glamour the film biz) to Offaly County Council Offices. Oh, and it’s my birthday.
A quick detour to Charleville Castle before the interview to meet the brilliant Dudley Stewart and have a quick look at some of the beautiful rooms in the castle. If I win I’ll be back I say to Dudley, like a South London Arnie.
Sitting in the waiting room at the Offices I flicked through the Midland Arts magazine and read about the previous year’s winner – Caper. Shot in Tullamore just as I planned and doing great business on the festival circuit.
The sound of laughter coming from the interview room was deafening – it sounded like it was going very well indeed for the group before me. And here I was on my own feeling cream crackered. The interviews were running late and the next group turned up – again a full gang of filmmakers full of confidence and Irish accents. The pressure was rising and my old april was beginning to squeak (which could be attributed to the dodgy sandwich on the flight).
But the interview was good. Sinead from Film Offaly, Niall Sweeney from Offaly County Council, Alan from Filmbase and the great Offaly writer Eugene O’Brien made me feel at home. They wanted more love story, which I agreed. They were intrigued by how I was going to do it all on such a tiny budget- I agreed. But I convinced them that all the locations – castle, field, even Dublin Port – were all here in Tullamore.
I left thinking “oh well at least I can have a pint with my mum and dad on my birthday” and did so.
Time to look at a photo of the artist as a young man back home,
then it was back on the train, back on the bus, back on the plane, then back in a cab and then back home late in to the night. Not exactly how I planned to spend my birthday but at least it wasn’t boring. The next day it was straight back in to work in Pinewood on the “Untitled Han Solo Project” with the prospect of foreign travel looming.
And now we wait.