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Today’s The Day
06 Mar 2015 : Paul Byrne
‘Love/Hate’s’ John Connors stars in the main role of Tristan Heanue’s short
As he prepares to shoot his debut short, ‘Today’, in the wilds of Connemara with ‘Love/Hate’ star John Connors in the lead role, Galway filmmaker Tristan Heanue takes time out to IFTN’s Paul Byrne about this very important day.

Paul Byrne: A young Irishman, deep in the wilds of Ireland, lost, in every sense of the word - a common occurrence in this country. What was the inspiration behind ‘Today’?

Tristan Heanue: ‘It stemmed from an idea about a character who is struggling to get a foothold in his life. He has neglected his responsibilities as a father and a partner and blames others for where he has ended up. He finds himself in this situation one morning and it forces him to ask questions of himself.’

They say it’s best to write about what you know - do you know this man? Do you know what he’s going through? Or is this just your imagination, running away with you...?

‘I think everyone will know this man to a certain degree. You have to put elements of yourself in every character you write to make them real, but it is largely a fictional story.’

It’s your film debut - how difficult was it to pull together, financially and spiritually?

‘It all happened very quickly really. I had an idea and from there, John Connors got on-board and Paddy Slattery (Stand Mantra Productions) came on as producer.

Can you give us an idea of your overall budget? Or would that only make you cry?

‘It's a very intimate piece; minimal cast, minimal crew, two locations, so we’ll pull it off with €2,000, covering basics; insurance, catering, expenses, etc. We are also receiving huge support from Film Equipment Hire Ireland, who are providing the Sony F5, and Galway Film Centre have been helping out with other logistics - so, money is not an obstacle in this case.’

You managed to nab the mighty John Connors, from ‘Love/Hate’, and Lalor Roddy, from ‘Grabbers’ and ‘Cherrybomb’. Drawn by your fine script, the huge payday, or friends of friends...?

‘When I wrote the idea, John was the first actor I thought of for it as we had just worked together on a short film a few months previous. I pitched him the opening scene and he was in. John then saw Lalor Roddy on stage in Stuart Carolan’s ‘Defender of the Faith’ and rang me when he got out saying he was blown away by Lalor’s performance. I had previously seen him in ‘Cherrybomb’ and loved his performance, so I didn’t need convincing. From there, we contacted his agent and he loved the script, and we had our two leads.’

The shoot starts March 7th, 2015, in sunny Connemara - what’s the timetable looking like? When do you hope to wrap? And when do you hope to get out there and start showing it to the world...?

‘We will be wrapped by Monday morning and aim to start submitting to festivals both nationally and internationally this summer.’

Given that you can now make, and distribute, a film entirely on your phone, the world of the film short has gotten pretty crowded. So, I’m some tanned bigwig in a wig on the submissions committee for a major film festival - sell ‘Today’ to me, kiddo.

‘We have all been lost at some point in our lives. Well, in ‘Today’, we meet Peter, who finds himself at a bit of a dead-end. Through a gentle intervention from a wise farmer, his pathway finally clears and he sees a way forward. John Connors, one of Ireland's most exciting young actors today, will demonstrate his extraordinary ability to draw from the depths of his soul in order to portray the complexities of this broken man. What more can I say other than “watch it when it's done, and decide for yourself”...?’

Would you have a certain kind of dream career in mind? Are you hoping to be the next Ken Loach, or the next Michael Bay, or somewhere in-between?

‘I've always been mostly inspired by British cinema and the raw loose style of it, so it would definitely be more Loach & Meadows than Bay & Bruckheimer.’

When it comes to Irish people going to see Irish films, it’s an uphill battle, with most of that particular box-office being more lacklustre than blockbuster. Would you make your films with a particular audience in mind, or are you hoping for men, women and children of all race, creeds and cults to embrace your work?

‘I just want to make the films that I want to make, and hope that people will want to watch them, and connect with them in some way.’

Finally, anything else you want to share with the group?

‘We just want to express our heartfelt thanks to our great crew and cast because if not for their commitment and desire to make films, it simply wouldn’t be possible. In fact, for anyone reading this; you too can support this production by following our progress online at on Facebook. Just look for TodayShortMovie...

‘Today’ starts shooting March 7th 2015: www.facebook.com/TodayShortMovie..

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