I made my first short film: Conor Ferguson
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.