Interview with COLD director Eoin Macken

Cold @ Galway Film FleadhAfter viewing COLD at it’s world premiere at the 25th Galway Film Fleadh we nabbed director/writer/star Eoin Macken for a chat about the film.

The interview below is an edited version to exclude spoilers so dont worry if you haven’t seen it! We’ll be posting the full interview once the film has been released.

Are you having a good time at the Fleadh so far?

I’m having a great time because it’s just fun, isn’t it? You just kind of wander around, it’s all very arty and there’s alcohol and films. The sun’s shining and everyone’s happy.

Have you had a chance to see any films?

I’ve seen the main films every night because I know a lot of the people who directed films this year like Life’s a Breeze and Love’s Eternal, Callback Queen and How To Be Happy. So for me four or five of the main films in the festival have people I know acting or directing in them. I’ve gone to see all those and they were great.

You had the world premiere of Cold last night, how was that for you?

Oh it was great because it’s over! [chuckles] I didn’t actually sit in and watch the film, I just sat outside and had a few drinks because it’s always very hard watching your own film at this stage. It’s just nice to have that done, good for people to have finally seen it.

Why the name ‘Cold‘?

You know it’s actually one of those ones that became a working title because you’re trying to find a title for a film and I find that a title is very important. I don’t like the titles of a lot of films and originally the film in my head was a much darker film…this is going to sound silly but genuinely from a weather point of view because we were going to be shooting in the moors. It was meant to be dark, cold, wet and rainy and we got sunshine like here at the Fleadh for the whole seven or eight days. So it did make the film warmer and change it a bit, it wasn’t meant to be that bright and happy but that’s not the way the weather was. The title Cold came from the idea that there was a coldness between the two brothers, there’s not a lot of warmth from an emotional point of view and if you look at it there’s a lot of detachment between the characters and every single character seem’s just a little bit detached from each other. There’s no real empathy to a large extent and so Cold just seemed to fit.

How was the process of writing Cold? And how long did it take from when you finished your first draft to actually wrapping the film?

I started writing the first few scenes in October, a year and a half ago [2011] but I finished the actual script in May last year [2012]. It took about five months to write it because I started writing it in scenes, just bits and pieces then the story evolved. It was finished at the end of May last year but I did rewrite stuff over the summer. I was actually rewriting it up until we finished shooting it because I wrote in extra scenes for people but a lot of the stuff I rewrote ended up being cut and I went back to what the original story was.

What made you decide to fund through Indiegogo?

I decided to fund through Indiegogo because we made ‘Stalker‘. We had made ‘Stalker‘ six months previous to it and I was DP on that and Eimear who was DP on ‘Cold‘ was my second camera and assistant camera on that and they did their film through Indiegogo. I’d initially funded it all myself, the first block and it cost me a lot more than I thought it would and because I thought we’d made something really special I figured we needed to really finish the film properly and I realised I needed some support, needed some money. Then I decided if they could do it with ‘Stalker‘, why not do it myself? And the response was just so stronger and a lot more passionate than I thought it would be.

Would you use Indiegogo again to fund a future project?

Yeah I would but I think there’s a limit to it. I don’t think you can keep asking people to be involved. It’s difficult because I want people to feel like they’re involved in something and I didn’t really realise, with producing it myself, it was an awful lot of hard work with everything and fulfilling perks. I think there’s limits to how often you can do it and I think people have to have a really strong connection to it. I don’t think I’d do indiegogo now just for the sake of it. You’ve gotta have a project that people feel really strongly for and that’s how there’s a place for it. It’s good from an arts point of view because people can get involved in stuff.

So with such a strong reaction to the crowdfunding, did you feel more of a pressure on the delivery of the final product?

No, not at all actually, because I do think that if someone is going to be involved in funding a film, I don’t have an obligation to them. I want them to like it and I hope that they do but at the same time it was their conscious decision to get involved in it. Thankfully everyone who’s been involved seems quite happy so far and I do obviously want people who were involved, first and foremost to enjoy it especially because a lot of them were fans of Merlin and fans of myself and Tom. If they didn’t like it I’d be disappointed but I think they will because they wouldn’t have seen myself and Tom play these sort of characters and I hope that’s interesting to them.

