An Irish movie, filmed in just three weeks and on a budget of €300, has won Best Foreign Feature at the Los Angeles Independent Film Festival.
Staid was written and directed by Paul O’Brien, 37, from Wexford, a bestselling novelist who left school at 15.
“It’s hugely significant for us because we worried about the accent travelling. We knew the story would travel because everyone can relate to its universal message of feeling stuck.
“It’s the biggest independent film festival in LA, the birthplace of movies, so it gives us visibility considering we had no marketing budget,” Mr O’Brien told the Irish Examiner.
“Our full budget was €300, €250 of which was spent on one scene. The initial shoot took three weeks, which was done mostly overnight in the Sky & the Ground [a Wexford pub], where we’d wait for punters to finish up their sing-song and we’d film until 8am,” he added.
“It’s about four people who are stuck in life and they spark off each other for a couple of days about how to move forward, sometimes it has funny consequences, sad consequences, and sometimes tragic consequences. It’s a slice of life in a small town.”
Mr O’Brien, who used to work as a panel beater before giving it up to pursue writing at 18, is already a best-selling novelist. His crime-wrestling trilogy Blood Red Turns Dollar Green, has held the number spot in nine countries and is being optioned for a TV series in the US.
He firmly believes if you want something done, you need to do it yourself.
“When I wrote my first play, I built the set and everything. I was terrified at the time but I am so grateful that that was my start because if you want something done, you don’t wait for a grant to come in, you just do it. If you have the confidence people will follow.”
Mr O’Brien has already been contacted by a US movie distributor since Staid won the award. There are no more showing dates scheduled but it has been submitted to the Cork Film Festival in November.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved