Monday, March 14, 2011

Mark O'Connor on 'Between the Canals'

Director of Between the Canals, Mark O'Connor talks about the making of his film

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.

The film is being self distibuted with support from the Irish Film Board. Self distribution takes up a lot of time but it's enjoyable because you learn a lot and you have control over how you market the film. I'm in pre-production on my next film which is set within the travelling community. I want to make good stories with interesting characters depicting Irish culture so that people can look back in 30 years and see how people behaved and the language they spoke. I love watching films from the 1920s and 30s which are based in realism as it gives you an insight into what people were like back then.

Mark O'Connor
Between the Canals

Between the Canals opens on March 18th at the IFI


  1. I saw it when it was at the fim festival last year. the director mark oconnor is my brother so of course i think its a great achievement but that aside its actually an extremely funny film which had us all in stitches. it succeeds in capturing a dublin you dont hear too much from these days. mark is through and through a dubliner and an irishman and that affection for ireland is at the heart of his movie making.

  2. Delighted for Mark and all the crew that it did do well here at the IFI and then went on to have a really successful run at other venues.