Do you think crowdfunding through sites like Indiegogo and Kickstarter is the future of independent cinema?

I hope it’s not the future of independent cinema. I think it’s going to be a very important aspect of it because I think it can actually open up doors, like Zach Braff made a film for a couple of million through crowdfunding and they did that for Veronica Mars so I think it’s really important to have an extra avenue like that because that’s how we made Cold, that’s how Stalker got made, that’s how, How To Be Happy got made. With the film board and the BFI and stuff, they’re not really funding indie films so I think crowdfunding is important to broach that gap between maybe ten to hundred and fifty grand to making features for maybe a million or two. I hope it’s not the future of the entire indie film industry but I think it’s a good next step.

You’re especially proud of the crew that came together to make the movie and with Eimear being nominated for the award, does that just give you a buzz?

Yes it was very important to me because Eimear is like my little darling and my little protégé. She’s worked with me in all my projects over the last two years and she’s been really great. If there’s one person I know I could work with, it’s Eimear because she’s incredibly hard working and she’ll do anything like, she just wants to make films. She’s also really talented and it’s really important for me that she gets recognised because she is great. Hopefully she can start shooting things the way she should be able to. So yeah she’s great, the nomination is well deserved because she works so hard.

The entire process was surely difficult, from writing to shooting to editing, were there any scenes that didn’t make the final cut that you wish had?

Funnily enough, no! Once it was actually finished I don’t feel like the film misses anything. And yet Barry Doyle, who was the focus puller, came along last night [Galway premiere] to watch it for the first time and he’s like “Where’s the movie?”. You know, half joking but because there’s a lot of it that’s not there. There’s a really nice scene with Mike Figgis, between Mike and Tom which I really miss. It’s a beautiful scene, it just didn’t fit as the film changed tonally. There’s one or two scenes between myself and Tom that I really liked but I found that we didn’t need those scenes anymore because I kept the most important ones. There’s a whole subplot with a policemen and stuff but I don’t miss them because the film feels it’s the way it should be. It was hard at some stages with certain scenes but once they’re gone I go, Oh. They don’t feel missed. I think that means that the film works, from my point of view.

Are you planning to enter Cold into any other film festivals?

I want to send it everywhere! There’s a lot of fans who financed it from Canada, Germany, Australia etc. so I want really send it around the place. That’s why I wanna start doing a lot of festivals first before we kind of work out how we’re going to get distributed and it’d be cool to get it across various film festivals. I wanted Cold in this festival [Galway Film Fleadh] because it’s nice and it’s really friendly. It has such a community vibe and I think it’s important to have these types of festivals. From a producer and distributor point of view, it’s become almost as important as Cannes and Berlin because you get a lot of people from like Toronto who come here so it’s still got a very important international vibe.
It’s good to support your home festival because this is more of a homegrown, independent Irish film festival than the Dublin one, which I’m an ardent supporter of! But this is more of an indie film festival and it’s important to support those.

You’ve got Cold Con 2, the fan event with a screening of Cold on August 3rd with Tom. You looking forward to it?

Yeah, it’s a weird one. I want all the people to be able to come and see it and we’re doing a con as well because people kept asking about it. I wanted to use it to raise money for the marketing of the film because it’s really very expensive and just keeps going. The film cost more than I raised in the first place and I was kind of torn between doing a completely free screening but at the same time, that’s not the most beneficial thing.
I want people to be able to go and see it, as I don’t know when it’ll be in festivals and from what I’ve understood, people enjoy meeting at the conventions. That’s also why we did it because people have told me how much they come for a friendly point of view. There’s a nice community vibe about it.

What would you say to the fans about what to expect from the film?

Oh I wouldn’t like to tell them anything! I’d like them to just come and see it and make up their own minds. I think it’s best to see a film and not know anything about it. I’m sure you realised I didn’t really give out anything about the film, even in the trailer. I think it’s best to have a fresh perspective and not know anything beforehand.

Tickets for Cold Con 2 are available here: http://coldfilmscreening.eventbrite.co.uk

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