Local directors George Clarke and Phillip Henry both had their films screened during this years festival. Their films featured in the New Cinema section of our programme and were screened to audiences in Dublin Road’s Movie House Cinema.
Noirland directed by Phillip Henry is Ireland’s first crime anthology and Onus, directed by George Clarke of Yellow Fever Productions, is Clarke’s fifth feature film. Both directors operated on little to no budget and were keen to encourage other local filmmakers to embrace this type of filmmaking. They described the process as equal parts demanding and rewarding, saying that they preferred the freedom of working without the constraints of funders because it allowed a project to begin instantaneously and to be under their complete control. As indie filmmakers, they both believe in creating films for their own sake and in getting the job done.
Phillip Henry’s film Noirland is the first of its kind in Northern Ireland, with three intertwining plots Noirland is a gripping exhumation of dirty little secrets. We asked Henry what practical advise he had for no-budget filmmakers, he came back with two essential instructions. The first, that you need to pull in as many favours as you can. This is the lifeblood of indie filmmaking, having a network of people that you’ve helped out before and that are willing to help you. This means you have to be supportive of other indie filmmakers and be visible on the scene, this is karma people, what goes around comes around. The second, that you should be the best member of your crew, you should be willing to do all the technical jobs yourself, and if you don’t know how to do them, learn!
George Clarke’s film Onus has more twist then you can shake a stick at, it’s been well received and reviewed by the press, here’s just one example from Knifed in Venice: “A masterclass in visual storytelling”. Clarke believes that his film proves that one person can do this and that local directors should get out there and make films, not wait around for funding.
Both directors have other projects in the pipeline, Phillip Henry and George Clarke are certainly two local filmmakers to watch.