Scannain caught up with director Tristan Heanue to talk about his new short film A Break in the Clouds, before its world premiere at the 29th Galway Film Fleadh.

The contemporary drama tells the story of a young couple struggling to adjust to life following the birth of their first child. The film shines a light on the impact first time parenting can have on both a new Mother and Father.

This film marks the follow-up to Heanue’s directorial debut Today, which won Best First Short Drama at the 27th Galway Film Fleadh. Heanue will also star with some of Ireland’s brightest actors, including Gemma-Leah Devereux (Get Up & Go, Stitches) Marie Ruane (Foxes, Striking Out, The Clinic), and Linda Bhreathnach (Adulting, Ros na Rún).

The origins of the film come from a real place for Heanue “It’s about a young couple as the struggle to adjust to becoming parents for the first time. I hadn’t planned to make a film about this subject but over a short period of time, I had spoken with a few people who had struggled in different ways to become parents, some friends and some friends of friends, both male and female. Some of their stories really stuck with me and I wanted to make something that showed both sides as the pressures and mental health strains on a man during this period can be huge too.”

A Break in the Clouds is his second short as director, which made him a little more comfortable behind the camera “I guess you just notice all the little mistakes you made the first time around and you try not to repeat them. I was more prepared going into the shoot and had a better sense of how I wanted the film to look. I also spent a lot more time on the script.”

Getting the film ready for the Fleadh proved a bit of a challenge “The hardest thing was probably the quick turnaround on post production. We thought the two-day shoot was going to be crazy but we had such an amazing crew that it actually ran really smoothly and we had an amazing time on set. Once wrapped we then had four days to get a cut into Galway before the Fleadh deadline so our editor John Desay was working around the clock.”
Years in the business allowed Heanue to gather a dedicated and committed cast and crew “Gemma-Leah Deveraux plays Sarah, I met her through Paddy Slattery when we were working on something else. I was aware of her work and thought she would be a great fit for Sarah. I sent her the script, she loved it and the was that. Marie Ruane plays Natalie, I had seen her in a couple of shorts in the last few years and had always been a huge fan, we met and chatted at the Fleadh last year and we said we would have to work together. Linda Bhreathnach plays Ally, I met her at a script read through a while ago and then at the Fleadh last year, she sent me a link to her film Adulting and I thought she was excellent in it and knew I wanted to work with her.
Crew wise we worked with a few of the same people that we always use, Paddy Slattery produced with me and Nikki Moss did sound design, John Desay who edited had worked with Paddy in the past. My cinematographer Narayan Van Maele I had been aware of for a couple of years. He was always one guy who I wanted to work with, it was just a matter of getting the right project and hoping he wanted to do it, the knowledge, talent and professionalism he brought to the film were invaluable. We also had Michael Fleming compose a beautiful score, which was new and exciting to me as my previous two films had no score whatsoever.”
And his plans for after the Fleadh? “I would obviously love it to be seen by as many people as possible so a good festival run is always nice. But overall if it strikes a chord with anyone or people can relate to it then I’m happy.”
A Break in the Clouds screens at Galway Film Fleadh on Friday, 14th July at the Town Hall from 10am as part of the New Irish Shorts 4 programme.

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