TNC Archive 2018 
Interview

A Cornishman's travels in Ireland, through Wexford, Waterford and Cork in search of the familiar.

 

Hey Mark, it's great to talk to you, how's your 2018 been going do you get nervous ahead of a festival screening?

I don’t normally get nervous because quite often I’m not able to attend the festivals. If I am there I do sometimes get a bit nervous because I have come to realise that people find it quite difficult to categorise my work and I get anxious about whether my work has been contextualised correctly or programmed in the appropriate section. 

Since its premiere at the Cork Film Festival, Dear Marianne has had a great run, what has the reaction to your film meant to you?

The reaction to the film has been fantastic. A section of the film was shot in Cork City so when it premiered there it was exciting. That particular part of Cork has changed a great deal in the last few years so it was pertinent for some of that audience. Dear Marianne is probably my most successful festival film but when I made it I wasn’t sure if I was ever going to show anybody because it was an incredibly specific story and I didn’t know if anyone would get the sentiment of it. I couldn’t resist putting a clip of it online, on social media, and it got a really great reaction. A couple of people whose opinions I really respect got in contact and wanted to see the full thing so then I started thinking maybe there was an audience for it. I started putting it out to festivals and that’s when Don at Cork saw it and from it’s had a great run. 

What has been some of the things you've taken from your time showing your shorts at film festivals?

I love the travel. Visiting new places. I’m an uncomfortable tourist so if I can visit somewhere in the guise of work I jump at the chance. Obviously, seeing such diverse work is also a great privilege. It’s not always easy to see short film work on the big screen so I like to see as much as I can...especially short work that is true to the form, rather than being made in order to develop long formwork. I think showing work at festivals, especially short film work, which isn’t always held in such high regard as feature films, provides an essential validation of what you do. It makes me feel that what I attempt to do for a living isn’t entirely insane.

Tell me a little bit about Dear Marianne, what can we expect?

Dear Marianne is a simple Super8 road movie. The form is very important to me, that’s why I mention the Super8. 

What was your inspiration behind this film?

I had 3 rolls of Kodachrome 40 that I’d shot while travelling through Wexford, Waterford and Cork, many years ago. I’d had it processed but it was sat on a shelf in my studio for nearly 10 years. I was thinking about shooting a new film when I suddenly realised that I already had one. I looked at the footage, remembered what an amazing trip across Ireland that had been back in 2004, and decided that I couldn’t let this beautiful footage just gather dust. Kodachrome 40 as a film stock is long gone so it is also a tribute to that emulsion too.

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"I am obsessed with making films now, and also with developing new practical, tactile, analogue ways of making them."

What has been the challenge you've faced bringing this to life?

Very few challenges are other than the self-inflicted ones. “Is this any good?”, “Will anyone want to watch this?”, “What’s the point?” etc. I didn’t collaborate with anyone on this film so I had to create all the challenges myself.

What have been the biggest lessons you've taken from making this film?

Always make work for yourself and you will find an audience...you’re not so different from everyone else that it won’t resonate with somebody.

Have you always had a passion for filmmaking?

Yes, but I’ve always had a passion for making anything. As a young teenager, I was obsessive about making model railways. I think they are very similar. I am obsessed with making films now, and also with developing new practical, tactile, analogue ways of making them.

What inspires your work?

Almost anything, one way or another. 

For anyone out there thinking about making their first film, what advice would you offer them? 

Do something new. No other art form is as derivative as this one. Do something different.

And finally, what do you hope people will take away from your film?

A desire to talk about it.