The story of getting a film made ........again!

Winter’s End

In June of 2000, inspired by low budget mavericks, I began writing a feature length script with the intention of making it into a film with a small amount of money. Damien Donnelly became the film’s producer. Our only hope of any kind of funding lay with The Irish Film Board. However, both Damien and I  quickly realized that if the film was ever to become a reality, we would have to move ahead with our plans irrespective of the IFB’s decision. Obviously, the IFB cannot fund every proposal it receives and we were very aware of the fact that neither had a large or impressive body of work behind us in terms of award winning shorts. We were advised by industry insiders not to attempt a feature length film but rather build a number of shorts and then think about taking on a feature. This was sound advice. But putting together 3 or 4 shorts was going to take time and probably just as much work if not more than a feature length film.

An application for production funding was turned down by IFB in mid 2001. Although this was a blow it was expected. We put in what ever we could afford and realized this was not going to be enough. Casting was taking place and the search for crew was ongoing. All we could offer were deferments, accommodation and food. Damien initiated a sponsor a scene scheme among friends and colleagues and in return they got their name on the credits and were invited to the premier screening in Kilkenny. Various businesses’ in Kilkenny donated goods and services for free and local acting talent took small parts for no fee. This good will and support was integral to getting the film made.

Shooting on miniDV took place right throughout Sept’ 2001 and over various weekends right up to March 2002, a total of 39 days. With no money left to hire an editor and at the same time holding down a full time job meant that I had to edit the film at home on a PC with a prosumer-editing package in the evenings and at weekends. An application for completion funding was submitted to the IFB with a 20min edit, this too was turned down. Still with no money for an editor, I continued as before. A first assembly edit was achieved Nov 2003 and another application for completion funding was sent to IFB. In April 2004, the application was granted.

With this cash injection the project was taken to Kevin Hughes of Wallslough Studios Kilkenny. Kevin took on the job of turning a 150min first assembly into a 98 min finished feature working closely with the me. With this same funding Gregory Magee was commisioned to compose and record music and a deal was struck with Reelgood Facilities in Dublin to work on the sound.

The film was finally completed and mastered on 11th April 2005 and was readied for the festival circuit. There is no more difficult way to make a film than without adequate resources and budget. While I believe the experience was worthwhile, it is also one I hope will never have to be repeated. Next time out, I would really like a budget. Read the Film Ireland interview here.

IRISH FILM & TELEVISION AWARDS 2005
WINNER BEST MUSIC IN A FEATURE
NOMINATION BEST ACTRESS

HOLLYWOOD DV FESTIVAL USA 2005
WINNER BEST PICTURE

GALWAY FILM FLEADH 2005
OFFICIAL SELECTION

CINEQUEST VIEWERS VOICE USA 2006
OFFICIAL SELECTION

SAN FRANCISCO IRISH FILM FESTIVAL
OFFICIAL SELECTION

EUROPEAN FILM FESTIVAL CHICAGO
OFFICIAL SELECTION

PUMELO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 2007
BEST PICTURE
BEST ACTOR
JURY’S CHOICE AWARD

Winter’s End was broadcast on RTE 2 on Friday 22nd February 2008 in a prime time slot of 9.30pm.

REVIEWS

Film Ireland review.          Film Threat review.       IMDb reviews.       Behind the Couch review.      Irish Journal of Gothic Horror Studies review.

Winter’s End Synopsis and Press Kit.