I made my first short film: Conor Fer­gu­son

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Cover Story -

Ad copy­writer Conor Fer­gu­son shot his first short movie, The Wed­nes­days, in Jan­uary and spent the year hawk­ing it to fes­ti­vals In 2007, I made my first short film, The Wed­nes­days, about a pen­sioner cou­ple who find them­selves tak­ing ec­stasy ev­ery Wed­nes­day. The project be­gan in 2002 as a con­ver­sa­tion with cowriter Luke Clancy, and be­came a short story, then a first draft, and fi­nally – af­ter many more drafts, and fund­ing re­jec­tions – was ready to be­come a short film.

The shoot was post­poned from May 2006 to June and then Septem­ber that year. Then un­til Jan­uary 2007.

Our cast was Doreen Keogh from The Royle Fam­ily, stage ac­torDes Keogh and the slightly no­to­ri­ous Alan Devlin. He and Doreen had worked to­gether 30 years pre­vi­ously and all had not been en­tirely rosy. But the shoot went mer­ci­fully well in the end.

The re­sult­ing movie was well re­ceived at the Gal­way, Cork, Din­gle and Bos­ton Ir­ish film fes­ti­vals, as well as the Elec­tric Pic­nic. The fes­ti­val process takes time and money, of­ten for lit­tle re­turn. You’re pay­ing $30-$40 per ap­pli­ca­tion and you don’t get that back if the film is re­jected. Fes­ti­vals are im­por­tant, though, partly just to get the film seen but also be­cause the Film Board will fund a print only if you have been ac­cepted by one of a se­lect num­ber of fes­ti­vals. There were times when I gave up hope.

Hap­pily, though, at the time of writ­ing The Wed­nes­days has just been named among the Ir­ish shorts go­ing to the Cler­mont-Fer­rand Short Film Fes­ti­val (out of over 4,500 en­tries, which is bonkers!). It’s the only Ir­ish short se­lected for com­pe­ti­tion in the fes­ti­val. It may not win any awards, but it will hope­fully be seen by more peo­ple in 2008, as we have now been promised a cin­ema re­lease.

My fa­ther died sud­denly just a cou­ple of weeks af­ter the film was com­pleted and I felt sad I hadn’t shown it to him when I had had the chance, in­stead of wait­ing for the fin­ished ver­sion.

But it turned out that my sis­ter – who had an early ver­sion on DVD – had shown it to him, and he had re­ally en­joyed it, twice. At his month’s mind, some­one (not me) put it on, and it was very nice to hear rel­a­tives and el­derly well­wish­ers chuck­ling on such a mor­bid day. He’d have liked that.

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