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Peter Foott talks 'Young Offenders', hitting Irish cinemas Friday, September 16th
16 Sep 2016 :
The hilarious debut feature from Irish Director Peter Foott hits the big screen today, following its debut at Galway Film Fleadh 2016, and marks the widest cinema release of any Irish film this year.

The film shared the award for Best Feature at the Fleadh with ‘A Date for Mad Mary.’ It releases following unanimous praise, including Graham Norton’s statement that, “It captures everything that makes Ireland so special.”

At a recent IFTA screening followed by a Q&A with Lance Daly, Director Peter Foott shared insight into what inspired the road movie, working under a budget and how some of the difficult chase scenes were shot.

Foott’s own experience of cycling with a friend in West Cork when he was fifteen, coupled with the real-life cocaine seizure on a Co. Cork beach in 2007, became the foundation for the project. While he is still telling the story of his own bike trip twenty years on, he was also drawn in by the behaviour of everyday people following the drugs seizure.

“There were idiots, everyday people like all of us, off looking for cocaine! The idea of fifteen year olds going down was even more ridiculous…‘The Goonies’ and ‘Stand by Me’ are my favourite films and I thought that age group would be a great audience to talk to.”

The project was completed with a very quick turnaround, with Foott approaching Producer Julia Ryan in January of 2015, and completing the project eighteen months later.

“I knew in January we had to start filming in May but I found writing under pressure is actually the best way to write.”

Casting began once thirty pages of the script was complete, with the team appealing to Co. Cork schools following an open casting call, in order to maintain the authenticity of the characters.

Foott also says jokingly that half of the tiny budget went on catering, which made it harder to find a crew and meant working around other people’s schedules as best he could. This also meant the quality of the story was essential in getting the crew involved.

An example of this is composer Ray Harmon - at the IFTA screening Foott read out an email from the composer who replied to Foott's email about an early trailer saying, “Oh my god. That looks hilarious. If you ask anyone else to score this I will hunt you down.”

Actors Alex Murphy and Chris Walley were prepped for their roles by dressing like their characters. “We sent them off dressed like these guys so they could see how people would react to them. When you meet them you’ll be shocked. They are the sweetest, nicest little boys.”

There are several chase scenes in the project which sees teens Conor and Jock racing on bikes. Foott talked the audience through how the scenes were shot.

“We used a lot of GoPro and I bought a GH4 for the shoot as well…The problem people have with using really nice cameras is that people start to worry whether or not the shots will match. I come from a post background so I know what you can get away with.”

We will publish more from the Q&A next week. ‘The Young Offenders’ opens today, and is released by Wildcard Distribution. Go see it.

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