Monday 5 December 2016

Young Irish director films debut feature 'Shoebox Memories' for micro-budget of €2,500

Published 19/02/2016 | 14:00

Colm Gavin and Jemma Nic Lochlainn in Shoebox Memories
Colm Gavin and Jemma Nic Lochlainn in Shoebox Memories
Brendan Sheehan and Daniel Mahony in Shoebox Memories
Colm Gavin in Shoebox Memories
Colm Gavin and Jemma Nic Lochlainn in Shoebox Memories

A young Irish director has made his debut feature film on a micro-budget of just €2500.

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Jason Branagan (28) from Clondalkin wrote both the script and music for Shoebox Memories, which he also directed, and the film has been selected to screen at the Dingle International Film Festival next month.

Filmed over two weeks in Dublin, it charts the trials of a young musician struggling to recover from a failed relationship who embarks on a no-strings fling which becomes increasingly complicated.

Dublin singer/songwriter Colm Gavin (24) plays the lead role alongside other up and coming names including Jemma Nic Lochlainn and Brendan Sheehan (32), brother of Misfits and Love/Hate star Robert.

Colm Gavin in Shoebox Memories
Colm Gavin in Shoebox Memories

With cast and crew dedicating their time and skill to the project, Jason was able to make it come to fruition on a tiny budget.

"Funding is really hard to get unless you've already done something," he says.

"I've done some shorts and music videos but I've always ended up producing things myself so when it came to Shoebox we said if we could raise enough off Indiegogo for a production budget to feed people and give people per diems to get to and from set we could make it for under €2,500."

That figure included recording all the songs, written by former musician Jason and performed by Colm, which feature regularly in the film.

Brendan Sheehan and Daniel Mahony in Shoebox Memories
Brendan Sheehan and Daniel Mahony in Shoebox Memories

"That budget seems like nothing but then everyone gave their time and skill and so, so much work went into it.  We filmed really modestly over two weeks," adds Jason.

"I want to make films with lots of money, but I'm great advocate of constraint breeds creativity."

Colm and Jason are both from Clondalkin so Jason knew Colm was a talented singer/songwriter who had been classically trained when he asked him to play the lead.  Colm, however, had no acting experience whatsoever.

"I've been a solo singer/songwriter for about two years but been in bands since I was about 16 but I had never acted before," says Colm.

"When he asked me if I wanted to be involved I thought he meant as shepherd number four, because I had never acted and he would have no reason to ask me!"

Colm admits he found it "incredibly difficult" but working with more experienced co-stars helped as did the fact his character is very much like himself, "a moody blue musician who falls in and out of love like he changes his shoes!".

Given the success of Irish films like Brooklyn and Room internationally, it's an exciting time for Irish film and emerging filmmakers.

"It's incredible, the golden age of Irish cinema, and hopefully it trickles down to new talent with new schemes or opportunities at grass roots level to nurture new filmmakers, new actors, new talent in general," says Jason.

The Dingle International Film Festival runs March 17-20.

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