The idea to make a film set in the North Inner City had been in my head for a few years. When I wrote the script, the characters seemed to write themselves as most of them were based on people I knew. It was difficult to convince people to take a chance with a first-time feature writer/director. I had made several short films but the Irish Film Board hadn't seen any of them. I was planning to shoot the film whether I had the money or not. Guerilla filmmaking was something I was used to because most of my short films were made for almost nothing.
I wanted the film to portray a realistic image of the North Inner City. After auditioning several people from acting schools I knew the only way to get the real thing was to cast people from the North Inner City. I felt there had been a lot of films dealing with the rough side of Dublin but there had never been a crime drama. The General was a biopic, Intermission a crime comedy caper, The Barrytown Trilogy were comedy dramas and Adam and Paul was a tragedy. We shot the film in 12 days which was a challenge with so many speaking roles and locations.
I knew Damien Dempsey would have the ability to act because he has the stage presence and charisma of a great performer. It was easy to get a emotional performance from Damien because he is a person who feels every word when he sings. He is a true artist and I think he has the ability to be a great actor.
Between the Canals
Between the Canals opens on March 18th at the IFI