#Interview: Scannain Talks Man to Man with A.W. Stevenson ahead of the Galway Film Fleadh
Premiering at the 29th Galway Film Fleadh on July 12th is A.W. Stevenson’s short Irish drama Man to Man.
Man to Man presents a poignant story about a father-son relationship, told through a series of conversations spanning ten years, as the two catch up over a quiet pint in their local.
The film, which is produced by Stevenson and Dave Minogue, stars Hugh Gormley and Killian Coyle as the father and son respectively.
Man to Man will premiere in the New Irish Shorts 1 programme on July 12th at 12pm. This strand features 8 live action shorts that show a mix of themes which highlight the variety in Irish storytelling today.
Scannain caught up with director A.W. Stevenson to talk about the film:
Why did you want to tell this story?
This film is special for me because it was inspired by real life conversations over a quiet pint with my own father. He is someone who has guided me and helped me and put up with me over the years, so I guess ultimately I wanted to pay tribute to our relationship.
More than that though, between the simplicity of the idea and the pragmatism of writing to a low budget, I felt the film could be a charming and touching representation of what it is to be a father or a son, and how relationships help shape our lives and who we are. I wanted to present a real relationship – the ups, the downs, the significant and the trivial. A modern relationship, which subverts the antiquated concept of fathers and sons being too ‘masculine’ to share moments together.
What was the hardest thing about making Man to Man?
There were two hardest things about making this film…
First, actually just getting it made. Something most people don’t really know is that filmmaking is incredibly difficult – even a simple story like mine! It requires so much initiative, discipline, organisation, compromise, and fortitude to produce films. It takes a lot of time and a lot of effort. For example, this modest short film, from inception to completion, took 2 years. And it could all be for nothing! It’s a big risk. You just have to hope your vision is good enough and that people react positively.
The other hardest thing was having to ask for so many favours because of our tiny, self-and-crowdfunded budget. We are so fortunate in Ireland to have a dedicated and generous industry of people who will help you out simply for the love of their vocation. It was incredibly galvanising to experience such camaraderie and team spirit.
Who’s in your cast and crew? And how did you find them?
Our main characters were played by Hugh Gormley (Father) and Killian Coyle (Son). Their exquisite craftsmanship really gave credence to the story and shaped the tangible, natural relationship I was hoping to portray. They were intuitive and hardworking as well, which is always appreciated!
We found Hugh through casting, while Killian was an actor I had seen in a play and kept in touch with. We put the two of them together and it just seemed to be a great fit. The chemistry between them felt genuine, and the cadence of scenes they rehearsed together just flowed nicely.
You went down the crowdfunding route. How did you find that?
For this sort of project, crowdfunding is basically just panhandling to friends and family, which is pretty awkward. I felt a certain degree of guilt about it initially, but you weigh that up against your desire to make the film and the potential effect it could have on your career as a filmmaker. I can’t thank my parents and friends enough for all they’ve given to this film, and the opportunity it has granted me going forward.
For the actual crowdfunding campaign itself, we used FundIt, which offered a nice landing page platform for contributions. The key was to strategise and keep awareness of the project fresh in people’s minds – targeting specific people, emailing directly, posting consistently on social media etc etc.
What are your hopes for the film?
What are the hopes for any film? The Oscars baby! I’m kidding (but that would be nice!), I really just hope the film is seen and enjoyed by people. I like to think the story reflects a contemporary Irish persona, consisting of relatable and poignant humanity. If it touches people or resonates in some way, then I’m happy.