Friday, September 19, 2014

STF: In conversation with It Came From Connemara!! director Brian Reddin

It Came From Connemara!! director/producer Brian Reddin talks about the making of his documentary ahead of its Dublin premiere at IFI Stranger Than Fiction on Sept 27th. 

This series of blog posts will include interviews with directors who will be screening their films at this year's IFI Stranger Than Fiction Documentary Film Festival (Sept 25th - 28th).

Next up we have Brian Reddin whose documentary It Came from Connemara!! will have its Dublin premiere at IFI Stranger Than Fiction on Saturday, September 27th at 10.15pm. 
Brian will take part in Q&A following the film (book here).

It Came From Connemara!!

Tell us about the film you have directed as part of IFI Stranger than Fiction Documentary Film Festival this month?

My film tells the story of the time legendary B movie producer, Roger Corman, came to Connemara to establish a film studio. Corman was and remains a Hollywood legend. He revolutionised the way movies were made and launched the cinematic careers of Coppola, Scorsese, Nicholson and De Niro, among many others.  

In five years during the '90s Corman made 20 feature films in Connemara and managed to upset both the unions and the tastes of cinephiles. But, those who worked for him adored the experience. Corman gave them an opportunity to learn the film industry and a chance to progress through the film making ranks. He helped to launch many production careers in Ireland and there are many who credit him with their success.

My film tells the whole story of what came from Connemara during those five gloriously gruesome years. The documentary features exclusive interviews with Roger Corman, Don 'The Dragon' Wilson, James Brolin and Corbin Bernsen as well as interviews with the Irish cast and crew.

How did you get involved in the project or did the project start with you?

I originated the project. I was always a fan of Roger Corman’s movies, especially his adaptations of Edgar Allen Poe, and I was aware he was making movies in Ireland. At the time, I was producing a movie review show and I requested permission to visit his sets, but we were not allowed film at his studios. So, I was always curious about what was being made there and who was working there. It was intriguing because we heard that David Carradine was there one day and James Brolin the next. However, little was known about the studio. With the 20th anniversary of his Irish studio approaching, I decided to explore whether he would be interested in participating in a documentary about his time in Ireland and thankfully he was. TG4 quickly came on board with financing and the BAI then supported it.

Brain Reddin

How long have you been working on the project?

I first approached Corman a year ago and was shooting an interview with him in Los Angeles six months later. As soon as he got involved, everything else fell into place. Between research, shooting and post, the entire project took a year.

What really excites, inspires or motivates you about documentary film?

I love big Hollywood blockbusters as much as anyone. However, for the most part, in the past decade, the only time I have ever really thought about something I have seen in the cinema after the credits have rolled is when I have seen a well-made documentary. I love Michael Moore and Nick Broomfield as much as I love Scorsese or Corman. Documentaries can make a difference. They can make you think longer and harder about a subject and they can inspire you to find out more. Grizzly Man, Exit Through the Gift Shop, The Imposter and Man on Wire have been among my favourite films of the last ten years. Brilliantly made documentaries that push the boundaries of  traditional doc filmmaking. No doubt at some point all of these will be made into movies (Man on Wire already has), but you just know they will not be anywhere near as good as the real story.

Who do you think will enjoy the movie you have directed?

Anyone who loves cinema will enjoy my film. Although it is about a very specific period in Ireland’s film making history, at heart it is the story of a maverick and a bunch of like-minded people who made movies against the odds. It is an underdog story as well as a story about cinema. Only a handful of Corman’s Irish crew had any movie making experience when they began and yet they made a full feature film every three months. Their work ethic was astonishing. Anyone with an interest in the art of low budget filmmaking or a fascination with kitsch B-movies should find this film entertaining.

What other films at the festival are you looking forward to seeing?

There is a very strong line up this year and being a film fan I’m really looking forward to seeing the documentary about Roger Ebert, Life Itself. I’m also keen to see Showrunners as Des Doyle has managed to secure an amazing line up of interviewees and I know how hard that can be. I’ve already seen Blood Fruit which I really enjoyed and the documentary on Whitey Bulger looks fascinating.

It Came From Connemara!!
It Came from Connemara!! will have its Irish premiere at IFI Stranger Than Fiction on Saturday, September 27th at 10.15pm. Brian will take part in Q&A following the film (book here).

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