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Katie Holly on ‘One Hundred Mornings’
04 May 2011 : by Aileen Moon
Conor Horgan’s apocalyptic feature, ‘One Hundred Mornings’ starts its limited theatrical release on May 6th. The film, produced by Bl!nder Films’ Katie Holly centres on two couples hiding out following an unknown apocalyptic disaster. IFTN spoke with Katie Holly about her feature film debut, making an apocalyptic film on a Catalyst budget and how 'simple' shoots are never what they seem...

In ‘One Hundred Mornings’ two couples hide out in a remote holiday home, trying to escape the consequences of a breakdown of society. Their relationships deteriorate as supplies grow scarce and they face increasing threats from hungry outsiders. In order to increase their chances of survival, they each have to make choices they never imagined would confront them.

The film stars Ciarán McManamin (The Last Confession of Andrew Pearce, Primeval), Alex Reid (The Descent, Guinea Pigs), Rory Keenan (Intermission, Zonad) and Kelly Campbell (Bachelors Walk, Sensation) and marked the debut feature of both writer/director, Conor Horgan (The Beholder, Deep End Dance) and producer, Katie Holly (Sensation) for Bl!nder Films. “A big learning curve for all concerned!” Katie tells us.

Asked whether she made a conscious decision to work with a director also making a feature debut she gives the following response: “Whether they're a first timer or not is somewhat immaterial, though as a relatively new producer it's kind of natural that I would tend to pair with newer talent who don't already have established relationships with existing producers. Certainly as a producer I aspire to build relationships with directors with whom I can collaborate throughout their career.”

The film is one of three that was produced through the Irish Film Board’s Catalyst initiative. The programme saw ‘One Hundred Mornings’ along with Margaret Corkery’s ‘Eamon’ and PJ Dillon’s ‘Rewind’ receive a budget of €275,000 each. ” The fact that writer/director Conor conceived of the story entirely with the scheme in mind undoubtedly helped in that as he was writing he was thinking of the limitations our budget would impose in terms of scale of the story and length of shoot,” Katie explains when asked about the micro budget and the film’s challenging 20 day shoot. “A world without electricity. Two couples. One lakeside cabin. So, a small cast, one key location, limited lighting and set design and a stylistic emphasis on relatively long scenes and single shots. Of course when we broke all this down we realized that we still needed an armourer, animal handlers, stuntmasters, special effects supervisors, a week of split days and nightshoots, and to somehow create the effect of moonlight on a big exterior location as there’s no electricity in the world of our film. Not so simple as it first appeared…”She admits.

The team assembled the film as they shot, an approach that seems to have proven very beneficial: “Iit helped us assess what scenes we could drop, merge, or re-write, thus getting around the need to do potentially expensive pick-ups down the line,”Katie describes. “We did get a little behind but our last day’s shooting was exhilarating and so memorable — I have never before and don’t think I will ever again get through so many slates in one day, and we got it done!”

'One Hundred Mornings' went on to become the first Irish feature to premiere at the Slamdance Film Festival, screening there in 2010. Conor Horgan enjoyed a Special Mention at the festival which obviously proved a huge boost to the film: “We went on to get huge festival play in the US, and elsewhere following the win,”Katie enthuses. “And the recognition that the film received in industry terms was really pleasantly surprising.”This was followed by a Workbook Project Discovery & Distribution award and a 2010 IFTA cinematography award for Suzie Lavelle (Pyjama Girls). “Conor's background in photography inevitably meant that there would always be a very strong visual style to the film but as it was his first feature he wanted to ensure that he could entrust the creation of that vision to a DOP so that his time could be focused on the story and working with the cast,”Katie tells us. “Suzie was a natural choice, she has a wonderful approach and talent with lighting - I am delighted but it didn't surprise me that she won the IFTA for Best Cinematography last year against films that had ten times our budget.”

The film also led to Katie Holly being chosen as one of last years Producers on the Move at Cannes. It’s an opportunity she seems to have thoroughly enjoyed: ”Apart from the opportunity to meet like minded producers from across Europe, and screen their work in advance so you have an immediate point of contact, which will undoubtedly lead to future collaborations, the exposure that the scheme gives you on an industry level is significant and a great way to bring attention to the projects you are working on.” She explains.

Katie has produced several features since ‘One Hundred Mornings’, shooting recently wrapped on the Bl!nder Films co-production ‘Jump’ starring Martin McCann and Charlene McKenna and her other recently wrapped feature whilst alternative feature, ‘Sensation’ is clicking up accolades and awards. Her other recent feature, ‘Citadel’ is nearing the end of its edit: “The Citadel shoot went really well despite challenging conditions,” we are told. ”In fact the icy conditions and snowfall add an atmosphere that really works for the film. The performances are really strong and we're very excited about the film - as there's a lot of visual effects work to be done post production is scheduled to take longer than it usually might, but we aim to be finished by the autumn.”

‘One Hundred Mornings’ is set to be released on the 6th of May in The IFI, Movies@Dundrum, Dun Laoghaire IMC, Santry Omniplex, Movies@Swords, The Eye Cinema Galway and Mahon Point Omniplex in Cork city. More cinemas are to be announced and will be listed in due course on the film’s official website: www.onehundredmornings.com



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