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2016, 90m, drama
Don wants to reconnect with his estranged family. His partner, Lisa wants to be free of his violent rages. Their neighbour, Ritchie wants to escape from his miserable home and his debt to a brutal, gangster.
Produced by: Rob O' Halloran & Ian Ruby
Cast: Karol Mann O' Connor, Irene Kelleher, Shane Doonan, Lochlainn McKenna
10 questions with Dead Dogs director, Ian Ruby at the half-way mark.
Monday, May 23rd, 2016
1Hi Ian! Thanks for being a part of our 2016 Spring Festival. First, what was the initial seed that made you want to make Dead Dogs? I just really wanted to make a feature film. I was inspired by films like Aaron Katz' 'Dance Party USA', Shane Meadow's 'Small Time' and Terry McMahon's 'Charlie Casanova'.
They made me believe that amazing films could be made on a seriously low budget. I had been writing Dead Dogs since May 2012 with no real ambition towards having it produced, it was more of a writing exercise for me. But then around June 2013 I decided to begin producing it myself. As soon as my friend Rob O' Halloran came on board as a co - producer I knew we were going to get this film made.
2You wrote the script for this as well. What's your writing process like and how long did it take you to finish writing? I began writing this script around May 2012 and kept making changes right up until a few weeks before the shoot in October 2013. The structure stayed the same but I was making little changes to the dialogue in some scenes.
The characters came first and then slowly over time a story began to form.
3This is your first feature film. How did you know you were ready to tackle a feature and what prepared you? Well, to be honest I didn't know I was ready. I just knew I had to take the plunge. To prepare, I watched a lot of other low / no budget films and read interviews with their directors. These gave me a lot of ideas on how we could structure the shoot to get it done as quickly and cheaply as possible.
4My favorite scene is when Lisa comes over to Don's house to discuss their relationship. The acting is so good, Irene Kelleher (who plays Lisa) does an incredible job. What's your favorite scene and why? That scene is fantastic. Both actors are excellent there. I am a big fan of that scene and also the final scene of the film. I also really like the scene where Don and Ritchie get drunk together. I love it because all of the dialogue was improvised by the actors. We shot that scene as a single take, twenty minute improv and then cut it down for the film. I like that I had no idea what the actors were going to say or how the scene was going to go. Its nice to be surprised on set.
5What was the biggest challenge making this film? No time and no money !
6This film was made in Ireland. What's the indie film scene like over there? Is there many filmmakers out there? Its a very exciting time for film here in Ireland. An Irish film, 'Stutterer' won Best Live Action Short and two Irish films, 'Room' and 'Brooklyn' were nominated for Best Picture at this year's Oscars.
There is a great indie scene over here as well, supported by film festivals like 'Indie Cork Film Festival' and 'Sky Road Film + TV Festival'.
The challenges for indie filmmakers in Ireland are the same as everywhere else in the world - How are we going to finance our films and how will we get them distributed ?
7What's the film that made you want to become a filmmaker? Its hard to say really. Probably Harmony Korine's, 'Gummo'. I remember seeing that film as a teenager and just being blown away by it. It made me realise that films didn't have to have big movie stars or wild, action packed stories. Soon after this I became aware of the Dogme movement and those films had a massive impact on me as well, especially seeing how new, accessible technology could allow you to become a filmmaker.
8Why did you choose to make a drama? Why not a comedy or a horror film? What is it about dramas that appeals to you? I think thats just where my mind was at the time. I would love to make a comedy or horror film if the right story came along. I'm working on a script for a supernatural thriller at the moment, so that would be a big departure from Dead Dogs.
9That's the most realistic dog shit I've ever seen. How did you do that? Hahahaha, that was made by our Make Up and Special Effects Artist, Ciara Hicks.
I believe it was a Snickers bar melted in the microwave.
10What's next? Hopefully another feature film ! I'm working on a couple scripts right now that I'm excited about. I also want to get Dead Dogs seen by as many people as possible so I'm going to keep pushing that wherever I can.
About the Interviewer: Ben Hicks
Ben Hicks is a writer/director and co-founder of Fandependent Films. Ben is currently working on making Fandependent Films awesome and is finishing up his first feature film entitled Kids Go Free to Fun Fun Time. The film is about the evolution of a couple's relationship, and was shot in three different countries over the course of a decade.
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